by Vince Fabra
Today is August 31st. This is the last day of the most grueling month for a Phired Up trainer. Each year our team, particularly our sorority recruitment trainers, says “see ya later” to their family, friends and their own beds for 30+ straight days. This August has been truly special. It was equal parts exhausting and rewarding. For every travel day that drained me there was an audience that helped refill my tank. I love my job, and I love connecting with fraternity men.
Personally, the end of August is extra special. Not only does it bring about a slower travel time, but my wife and I also celebrate our wedding anniversary on August 30th. During my presentation, I casually mention my wedding anniversary as I teach the difference between open-ended and close-ended questions. I usually phrase it like this:
“People ask ‘When did you get married?’, I say, ‘August 30th.’ Are you going to remember that date and send me an anniversary card, or are you just going through the motions of a small talk conversation?”
Well, I must’ve underestimated the thoughtfulness of a few fraternity men, because yesterday I received TWO “Happy Anniversary” text messages from recent participants (Shout out to Ethan of Delta Chi at LSU and the random 224 number).
The random 224 number sent a message that simply read “Happy anniversary phired up dude!!”
That message made me laugh and it genuinely made my day (or at least a close second to the lovely meal shared with my wife). Not only did that text bring a smile to my face on August 30th, but it got me even more excited for August 31st — as I am working with the fraternity community at Colorado State today.
On my drive to the airport this morning, I realized the power of that simple text message — “Happy anniversary phired up dude!!” — That text message is RECRUITMENT! After receiving that text message, I am more excited about my day, and I really want to spread some love in Fort Collins, CO.
At Phired Up, we say “People join people.” To go a step further, “People join people that make them feel special, cared for, accepted, loved, comfortable, validated, respected, etc.” Be less focused on convincing people how you chapter is awesome. Be more focused on helping people recognize how they are awesome. Recruitment is not an event or a marketing strategy. Recruitment is connecting with people and making them feel good.
Recruitment can be and is a simple text that says “Happy anniversary phired up dude!!”
Thank you, random 224 number. You taught me a great recruitment lesson.
Recruitment season is upon us, and many chapters across the country are busy preparing to welcome their latest new member classes! Our recruitment trainers are crisscrossing the country helping to deliver programs that will empower students to achieve their recruitment goals this fall. We are in the business of helping you grow and be better, stronger organizations. We hope we get to bump into you on campus this fall, but if not- we wanted to remind you that there is so much free (or low cost) stuff out there to help you recruit (and retain) to your potential new members. Make the most of this fall and consider the five tips below:
1. Gain Some More Knowledge. Have you heard the phrase that you’re never too old to learn something new? That is so true when it comes to preparing for recruitment! Whether you’re a senior who’s got a few years under your belt, or a sophomore experiencing fall recruitment as a chapter member for the first time, you should never stop seeking out knowledge when it comes to recruitment. When was the last time you asked an alumnus of your organization for advice about recruitment? What about getting ideas from your fraternity/sorority advisor or graduate assistant, or even from chapter leaders from other chapters who you admire? Did you spend time this summer reading any great books, blogs, or checking out free resources? Don’t worry, because there is still time! You can always gain knowledge to help grow your chapter, and to help grow your recruitment skills.
2. Brush Up on Social Excellence. Speaking of recruitment skills, having a little brush up on Social Excellence will only help you and the PNMs you’re meeting feel more comfortable during recruitment. If you’re unfamiliar with Social Excellence, we’ve got a ton of information and resources to share with you. The most essential, key pillars of Social Excellence boil down to Curiosity, Generosity, Authenticity, and Vulnerability. When you focus on bringing those four pillars of Social Excellence into your daily interactions with your brothers/sisters, classmates, faculty/staff, and PNMs, you’ll feel more connected to the campus community around you and more at ease navigating the first few stressful weeks of school this fall.
3. Adopt Helpful Technology. There are a ton of ways to help keep track of your recruitment team, your PNMs, and your follow-up communication efforts. Spreadsheets are an outdated way to keep track of PNMs, so many chapters are making the switch to ChapterBuilder. ChapterBuilder was created by Phired Up’s sister company, TechniPhi, and is a year-round recruitment tool with a ton of great features for keeping your PNMs organized, your recruitment team and advisors involved, and tracking recruitment analytics. There’s a free version you can sign up for right now! If you’re doing formal recruitment and need help saving some time with voting, you can help recycle those old paper ballots by adopting MyVote. Through an iOS app or your mobile browser, MyVote will help your chapter members quickly cast votes for PNMs between recruitment rounds using your exact voting criteria, and saves a ton of time counting ballots. By adopting some great recruitment technology, you can ease some stress and earn back tons of time to help make your recruitment efforts even more successful!
4. Maintain Regular Communication. One of the ways recruitment leaders get so overwhelmed right away with recruitment is that they don’t establish and maintain regular communication efforts with PNMs. It can be overwhelming to handle a big influx of emails, texts, phone calls, Snapchats, Facebook Messages, and Instagram comments. Like we mentioned above, ChapterBuilder can help ease some of that burden. We also recommend that you consider having a few different people on your recruitment team whom you can delegate some of your communication efforts to. Remember that recruitment is a chapter-wide responsibility! You do not have to carry the burden of communicating with everyone on your own. Feeling comfortable delegating some of your communication responsibility will help you stay on top of all of the other emails coming in from your professors, clubs and organizations, jobs, and your family and friends.
5. Create Strategic Marketing. Have you given much thought to the story of your chapter or your campus’ fraternity/sorority community? What’s the most compelling reason you give to PNMs to join – besides having “the tightest brotherhood” or “the strongest sisterhood” on campus? Every recruitment leader should be able to pinpoint a few specific, compelling, and powerful things that set their chapter apart from the others on campus. Communicating that information effectively can be tough, but there are some resources that can help. We recommend checking out a free e-book created by our sister company, Innova Marketing. It helps fraternities and sororities understand the importance of building a fraternity/sorority marketing strategy that aims to get results, and provides a how-to guide to get started.
by Taylor Deer
There are two sides to me and they both fight for control. This isn’t a new concept, but its new to me.
There is the “Big Me”. Success driven, ambitious, goal oriented, hungry for achievement, propelled by admiration, and externally fueled to continue toward reaching success. When the “Big Me” takes over, I am the star of my own movie, and I view the world as resources to help me achieve more. I seek skills in order to boost my personal value, professional development, time management, resume builders, networking, schmoozing, working the crowd, and memorizing jokes because I know they will get a laugh. The “Big Me” looks in the mirror and says, “what will others think of ME today?”. “Big Me” is career oriented, and his theory is based on economics (Hard work + Determination = Achievement). “Big Me” knows that happiness is a product of achievement.
I justify “Big Me” by submerging myself in extrinsic motivation. Listening to music that says “Sleep is for the weak”, “Put in the work”, “Cash Rules Everything Around Me”, buy more, work harder, etc. I look up to famous leaders who lead the business world. I watch movies about the hero overcoming insurmountable odds and reaching their goals and I cheer their success. I listen others when they sing my praise and recognize my effort.
“Big Me” teaches me to chase more wins, to surround myself with others who want the same. To attend leadership conferences so I can make myself better and achieve my goals. To listen to others on how to make smart investments and how to make more money. To reinforce that happiness must be earned. The “Big Me” pushes me to do things that for the sole reason of self betterment and advancement. It makes me into a machine that runs and extrinsic motivation, and I’ve learned that it is insatiable.
Fraternity life, created, fed, nurtured, and celebrated the “Big Me”. For the longest time I thought that was a good thing.
What Fraternity life never taught me was: What happens when you achieve everything you set out to do, but still feel empty inside?
There came a time when I did everything I set out to do, exceeded my own expectations, and still felt like there is something missing. I try to fill that void with more achievement, more advancement. I know that it doesn’t bring me happiness, but I know nothing else, so I just continue. “Big Me” thinks everyone probably feels like this, right? To check, I just look at all my friends celebrating their successes on Facebook. Everyone has a new promotions, new jobs, new cars, new houses, new suits, new relationships.
What Fraternity life never taught me was that there is another side of me. The “Little Me”
The “Little Me” is humble, genuine, loving, generous, reflective, quiet, and introspective. It is propelled by selflessness, internally fueled towards self mastery and awareness. “Little Me” finds peace by making decisions based on a higher set of morals. It finds satisfaction and fulfillment by spending quality time enjoying the present moment, wherever I am. It knows that anxiety only exists when we let the thoughts of the future take over. It knows to reflect on the moments of my past that made me happy. It knows that there is more to life than hopping from goal to goal. Its more concerned with being happy in any circumstance, instead of waiting for the right circumstances to be happy.
The world needs a place that cultivates the “Little Me” in young men and women. The “Little Me” helps us tie a deeper purpose to our daily decisions. Decisions like “Should we make “Make _____ Great Again” shirts?” They’re popular, people would see them, it might get our name out there, and it would be really funny…. But SHOULD we? That’s the “Little Me”.
I realized that Fraternity life did not teach me to value the “Little Me”. I was only given one option. “The Big Me”.
Look at what Greek Life has turned into. “Big Me” Machines. We think in terms of ourselves.
We boast professional development. “Look, Zuckerberg was a Fraternity man!” We post photos of ourselves when were helping others. We fudge community service hours to win awards. We host parties for ourselves. We talk poorly about other chapters to climb one rung higher on the imaginary social ladder. We post posters of our values over other’s posters. We wear our words on our shirts on our members. Recruitment is as “Big Me” as it gets, we say, “we’ll be over here, behind our letters, with our members, if you want to be like us, come see us, if you want to join us.” And then we compare our new member class size to the other houses. More new members must mean were a better chapter right?….. Right?
Everything we do promotes a culture of “Big Me” within our membership. We believe that we are changing the world because we are developing young men and women into leaders (that’s why we all memorized who our organization’s famous alumni are). But are we?
When I think of our society today, I see a sea of people who have an overfed and dominant “Big Me”. Our generation is in this continuous search for achievement, with no source for inner structure and character.
Fraternity life can be that source. We can teach our members that there is more to life that a continuous chase of more wins. We can reform our organizations to value the words selfless, humble, content, fulfilled, and loving. Just as must as professional, driven, ambitious, and leaders. In doing so I believe we will stay important in the life of a developing human being over a fun four years.
This isn’t about recruitment, its about renewal of our purpose.
This post originally appeared on Vince’s Facebook timeline.
by Vince Fabra
Fraternity chapters of America,
Let’s talk about your hilarious “Make (insert Fraternity) Great Again” Rush T-Shirt.
1. There’s no such thing as an effective rush t-shirt. It’s a waste of your money and will turn more people away than it will attract.
2. The guy that originated the “MAGA” slogan tends to repulse people. Political opinions aside, if you had to be so unoriginal and rip off an idea, choose a better muse than a guy that’s alienated almost everyone in the country.
3. With that slogan, “Make (insert fraternity) Great Again,” you’re communicating that your fraternity is not currently great. That attitude will surely attract the 90% of people on campus that already find your existence to be irrelevant and problematic (sarcasm of course).
4. This ironic approval of “MAGA” and its originator is precisely why he might become the 45th President of the United States.
5. Let’s say I’m wrong, your shirt is a hit. Everyone loves it. What now? How are you going to capitalize on that momentum? Or did your plan stop at “Item 1: Create SICK rush tees!”???
Fellas, you can wear matching shirts. It doesn’t matter. What matters is how you build relationships while wearing those t-shirts. Even if someone joins your fraternity because of a t-shirt, you’ll eventually have to TALK TO that guy.
Shake more hands. Have more conversations.
That is how we KEEP Fraternities Great.
by Matt Mattson
Let’s hit re-start on the way fraternities do recruitment. I ain’t mad about it. I just think it would be easier if you and your chapter made a decision to completely wipe your memory of how “it’s always been done,” smile politely at your alumni advisors’ recruitment advice while wearing ear plugs, and throw away that old ass binder the previous rush chair gave you.
Just start over. From scratch.
Here’s what I’d recommend you do. It’s far easier than anyone before you has made it.
First. Check to see if there is an app for that. There is. Literally. www.ChapterBuilder.com (download the app on Apple’s app store). This isn’t a sales pitch. The thing is free. Just start with the technology that’s been built for fraternity recruitment. Over 25% of the fraternities in the world are already using it. Catch up, brother.
Second. Not everybody in the chapter is going to help. Get over it. (Heads up, here comes a basketball analogy). Round up your starting 5-man team — your workhorses. Maybe get a couple other guys willing to come in off the bench. And make recruitment into a game you can win. So who are your “starting 5?” You’re probably the point guard — organizing each day and running the offense. You need a center — he’s probably a data-head who can stay in one place, work hard, and keep track of everything that’s happening around him (use the app). You need a couple shooters and a couple of boys who can work the paint. Your shooters are the guys you can send out to find non-Greek men to recruit. Your big forwards are the guys who can close the deal with some powerful conversations about joining an organization for life. Your bench guys are just guys you can count on to work hard and win over the crowd when they’re needed. You’re a team, so everybody helps up and down the court, but each player focuses on being an all-star at their job (I think this is the end of my basketball analogy).
Third. Figure out what you want. High quality chapters are made out of high quality people. There is no magic. You want a great chapter, find great men. You need to define “quality” and “great men.” Saying, “He seems like a ‘good guy’ to me” is stupid. You’re better than that.
Fourth. There are only four actions you really need to take to recruit people. a) Meet people. b) Build a relationship with them until they’re ready to join. c) Decide if they’re “high quality,” and d) Close the deal. Break your whole plan down to focus on these four actions.
Fifth. Cut the fat. Don’t waste your time, money, or energy on crap that doesn’t get results. Recruitment ONLY HAPPENS IN FACE TO FACE CONVERSATIONS. There is no other scenario that gets results. So if you’re spending your time planning events, designing posters or T-shirts, driving a truck around with your letters painted on it, carving giant plywood letters, partying incoherently with loud music and inebriating beverages, knock it off. You can’t recruit people with any of those things. People only get recruited in face to face conversations. Don’t be a chicken, talk to other guys. That’s the only way it is done.
I hope that’s helpful. Sure there are some other details, but don’t overthink it, friends. This is supposed to be fun, but it’s also supposed to be something that brings out your ability to perform at a high level. Focus on the fundamentals. Good luck!
By Jessica Gendron Williams
August is our favorite time of year at Phired Up – and our busiest time of year. August marks the start of school. It also marks the start of recruitment season. Recruitment season is fast, chaotic at times, and exhausting. It’s also fun, empowering, and exciting. It goes by in the blink of an eye – and the next thing we know we’re in the throws of football season (my favoritest time of year). I’ve spent years traveling the country teaching recruitment – and I’ve spent most of that time in the month of August and September – helping chapters and communities gear up for one of the most important things they do all year long.
As August 1st marks the official start of recruitment season this year (the early recruitment schools start recruitment prep this week), I thought it timely and important to remind us all what this time of year is REALLY all about.
I think back to my freshman year of college and the woman I was. I was scared and insecure. I was lonely. I was terrified to leave the comfortable little bubble of the small farm town I was raised in. I was excited about a new adventure. Anxious to get started. More than anything, though, I wanted to find a place to belong, to matter, to fit in, to find friends. I set out on a search and found sorority. The woman I am today – I owe in large part to my sorority experience. It gave me a place to belong. It gave me a place to discover who I am. It gave me a place to fail, succeed, play, laugh, cry, and love. It gave me a place to matter, to invest in, and to grow. Sorority has truly been one of the greatest gifts of my lifetime.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably nodding in agreement. You probably have similar feelings about your fraternal experience. It was fun – no doubt, but we owe much of who we are today to fraternity or sorority.
Let’s not forget that during recruitment season.
The thing I hate about recruitment season is that we get so caught up in “winning” recruitment – whatever that means. We think recruitment is a competition and we treat potential members like their a prize to be won. It’s like we want to hang them on a wall like a plaque or something. We say, “Look at our new members” “They’re the best” “Aren’t they the best”! We get so caught up in getting the “best” potential members that we forget what recruitment is actually about.
I think that’s crazy.
In recruitment, there are no “winners” and “losers”. We all win in recruitment. Think about that… We all win. We all win because at the end of the day – if we do it right – men and women walk back through the door on bid day. They put their hand in the air, and they say, “I promise to be your brother/sister for the rest of my life, to help us both be better people, to love and support each other fiercely, and to make the world a better place.” If that’s not “winning”, I don’t know what is.
Sure, there are times we end up with people who aren’t that great, who don’t commit to that pledge, and who are not ultimately a great fit for the organization – but more times than not, I believe we win – and we win big. We end up with people who are willing to pay us money and commit to our values – FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES because they believe deep down, we’ll deliver on our promise.
The promise that we’ll provide a place where they can belong. That we’ll help them discover who they really are. That we’ll provide them with some of the deepest friendships of their lifetime. That we’ll work alongside them to make the world a better place. That they will matter. That at the end of their college years and at the end of their lives, they will look back on their fraternity or sorority experience and say, “Fraternity/Sorority was a gift to my life.”
This recruitment season, let’s remember what this is all about. Recruitment isn’t a game to be won. There are no winners and losers. In fact, at the end of recruitment we all actually win.
Recruitment is our opportunity to find the next group of members who will stand beside us in the journey through college – and especially life. It’s an opportunity to give the gift of fraternity and sorority to more people who need it. It’s an opportunity to give individuals a place to belong, a place to matter, a place to grow, and a place to find some of the most meaningful and powerful relationships of their life. That is what recruitment is all about.