Dynamic Recruitment is one end of a continuum of how a fraternity/sorority chapter attracts, selects, and secures its new members. The other end is called “Static Recruitment.”
Static Recruitment is the “let’s see who comes to us” and the “I hope they like us” approach. Static Recruitment depends upon a chapter being impressive. Static Recruitment outsources control of the prospect pool to someone else. Static Recruitment always seeks the quick solution. Static Recruitment seeks to maintain the status quo.
Dynamic Recruitment is Phired Up’s core philosophy on the science of fraternity/sorority growth. (Learn more about the equally important art of fraternity/sorority growth: Social Excellence.) This isn’t about recruitment processes or rules or structure. It is about beliefs, and behaviors that demonstrate those beliefs.
Chapters that do Dynamic Recruitment demonstrate, in their own way, the following beliefs.
Dynamic Recruiting chapters believe that authentic relationships — real human connection — must be at the center of their system. Everything they do creates, nurtures, deepens, and maintains genuine relationships between the members of the chapter and non-members.
Dynamic Recruiting chapters believe in being proactive. They take ownership over their own potential and results. They are active, never passive, in their growth efforts. They take responsibility for their interactions, their story, and the experiences they provide.
Dynamic Recruiting chapters believe that they must be intentional in their conversations, relationship-building activities, data gathering, and recruitment tracking to ensure the RIGHT members join their chapter. They are intentionally inclusive and welcoming. They are intentional in the way they seek key information about potential members and the way they convey information about their chapter experience.
Dynamic Recruiting chapters believe that quantity drives quality. The more people the chapter knows, the more likely it is that the chapter will find the right members to join, stay, lead, and live the values of the organization. They believe that the chapter only benefits by meeting more people and being highly networked into their campus community, and they believe that being selective leads to healthier, safer, and more successful chapters.
Dynamic Recruiting chapters believe that joining a chapter for life is a serious matter. It deserves thoughtful consideration, generous dialogue, and transparency that ensures all parties understand the expectations of membership.
Dynamic Recruiting chapters believe in personalized systems. Repeatable systems outlast and ultimately outperform temporary leadership and talent. The system, however, is only as valuable as the amount of personal care and attention it provides for each individual potential member.
Dynamic Recruitment is not defined by tactics or gimmicks or policies or structure. It manifests differently for different organizations on different campuses and within different systems and cultures. But Dynamic Recruiting chapters always make choices that reflect these 6 core beliefs.
by Haley Cahill-Teubert
This week my husband and I will celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I can’t help but reminisce on life this time last year. Flowers, RSVP cards, bridesmaid dresses, reception songs—it’s all coming back to me. Perhaps most memorable though, is something my mom said to me consistently throughout the wedding planning process.
“Focus on the marriage, not the wedding.”
At the time, that seemed so obvious. We were getting married, after all. But when you have favors to assemble, a seating chart to complete and honeymoon details to finalize, it is dangerously easy to prioritize the event—the production—rather than the relationship.
You may not be in the throes of wedding planning, but you may be preparing for an upcoming formal recruitment. At first glance, weddings and sorority recruitment are two entirely different entities. Take a second look. The very foundation of each event is a relationship—a lifelong relationship, ideally.
Think about recruitment for a moment. It is this unique opportunity to meet dozens, maybe hundreds of women, who are seeking relationships—lifelong relationships. You explore interests and lifestyles. You discuss hometowns, loved ones and fond memories. You share your ambitions and plans for the years to come. At the end of it all, you assess the strength of the relationship and if the feelings are mutual. And if those feelings are indeed mutual, you seal the deal with a ring… Whoops, I mean a bid.
Cue the bid day celebrations, gifts, cake and festive attire.
If you’ve ever planned a wedding, or if you’ve ever dated in hopes of finding your lifelong partner, this should sound eerily familiar. But even if you haven’t, you likely can see the similarities.
In joining organizations, the hope is not to simply find friends to help you pass the next four years. The hope is to find sisters, best friends, role models, mentors—the list goes on. How many times have you heard a woman say she found her bridesmaids when she joined a sorority? (It’s really coming full circle now.)
The ideal result of recruitment efforts is to find lifelong friends who stick with you through good times and bad, who support you and push you to be better, who understand your needs and often put yours ahead of their own. We all seek this kind of friendship, right? We all seek that kind of marriage, don’t we?
It’s not something to take lightly.
Let’s revisit my mother’s advice. “Focus on the marriage, not the wedding.” What if we swap a few words here?
Focus on the friendship, not the bid day shirts.
Focus on the conversation, not the door stacks.
Focus on the relationship, not the earrings for sisterhood round.
Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
It’s easy to get lost in the hype of it all. It’s easy to get caught up in the details—the outfits, the songs, the food, the gifts, the monogrammed everything. But when the music fades and the party is over, the relationship is all that remains.
We know that thousands of marriages end every year for a variety of reasons. With only one year of marriage under my belt, I can confidently tell you I am no expert on the matter, but it is logical to assume when relationships begin to dissolve, in many cases, it is because cracks in the foundation of those relationships begin to reveal themselves after the honeymoon ends.
Can the same be said when members choose to leave our organizations after the thrill of recruitment and bid day is over, and the relationships are all that remain?
Now, I know it’s fun to plan these events. Tasting cakes and trying on wedding dresses is a blast. Stuffing bid day bags and ordering ornate balloon displays is fantastic. It breeds energy and excitement about everything to come. But we cannot neglect the relationships in favor of the event, or the details surrounding it, and be surprised when the relationships don’t last.
Summer is just beginning, but for many, recruitment season will arrive in the blink of an eye. As you’re preparing your outfits, planning your work week and ordering bid day swag, I challenge you to not forget to focus on the relationships.
Your opportunity for lifelong relationships is approaching. While I completely understand the desire to make a good impression and have a memorable event, it will not matter after bid day ends and the reality of the relationship begins.
Whether it’s a marriage or a friendship, relationships you develop have the potential to endure the test of time if you lay the right groundwork, build upon that foundation and put in the work to maintain that solid structure for years to come.
Want to chat more about relationship building or preparing for sorority recruitment? Shoot me an email and get the conversation started at Cahill@PhiredUp.com!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Branden Stewart
Haley Cahill-Teubert joined the Phired Up team as an Organizational Growth Consultant effective May 20, 2019. Haley will join a robust and experienced team of Panhellenic sorority recruitment specialists to help deliver world-class training and coaching to our clients across North America.
“I am extremely excited to have Haley join the team! She was a standout candidate from the moment she applied and will bring years of skills, experience, and ideas to continue taking our team to the next level,” said Jason Allen, Director of Education for Phired Up.
After earning her degree, Haley joined the Alpha Omicron Pi staff as the Assistant Director of New Chapter Development, where she worked with Alpha Omicron Pi chapters five years and younger. Soon after joining the Alpha Omicron Pi team, she transitioned to a role as the Assistant Director of Communications and Editor of the organization’s international magazine. Haley has served in that role for the last three years, and comes to Phired Up with a deep understanding of the sorority recruitment world.
“We are so excited to have Haley join the team and continue the legacy of world class Phired Up female trainers our industry has come to know,” said Dr. Colleen Coffey-Melchiorre, a long-time Phired Up trainer and co-author of I Heart Recruitment. “Haley is poised, curious, funny and will be a dynamic addition to our roster. Her ability to serve a unique set of clients is what I’m most excited about along with her strong background in marketing and communication.”
Outside of work, Haley enjoys health and fitness, and is a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and a certified Women’s Health Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She also loves to cook, bake and travel. Haley lives in West Virginia with her husband Chris. Haley has an active social media presence; follow her personal Instagram account @haleybcahill, but also be sure to check out her @coffeecupsandcookbooks personal project where she explores her culinary side.
“Haley brings an electric energy, genuine kindness, a zest for life (and cooking!!), and a true passion for bettering the fraternity and sorority experience through education and experiential learning opportunities,” said Abby Ford, who works alongside Haley as a specialist in sorority growth education. “Haley embodies social excellence to her core, and I’m so excited both learn from and grow with Haley as we continue to focus on bettering educational opportunities for all Pahnellenic sororities.”
“I am so excited to join the Phired Up team because I love the commitment Phired Up has to making the recruitment experience a meaningful one that fosters organizational growth and lifelong relationships,” said Haley. “Joining a sorority completely altered my college career, and it continues to positively shape my life well after graduation. It’s my sincere hope that each sorority woman and fraternity man have an equally impactful and enriching membership. I believe that starts with an exceptional recruitment experience, and I’m excited to have a hand in that!”
Matt Mattson, Phired Up’s co-founder and President added, “I’m really proud of Haley and our entire team of Panhellenic marketing, recruitment, and retention specialists. We have a group of no-nonsense educators who genuinely want to put more humanity, more authenticity, and more heart into the way people join sororities in 2019 and beyond. We’re building modern solutions for modern organizations, and we’re doing it in sophisticated ways. I’m thrilled to have Haley join our team.”
Please help us welcome Haley to the team by sending her a welcome note at Cahill@PhiredUp.com, and read Haley’s first blog post called Recruitment Rounds & Wedding Bell Sounds here.
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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.
by Alex Taylor
New Student Orientation, or whatever your institution dubs the experience, is for many campuses the first physical introduction to your community. While the importance of this impression needs no stating, a roadmap for success does.
Communities tend to fall into a few categories. Those are outlined, with a few key reflections for you to consider as your prepare for those fresh faces to arrive, lanyards dangling out of pockets and parents nervously collecting every shred of information they can find.
Orientation is Sign Up SZN – These tend to be campus communities where incoming students flock to fraternity/sorority. Tables are neatly ordained with computers opened to the recruitment registration website (shoutout CampusDirector) and the biggest worry is, “Do we have enough computers?!” Students line up, pay the fee, and are officially registered to participate in the campus-sanctioned recruitment process. If this is your campus or sounds similar, consider these questions:
Are these people signing up the right people for your community? How do we know? Apart from basic information, do you know the desires, wants, expectations they carry?
What people are you NOT capturing? What if a student is only slightly interested? How could they learn more before registering and committing to the “process”?
If this is your campus, the best advice is to evaluate your process before simply replicating it year over year. Most likely there’s data that exists from the past few years. Are there any trends? What are those trends hinting towards? Your biggest challenge is the changing demographic of college students. Students don’t want to just sign up to then have a possibility of finding a chapter. They want to be able to do research, meet people, and make a choice for themselves.
Paper, Paper, and wait for it… more paper – Incoming students wander a maze that our friends hosting orientation carefully orchestrated. Well-intended it might be, incoming students are lost. They collect paper, pens, lip balm, all branded with approval of the university’s marketing team. Each paper is titled the same way, but contains subtle differences gone unnoticed by the untrained eye of a new student. Got bad news for you friend, your brochure is going in the trash with the rest later tonight, no more read than it was upon delivery. You are lost in a sea of sameness. Consider the following:
What makes fraternity/sorority different than any other opportunity to get involved on campus? Don’t say brotherhood or sisterhood… It begins with a unique story targeted towards the people YOU want. However, if you don’t know what you offer, or who it benefits, you’ll just keep shouting GO GREEK. Save your laurel wreath branded pens, and be more human.
What’s the one resource in your possession? People! Include current students to tell their personal stories. If you’ve got some policy about them not “recruiting” (let’s talk about that offline, btw), just encourage them to include stories of their friends from other chapters as well. People join people.
Last, make sure your paper directs to a virtual platform. Got a website where they can read more? Make sure to point it out. Want to do one even better? Here’s what we do: Have them pull out their phone, and go to your website in front of you. No need to read it now, but bet your bottom dollar they’ll see it again. Or, direct them to your active social media channels.
Booths.. Tables? Uh, I gotta get me one of those! – You, dear reader, are the blank slate our team dreams every night with fire (phire?) puns dancing in our minds. Maybe fraternity/sorority isn’t “allowed” to table or be publicly announced at orientation, or you simply don’t know where to begin. That’s okay, here are some questions to consider, plus some bonus advice.
Usually there’s some reason why our organizations are not as welcome. Maybe orientation is Mach speed, and we’re not bogging people down. Or maybe some event happened in years past that pulled the invite. Whatever the reason, FIND IT. Simply start asking why. Not to be accusatory, but to understand the environment.
Determine what “success at orientation” is for THIS summer. Small tweaks over time lead to new ways that “we’ve always done it”.
People are your most powerful marketing tool. If knowing you exist is a challenge, physical people shaking hands is more compelling than paper in this instance. Telling the story of “who you are” rather than “who we’re NOT” is important as you prepare.
Knowing your current circumstances (and why) is a huge step for any campus finding themselves here. Begin by finding a few small wins that can be built on over time. Most likely, fraternity/sorority serves a pretty cool need on your campus. The story needs to be told, and reclaiming your narrative is key in this scenario.
Here’s a checklist to make sure you’re ready for orientation:
People (students) ready and prepared to tell THEIR story. Testimony is more powerful than facts.
Leads-Capturing Device(s), yes plural, that allow opportunities to shop around. These should then lead them down digital pathways to learn more.
Clear instructions about HOW to join, WHAT that process entails, and WHO to contact.
Any marketing materials should point to a singular virtual platform (website, social media, etc). Then data should be captured there as well.
Quick meeting after each orientation to evaluate, tweak, and get better. Many campuses have multiple sessions each summer. Use that opportunity to tinker and perfect the process for next year.
People crave human connection; our organizations offer that plus numerous benefits. Treat a booth, table, or orientation space as a place to create a microcosm of the experience.
Our team is here to help you ready yourself for Orientation. Did any of this spark more questions? We’re always open to talk more about your specific campus! Just send us an email, and we’ll help any way that we can.
by Matt Farrell
Kellen Long began this school year knowing basically nothing about fraternities at Florida State, as one of hundreds of potential new members entering formal recruitment. Fast forward a few months and Kellen knows as much as anyone–visiting each of FSU’s 16 chapters as a PNM, becoming a brother of Pi Kappa Alpha, and visiting all 16 fraternities again in the spring through the IFC’s new rush mentor program. I was along for the ride as Phired Up began a partnership to observe and develop IFC recruitment at Florida State.
Below is the transcript from a conversation I had with Kellen to recap the wild year. Kellen’s story represents the harsh reality and promising potential for men seeking to join fraternities nationwide. And his sophomore year hasn’t even started.
Matt: Let’s start with this fall. Why did you sign up to join?
Kellen: I’m from Tallahassee, so I was connected to several alumni in the area. One guy told me, direct quote, I had to use fraternity as a mechanism for success in life. Figured I’d give it a shot.
M: Compelling, but pretty vague. Sounds like most fraternity pitches. So you signed up, then what?
K: A couple guys I knew told me I had to go to something called “House Previews.” Before that, all of us PNMs sat in a big lecture hall. It was a really long time, not very personable or memorable. It was a really long presentation. Then they said, see you at House Previews.
M: You know we were part of that presentation, right? Me and my Phired Up teammate?
K: (laughs) I remember seeing you up there, a couple kids went up on stage which was cool. A bunch of words about fraternities. I don’t remember much, no offense.
M: Damn. That cuts deep (forced laugh). So then recruitment started?
K: We had these giant PNM GroupMes; I never met my “Bro Gams” who were running it. Hard to blame them–they mostly had to make sure this big group all left each chapter on time. At the end they said “see ya later.” It was a very lonely process. We were split up from the few people we knew. If you’re a nervous kid it makes sense to stop showing up after you meet a few chapters.
M: I’m glad you got a home out of it. Only 56% of the PNMs did, and that’s lower at plenty of schools. Why did you sign up to help in the spring if fall recruitment was that rough?
K: During my new member process the brothers encouraged me to sign up for IFC. One of the staff told me they were redoing the rush mentor process. I said “You mean Bro Gam?” I just thought they were getting rid of a silly name. But my big, Seth, told me we would do it together. We all showed up to training as these new rush mentors and we didn’t know what it meant. But I looked around, and there were a lot of brand new guys like me who wanted a change. It felt like we already knew each other.
M: So we had that two day training. What do you remember?
K: Before we did anything, we heard each others’ stories. And we were told that’s what the PNMs are gonna remember. We learned how we could use it as a sales tool to get everybody on board with fraternities. And we got to help each other. Then a week later it was the real thing, sitting under the trees at Legacy Walk in a little circle, getting real with my PNMs. I knew if they were shy I could make them my best friend. We knew it was our job to answer their questions even if they didn’t ask.
M: I love that. That was before they even started recruitment, right? How did your role change once Previews began?
K: Yeah. And basically keeping them bought in the whole way. The night before, I sent a big text to all of my guys, encouraging them. One of them knew I was a Pike and replied “Pike or nothing, man.” I told him you would thrive in other groups too. He texted me after recruitment saying he didn’t get a bid, he was crushed. “I’m done”. I told him that’s not how fraternity works. A week later, he sent me a Snapchat of his bid from another fraternity with the caption “GLEEEEFUL”. I see this kid all the time now, his name’s Carlos. He eats at the same cafeteria as me. He’s got his shoulders back, he’s with his boys now instead of by himself. It’s really, really cool to watch.
M: Awesome. Keep going.
K: I loved meeting the rush mentors from other fraternities. I see these guys all the time now and am close with a lot of them. A bonus I couldn’t have even expected.
M: You saw more fraternity pitches than most students will ever see. Any difference there from fall to spring?
K: Not really, some groups brought more brothers. The ones that kept their pitches concise and maxed out time to meet the guys were the ones PNMs kept talking about afterwards.
M: There’s a good argument that this rush mentor process can’t be pulled off in the fall, since there will likely be 600+ PNMs going through House Previews. W-
K: (jumps in) We can get 60. I’ll be recruiting my guys, the others will too. If we keep the tightly knit PNM groups I think we’ll be fine.
M: When you’re recruiting, how do you describe the job description of a rush mentor?
K: The big brother before you join and get your big brother. Make every PNM belong before they find a place to belong.
M: You’re making a lot of people happy right now. But don’t some guys think recruitment is supposed to be hard, so the best PNMs can stand out? How else can you explain the low percentages of men joining nationally through formal recruitment?
K: (pauses) That’s ridiculous. I don’t think that’s a commonly held mentality. All fraternities want to be selective, but that’s different. It’s actually a lot easier when you’re meeting PNMs who are comfortable and hold better conversations. (pauses again) Let’s see how this goes down in the fall.
M: Do you think rush mentors deserve credit if more men join the IFC this fall?
K: Oh yeah. And if the percentages go down, it’s our fault. We did this to change things up, so it would only go down if things stay the same and PNMs feel disconnected.
M: Last question. What would you say to other schools considering revamping their current orientation for something like this?
K: Look at FSU. All of of rush mentors came together after and said “Man, we wish we had this when we went through recruitment.” I’d say we transformed it.
Want to know more about the Phired Up IFC PNM Orientation model? Contact Matt Farrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.