by Matt Mattson

Occassionally we get the chance to brag about our home chapters… We try not to do it too much, but my guys are making me proud right now.  I’ve talked about them before here and here – the Delta Phi Chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi at Grand Valley State University.  This time I’d like to share some of their success and a simple concept they employed (2 on 1′s) to get a lot of their success this fall… There are a couple of other pretty cool lessons in here too.

Coming into the fall 2008 semester, the chapter had 18 guys and were in a pretty bad situation.  They had a high need for recruitment success.  We did a little work with them, and they nailed it.  Fall 2008 they recruited 19 guys (more than doubling in size).  Spring 2009 they recruited another 11 guys to take them to 48 total.  They continued their success this fall (2009) by taking the largest new member class in the chapter’s history – 21.  But it gets even better.  For the first time ever, the chapter is taking a second fall pledge class!  These guys are giving out bids right now and expect another 7 men to become new members of the fraternity. 


Phired Up teaches the concept of the “+1 Ratio.”  This is the idea that instead of overwhelming potential members with piles of brothers/sisters all at once, in order to help your prospects feel comfortable, we should engage them in small groups… ideally never more than +1 members when compared the amount of potential members.  So if there is 1 prospect, no more than 2 members.  Two prospects… no more than three members so that the prospects feel comfortable and not overwhelmed.

Well this chapter took this concept and made it a centerpiece of their fall recrutiment.  Early this fall they made the core of their relationship building strategy 2-on-1′s.  They built a solid Names List, and then engaged the people on that Names List not only in recruitment events, barbecues, and traditional rush events, but mostly in simple 2-on-1 lunches.  2 brothers. 1 potential member.  Doing normal things together (lunch, coffee, dinner, gym, etc.).  They built most of their relationships through this simple process of small, 2-on-1 activities.  It was cheap, easy to plan, easy to manage, and easy to build into their already busy lives.

One of the other reasons this was so important to the chapter was because “easy to plan, easy to manage” were vital for this group.  For a number of complicated reasons, the chapter came into the fall without a recruitment chairman!  A lot of chapters might have scrambled to fill the position with anyone.  This chapter decided that it would be better to “gather their horses and get to work.”  And they did.  They built a recruitment team, and executed the best recruitment period in the history of the chapter (and the best recruitment results of all chapters on campus) without a clear recruitment leader.  They did it as a team.  They gathered together and focused on recruitment behaviors, not on recruitment plans.  They just did the work that was necessary.

Three huge lessons can be drawn from this chapter’s continually evolving story of success…

1. Why aren’t you taking a second class of new members this semester?  Instead of hoping you’ll get those members next semester during your Spring recruitment, what if you built your class right NOW?  Will it complicate things and make it difficult to figure out your new member process, etc.?  Probably, but is it worth it?  It was for these guys.

2. 2-on-1′s is a simple idea that works.  Maybe we don’t have to overcomplicate things.  Maybe we could just focus on doing this one simple thing really well.  A lot of 2-on-1 meetings.  Maybe that would be smart, efficient, effective, simple, and easy for your members.

3. Gather your horses and get to work.  High performing recruitment chapters understand that it shouldn’t be about the skill and motivation of one or two members.  Even if challenges happen like your recruitment chair doesn’t perform or doesn’t exist… you can still gather your recruitment horses, and get to work.

Keep making me proud brothers.  And I hope this story inspires other chapters out there…