FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Branden Stewart
Carmel, Ind. – The Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA) is partnering with Phired Up & TechniPhi to launch the inaugural Winter Growth Summit on December 3rd, 2020. Built for campus-based professionals who care about helping fraternities and sororities grow, and open to everyone who cares about the growth of fraternity and sorority, this mid-school year event prepares campus-based fraternity/sorority professionals to start their upcoming term prepared to help the chapters they support grow and thrive.
This major industry event, which will be entirely virtual in 2020, takes place the week prior to AFA’s Annual Meeting (also entirely virtual this year). Registration cost is only $50 and ½ of every registration fee will be given as a gift to support the AFA Foundation (AFAF) as a donation by Phired Up.
The event will run from 12:30pm Eastern Time to 4:30pm Eastern Time on Thursday, December 3rd, 2020. It will feature keynote speakers and multiple breakout sessions all focused on creating the future of fraternities and sororities by transforming the way people join. Winter Growth Summit will provide opportunities for professionals to learn about and engage in dialogue about helping all sororities and fraternities attract, select, and secure new members in this modern post-COVID world.
This event builds off of Phired Up’s summer Growth Summit which hosted over 500 professionals, volunteers, and students in 2020. Phired Up and AFA are partnering together for this event to provide a major industry moment for professionals to gather together in preparation for the coming year. Phired Up and AFA believe that focusing on the “pre-member experience” (everything that happens from the moment a student gets their first impression of sorority and fraternity life through their moment of initiation as a full member) is one of the most powerful ways to create a fraternity/sorority experience that is safer, healthier, more inclusive, and more in-line with the needs of the students of tomorrow.
“Genuine partnerships are among the most powerful tools we have to create lasting positive change in the interfraternal industry,” said Joslyn McGriff, interim Executive Director of AFA and the AFA Foundation. “AFA and the AFA Foundation are thrilled to support Phired Up & TechniPhi on their inaugural Winter Growth Summit. The ultimate recipients and beneficiaries of this professional development opportunity will be the undergraduate fraternity/sorority members who depend on their campus-based advisors and headquarters professionals to help them grow within their fraternity/sorority communities and roles.”
Matt Mattson, Phired Up’s President and co-Founder said, “AFA is so generous to allow us to partner together to serve fraternity/sorority professionals this way. We believe in AFA, we believe in the future of fraternity and sorority life, and we are forever grateful to the selfless fraternity/sorority professionals who have dedicated their careers to helping students experience the gift of membership.”
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About Phired Up & TechniPhi: Phired Up & TechniPhi help 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.
About AFA: The Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors was founded in 1976 to enhance its members’ abilities to foster impactful fraternity/sorority experiences. The vision of AFA is to be the catalytic force in aligning the fraternity/sorority experience with the changing dynamics and enduring principles of higher education. AFA is committed to professional development, academic and applied research that examines the entire spectrum of the fraternity/sorority experience and the advising profession, and collaborations within and between the higher education and interfraternal communities.
by Matt Farrell
A few weeks ago, LaRae Crenshaw hopped on one of our weekly ChapterBuilder demos. I love doing these demos. And I love it when a chapter leader finds out about them on their own because they’re just looking for help making their job easier.
Last week, I checked back in on LaRae’s account as I do sometimes with folks who participate in a demo and I saw LaRae (pictured right) and her sister Keiana (pictured left) were on a roll based on the relationship building activity levels and their tracking numbers. So, I reached out and asked if she could share their success!
If you want to grow your group, you’ll learn a lot from LaRae’s story.
Matt: Tell us a little about how you got here.
LaRae: My mom is a Zeta, she had me when she was in high school so I grew up as she was going to college. The sisters on her line made such an impact on her life, and I was able to see the benefits firsthand growing up.
I’m from Memphis, and went to Purdue as an out-of-state student. There were a lot of things I didn’t know about, even how big the rivalry with IU is.
I went to a Meet the Greeks event and met a sister named Jade. She started a conversation with me.
She had graduated and there were no active undergraduate members at the time. But she learned about my major and connected me with her line sister Kim, who had the same major as me.
They both just wanted to get to know me as a person, rather than trying to get me to join their sorority. That has stayed with me ever since.
Matt: Love that. After the friendship, what do you remember from their “pitch”?
LaRae: Becoming a better person through the sorority. A better person and a professional. I want to be a veterinarian, and that will eventually involve owning my own practice. I saw how this could help. The community service aspect was a real spark to me as well.
Matt: Before we talk about how you are growing your chapter. How did your chapter help you grow?
LaRae: I knew I had to be on top of my game, knew I couldn’t let my grades slip, and also knew that I could not let my dedication for joining Zeta slip. So that feeling of an extra class definitely helped me grow. After joining my GPA was higher, because I took time for what mattered in the moment and didn’t have time for distractions.
Matt: Some folks say that, “NPHC chapters don’t recruit, you wait for people to come to you.” How would you respond to that?
LaRae: It’s important for us to create a relationship, to make it as easy as possible for people to want to learn about us. It can be discouraging if people aren’t openly showing interest in your organization. You have to be patient and keep the relationship going no matter what. I try to remember they’re trying to take money into consideration, they’re trying to take timing into consideration.
It’s a lot of work trying to join, it’s even more work staying consistent, putting on programs, all of that.
So I understand why people don’t often openly approach us. We can’t be passive just because of that. If we want those people, we have to be around them and become friends.
Matt: Why – and how – did you bring ChapterBuilder into your process?
LaRae: Hailey from Phired Up came to talk to us, last winter I think. I started looking into creative and exciting ways to get people interested in what we do. Honestly, while on your website I just saw something pop up about ChapterBuilder and it looked interesting. We had been using Excel spreadsheets and it was never enough. ChapterBuilder let us not only organize, but prioritize – if they’re interested, not compatible, where they’re at.
We use it pretty heavily. We have 27 profiles in it right now and it’s helping us set up the future of our organization.
Matt: You had to have gotten some pushback. ChapterBuilder isn’t tradition, why should we ditch the spreadsheet…. How did you respond?
LaRae: Honestly our switch was easy. I got Keiana into it, she’s all about the organization aspect. She got really active in creating the forms and we put them on our Linktree and Instagram. We’ve gotten names straight from that form.
Matt: Tell me about these two forms you have. These are cool.
LaRae: So this first one, called “Interested in Talking to Us?” is for people who find us, who are doing their own research. It can be intimidating for people, wondering who they talk to or what to say, so this makes it easier for them.
The second is for people to give us the info of someone they know. Which then allows us to reach out. It will help them know what we belong to and why we are proud of that.
Matt: I can see someone filled that out for you, and I love how you started the conversation. Sharing that below so people reading this can learn from it.
How do you introduce Zeta Phi Beta to strangers?
LaRae: We definitely have to change our approach based on the person. Some people are very interested, and for them we jump right into the principles, and ask questions to see if they’ve actually done their research and see if they’re really interested.
If it’s someone who has no idea about Zeta Phi Beta, like people who we get from the second form, we just start by making it a personable conversation.
We’re people before we’re Zetas. We’re trying to get to know you before you come into our joining process – because that part is work for both of us.
Matt: Last question. Imagine every fraternity and sorority member across the country was reading this. What can they learn from your ChapterBuilder process?
LaRae: It’s about quality first. We want people that are community-oriented, who want to impact others with the work they plan on doing. We should be able to ask around and hear positive things.
Honestly when you have quality though, take as much quality as you can get. The more quality minds, the more creativity you’re gonna get, the better your programs, it all gets better.
Matt: I loved talking with you, LaRae. Tell us what’s next for you, and how this experience will elevate your career.
LaRae: I’m graduating this year with a degree in Animal Science. Excited about becoming a veterinarian and I can really see how ChapterBuilder will carry over to business.
It keeps you accountable for creating a connection with your potential interest, or clients if you will, and also keeps track of that extra information you may need.
I like that it gives you the little scale as to how active you’ve been, it’s good for Keiana and I. Friendly competition.
Want ChapterBuilder for free for your group? Email Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Matt Farrell
Less than two years ago, both Ry Beck and Gage Abell worked heavily in growth – but completely outside of the fraternity scope.
Now, they’re guiding Delta Sigma Phi through building an organization-wide growth system – with their past professional experiences helping shape priorities.
We enjoyed the chance to sit down with Ry (Director of Fraternity Growth) and Gage (Assistant Director of Fraternity Growth) to learn about their stories, tactics, and forecasts for the future.
Whether you are a member of Delta Sigma Phi or recruiter for another organization, we’re excited for how their story will shape yours.
Prompts from Phired Up are labeled in bold.
Where did your passion for growth come from?
Ry: In the context of fraternity, membership growth means creating more relationships and connections. If we’re providing the right experience, those relationships will go on to create positive personal development and community engagement opportunities for everyone involved. In short, our ability to grow the organization should mean we are broadening the positive impact of every individual within the organization.
In a previous role, I served as a Recruitment and Engagement Manager for a nonprofit called Princeton AlumniCorps. The organization provided professional and leadership development opportunities for recent Princeton University graduates and public interest professionals. My role on the team was to help students and our partner organizations find each other. Specifically, I recruited seniors and recent graduates with the goal of placing them with nonprofit organizations for one-year fellowship opportunities.
Very early into the role, I realized how important relationships were to the process. It wasn’t enough to know if someone had the skills and experience necessary for a job, I needed to understand how a particular fellowship aligned with someone’s personal life story. Our applicants each had a unique view of the world and imagined their lives a certain way after graduation. Some wanted more time to explore a passion, some had very calculated trajectories that required a certain “next step” to fit into their bigger picture. I needed to understand the narrative from their perspective if we were going to be successful.
As most student leaders and professionals have seen on most campuses over the years, fraternity and sorority recruitment tends to be a blur of impersonal events with surface-level interactions. I realize that is not a unique observation, but when I started working in this role for Delta Sigma Phi, I was excited to apply my experiences to help move the needle. We have to help people feel comfortable making genuine relationships, we need to accelerate the pace at which new relationships can be formed, and, in many ways, we need to start viewing prospective new members the same way other organizations view talent acquisition.
Gage: My passion for fraternity growth and Delta Sigma Phi originated from my extracurricular involvements. Growing up, I stayed very involved in sports, music, and community engagement. Togetherness and team-building were an essential part of each of these. As anyone who has been a part of a truly great team would say, the feeling is unparalleled and serves as a continuous driving force to replicate it. These experiences have influenced my motivation to develop action-oriented teams
Prior to joining staff at Delta Sigma Phi, I worked on political campaigns in Kentucky. In my role, I oversaw field teams which focus on direct voter contact including door knocks, phone calls, rallies, and more. A field team’s primary goal is to grow their list of identified supporters and turn them out on election day. The work heavily relies on establishing personal connections and creating a shared understanding between strangers, often occurring right on their doorstep. In nearly all aspects of campaigning, people are the most valuable asset. People are the voters, donor, volunteers, and greatest advocates. A people-powered campaign can be inspirational, infectious, and extremely motivating.
In more ways than not, fraternal organizations act and operate like a political campaign; in fact, it’s fitting we call new chapter expansions ‘campaigns’. The key to success lies in the common belief that we’re better together than we are separate. This shared vision keeps me motivated to grow our organization, and develop exceptional teams.
How are you so successful when it comes to recruiting men into Delta Sigma Phi? What are the tactics you live by?
Gage: Every year, tens of thousands of new members join a fraternity. Each of these members likely have a common chapter in their joining story- someone took initiative to reach out to him. This is a simple action-but the timing has to be perfect. We can’t let someone contact them first. So many chapters let their names list go uncontacted. They just wait to see who shows up to rush. When they do that, they are losing out on quality and quantity. We must contact first, be intentional with our follow up, and focus heavily on building meaningful personal relationships. To sum up, one of my favorite comparisons is to a work of modern art depicting an all-white canvas selling for upwards of $20 million. A skeptical onlooker states, “That’s so easy, I could have done that!”, to which the artist replies, “But you didn’t, I did.”
Ry: I’m going to steal from Nike here, “just do it”. Whatever action you can take today is going to be helpful. I hear so many excuses as to why a person won’t join, or why an outreach idea won’t work. People are so concerned with failure that they forget to try. In most cases, it’s not that people don’t know how to recruit, it’s that they choose not to take the actions necessary to recruit.
Not sure where you fall in that category? What if I asked you this question…“For one million dollars, in 24-hours, could you identify 100 students you’ve never met before?” If the answer is yes, then you know how to take the next step. If you don’t add 100 potential new members to your candidate pool in 24-hours, it’s not because you didn’t know how, it’s because you chose not to do it. If the answer is no, then training will help. I’m just willing to bet that most chapter leaders would take that bet and find a way. So, what makes us successful? We choose to take action every day. The plan can always be better, but you should take action with the knowledge and resources at your disposal and shoot your shot.
Growth in this era will look different. What do you want students to know about how you build a future growth strategy?
Ry: Know your market and leverage technology. Students’ preferences will always change, but the rate of change is exponentially faster now than during previous generations. Growth during this era means constantly assessing why students are coming to college, how they imagine their experience, and what they need by the time they graduate. Ask your own members what they want more often, ask students who don’t join what they want, keep learning and finding ways to fill the gaps.
Regarding technology, start using it intentionally. Get a CRM like ChapterBuilder, use Slack and Google Docs to share ideas, do something other than a group chat. If your chapter thinks sidewalk chalk and a notepad are going to help you recruit the best students on your campus, I hate to say it, but your chapter will be left behind. That goes for any Delta Sig chapters that are seeing this, too. Go talk to someone in your admissions office or in your athletic program and ask them how they recruit. I doubt your head football coach pulls out a notepad with someone’s name on it and then says that is the entire strategy. I get it, we join a friend group, but then we’re asked to run a business. The reality is that the business produces relationships that can have a real impact on your life. So, elevating your growth strategy by doing some market analysis and using technology will lead to incredible value now and later in life.