This article is Day 5 of the series: 31 Days to Better Fraternity Recruitment.
It’s Recruitment Season! That’s a phrase that is equal parts terrifying and exciting. I know that when I look back at my time as an undergrad, our recruitment efforts were some of the more polarizing events for me. I was neither the strongest recruiter nor the most outgoing of all of my brothers. However, there is so much that goes into fraternity recruitment itself that all of our brothers had a role to play.
As part of our series on recruitment, I wanted to run down my top pieces of recruitment advice. Keep in mind, not all ideas work in all situations. I attended a very small school and was a part of a chapter of approximately 40 men. Still, most of these ideas can be tailored to your chapter and your needs. Here we go:
1) Control what you can control
If you spend your efforts on what your chapter can actually control, you spend your time and energy efficiently. It’s a simple concept, but incredibly difficult to execute. You cannot control what other chapters do (legal or otherwise). You cannot control IFC or university rules. You cannot control your campus’s established culture. Though all of these and many more are frustrating, theirs is little you can do about it for recruitment right now. Don’t waste your planning efforts and budget attacking the things you cannot control. Instead, focus on what you and your membership can actually do, like the points that follow.
2) Train your membership on how to recruit
Everything that follows after this point is worthless if your do not take the time to work with your membership on how to recruit new members. It’s not as easy as just throwing your doors open and asking people to come in. Not every brother is a great recruiter or a great salesman. Take the time to demonstrate and educate recruiting techniques and the payoffs can be huge.
3) Remember that people join people
To recruit new members you have to sell your current members. It doesn’t matter how many awards your chapter has if the potential new members can’t stand your active membership. Like in point number two, some training is required. Your chapter’s achievements are a nice selling point, but your members need to hook recruits by selling themselves personally.
4) Marketing, Marketing, Marketing, and… Marketing
Simply put, you need to get out there in a positive way all of the time, but especially during recruitment season. You don’t need to make a TV commercial to get your name and brand out there. Get out on campus in your chapter’s gear. Use flyers and business cards in high traffic locations. Have a visible presence in your quad, rec center, intramural fields, etc. You need to be SEEN. Also, make sure that you differentiate yourself from the competition. You don’t want to blend in as one option among many others. You want to be THE chapter to join.
5) Know your targets
You will not get every single recruit on campus. You might not even get all of your targets. However, you need to identify your best targets and hone in on them. Think about it like football recruiting. Teams identify players they want and can actually sign. Build your list of targets realistically and focus on them. Additionally, you need to ensure that your targets meet ALL of your minimum standards. They are hopefully going to be active brothers one day.
6) Put your A Team on the field
As I said earlier, I would not have made the cut here. Who are your chapter’s rock stars? Who are the guys that can talk up a storm and sell the chapter? Unleash those guys and let your other members play a different role.
7) Don’t let your knuckleheads screw it up
Every chapter has a “that guy”, the one that always shows up drunk to events or the one that is constantly acting like a moron in public. They’re the guys that your recruits look at during your events and say, “I can’t believe this guy is in this fraternity”. All it takes is one incident to cripple your recruitment. Short of locking “that guy” in a dungeon, do whatever it takes to avoid any issues that could damage your recruitment.
8) Have fun
My last, and most important, piece of advice. They’re be long nights and arguments. They’ll be times when you wonder how you’re going to make it out alive. Embrace the craziness and have fun with recruitment. Even if you aren’t one of the salesman, have a blast with your role on the team and let loose. Recruitment should be fun. If you have fun, it will definitely show to all of the recruits out there.
This answer was written by Joe Russo, an alumni brother from Phi Delta Theta and frequent contributor for the thefraternityadvisor.com. If you are interested in writing for thefraternityadvisor.com – let us know (CLICK HERE)!
To learn more, check out our most in-depth article on fraternity recruitment: The Complete Guide to Fraternity Recruitment.