Lofty Recruitment Ideas?

by Matt Mattson

We are constantly seeking the best recruitment ideas from campuses across North America. If you have good ideas that fall in line with Phired Up’s Dynamic Recruitment philosophy, you can submit them here so that we can share them with the world.

Some of the best ideas we come across have to do with OFFERING A VALUABLE SERVICE TO OTHERS in order to open the door to a possible relationship.  Do something nice for someone, and watch how you suddenly have access to and influence over them (it only works if you’re genuinely kind first).  We’ve written about this simple concept a lot lately here and here.

Here’s a creative idea for fraternities (see here for more) from Josh Orendi…

We often say that recruitment is about making friends … meeting new people … building our names list … offering a sincere service … something that is truly valued by campus and our target audience.  Here’s a lofty idea:

The freshmen dorms of many campuses are full of loft beds.  They were constructed at the beginning of the year and now need to be taken down.  Some universities contract this service with an outside vendor, others allow the students to find their own solution.  Either way, you’ve got a fantastic opportunity to provide value, offer a real service, make lots of new friends, and probably pocket a little money in the process. 

How many potential new members could you meet during the final days of school?

What if you volunteered to do this for the women’s dorm?  How many high quality gentlemen could each woman recommend?

What if you had freshmen men sign up to help you do this for the freshmen women … being a gentleman and gathering leads, I like that.

What if you offered similar help in the first week of the fall for the incoming freshmen?

Brave Enough to Start The Spark

Special Guest Post By Rula Andriessen, Extension Consultant, Alpha Gamma Delta

[Phired Up worked with Alpha Gamma Delta on a highly successful extension project at Arizona State University this semester.  We asked Rula to share her thoughts on the experience.  She chose to inspire others to "Be Brave Enough to Start the Spark."  Thank you Rula!]

stsSomewhere, maybe acknowledged, and maybe not, there is a question in the hearts of fraternity/sorority undergraduates.  It could be a question of personal value – their worth to their organization.  It could be a question of their organization’s value and worth on campus.  Maybe it’s uncertainty about a new member program.  Maybe it’s doubt about proclamations of genuine friendship and the possibility for innovative thought. 

Maybe their questions will go unspoken and unanswered.  What would inspire them to reevaluate themselves and their organizations?  What would start the spark?

I began this semester fresh off the road from a tiny private college, where I talked and read “I Heart Recruitment” constantly.  I told the women I worked with to question their surroundings, and I believed in the power of a great question.  I used the programs in the great pink book to make the powerful point that people join people, and that women should make a friend to gain a member.

I moved to the Valley of the Sun, Arizona State University, where an amazing friend wrenched the pink book out of my grasp with one hand, and with another swift movement, pushed me toward a group of strangers.  “Go.  Make friends,” was my instruction.

My initial experiences were, in a word, awful.  I felt uncomfortable and horribly incompetent.  How could I, a professional relationship builder, be socially unintelligent?  I attended school out of state and made all new friends…I traveled abroad by myself…I lived out of my suitcase in a different stranger’s house every week for a year!  Perhaps most uncomfortable was the idea that I had been running around the country shouting “Phired Up Recruitment” from the rooftops,  only to find that my own capacity for it seemed pitiful.

What could I do to make this better?  I could only continue talking and inquiring and smiling – I could only continue stepping out of my apartment every day with the words of a great consultant “phiring” around in my head – “How many lives will you affect today?” 

The key word in this question is “you”.   I began to regain my self confidence.  I have something to offer.  The Greek community needs the change I offer with my organization.  Our organization needs the change we can make as a group at this university.  What I’m offering will be a great opportunity for amazing women on this campus.   What I’m offering may change their lives forever and will definitely bring them to friends they might never have met.

Maybe someone’s unspoken question will be answered.  Maybe this Greek community will get a real idea of their unity.  Maybe the extent of their true supportive fraternal spirit will be tested and revealed by this colonization.  Our group may redefine the meaning of positive traditions and innovative changes.  Maybe our group will help redefine fraternity and sorority organizations at the New American University, ASU.

Social interactions occur because people inherently need each other.  Maybe we can’t know how wide open our world can be, or how beautifully needy we really are, until we’re brave enough to stand up, step out, speak up, and bring someone into our lives.

Real bravery can be as simple a pleasant one-liner:  “Could I ask you a question?”  And can lead something more amazing than you can imagine.

So, are you brave enough to start the spark?

Delta Xi Colony at Arizona State University used Values-Based Membership Recruitment to gather a group of thoughtful, interesting, innovative women as colony members of Alpha Gamma Delta.  Intelligent question-asking and genuine human interest became the basis of the Leadership Consultant-led recruitment.  The group looks forward to a May 1 installation and a dynamic future at the New American University, ASU.

Wear Your Social Excellence Pants

by Matt Geik

Recently, as I jettisoned from point A on the map to point B, I took some time to do some reading that probably falls more under the title of leisure than anything else.  As I flipped through the first couple pages of one of my favorite magazines I came across a two-page advertisement for Dockers and their “Wear The Pants” campaign.  I’ll be honest with you and say since the first job I had out of college, where I was required to wear khakis everyday, I’ve taken a hard line and prohibited khakis from entering my wardrobe.  Don’t hit the send button on that rules of fashion e-mail just yet!  I know they have their place in a well groomed man’s closet; I just haven’t gotten over the trauma of that brown cotton twill experience yet.

With that said, I naturally would have flipped to the next page but the ad caught my eye with its typewriter font wording that made up the torso of a man on top of a pair of Docker’s Khaki’s.  In case you haven’t seen it…

Here’s what the those well-tailored words say:

“Once upon a time, men wore the pants and wore them well.  Women rarely had to open doors and little old ladies never crossed the street alone.  Men took charge because that’s what they did.  But somewhere along the way, the world decided it no longer needed men.  Disco by disco, latte by foamy non-fat latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny.  But today, ther are questions our genderless society has no answers for.  The world sits idly by as cities crumble, children misbehave and those little old ladies remain on one side of the street.  For the first time since bad guys, we need heroes.  We need grown-ups.  We need men to put down the plastic fork, step away from the sald bar and untie the world from the tracks of complacency.  It’s time to get your hands dirty.  It’s time to answer the call of manhood.  It’s time to WEAR THE PANTS.”

Now, before anybody starts talking about gender rolls and asks Destiny’s Child to get back together to perform Independent Women, lets talk about why this is the perfect example of why social excellence is such an important and hot topic with everyone that we work with.

You see the ad plays on the old adage about who wears the pants in a relationship and the ideas of what it means to be a man in days long gone.  However, the underlying spirit of those days (sans the overmasculinocentricity)  might not be as long gone as people might think.  Campus after campus, interview after interview I continue to hear students, both men and women alike, talk to me about what is essentially the lack of social excellence on their campus and in their communities.  It comes in the form of the women who are too caddy with their group of three friends, and their Venti Iced Frappuccino’s and matching Coach purses who wouldn’t notice if another person existed with in the same time zone that they’re in.  It’s the guy who is walking across campus right now in sweat pants, socks and sandals, texting while listening to his iPod with his hoody up.  Or the woman talking on her cell phone to her friend she just walked away from as she attempts to simultaneously place her order in the food court.  Its the guy who speeds up to walk in the door and pretends not to see the other person walking out of it with their hands full only to leave them struggling to manage their goods and the door in frustration.  It is everywhere and I’m sure you can share some more great examples with me.

For those of you nodding your head right now don’t get ahead of the story, that ruins the fun.  For those of you wondering why any of this matters hang in there and read on.

You see when I read that Docker’s ad, I thought of college campuses… students.  I thought of Greeks.  And in my head that ad should read like this:

“Once upon a time Greeks were our campus leaders.  And they led others with class.  Students rarely needed to look far for opportunities to be exceptional and little old ladies still never crossed the street alone.  Greeks set the example because that’s what they did.  But somewhere along the way, our campuses decided it no longer needed men and women of values.  Keg by keg, toga by beer stained toga, Greeks were stripped of their integrity and character and left stranded in the quad somewhere between drunk and social deviant.  But today, there are questions for our campuses that no one has answers for.  Our campuses sit idly by as organizations crumble and students misbehave and those little old ladies remain on one side of the street.  For the first time since Dr. Evil, we need heroes.  We need Greeks.  We need men and women to put down the red Solo cup, step away from the iPod and untie our campuses from the tracks of mediocrity.  It’s time to get your hands dirty.  It’s time to answer the call of being Greek.  It’s time to BE SOCIALLY EXCELLENT.”

So you see, those times aren’t that long gone and certainly not forgotten.  Both women and men alike across this country are voicing their disdain for the lack of social excellence that surrounds them.  They are searching for it, asking where did it go? They are looking for you to once again set the example.  To lead with class.  And therein lies an opportunity, wherever you are, to be the one that steps up and helps that old lady cross the street.  As a Greek man or woman, you have the ad space and captive audience to make others take note of what it means to be socially excellent and why that matters.  The only question that remains is, “What will you do with your opportunity?”

….and can I get Docker’s to send me some of those K-1 Khaki’s?  Turns out there’s a place for them right next to my shelf of Social Excellence.

“We serve the community, not ourselves.”

by Matt Mattson

I’ve had this conversation lately with a number of Greek leaders who are planning their fall recruitment strategies.  I thought it might be worth sharing with others.

Twice in the last week, the idea of an All-Greek Barbecue has come up as a means of a) “Showing a strong Greek presence,” b) “Getting our name out there,” and c) “Getting some potentials to hang out with all of the chapters.”  In itself, this isn’t a terrible idea.  I just have a better one, and it comes with a whole new philosophy your organization can adopt this fall for recruitment.

[Side note: Read this blog post from our good friend John Shertzer about the overall "Myth of the All-Greek Barbecue".]

What if, instead of the All-Greek Barbecue during the first week of school, you hosted a Freshman Field Day.  Imagine doing THE EXACT SAME STUFF you were going to do at the All-Greek Barbecue, but this time it isn’t for you, it is for the freshmen students… you just happen to be hosting it.

Here’s my challenge to you as you think about your recruitment strategy for this fall.  Adopt this slogan with regard to all recruitment plans: “We serve the community, not ourselves.”

I’ve written about this before here, but just thought the subtle difference between an All-Greek Barbecue and a Freshman Field Day really illustrated my point.

Think just about the names of these two events.  Which one would likely attract more non-Greek students so you could recruit them?

Think also about the purpose of the events… the All-Greek Barbecue is for your organization. It is selfish.  It is like yelling, “SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY, COME ON DOWN TO THE BIG BROTHERHOOD/SISTERHOOD SALE!.”  The only people likely to show up at that are either desperate for friends or expecting free drinks.  While the Freshman Field Day is purely social, fun, and for freshmen.  It is actually meant to make their day, their week, their life a little better.

Look at every event you have planned for next semester, and ask yourself if it obeys this mantra: “We serve the community, not ourselves.” The more you serve your community, the more you serve others… the more people will wan to serve with you.