The #1 question that new prospective House Directors consistently sent in to the former “Ask Mona” blog were concerns about salaries. This reply is still just as pertinent in 2022 as it was several years ago when first published.
How are Sorority House Director Salaries Set?
Salaries range all over the place. You write in wondering if what you’re being offered is good, especially if you’ve applied to very different locations.
It would be so much easier for everyone if House Director salaries, and benefits, were standardized. But they vary from region to region, whether it’s a university or college, rural or city campus — and whether the individual sorority house has a harder position to fill (some seem to have a revolving door for various reasons, which is often due to its location in the country).
Five Variables Affecting Salaries
One thing not often mentioned, but what may be a factor at an individual house, is how financially secure the house is. Some carry a big debt for remodels, especially for an historically old mansion, etc. Each sorority is an independent unit, depending on its individual local Corporation Board to manage the finances. There isn’t national oversight management like a franchise relationship. A new independent sorority will not have the financial security of a legacy organization begun in the 1800s. Until you get deep into the interview process, or are already on the job, you may not know about the stability of the finances.
Then there’s the number of girls who can live in the house. A small house may have 25 young women — while others have more than 60 sorority sisters, plus a number living in surrounding apartments who pay dues too. They have a much deeper pot of money to draw from.
If a sorority house hasn’t filled all its available beds, this can have a negative effect on the finances. There can be several reasons the house isn’t meeting its quota like its reputation on campus, whether or not they are on academic probation, etc. It’s up to the leadership among the young women to create a successful recruitment (rush) event in a competitive enviornment (fraternities have a far more relaxed approach). It’s up to them to make sure dues are collected. That can be a prickly issue, but it’s not your job to get into the middle of this. (You have oversight over the food budget, not salaries, remodeling costs, utility bills, or collecting money due.)
Often houses in a specific location have somewhat similar salaries, but not always. There’s also a subjectivity factor — some Boards really want to keep their current House Director and have a more personal relationship with her. So they’ve provided a higher salary or bonuses like a health club membership. But that doesn’t mean it will transfer to you as the new woman replacing her.
In a place where cost-of-living is less, like rural Idaho, you can expect the salary to be considerably less than an urban school in an expensive area like New York. Boards in a city location have to consider that their Director could be spending over $4.00 for her gas (updated to $7.00 5/24/22!), higher insurance, etc.
How Do You Know If It’s a Good Offer?
You won’t have much of a chance to compare salaries with other House Directors until you’ve accepted a job and move into a sorority row. Don’t forget though, that you are not paying for commuting costs, parking, rent, food, utilities, or maid service. That’s a wonderful trade-off to take into consideration as you decide whether or not to accept the offer… how great is it that it’s being made to you!
And by the way, to all of you who are receiving offers of employment — Congratulations!! To the rest of you, hang in there. Most of the jobs don’t begin until August. You still have plenty of time to get hired.