Motivating Our Members to Recruit

motivated for recruitment

This article is Day 24 of the series: 31 Days to Better Fraternity Recruitment.

When working with fraternity and sorority chapters the biggest complaint we hear from officers is the fraternity members are not motivated for recruitment. It can be difficult to recruit the quality and quantity of students your chapter wants when only a handful of members are actively recruiting throughout the year. Most chapters do a great job engaging their members during a formal rush or recruitment period, but when it comes to year-round recruiting, most of you are falling short of your potential. Where do you start? Trying to get your members to work together is as easy as herding cats!

There are several ways to create increased member motivation, and we will share three with you today.

Getting Members Motivated for Recruitment

1. Have defined roles for each member

How can we expect our members to recruit throughout the entire year without clearly defining those expectations? Most chapters define the roles of members with regard to formal recruitment, but when it comes to day-to-day activities there is little direction. Set up reasonable expectations for your members. Ask them to add a certain number of students to your Wish List, require them to spend time with a certain number of students from that Wish List. You get to set those expectations, which will help motivate your members to work.

2. Establish positive and negative incentives

The only way these roles will work is if you enforce them and we recommend doing so by establishing positive and negative incentives for going above and falling below the recruitment expectations. It can be fun getting creative with incentives. Think of what will motivate your members. Some chapters give top recruiters free dues or formal, or maybe first pick in room selections. Some chapters won’t allow members to take a lil’ brother or sister if they don’t meet their recruitment expectations, or they may be required to serve as a sober driver, or are ineligible to play in intramurals or attend the next social event.

Yes, it is important to have both positive and negative incentives. We know that negative incentives are not popular, and that’s precisely why you need them. Positive incentives might motivate your average to good members to work harder for rewards, however your laziest members won’t be moved to work by positive incentives. Lazy members know they’ll never work hard enough to be rewarded, but generally work just hard enough to avoid penalties, and that’s where your negative incentives come in.

Some of you might be thinking, “Rewards? We can barely pay our dues to headquarters!” Yes, we want you to find REAL ways to reward your members. Do the math- if one member of your chapter is responsible for recruiting 3 new members you aren’t just bringing dues for those 3 members for that semester, but for their entire collegiate careers. We recommend also reallocating funds you use on superfluous recruitment events (decorations, large-scale events, t-shirts, etc.) on rewarding your members to recruit.

3. Implement a team-based recruitment structure

It isn’t easy motivating and holding all of your chapter members accountable; that’s a lot of people! Make your chapter more manageable by placing your chapter members onto recruitment teams. Your teams will then be charged to meet with recruits from your recruitment Wish List throughout the course of the semester. We aren’t talking about hosting recruitment events, but rather team members getting together and doing normal, daily activities with friends from the Wish List.  This creates an environment where your chapter members see recruitment as simple and even fun.

Select 20% of your chapter’s membership and ask them to serve as team captains. If possible, do not place executive-level officers in these positions, because they are already likely to be recruiting. By selecting up-and-coming leaders or influential members to serve as team captains you are making it more likely they will recruit, just because they now have a title and position. The remainder of the chapter will be divided among the teams in whatever means you see best.

Minimally your team captains should hold a team meeting once a month to discuss recruitment progress and they should attend your chapter’s executive board meetings at least monthly to report out the progress of their team’s recruitment activities.

The team-based structure will increase the number of chapter members actively recruiting by making recruitment more fun and time efficient! It is easier for 5 people to find time in their schedules to meet than it is for 50, which means your members feel better about the meetings when they fit into their own schedules. It is also much more difficult for a member to not fulfill his or her recruitment responsibilities and go unnoticed in a group of 5 rather than a chapter of 50.

Do all these steps mean 100% of your chapter’s membership will suddenly turn into year-round recruiters? Of course not! But, we do guarantee that this will significantly increase the number of engaged chapter members. Over time your chapter culture will shift and members will see year-round recruitment involvement as simply a part of membership.

Want to learn more about how to motivate your members? We have more ideas on this topic and many more in our RBC: Fall Webinar Series. Please visit for information about purchasing these affordable and exceptionally helpful educational resources for your community.

Recruitment Boot Camp educates chapters to implement a year-round, networking based, recruitment system through a variety of educational means including webinars, campus programs, keynote presentations, and chapter coaching. For more information please visit or follow us at @recruitordie.

About the Authors

Angie Carr Robinett (@angiecarr1) is the director of Student Life at Rockhurst University. She is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and has worked as a Fraternity/Sorority advisor for more than a decade.

Laurel Peffer (@lpeff) is a full-time Recruitment Specialist for CAMPUSPEAK, Inc. She is a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and has worked as Fraternity/Sorority campus advisor at Bowling Green State University and Lafayette College.

To learn more, check out our most in-depth article on fraternity recruitment: The Complete Guide to Fraternity Recruitment.

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