The #1 secret to fraternity recruitment is desire. The brothers have to WANT TO recruit. Without that edge, your fraternity recruitment is bound to fail.
We have seen this play out so many times in our chapters. How often has a rock star brother planned what should be an awesome event only for it to fall flat because of lack of motivation from the brotherhood?
Many fraternity chaptersfall into a bad habit of having one brother doing all the work, and then getting disappointed when the rest of the chapter doesn’t follow through. To get to an elite level, we have to do better.
So how do you get your brothers motivated? How do you instill the desire to recruit?
You have to understand how to drive behavior.
At this point, many people will refer to the carrot and stick analogy. We all know it is much more efficient to use the carrot than the stick. Nothing earth-shattering here.
Really though, it goes so much deeper than that.
The first step of leadership is to understand what motivates your followers. This is critical knowledge that every leader must know. This isn’t only using a carrot; it is using the right carrot.
For example, let’s say you wanted to motivate the brothers to participate in a philanthropy. As a reward for their participation, you got tickets to the WNBA. Do you think this will motivate the brothers to participate in the philanthropy if your brothers have no interest in the WNBA? Probably not…
Conversely, let’s give an extreme example and say you told the brothers if they participated in the philanthropy, they would get a semester of free dues. Pretty sure that would motivate them, right?
Further, you must realize that everyone is different. What will motivate some people may not motivate others. Some of your brothers will need to be praised. Some will need to be acknowledged in public. Recognize this, and make it a point to ensure the behavioral needs of your brothers are met.
The second step of leadership it to make motivation easy. This is especially true with fraternity recruitment.
This starts off by making small goals. For example, would you walk across the room to pick up a dollar bill? I would hope so. Conversely, would you walk across town for $100? Probably not, but maybe.
The reason is picking up a dollar across the room is a small task. It takes minimal effort to get the reward. The reward may be small, but that is ok because it took practically no effort to get it.
That is different than walking across town for $100. Sure, the reward is much larger, but so is the personal sacrifice.
I wonder if you could get the person across town by putting hundred, one-dollar bills in a line; each twenty feet apart? I think your chances of success would be much greater.
Fraternity recruitment is no different. Break the large task of putting together a new member class into small chunks. Recognize and reward the small chunks. Do that enough, and you will get across town.
For most chapters, there is a simple recipe for recruitment success. First you need to meet the potential new member. Then you need to get him to the house. Then you need to have a brother follow up with him to talk him into joining. Boiled down in its simplest terms, that is fraternity recruitment.
The recruitment chair needs to spoon feed this to the brothers by telling them exactly what do to at each step of the process.
If the fraternity has identified two guys in room 302 in Owen Dorm that should be targeted, the recruitment chair needs to assign Brother 1 and Brother 2 to meet these guys and invite them to an event at the house. This way the brothers know exactly what to do and what is expected out of them.
To make it easier still, center recruitment around things the brothers want to do. This will motivate them to participate.
An example let’s say your brothers like girls. That may be a stretch with your chapter, but go with it. Why don’t you set up a recruitment event with a sorority?
A mixer is a fantastic idea for recruitment because the brothers will be motivated to attend. They also will be putting their best foot forward as an attempt to impress the girls. By putting their best foot forward though, they will be impressing the guys they are recruiting as well even though that part isn’t intentional.
Further, this will also motivate the recruits to attend the event. The idea of a sorority mixer is as foreign to a freshman guys as going to the moon. They obviously know what a mixer is from movies and television, and I’m sure they will be eager to participate if given the chance to attend.
Further, what a great way to show off the chapter. At the end of the day the brothers will be able to tell the recruit “look at this event. How awesome is this? Don’t you want to be a part of it?” That is a pretty effective way to recruit.
The third step is to make sure you have something worthwhile to sell.
Guys will never join your fraternity if your chapter sucks. If your brothers are apathetic, dues are high, your reputation is poor, and your social scene looks bleak – you will get no one to join your chapter.
It is imperative that you ensure your fraternity is as strong as possible. Your chapter needs to strive for excellence – to be the best of the best.
Guys will be lining up to join your organization if this is the case because good news travels fast. The brotherhood will be more fired up during rush because your guys will be eager to boast about how great they are. Recruitment will increase, and the cycle will repeat.
However, the real benefit here is you will be creating a great fraternity.
So how do you get there?
It is exactly the same process I describe above. Rinse and repeat the practice of figuring out what motivates the brothers and breaking the objective into small tasks. Do this enough times, and your chapter will become a huge success.
And I’ll let you in on a little secret. This doesn’t just work for leading fraternity men; this works leading anyone.
Further though, if you are serious about leading you need to continually be learning how to be a leader. By reading this article you are obviously dedicated to improving your fraternity, and that is a great start.
Learn as much as you can – and then use that knowledge to make your fraternity the best on campus. Your recruitment will improve dramatically as a result.
To learn more, check out our most in-depth article on fraternity recruitment: The Complete Guide to Fraternity Recruitment.