by Matt Mattson
Before we get into this, let’s give credit where credit is due. This whole post is based off of concepts that the corporate human resources world uses to onboard new employees. That means that these ideas are both backed up by the “real world,” and it also serves as an important reminder that your experience as a fraternity/sorority member is preparing you for your career in ways you may not even realize.
First let’s look at onboarding directly through the lens of human resources professionals in the workplace
Onboarding has four distinct levels, the Four C’s:
Compliance is the lowest level and includes teaching employees basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations.
Clarification refers to ensuring that employees understand their new jobs and all related expectations.
Culture is a broad category that includes providing employees with a sense of organizational norms — both formal and informal.
Connection refers to the vital interpersonal relationships and information networks that new employees must establish.
It’s probably pretty obvious how this can directly apply to fraternity/sorority life. Let me make a couple of important connections for each “C.”
Compliance. Do your newest members know the rules? Do they know what’s OK and what’s definitely not OK? Have you explicitly laid out not only the official policies, but also the “unwritten” rules along with the “why” of those rules as well as the consequences? Think about Social rules. Attendance rules. Financial rules. Paperwork rules. Academic rules. University rules, Council rules, Headquarters rules, and Chapter rules. Make a single document that outlines all of these things and review it weekly with your newest members. New members are the biggest threat to a chapter’s existence and to the safety of other members and guests… not because they’re bad or anything… because they often don’t really understand the rules they’re expected to follow.
Clarification. Do your newest members know the opportunities they have to participate and truly matter in the life of the chapter? Can they shadow older members and leaders? Can they meet with leaders of other groups and campus professionals? Could you create opportunities for new members to design their own experience to help create the fraternity/sorority experience they crave?
Culture. How do members treat each other? How do members talk to one another and to folks outside the organization. How do members hold one another accountable? Culture is not often taught well in the classroom. It is felt. It is passed down from member to member. It can also be reset if a group of new members commits to changing the way they communicate with and treat members of the organization.
Connection. Are each of your new members connected to a friendship group (a sub-group of members that they feel close with)? Are their “sisterhood”/”brotherhood” experiences created through genuine connection and natural, meaningful, real conversations or just through large group events? Fraternity and sorority is a relationship business, yet too many chapters often fail to intentionally foster healthy and productive relationships.
As someone who cares about educating and onboarding new members, consider these “Four C’s” when designing your experience.
*For more information on the source of these “Four C’s,” click here and see page 2. Talya Bauer created this excellent resource.
by Matt Mattson
I’m certain that 2020 is the future. I’ve been waiting for the future to arrive ever since I was a kid, and I’m 100% sure it’s now finally here.
As we roll into a new decade, allow me to try to predict the future (and consider how some of the most important trends will impact sororities and fraternities). This is just me having some phun and sharing some of the things I’ve been reading lately (lots of fun articles linked).
[Related Phired Up Blogs: Growth Technology: The Future of Fraternity & Sorority. Better Data, Better Members. Recruiting Generation Z. Get Back To Basics.]
These are 10 of my predictions. What are your yours?
Culturally-Based Organizations Will Be The Innovators. While most of the industry will be looking to the traditional “leaders” (big, old, wealthy organizations) to point the way, great innovation always happens when opportunity and hunger meet… That’s exactly where the suddenly maturing Latinx, Asian-Interest, Gender-Inclusive, and Multicultural organizations of today find themselves. Look to them to point toward the future of fraternity/sorority. Demographics and societal trends all seem to be creating a perfect incubator for explosive growth.
People (including students) Need Rescued From Pressure. We already know that today’s college students are dealing with more anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges than any generation before. But this isn’t just about college students. It’s everyone. Part of our job at Phired Up/TechniPhi is to make people’s lives easier. We need to relieve the pressure (while everyone else seems to be amping it up). We need to pastor to and care for everyone we can. Fraternity/sorority members, in particular, will respond gratefully to anyone who can empathize with their daily reality and help relieve pressure (in practical ways — not just telling them “they matter”). Let’s relieve the pressure.
Folx Are Craving Humanity, Civility, and Genuine Connection. 2020 is an election year. Our society will be overflowing with vitriol, skepticism, #fakenews, anger, and tribalism. Meanwhile, today’s students are desperately looking everywhere for something real, something human, and something civil. Suddenly classic fraternity and sorority is wildly relevant! Suddenly brotherhood and sisterhood really mean something, especially when juxtaposed against the rage of the outside world.
New “Influencers” Will Emerge in Fraternity/Sorority. Influencer Marketing isn’t new, but it is only trickling into fraternity/sorority so far. 2020 will change that. YouTubers and TikTok and Instagrammers will take control of the story of fraternity whether we like it or not. We have to be at the front edge of influence. (*Note: The bit on “Augmented Reality” in that linked article has me thinking too, but our FSL world won’t start experimenting with virtual house tours and “imagine yourself in our letters” experiential marketing for a while now, in my opinion. They should, but they won’t.)
Partnership & Collaboration-Advocates Will Start To Emerge. I don’t have an article I’m going to reference here… I just predict that this will be the year when campuses and HQs are tired of positioning themselves against each other, and a few key players will emerge as leaders in bringing the industry together. I want us to play that role, of course, but others as well.
Higher Ed is Ready for Predictive Analytics (and we’re getting ready to deliver). Read this from a Digital Marketing Institute Article… “Analytics will also become a major, and mainstream, part of ensuring students are getting the most from education and graduating on time. By using predictive analytics institutions can provide students with support services before they encounter problems. For example, the University of Nevada is already using analytics to pinpoint when students need earlier intervention.” Phired Up & TechniPhi is working to create this for risk reduction and potentially other applications through our technology!
Reviews Reviews Reviews. We need more easily accessible, reputable, and relevant testimonials about fraternities and sororities. 68% of Gen Z read 3 or more reviews before buying something for the first time with their own money. GreekRank and other similar services will only increase in prominence and importance in the fraternity/sorority growth sphere. Not to mention the emergence of the Greek Life Scorecard from The Piazza Institute/Penn State becoming a REALLY important topic of conversation.
Artificial Intelligence Is Legitimately Impacting Higher Ed (and we need to be in the conversation). Read this from an Inside Higher Ed article “…as colleges work to connect the dots, by creating data warehouses that draw on activity across systems, sometimes in real time. And institutions are putting the data into the hands of administrators charged with student success, giving professors a richer picture of their students and, in some cases, letting students get answers to their questions in new ways. What makes this round of technology different is artificial-intelligence algorithms, which can bring raw numbers into focus in new ways and can detect patterns fast enough to make meaningful interventions. Connecting the dots can form a rich paint-by-number of each student, a portrait colleges hope will increase retention and deliver clear ROI on the tech investment. And every student saved from failure helps colleges maintain enrollment during this time of challenging demographics.” Imagine the applications of smart AI when it comes to risk interventions, retention interventions, and designing custom member education experiences based on individualized membership profiles!
DMs Are The New Org Fairs. Direct and private social media interaction is continuing to emerge in the corporate marketing world, and it will flourish in fraternity/sorority. If you don’t know how to build a names list (or a new member class) via IG direct message, it’s time to ask some undergrads for their advice. They’re already doing it and it’s changing the game. It’s not a bad thing either. There is genuine connection happening in a one-to-one engagement effort that is likely to lead to real face-to-face interactions!
Try Before You Buy. Colleges are starting to experiment with it (Arizona State has a whole online freshman year it offers that you don’t have to pay for until the end!). This article mentions it too. Some smart sororities and fraternities will start to experiment with alternative payment structures that aren’t fear based like the current models (front loaded to maximize payments by new members), but are value-centered and provide a major differentiating factor. This will be experimental for now, but it will push the dues structures of the future. For now, the most practical trend will be financial transparency! The Panhellenic world will lead this trend, and others will follow.
That’s it! Those are my 10 predictions. What do you predict?
by Matt Mattson
Sometimes it feels like there is so much OUT OF YOUR CONTROL as a fraternity/sorority leader. Sometimes it feels like history, tradition, higher powers, bureaucracy, or any number of other things are keeping today’s fraternity/sorority leaders from creating the future they crave.
I believe you can take control. I believe you can create the future you imagine for sororities and fraternities.
Let me explain and hopefully give you a practical framework to approach your time as a leader.
I believe there are three questions every sorority/fraternity chapter, council, community, and inter/national organization must answer with absolute clarity and certainty. If answered, these three questions will fuel your ability to take control. These three questions will help you see the way forward.
Who are we for?
What are we about?
How do we treat each other?
WHO ARE WE FOR? The people we attract, select, and secure for membership in our organizations (and how we do that) will determine our future. They will either be a distraction and a liability, or they will be our greatest asset. We are built from our parts. We must decide on smart ways to ensure that only the right people are attracted, selected, and secured for membership. We can make our organizations significantly safer and healthier if we make clear WHO WE ARE FOR. We can make the choice to open our doors only to people who are mature enough to handle the responsibility of membership. Here’s a resource to help you think through your answer to this question.
WHAT ARE WE ABOUT? We must be about more than cliché tropes like “leadership, scholarship, service, and brotherhood/sisterhood.” Today’s students are demanding a clear return on investment. Today’s (and tomorrow’s) students want worldly, cause-focused, impact-driving opportunities for involvement. And your current members will find empowerment and pride in clear direction, purpose, and differentiation. What are you about? Where are you going? Are you an organization with a mission, or are you an organization on a mission? How can you ensure that all of your efforts are aligned with your answers to these questions? Here’s a resource to help you think through this even more (with a fun video included).
HOW DO WE TREAT EACH OTHER? The little things add up to the big things. Do your members encourage each other and lift each other up? Or is yours a culture of snark, and jabs, and cutting each other down (even if just for fun). Do you talk about important stuff every once in a while, or is it always pop culture, sports, and fun stuff? Do your members show up on time? Do your members dress up for meeting? Do your members take the small rules and responsibilities seriously or not? It’s your culture, make it what you want… but remember the little things add up to the big things. What jokes are okay? What comments are tolerated? What do you allow, and therefore endorse (whether actively or passively)? What are the non-negotiable cultural norms you, as a leader, are naming and reinforcing?
As a fraternity/sorority leader, it can seem like there are a million things you could focus on. I want to encourage you to focus only on these three. I believe these are the three most pressing and powerful questions a leader of one of our organizations can answer to create the future of fraternity/sorority life.
I can tell you one thing… answering these three questions as the leader of a company has been transformational. Our company found its footing when we leaned into these three simple questions. This is relevant far beyond running a chapter… these questions can help you direct your leadership for the rest of your life (and career).
by Matt Mattson
For the past few years I’ve been presenting a program that has either been titled, “Drone Shots & Glitter: The best and worst sorority recruitment videos and what we can learn from them” or “Viral Videos And How To Cure Them” on campuses and at conferences around North America (want me to present to your community? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). It’s the same program, just a different silly title.
*Note: This content is tilted toward Panhellenic sororities, but there are lots of cool examples of non-Panhellenic groups getting into the promotional video game (for better or worse). I’ve included some of those examples below, and all the lessons and principles shared herein are universally applicable to all chapters’ marketing and promotional efforts.
This program has become one of my favorite things to present. And every year, a whole new batch of sorority (and fraternity) videos is ready for review and reflection. I’ve learned that these videos really get people worked up (and not always in a good way). I offer these videos for your review and ask you to keep an open mind.
As you’re watching, consider the two questions I ask all my audiences to consider as they’re watching these videos…
Let me share two videos, and then check out some tips and lessons… then MORE 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 recent recruitment/promotional videos. Ask yourself the two questions we listed at the beginning of the blog as you enjoy each of these videos.
After you’ve watched these three, scroll down for our top 5 tips to make your recruitment video great!
Here are some more videos! Binge away! There are all sorts of examples out there. Use these to consider the ways in which the story of sorority and fraternity is being told right now… and think about how YOU can take control of your story. (P.S. Check out some TikTok examples HEYYO… SORORITY CHECK! and YouTuber examples of the way the story of sorority and fraternity is being told in real time today).
(bad language warning for the video below! yikes!)
This made our house mom yell at us for being loud! Make it go viral! #fyp #foruyou #UNOirl #holidayhacks #voiceeffects #sororitycheck
Lots more TikToks here: https://www.tiktok.com/tag/sororitycheck?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Matt Farrell
Carmel, Ind. — The Phired Up and TechniPhi team is proud to announce another headquarters as a full-adoption partner of ChapterBuilder.
Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity and Phired Up have been partners for more than 10 years. During this time, the Fraternity has grown to the largest membership size in its history. Delta Sigma Phi has used ChapterBuilder specifically for new chapter developments, but beginning this month, the tool will be available to every chapter throughout the country.
“Delta Sigma Phi is committed to delivering the best membership experience possible. This new resource is an investment in the members and advisors who are working every day to attract the highest caliber student leaders on their campuses,” said Executive Director Phillip Rodriguez. “We know that utilizing ChapterBuilder will ensure our members have the tools necessary to implement a true values-based growth strategy.”
As the higher education landscape continues to change, Generation Z is producing new recruitment challenges for all organizations. CRM technology has rapidly emerged in other industries to not only manage such challenges, but serve as growth systems for organizations to flourish.
“For 10 years, we have had the fortunate opportunity to work with Delta Sigma Phi. They have a proven track record of supporting their undergraduate brothers, alumni and higher education partners,” said Matt Mattson, co-Founder of Phired Up and TechniPhi. “I am remarkably proud to see their commitment in choosing to utilize data, a standardized growth system, and advanced analytics that ChapterBuilder provides to engineer the future of their fraternity.
Delta Sigma Phi is the 11th headquarters to utilize ChapterBuilder fully for all chapters.
TechniPhi’s description of ChapterBuilder reads, “ChapterBuilder brings potential new members to you, alerts you when it’s time to follow up, gets all your members and advisors involved, keeps recruitment organized, and even provides real-time analytics to make your recruitment process smarter than ever!”
In an era where undergraduates are seeking resources and support to meet demanding recruitment goals, TechniPhi is thrilled to offer these tools to our partners nationally. Learn more about Delta Sigma Phi at deltasig.org
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About TechniPhi: TechniPhi (a sister company of 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 solutions for every aspect of the pre-member experience from first-impression through initiation.