by Matt Mattson
On several occasions lately I’ve had the opportunity to talk with lots of non-Greek students on college campuses. I’ve learned one clear thing… MORE ARE INTERESTED IN BEING GREEK THAN YOU THINK.
We’ve always known this was true because of our math equation about your chapter’s recruitment potential (see below, or in Good Guys & I Heart Recruitment), but this fact that more students are open to the idea of Greek Life than we often think has been confirmed a lot lately through my conversations and interactions with students. I don’t know if it is a revived interest in membership organizations by this year’s freshman class, or if they were really always there and we just never asked them. But I KNOW the interest is real.
Go try it right now. I dare you to talk to 100 people on your campus this week and ask them if they’d be interested in Greek Life (if it was done how Greek Life is SUPPOSED to be done). [try the surveys found here or here... and add names to your Names List as a side benefit!] I think you’ll be positively surprised by the amount of interest. I have been.]
P.S. Have you done the math equation lately to determine your chapter’s recruitment potential? Here’s how.
There’s your chapter’s recruitment potential. That’s how many students on your campus would be genuinely interested in your organization if you recruited them in the right way.
by Matt Mattson
Found this picture online and thought it was funny. Props to whoever created that little play on words.
It made me think of some questions regarding “formal recruitment” and “rush”. I don’t know the right answers to these questions. I simply offer them for consideration.
by Matt Mattson
How do you know if your chapter is doing “year-round recruitment”?
Measure the behaviors of your members.
Focus on measuring daily, weekly, and monthly behaviors that are within your control?
Track these measurables in the patterns of behavior of your chapter’s horses to find out if you are doing year-round recruitment.
by Matt Mattson
Next time you find yourself printing out fliers, handouts, handbills, postcards or the like, stop to consider if you might be able to collect information WHILE you distribute information.
Many organizations stand in public or walk through highly populated areas handing out fliers, little quarter-sheets of paper, or nicely printed postcards to tell everyone who cares to read these slivers of deceased trees about their event, their organization, or their cause. Instead of just handing out information to strangers (outbound information) who will likely just ignore your message, turn your little fliers into “nomination forms,” “questionnaires,” “surveys,” or “registration sheets” (inbound information).
For instance, we recently provided some consultation on marketing materials for a national fraternity’s expansion project. They had designed some amazing looking fliers, postcards, and posters that were meant to “get the word out” about the new fraternity on campus. That is smart to do for a lot of reasons, but I wondered if we couldn’t kick it up a notch and accomplish 2 tasks in one effort. Here’s some advice we offered to the organization [all identifiers and taglines of the organization have been changed for proprietary reasons]…
“What if we took your organization’s “Men of Excellence” tag line and built a campaign off of that that said something like, “SEEKING 50 MOST EXCELLENT MEN ON CAMPUS” or “Are you in the TOP 50 Men of Excellence?” or “Men of Excellence Award – seeking the top 50 men on campus that exemplify what it means to be Men of Excellence” and then later in the semester, buy a full page ad in the campus newspaper at the end of the year and put 50 names and head shots in it of the people we’ve identified as being “Men of Excellence” – this can actually help drive a names list, is a good way to get referrals, etc. The posters can explain how to nominate people. The postcards can be nomination cards. The fliers can explain the nomination process. The marketing materials could be built around that campaign and it becomes a “hook” for the recruiters to talk to people on campus about (SIMILAR TO A RECRUITMENT SCHOLARSHIP).”
This idea is admittedly inspired by/stolen from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at the University of Wyoming who thought of a similar “True Gentlemen” initiative. Smart ideas are always the best ones to borrow.
While you get your organization’s “name out there,” you also get names on your names list. This is the classic difference between “Mass Marketing” and “Marketing For Names”.
Outbound marketing (essentially, SHOUTING ABOUT HOW AWESOME YOU ARE) is easy. Inbound marketing takes a little creativity, but it is far more valuable to “get names on your list,” than it is to “get your name out there.”
by Matt Mattson
[Shoe in this picture is a bad photo-shop version of what you could do. You can't buy them like this]
Both of these companies give donations to people in need for every purchase (“1 for 1″).
I don’t know. Rush T-shirts with cutesy, funny, hilarious, creative slogans, pictures and themes have been done. Why not try something new? What if you were the chapter who all wore the customized TOMS? What if you were the chapter that is responsible for 100 people in Peru having new clothes (and you’re also the ones with the mountains on your shirts).
Seriously. Ask yourself… Would that positively or negatively impact your chapter’s…
Maybe your letters don’t even have to be on your clothes for those clothes to be helpful with recruitment?
Yep, it’ll be more expensive. Better isn’t usually cheaper.
by Matt Mattson
One of my heroes, Maverick from Top Gun, once noted to his friend, wingman, and fellow naval aviator, Goose, “This is what I call a target-rich environment.”
Mav and Goose were on to something. If you want to have more success recruiting, put yourself in more target-rich environments.
O.K., I was at Colorado State University a couple weeks back and I heard a fraternity guy talking about the reason they should go over to the dorms to eat dinner (instead of at the fraternity house). He said, “It’s a target-rich environment.” Smart dude. Just like Mav and Goose.
Top Gun fans might be thinking… “You know, you’re right… many potential members walk past our house or recruitment party and when they think about going in, their smarter friends are probably like, ‘Negative Ghost Rider. The pattern is full.’” Non-Top Gun fans are wondering what the h*!! this blog post is even about. Fair enough. Let me draw it out a little further.
If you want to have success recruiting, spend time (as individuals and as an organization) where your potential members are. Fraternities and sororities — if you want to recruit first-year students, the group that spends the most time near the dorms will win. Simple.
If you want to recruit scholars, spend time at or around the library.
If you want to recruit athletes, do stuff over by the rec center or on the IM fields.
If you want to recruit anyone, go where they are comfortable instead of spending time where you are comfortable.
Just for fun, here’s a little dose of Highway to the Danger Zone.
by Matt Mattson
Generosity is one of the four pillars of Social Excellence. Generosity is about making people’s day, week, or life a little bit better. Put simply, it is about being nice (that link is very much related to this post, read it too!).
Generosity is not about exchange or transaction. It about giving. It is about pure intentions.
Yelling “FREE HOT DOGS!” just to get people to talk to you so that you can con them into coming to your organization’s recruitment activity… not generous.
Having candy, pizza, or free give-aways with your logo on it at your table is not generous, it’s either smarmy or just plain cheap.
How can you be generous, not selfish? How can you give more gifts? How can you share your organization’s “art” with the world? How can you make people’s days, weeks, lives a little bit better? Are you brave enough to do that without immediate reciprocal reward?
Seth Godin’s blog post from today is below. I think you’ll see the connection to organizational recruitment.
Generous gifts vs. free samples
Free isn’t always generous. Free can be a legitimate marketing strategy, an ultimately selfish way to increase sales. Once you spread your ideas (and free is the best way to do that), there are all sorts of ways to profit. But don’t be confused. Free samples and free ideas and free bonuses are not necessarily generous acts.
A generous gift comes with no transaction foreseen or anticipated. A gift is a gift, not the beginning of a transaction. When you see a Picasso painting at the Met, Picasso doesn’t get anything (he’s dead). Even his heirs don’t get anything. His art is a gift to anyone who sees it.
Giving gifts is a fairly alien endeavor. In most families, even the holidays are more about present exchange than the selfless act of actually giving a gift.
The cool part, the punchline, is that giving a gift for no reason and with no transaction contemplated is actually incredibly powerful. It changes your approach to the market, it changes your relationship with the recipient and yes, it changes you.