by KJ McNamara
Who is the most important person in a sorority’s recruitment?
I remember thinking as a Potential New Member that my Recruitment Counselor was the most important person in all of recruitment. I remember thinking as a first time recruiter for my own sorority that our VP-Membership was the most important person in our sorority recruitment. I also remember thinking as President of my chapter that the Panhellenic VP of Recruitment was the most important person in our campus’ recruitment.
Now, I know who it is. It is the Potential New Member. It is the individual who is sitting knee to knee on the chapter room floor with our members having an intense conversation. It is the woman who is carefully considering each sorority while figuring out who she is – so she can choose the right sorority for her.
But as a PNM, I did a lot of wrong things to help me make a decision: I researched (stalked) each of the 14 chapters on my campus all summer. I built a list of chapters I liked based solely on color and nickname. I asked my older friends that I knew from high school about the reputations of each chapter and took their opinions as gospel. I was DYING for any information and I would soak up as much of it as I could from whoever would give it to me. I wanted to figure out: HOW DO I DO SORORITY RIGHT? I wanted to join the RIGHT chapter – but I didn’t know what that meant.
The chapter I ended up committing lifelong membership to first caught my attention because of “great parking.” WHAT?!!?! Yes, I swooned for the convenient angled parking right in front of the chapter house. I thought to myself… how great does that look? No parallel parking! Needless to say, I was CLUELESS. I ultimately joined Kappa Delta because of a powerful conversation and a meaningful connection I made, but up until that point my questions were more about room size and bathroom renovations
Every PNM wants information before they go through recruitment. They want to research and look and imagine what their experience would be like in a sorority. They also want to know what to expect during the recruitment process. But what do they find from a simple Google search?
She finds the media’s images that sensationalize our organizations. She finds mean rumors and unfounded reputations. She finds perfectly polished Tumblr pages. She finds videos full of perfectly gorgeous girls skipping through fields of flowers and blowing glitter – constantly smiling. She finds Inter/National websites that are hard to navigate to get a true sense of what their individual chapter experiences are like. She finds local chapter pages that have not been updated in years. She finds a Panhellenic website that tells her what time to show up and what clothing to buy.
From our research, we’ve found that the most significant factor that causes women to QUIT sorority is misaligned expectations – what they expected to get from sorority and what they were SOLD about the experience is not what they have received from their experience. This likely has a lot to do with what they think they are joining according to their own Internet research. When she joins, the experience is different.
What if we gave them real information? What if we helped them to create realistic expectations of sorority membership and of the recruitment process? What if we told them what to talk about and what questions to ask, instead of just what to look like? What if helped them know what they were looking for in a sorority before they started the recruitment process? What if we didn’t have to say “What If?” anymore?
We at Phired Up created a free… YES FREE… video for you to show your PNMs. Please take this link and share it!
There’s a thousand ways to use it. Here are a few recommendations:
What we provide as sororities is amazing. Lets stop being afraid that sorority (or your chapter) isn’t good enough by only showing images of pretty girls having fun. Let’s start showing, sharing, and teaching the truth about what the experience is like, what it takes, and what is expected. Let’s better educate the future leaders of our chapters and invest some time and energy into more honestly, authentically, and adequately preparing our Potential New Members for the sorority experience before recruitment even begins.
Hey Sports Fans!
March Madness is almost over with The Final Four being finalized over the weekend!
Congrats to Villanova, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Syracuse.
Now, Let me ask you a question… Is your bracket busted?
Chances are, there are so many busted brackets on your campus. Wouldn’t it be nice to give those March Madness maniacs a second chance? That is what we’re offering in this week’s Names Driver.
Print out the PDF file linked at the bottom of this post, cut the page into 1/4’s and give people a second chance to nail their bracket (while simultaneously collecting names and growing your names list)! This is a great opportunity to squeeze the last bit of recruitment potential out of this semester. AND this is a great way to begin building relationships for summer/fall recruitment.
REMEMBER: You cannot recruit who you don’t know. So get out there and get to know some more people with the “March Sadness: Bracket Redemption”.
BONUS: If your campus prefers the frozen ice over the hardwood, we’ve also included a “Frozen Four: Men’s Div I Ice Hockey” Bracket.
Semi-Final Games: Saturday, April 2nd.
Final: Monday, April 4th.
Semi-Final Games: Thursday, April 7th
Final: Saturday, April 9th
by Matt Mattson
Our friend Dr. Gentry McCreary posted a blog recently which he shared on social media with the tagline, “That day I declared the death of values-based recruitment.” Needless to say, this grabbed my attention.
Let me say up front that I agree with Gentry. The way we’ve been doing recruitment for a long time is not resulting in the organizations that many of us desire. He’s right that we (educators and fraternal professionals especially) have been talking about values-based recruitment for well over a decade. There’s a bunch of other stuff in the post that I agree with. I’m fine with killing the term “values-based recruitment” too, actually. The only people who say it are the people who are frustrated with the way recruitment is actually being done. We can call our preferred recruitment method whatever we want, as long as we remember that it’s how we DO recruitment that matters. I’m sure Gentry would agree.
The idea of putting values into recruitment is actually a pretty difficult thing to do. Recruitment is hard enough — students are busy, focused elsewhere, and don’t see recruitment as part of doing fraternity/sorority, but instead as the task that must be done so that fraternity/sorority can start. Because of those reasons and more, making the values of a values-centered organization central to the actual execution of recruitment strategies is difficult. Since it’s easier to focus on far more accessible concepts for 17/18-year-olds, our organizations do just that.
Similarly, “365 Recruitment” sounds terribly hard. But that’s another post for another day.
I’m thinking Gentry’s overall point in the blog is that instead of trying to force the “Values-Based Recruitment” education down our members’ throats, perhaps we should be more practical in what we’re trying to get fraternity/sorority members to actually do. I can dig that. (If that’s not what he meant, my apologies… but it’s what I mean.)
So, practically… what do we want?
I think we want our members to attract new members in ways to reflect the things we’re proud of about fraternity/sorority, and that set clear expectations of what it should mean to be in a fraternity/sorority.
How do we do that? Well, that’s what we’ve been working on since 2002. We’re getting closer every year. Turns out it’s kind of a complex and nuanced system with lots of levers. But here are a few recommendations, in practical terms.
I love this line from Gentry, “Stop trying to convince your students to sell their values, and start convincing them to sell the more altruistic forms of brotherhood and sisterhood. Convince them to sell how membership in their organization will provide prospective members with a sense of belonging and connection, with a group of people who will support them and have their back.”
YAAASS GURL! (Did I do that right?)
I love the research Gentry has done on brotherhood/sisterhood. To me it boils down to “how will this make my life better in ways that actually matter to me?” Does the way we do recruitment demonstrate that fraternity/sorority will make a PNM’s life better in ways that actually matter to them in their current life stage? Can we express that to PNMs in a way that inspires them to want to commit to it and share it with others? That’s probably not done by listing or “trashing” our values, but values will always remain at the center of that process.
As social animals, our primary instinct that drives so much of our behavior is the instinct to connect. For safety, security, opportunity, influence, and power. We want to connect to our tribe, our group, our family, our brotherhood/sisterhood. That’s instinctual. We want to connect with people who have shared values or values that will enhance our own current reality. That is brotherhood/sisterhood. Separating values from brotherood/sisterhood isn’t possible, but that’s also not what I think Gentry is suggesting.
I guess what I want to say most is… THANKS GENTRY! I appreciate when people poke and prod some of the outdated or bedraggled philosophies of our industry. I think talking about “values-based recruitment” and actually teaching people to recruit in a way that makes us all proud aren’t mutually exclusive, but deserve to be re-thought. One of our core values at Phired Up is Innovation. We don’t do the same old schtick for decades. We keep pushing constantly to look for new ways to teach that will get better and better results. Your recent blog post will help us do just that. Keep it up.
You added 150 names to your Names List this week? Awesome!
Call them or text them. Invite them to spend time with you and your brothers. Small activities are a good idea. Don’t overthink it. Recruitment is a relationship business, and you can’t build relationships without spending time with prospects… Also, you can’t spend time with prospects if you don’t invite them to spend time with you.
First, try calling… Below you’ll find an example of what an effective and efficient fraternity recruitment call would sound like.
They didn’t answer? No surprise. People don’t answer their phone as often anymore (but it’s worth trying). Anyway, send them a text message. An example of what that might look like is below too.
The goal is simple: FACE TO FACE MEETING. You can’t recruit who you don’t know, and people join people. These examples are built to help you get through the obstacles that exist to face to face interactions. Good luck!