by Matt Mattson
Great news everybody. Your Fall 2014 Recruitment T-Shirt design is already done for you!
Pick a nice bright color, then print on the front: “Research Says You Should Join Our Group.”
On the back, put this inspiring quote: “The 16% of college graduates who were members of Greek organizations are more likely to report being emotionally supported and having experiential and deep learning activities while in college, all of which likely have contributed to their higher work engagement and well-being. In fact, fraternity and sorority members’ engagement advantage indicates that they are more likely to be intellectually and emotionally connected to their organizations and enthusiastic about their work. Overall, 43% of fraternity and sorority members who are employed full time for an employer are engaged in the workplace, compared with 38% of all other college graduates. Importantly, these differences are statistically significant after controlling for key demographic variables, including gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.”
Boom! You win recruitment!
Well not quite.
The truth is that it’s FANTASTIC news that the wildly credible folks over at Gallup partnered with some folks at Purdue to dig deep into some of their recent research. They unearthed what you and I already knew. Greeks are just more likely to be better prepared for a happy, successful, fulfilling life than their non-Greek counterparts. Fraternity and sorority is a powerful force for good in so many people’s lives.
Here’s the thing though. Don’t plan on skating through fall recruitment with a pocketful of hot stats to convince your classmates into joining you in a sacred lifelong bond. In fact, tossing out your cool new research-based facts will likely only annoy prospects (unless done correctly). The good news is that we now have something other than “18 U.S. Presidents since 1877 were Greek” to brag about. The bad news is that our new stats from Gallup are a little less easy to understand.
The T-shirt idea above is an excellent example of how NOT to use this research (or any research, really). Shouting, printing, posting, or blabbing positive supporting statistics is a good way to lose prospects. Understanding the data, however, and using it to shape the stories you tell and the relationships you build, might work.
The new research from Gallup essentially tells us that Greeks, after graduation…
That’s some cool stuff. Now, let’s make it more than data. Let’s make it personal. Let’s make it meaningful. Have you had conversations with any alumni about this stuff? (you should) Do you have a membership education program that helps develop this stuff? (you should) Do you know how to ask questions about a prospect’s definition of lifelong success, happiness, and fulfillment? (you probably should) Can you share a story, right now if asked, about how fraternity/sorority is helping to truly prepare you for real life? (not a list of events/tasks the organization offers, a real story).
Let me pause and offer a personal thought. My name is Matt Mattson. When I came to college I had no idea about fraternities or sororities. My RA looked after me and brought me to meet some guys in this group called Alpha Sigma Phi. Throughout my fraternal experience I led meetings, built agendas, ran for office, planned massive charitable ventures, tried a bunch of ideas that failed. I also went to countless university events, had late-night talks about religion, purpose, values, integrity, and what it means to truly be a man. I met a bunch of successful business people, educators, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and artists at conferences that I got to travel across the country to experience. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Now, I’m an incredibly happy father and entrepreneur, with an exorbitant amount of pride in my institution (GVSU). I challenge myself everyday to live up to the oath I took as an undergraduate. I wasn’t hazed. I wasn’t a drunk. I volunteer. I contribute to society. I am a proud fraternity man.
This research is about me. It’s about all the people on our staff. It’s about so many fellow fraternity/sorority alumni I know.
This research can be about you, and I hope it can be about a lot MORE students than it’s ever been about. Let’s use this research to think of new ways to build relationships, share the benefits of being Greek, and to surprise people with what we already know. Fraternity/sorority, when done right, is a powerful force for good in our own lives and in the world.
by Josh Orendi
This week back in 1999 I graduated from Bethany College, got behind the wheel of my Plymouth Laser, and drove from West Virginia to Indianapolis, Indiana to begin my professional career as a fraternity consultant. That was 15 years ago this weekend (cue the emotional music).
Every morning when I wake up until the moment I fall asleep, I’m thinking about growing Greek Life. Some people would call that crazy. My friends would call that awesome. My mother would call that pathetic. LOL!
This is my personal and professional passion. My life’s work.
I’m reflecting as my fingers type.. . a lot of memories are flooding back. Nearly all of my most meaningful relationships and learning experiences are rooted in Greek Life. Fraternity has literally shaped me into the man I am today.
A decade and a half later, I’m struck by how beautifully simple and simultaneously complex recruitment can be. Albert Einstein said, “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
What I have grown to understand is that there is a lot of “noise” around recruitment. Peel back the noise and there are prevailing Truths that are — and always has been — the secret to recruitment…
“people join people.”
“you can’t recruit who you don’t know”
“When friendships increase, membership increases.”
HOWEVER, the friendships I’ve cherished for these 15 years aren’t just about growing a base of members (or business partnerships) … for me they’re about building a meaningful life that is full of the people I care most about. I think that’s probably true for you, too. Recruitment done right is about filling our lives with great people who we want to grow old with; the people we want to make our little dent in the universe with. A Brotherhood. A Sisterhood.
Thanks to all my family, phamily, friends, and phriends who have supported me on this incredible journey. Those relationships mean the world to me. I’m as passionate today about fraternity as I was that first weekend I got lost in the Circle City. In many ways, I feel like my journey is just getting started. I’m so glad I have great people like you to join me on the ride.