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 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!