fraternity rush

Last week, I asked those who subscribe to my newsletter (click here – it’s free!) to share what is working right now with fraternity recruitment.  I sincerely appreciate those who took the time to respond.  Their responses are compiled below.  Feel free to add more ideas in the comments section below the article.

Also, be sure to check out my article previous two articles that were compiled from reader input:

1. Market yourself to what incoming guys want but also stick to your values.

2. We participate in a program called Hokie Helpers and help new students unload cars and move into their dorms the week before school starts to promote Pilam and establish good relations with students and parents

3. Look back at the last semester and year and think of a program that did not work the way it should have or produce the desired result.  If it was a complete bomb – make sure you are not doing it again.  If it was semi successful make sure that the right fixes are implemented to get it right.  You don’t want to duplicate something that isn’t working right.  Sometimes tradition make you think you need to do it.


4. A great idea we had this past semester was to have business cards printed with chapter contact information/logo/values etc. on one side, and a rush schedule on the other. It was a great way to seal a conversation with a prospective new member…introduce yourself, make a connection, and invite him to the events listed on the back of the card. In the meantime, they have contact information for the Rush Chair/President should the chapter be able to assist him in any way.

5. Keep in mind that Rush isn’t just a list of events that you hold to try and get guys interested. Rush happens everywhere you are, your classes, the Quad, the Dining Hall, even on the sidewalk. Sure the Rush events are fun and exciting, but not everyone is just going to go to a fraternity rush event. Take the time to invite or escort some potential new guys personally, particularly those guys who might not go on their own. And once you get them there, don’t abandon them. Introduce them to the brothers and be sure that you are checking up on them. Let them mingle on their own, but don’t make them feel like you just dropped them off at the party and then disappeared.

Make an effort to showcase the best attributes of your Fraternity everywhere you go. Eat meals together, go to campus events together, hang out around campus together, and wear your letters when you do these things. People will associate you, your brothers and your/their actions with the Fraternity. Both the good and the bad. Be mindful of this. Even though to you and your brothers making fun of each other and generally being assholes might be your way of having fun, outsiders will simply view you as being a bunch of jerks. Be positive in public about everyone in your Fraternity, keep the inside jokes and the like where they belong, inside your group.

6. I think the best advice I can offer to help for Fraternity Recruitment is this:

Make contact and be extremely transparent with your Alumni Board as soon as possible.  While many chapters ignore their alumni board, in reality letting them know what strengths and weaknesses your chapter has heading into rush can help immensely. Alumni boards are built to help the fraternity grow and recruit the best men, so by being upfront with your weaknesses heading into rush your alumni board can help you be in the best position possible heading into recruitment week.

7. Update your Fraternity Website to make the information current.  Take a look at the websites of your campus’ other fraternities and see how you compare.  Make it your goal to outshine all of them.  (Parents, school officials, and others are a key audience for your Web site, not just alumni, and you’re strongest when you have support from all of them.)

View the contents of your website with the eyes of the type of pledges you are seeking, and fix it accordingly.  If your fraternity wants to attract as future Brothers men with a commitment to scholarship, values, and working as a team, then make the website convey that message.  Have a great scholarship record?  Talk about it.  (If you’re just looking for guys to party with, leave the website alone.  Better yet, remove the website.)

8. Use or get and use a Chapter Twitter account.  Post at least once daily throughout the rush period, and more often as you can.  Be creative.  Share a mix of messages directed at potential members and current members, alumni, etc.  The latter examples give potential members an idea of what fraternity life is like with you.   Ask your committee chairs, key officers, and historian to share items you can use.  And post a lot of pictures of the fun you’re having just with being with each other (and without the need for alcohol to do it).

9. Track your national fraternity’s Twitter page, and repost any messages that lend themselves to being of interest to non-members, too.

10. For Twitter, Facebook, Chapter website, etc., add a “Throwback Thursday” feature each week and share an image from your Chapter’s past, whether last year or 100 years ago.  Show them the foundation on which your Brotherhood is based.

Do much the same on Facebook.  Encourage Brothers to monitor and share some of the posts on the Chapter page on their pages, to reach a lot more people.  Just about everyone in the Chapter likely is on Facebook; ask them to use Facebook as part of their recruitment efforts.  (Perhaps you’ll be able to involve the traditionally non-recruiters in a Chapter to at least do that.  Some Brothers just won’t rush or are too shy to do it., but they may be willing to do this.)

Regularly recognize individual Brothers on Twitter, Facebook, at rush events, etc., for doing good works.  That sends the message to potential members that, hey, you can be recognized, too, when you join us – and these are some of the guys who will become your Brother.

Don’t abandon your social media accounts after rush.  You’re recruiting year-round; the real question is whether you want to control that recruiting and how much.  Share the posting duties; alumni chairman, social chairman, historian, Chapter President, Chapter Advisor, local alumni group, ought to be able to suggest posting ideas.  And tell them and everyone else in the Chapter to complain when the sites haven’t been touched for awhile.

Don’t just have as your main rush message “Join XYZ!”  Use the prime space in your leaflets, ads, etc.,  to highlight reasons that will inspire them to want to join for what you offer.  (The “Join XYZ” message can still be incorporated but it’s superfluous if you can inspire them to make that a message they come up with for themselves.  Then your closing message is “here’s how to contact XYZ.”

11. Tell potentials the main purpose of your pledgeship is to find ways to help them become a member, not to test whether they are “good enough.”

Don’t oversell what you’re offering – what you can’t deliver.  You want to keep the Brothers you initiate, not have them feel they were mislead by men who were supposed to be their Brothers.

12. So far, the best things that are working for us with regards to rush are simply getting out there and being seen.  That being said, we have frequently had potentials over to our house after meeting them.  This gives them the chance to meet more than just the brothers who they just met and to see the house and other amenities.

13. Be Honest

– This is how you build trust, improve retention, and create a positive experience for everyone, even your actives. Don’t lie about your mission or your members. Don’t blow smoke at potential new members. When you are authentic and honest, it will show and resonate with the young men going through recruitment

Be Personal

– People join people, not chapters. Intentionally build personal connections with potential new members and your results will improve.

Be Mindful of Public Relations

– Facebook and Twitter are helpful. They are also monsters of devastation. For every way a chapter uses social media and PR to their advantage, a dozen others bungle it completely. Please, don’t be another example of negative stereotypes.

Be Strategic

– You cannot be all things to all people. You also cannot get every sing,e recruit, let alone all of your targets. If you don’t have a detailed plan, recruit list/board, or a method to the madness that is recruiting, you’ll not be as successful as you could be otherwise.

Be Compassionate,

– You’ll say no to some pretty good people that might not be happy about it. However, having empathy will help you in the long run. Maybe that slightly awkward freshman you didn’t know we’ll enough in three weeks of recruitment blossoms into an emerging leader on campus. If you tuned him out after recruitment or treated him poorly during recruitment, do you think you have a shot at recruiting him when he takes another look at going Greek? What if he becomes president of another chapter you have to work with? Think about it.

Be 24/7

– Every action, every day, everywhere is a recruitment activity. Every joke you tell in the dining hall to every step you take in the rec center, yo are representing your chapter. When you wear letters, people see your chapter, not just yourself. Be mindful of this, especially during recruitment. You’ll make more of an impact outside of your events than you realize.

14. Make sure the rush events are things that brothers actually like to do.  The worst thing is having an event where no brothers show up.  This happens when you have crappy rush events.

15. Always have girls involved during rush.  This is the easiest way to impress guys who you are recruiting.

16. Each and every guy needs to feel special.  I know that sounds lame, but if guys feel like they are treated like a number, then they will not be very driven to join.

17. Recruitment needs to be done year around.  You need to be making friends with guys during the previous semester, and then get them to commit to joining before the semester even starts.  If you are trying to do all your recruitment in the first two weeks of the school year, you will never reach your true potential.

18. Get out there.  There are a bunch of guys who would probably join if they had the slightest clue that fraternity life existed.  You need to go out of your way to meet these guys.

19. The #1 place to find guys is in the cafeteria.   Only freshmen eat there – and none are affiliated the first two weeks of school.   Your chapter needs to show up for dinner in force, but then break into two man teams. These two man teams need to randomly sit with guys who have the right look.  Then they need to get these guy’s contact info, and get them out to a rush event.  It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

20. Have a huge party.  That is how freshman are always initially introduced into fraternity life.  They are looking for the social experience of being Greek – give it to them.

21. Ask for referrals from your alumni.  We know people who are attending and will provide a recommendation if asked.  So ask.

22. Rush events are great, but we land most of the guys by inviting them to the house to hang out.  This is where they actually start to feel like they are part of the group.  Once they feel like they are part of the group, it is easy to get them to become part of the chapter.

23. Two words – sorority mixer.

24. Get smart on recruitment.  There are a lot of good resources out there.  Pat’s book The Fraternity Leader is a great start.  So is Good Guys from phired up.

25. Be organized.  Make sure the brothers know where to go and when to be there.  Be sure events are planned in advance so you aren’t scrambling the day of the rush event.  If you are wasting all your time on logistics, then you will not be spending your time recruiting guys to join your chapter.

26. Feed recruits.  Pizza = pledges.  Remember that formula.

27. Use facebook to recruit.  You can identify freshman at your school with facebook, and then reach out to them to rush.  This is a very efficient way to reach out to a lot of people fast.

28. You will inevitably get a few guys quickly.  Offer these guys an incentive to recruit other guys.  My chapter gives these guys $100 off their dues if they can get another guy to pledge with them.  This is a huge incentive and gives our chapter another rush period.  During the first rush period the brothers are rushing, during the second one the recruits are rushing.  It is a beautiful thing.

29. We do formal rush, so our situation is a little different.  In formal rush everything revolves around image and reputation.  Therefore, it is essential that all brothers put their best foot forward during rush, and we also keep a positive image in the university community.

30. You have to get them early.  I suggest getting them during move-in.  Offer to help them lug their couch into their dorm room.  In exchange, get their contact information.  It makes for a crappy day, but is definitely worth the effort.

31. You need to have brothers live on campus.  Without having brothers living on campus, you are fighting an uphill battle.  These guys live with potential recruits.  There is no better way to find guys then by actually living with them.

32. Our rush sounds different than the rush at most schools.  At our school, the pledges move into the house to help fill it.  As a result, it is very important we do a good job during rush or we will not be able to afford to make our house payments and our chapter finances will be wrecked.  As such, we spend a boat load of money during rush wining and dining guys in hopes of impressing them enough for them to become brothers.  Rush is almost half our budget, and it by far the most important two weeks of the year.

33. The key for us is turning recruits into pledges as quickly as possible  Once they become pledges, they become part of the chapter and can help us recruit for the remainder of rush.  Something we do is we ask the recruits during the period that if they were given a bid, would they sign it.  If they say yes, and we like them, then we will give him a bid.  He then will help recruit.  Often these are our most motivated guys as they are trying to prove their worth and impress the brothers.  This is a huge part of our success and has made us the largest house on our campus.

34. We try to have as many sorority mixers as possible during rush.  Not only does this help with the obvious, but it also gives a favorable impression to the rushees who don’t know any better.

35. Make them feel like they are on the inside.  If they feel like they are an insider, then they will join.  If not, then your chances go down significantly.

36. Don’t recruit strangers – it takes too much time.  Recruit the guys you know and the guys they know.  This is the most efficient way to land recruits in such a short period of time.

37. Don’t rush the first two weeks of school.  The brothers don’t want to rush, they want to hang out with the guys they haven’t seen since the end of April.  Hang out, party and do whatever that first two weeks.  Then have rush.  You will have a much easier time because brothers will be more motivated and less distracted.

38. We have deferred rush, so the fall isn’t our big rush.  However, we use the fall to get things lined up for the spring.

39. Our most successful rush event is bringing them to our tailgate.  Everyone loves football (at least the type of guys we want to join our house) and by bringing them to our tailgate they get to see the thing our school does best.  Best of all, when they tailgate with use, they assume we do it better than everyone else not only because they have no comparison, but because we do.

40. If the guy you are recruiting has a girlfriend, invite her.  Chances are if you can impress her, you can get him to join.  The easiest way to impress her is by having a brother’s girlfriend talk to her about all the great couples events that the chapter has.  Once a girl realizes that if her boyfriend joins that will mean a couple semi-formals and a formal for her she will get him to sign his bid.

41. Have others vouch for you.  If you can get someone influential from the university to give you a recommendation, than that may hold a lot of weight with potential pledges.

42. Do fun community service events.  Community service is very important to us, and we figure this is the best type of rush events for us to have as it will lead to use finding like-minding individuals.

43. Effective use of your chapter website.  The website should collect the contact info for guys wanting to rush.  It is a simple form that should give you good leads.  Be sure there are a lot of good pictures on the site that will make the reader want to share their information and get recruited.

44. Build your names list.  You can’t effective recruit unless you know who you are trying to get to join.

45. Have awesome shirts.  This is an easy way to get your name out there.

46. Practice how to sell the fraternity.  The guys you are recruiting know nothing about you or Greek Life.  You have to do a good job of explaining it to get them to actually join.

47. Don’t waste time with guys that you know won’t join.  If they said no once, they will probably say no again.  Cut to the chase with these guys and ask them if they are in or not.  If they aren’t, don’t spend time or money to recruit them.

48. Pick quality guys.  The second you start choosing quantity over quality your chapter will begin to suffer.  Recruit only the highest caliber guys.  This is how you build a chapter the right way.

49. Make sure rush doesn’t land on one guy’s shoulders.  The rush chair isn’t the only guy responsible for rush – it is everyone’s responsibility.

50. Check out these articles:

Fraternity Recruitment: 5 Ways Your Fraternity Can KILL IT

31 Days to Better Fraternity Recruitment

51. Sign up for my email list and get a free copy of the first chapter of my book The Fraternity Leader titled Fraternity Recruitment Made Easy.  This is great example of how you can design a plan to maximize the number of high quality guys you get during rush.

Thanks to all who contributed ideas.  Please consider adding to the list in the comments below.

Pat






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2 thoughts on “51 Fraternity Rush Ideas that are Working Right Now

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