We want to call out something that’s really messed up in sorority-land: feeling like COB means your chapter is somehow broken or less-than.
That’s just not right.
For too many sorority women across North America, if your chapter finds itself in a position to do COB (Continuous Open Bidding a.k.a COR a.k.a. year round recruitment), you can feel a sense of shame, embarrassment, and failure.
If that feels even vaguely familiar, please read on. We have some important things to share.
We’ve somehow made the idea of COB to be toxic. It’s not. Continuous recruitment is smart; not toxic. It’s generous and authentic and likely to attract stellar leaders. It’s deeply aligned with our organizations’ historical roots and our values.
Check out this blog for the Top 5 Tips for Panhellenic Continuous Recruitment
Build a plan to MEET as many of the right non-Greek women as possible.
We have LOTS of ideas to help you meet non-Greek women. Click here. This is the most important of our 5 tips. Remember, “you can’t recruit who you don’t know.” Plan to meet at least 10x to 15x the amount of women you hope to recruit.
Build a plan to RECORD and manage information about PNMs.
Once you meet a woman, record as much data about her as possible. That way you can make thoughtful, informed, data-driven membership selection decisions. ChapterBuilder is a recruitment technology built specifically for year-round recruiting chapters. This is the fastest growing recruitment software in the sorority market. More sororities (on your campus) are using ChapterBuilder than ever before. Learn more at www.chapterbuilder.com
Build a plan to consistently INVITE PNMs to opportunities to connect.
Every Sunday and Wednesday night just became “recruitment committee eats ice cream and sends text messages night.” (We need to come up with a better name). Make plans to consistently spend an hour or so a couple times a week sending texts that say something like, “Hi Kayla! I’m Anna. We met on campus this week when we were handing out lemonade. I loved our chat! I want to learn about you and maybe tell you about an org I belong to. Can we grab coffee on campus? What time do you get out of class on Thursday?”
Build a plan to generously HOST PNMs in multiple ways that build connections with the chapter.
Coffee dates. Study nights. Yoga on the quad. Information Sessions. Service/philanthropy events. Sporting events. Weekend excursions. Open chapter/sisterhood events. More coffee dates. You get the idea. Stuff you do in your normal not-at-the-sorority-house life. Every week there should be two group/chapter “events” planned and lots and lots of one-on-one meetings/coffees/lunches, etc. Most PNMs need between 3 and 8 experiences (that move them thoughtfully from 1:1 to small group to chapter event) before they are ready to commit.
Build a plan to ASK PNMs to join in a way that honors them and secured commitment.
First of all, every woman you’re recruiting deserves an opportunity to have a real, serious, honest conversation about the expectations of membership, their concerns, and whether or not they’re ready to commit. This is called a pre-close conversation, and in COB it is completely appropriate. Make sure you’re genuine and honest and honor her decision-making process. Then, when you’re ready (your chapter has determined the PNM is qualified for membership and you want to give her a bid) and she’s ready (she’s said “yes” when you ask “If we gave you an invitation, would you want to join?”), ask her for commitment in a special way. She deserves this life-changing moment.
by Matt Mattson
For the past few years I’ve been presenting a program titled, “Drone Shots & Glitter: The best and worst sorority recruitment videos and what we can learn from them” on campuses and at conferences around North America (want me to present to your community? E-mail email@example.com).
This program has become one of my favorite things to present. And every year, a whole new batch of sorority recruitment videos is ready for review and reflection.
Let’s start with a new video from Delta Zeta at The University of Indiana released recently, and then one other from Chi Omega at the University of Washnigton… Watch and enjoy. As you’re watching, consider the two questions I ask all my audiences to consider as they’re watching these videos…
Before I move on, let me say this clearly… I LOVE ALL OF THESE VIDEOS. As a marketer and as a values-based fraternity/sorority professional, I think these videos are truly amazing. There are three big reasons why I love these videos.
With all that said, check out a handful of our other past and present favorite sorority recruitment videos. Ask yourself the two questions we listed at the beginning of the blog as you enjoy each of these videos. We’ll even include a couple non-Panhellenic videos in here too just for fun.
After you’ve watched these, scroll down for our top 5 tips to make your sorority recruitment video great!
This time of year keeps many of our staff members busy on the road attending undergraduate student conferences, and we LOVE interacting with students from across the country! One of the most popular questions we get is: “How can you help us do a better job with growth on my campus or in my chapter?”
We’ve got many ways to help your chapter, council, or community grow, and one of the first tools we point students to is our FREE RESOURCES. That’s right, we give away A TON of incredibly helpful tools to help you get started RIGHT AWAY on seeing incredible growth results!
Need more help? Let us know! We’d love to work with you to help get you “on system” to become a high performing fraternity/sorority chapter, council, or community! Reach out to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Phired Up Productions: Phired Up Productions helps fraternities and sororities grow. The company’s products, services, and brands are creating the future of fraternities and sororities by transforming the way people join. The company delivers relationship-focused, data-driven, results-producing TECHNOLOGY, EDUCATION, and STRATEGY solutions for every aspect of the pre-member experience from first-impression through initiation.
Before you read this, you should know that this post also exists: CLICK HERE. That core data about Gen Z is really important for you to consider. Another related post comes from a presentation we delivered not too ago. It’s titled “Damaged Goods” and dives deeper into some of the data about today’s incoming college students and all that they’re experiencing (CLICK HERE). (Oh, and here’s another recent post that outlines some important stats about today’s students).
And finally, before you dive into this blog post, watch this video:
Now for the rest of the blog! Enjoy!
We probably don’t need to tell you all the facts about Generation Z… for many of you in college now, you are a Gen-Zer (or on the cusp). But you might not be aware of the characteristics of your generation that have an impact on how we recruit. We believe some of the most important generational trends that impact fraternity/sorority recruitment are:
Financial awareness (they’re children of the financial crisis).
Gen Z has a similar “anti establishment” mentality as Gen X (your parents most likely). They’re less attracted to big groups and are more interested in value-added, personal relationships.
They tend to be information seekers (and finders). They’re digital natives and know how to access all the information they need.
They have a strong thirst for making sure things are “worth it.” This generation is highly driven, career-focused, and entrepreneurial. They’re seeking opportunities to help set them up for a successful life, and if they can’t find it it, they’ll create their own.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s dive deeper.
We’ve not only looked at the wonderful research being done out there on Gen Z students… we’ve also been asking students directly. Specifically, we conducted a major national survey of high school students recently. These results are not officially published yet, but let us give you a quick sneak peek.
Quick Demographics: Approximately 2,000 surveys from HS aged students (freshmen-senior). Balanced collection from each region and international responses.
Most used social media platform: 85.7% Instagram, 74.3% YouTube, 58.6% SnapChat
Top communication method with friends- 74.7 % Text, 71.5% Face to face, 60.0% Instagram DM
Hope to receive from college: 49.3% A memorable experience, 48.3% Professional/career development, 31.0% new friends
Top concerns for college: 67.3% affording college, 48.0% failing classes, 28.0% feeling alone. 3.6% being hazed
Words they associate with F/S: 65.6% cliques, 33.5% conformity
Where they learn about F/S: Movies 67.2%, TV 55.6%, Instagram 33.2%
There’s lots more to come from these survey results. We’re learning a ton from the data as we dive deeply into it. Without getting too detailed (because this is supposed to be a quick blog post), here are some big lessons that high schoolers seem to be teaching us right now.
We are in the experience economy. The number one thing this next group of students entering college want is a memorable experience. In other words, our marketing and recruitment efforts shouldn’t be about conveying information, they should be emotional and focused on creating experiences that add value to the PNMs lives.
Affording college is their number one concern. That’s not a shocker at this point. But in a long list of concerns they had to choose from, being hazed only had 3.6% of respondents select it. That tells us that despite the fact that they’re learning all about fraternities and sororities primarily from movies and TV, they aren’t internalizing the darkest story lines. They don’t hate us (yet). Let’s keep it that way, eh?
50.3% have a high or neutral level of interest in fraternity and sorority life.
Like we said, there’s lots more to come from this, but it’s an exciting start!
O.K., so let’s get really specific. Here are our top tips for recruiting TODAY’s students. We have to update our strategies and tactics to match the needs of these students.
Make It Personal. Don’t group text, mass email, Insta tag, or Facebook invite. They won’t be attracted to the large group feeling, they want a personal invitation. They’ll want to know that you want to build a friendship with them, not a mass of surface level friendships.
Identify the Value. This should be what we focus on the most. In their mind they are doing the cost benefit analysis about whether it’s worth it or not to join. Remember, you are asking for important resources – time that they could be spending on studying or advancing themselves and money when an education already has a costly pricetag and they’re top concern is affordability.
Don’t Forget The Fun. The value and worth are crucial to highlight and focus on when recruiting. But we can’t forget about the fun. They want to have a memorable experience but one that doesn’t take away from their future.
Stand Out. There are so many involvement opportunities on a campus to choose from… and many of them are free. How do you stand out as different from the other organizations? What do you offer that they don’t? It has to be more than “buddies.” You are a premium organization, so make sure they know what makes membership priceless.
In Person. Of course this generation uses digital more than any before it, but they value true in-person, human-to-human connection more than anything they see on social media. Remember, they grew up with “fake news,” so what you post on-line better be backed up by real-life experiences.
Use Authentic Video. No I’m not talking about flashy, expensive, Hollywood style sorority recruitment videos (necessarily). The Gen Z audience is on YouTube more than any generation before them. They are following vloggers, tutorials, real people - not music video-esque recruitment videos. Type “sorority recruitment” into YouTube and you will find popular vloggers giving incoming freshmen tips on makeup and fashion, what things to say or not say. Is that the content we want to be dominating the web search? We should be making our own, real “vlog-style” videos that give PNMs a better idea of what recruitment and membership will be like.
Explain Selection. These are information seekers; when we lie to them and don’t provide more detail about how selections are made, we lose them as members. Using phrases like “trust the process” and “some people slip through the cracks” aren’t cutting it.
Highlight Academics. Make sure you are including how your organization is helping with academics. Career success and getting good grades is a top priority – they know how much their education costs and are taking it seriously. If you come across as an organization who only parties, many students won’t be interested.
Focus on Individuality (or highlight it).Gen Z students are individuals, and want to hold their individuality. They aren’t interested in organizations that make them have to conform and often see fraternity and sorority as places where that is true. Focus on the diversity represented in your chapter and be open to recruiting people who are different.
Correct Their Assumptions. Most of what students learn about fraternity/sorority is from movies, TV shows, and Instagram accounts. When a potential member looks at your social media or meets your members, are they reminded of the negative stereotypes they assumed were true?
Have Accurate Information Easily Accessible. These students are going to want to learn whatever they can online. Thats a scary thing… Googling fraternity/sorority currently doesn’t result in the marketing narrative we all have in mind. What information do they need and how can we provide it to them during their web search?
This is all happening RIGHT NOW! It’s exciting and important. But if you get super nerdy about this stuff and want to go deeper, will you consider for a moment how this generation (and the next) will likely transform our whole industry? Here are some guesses…