Tom Murphy, Phi Mu Delta National Fraternity’s Executive Director recently shared some amazing statistics about the 2013-2014 school year for their organization.
Before Fall 2013, the 96-year-old fraternity had 15 chapters and colonies and a total of 309 undergraduate members.
Today, just 9 months later, the organization has just under 600 total undergraduate members at 17 schools. This dramatic growth, according to Murphy equals “the most initiates we’ve seen in at least 35 years.”
“We are who we are as a successful fraternity because of the hard work of a lot of people,” said Murphy, “and I absolutely count Phired Up’s partnership with Phi Mu Delta as an important factor in our success.”
When asked how the organization achieved such dramatic growth this year, Tom mentioned three factors:
Phired Up has been a partner of Phi Mu Delta for many years. This level of commitment from both parties has resulted in custom-built curriculum that Phired Up’s trainers have tailored to the unique needs and strengths of Phi Mu Delta men. Fall 2013 training sessions included never-before-attempted deeply experiential social challenges that allowed members to gain the confidence necessary to execute on their Dynamic Recruitment action plans.
This isn’t the first time we’ve written about Phi Mu Delta’s recruitment success. Several years ago, this was posted on Phi Mu Delta’s website and reposted on Phired Up’s, “Phi Mu Delta saw a 44% increase in the number of men pledged to join Phi Mu Delta this fall! Great work gentlemen and special thanks goes to Phired Up! Productions and Josh Orendi.” At the time, Josh Orendi — one of Phired Up’s founders — said this, “Tom Murphy deserves a lot of credit for PMD’s success. I can’t think of another Executive Director that is more passionate or puts in more time doing hands-on development work with his chapters.”
Murphy continues to be unique amongst fraternity executives. He put 6 weeks of unbelievable on-the-ground effort this winter into a major expansion project at Ohio Northern University. His deep involvement resulted in a huge success story — one of several new groups started this semester.
When asked about other factors making Phi Mu Delta successful, Tom immediately mentioned the organization’s bold decisions to close and then re-start chapters that are failing to live up to the Phi Mu Delta standard. The organization will not tolerate hazing, nor will it put up with risk management irresponsibility. As a result, Phi Mu Delta is offering a truly special fraternity option to students looking to be a part of something values-based, and focused on brotherhood, service, and democracy.
Dynamic Recruitment Spotlight Archives: This article is one in a series of spotlight interviews we’ve posted over the years. Read more here – National Fraternity Doubles In Size; Credits ‘Living Our Values‘ | New #1, Alabama Takes Over as Nations Largest Greek Community | Meet The Fastest Growing Fraternity In The Nation; Alpha Sigma Phi | How Alcohol (or the lack thereof) is Helping One Fraternity Grow Fast
by Taylor Deer
Here are the Rules:
Here’s the game:
Sounds un-winnable doesn’t it? That’s because it is. If you’re saying to yourself, “hey maybe we could like, throw bigger parties or something” you’re clearly “that guy” who always goes bankrupt first in Monopoly and blames it on the dice.
Clearly, it’s a fools game, and sadly we convince ourselves to keep playing it year, after year, after year. When we lose the game, by getting a smaller pledge class than the rest. We somehow convince ourselves that we won and that next year will be better, we then start preparing to be better at the game that we will ultimately lose. Every. Time. We. Play.
It’s madness! Ask yourself, is your chapter playing the game? Really, is your chapter playing the game? Then there are two possibilities.
Here’s an idea. What if you never played the game at all? In fact, what if you invented your own game? What if it looked like this?
Here are the Rules:
Here’s the Game.
Which game would you play?
by Matt Mattson
How do the best chapters prepare for a successful recruitment period in the early parts of the fall semester? That’s the question every fraternity chapter recruitment chair should be asking right now.
I had a recruitment chair that I personally coach ask me that recently, and he’s what I recommended…
Build a month-long, detailed, fall recruitment calendar that starts on MOVE-IN day, and ends a month later. This is really important. Every week should include, at a minimum, the following:
a. 2 Call Sessions
b. 2 Strategies to Grow Your Names List (6 Cylinders Ideas)
c. 2 Recruitment Events (Mostly away from the house until 3 weeks into the semester)
d. As many 1-on-1’s/2-on-1’s/Small Activities as you can fit in.
e. 1 Day to vote on prospects.
Here is a sample from a past year. It’s very detailed and pretty intense. That’s what the best chapters do.
Remember, building your recruitment plan depends on your ability (along with the workhorses in your chapter) to effectively answer the following five questions in detail.
This is a collection of results-driving summer recruitment resources from Phired Up Productions. The summer is an incredible opportunity to build meaningful relationships with incoming students. Those relationships, when properly managed, can result in a high quantity of high quality men joining your chapter (before school even starts on some campuses).
by Vince Fabra
When delivering a keynote to a fraternity audience, I tell the crowd, “Recruitment is a 365-day-a-year process.” This statement is met with agreeing head nods and guys saying things like, “True dat” and “That is what I am talking about!” We all can agree that we should never stop growing our network with the hopes of growing our fraternity, but there are certain times on the calendar when recruitment becomes and afterthought. Summer is one of those times.
Over the years, Phired Up has written several blogs and provided many resources on summer recruitment. Now, we have made a video – 3 Keys To Summer Fraternity Recruitment (Click to watch now)
1. Get informed on important dates – Summer Previews, Orientation, Welcome Week are all prime opportunities for you to meet incoming and returning students. Rather than racking your brain to come up with ways to bring potential joiners to campus, just be sure to have a presence at these important opportunities.
2. Have a reason to reach out – My number 1 recommendation is to reach out as an individual – NOT AS MEMBER OF YOUR FRATERNITY. Just make friends. If you are going to reach out as a member of your organization, give incoming and returning students something that is more exciting than just learning about your fraternity. A scholarship or a survey on Greek Life are perfect reasons to reach out to strangers who may be on campus. Also, a these tactics will help you acquire a ton of names to put on your names list.
3. Offer consistent follow up – “Consistent” does not mean “constant.” Rather than blasting these people with information, do your best to build relationships with the folks you have met over the summer. That way, when they arrive on campus for the fall, they know they have a friend in you.
Your goal this summer – Get names and contact information and turn as many of those into relationships by the fall. We have plenty of resources that will help you do so. Good luck.
Recruitment is a 365-day-a-year process. I know you are reading this, nodding your head, saying to yourself something like, “True dat.” “That is what I am talking about!”
Lesson 1: Do Summer Recruitment
The first lesson learned is simple: you should do SOMETHING in the summer to drive recruitment results if you want to truly recruit the highest quantity of the highest quality members. Many organizations simply do not do summer recruitment. Recruitment efforts over the summer are often found in the big Midwest schools, schools in some Southern areas, and toward the west coast. For whatever reason, the cultures of these fraternity (and rarely sorority) communities has evolved to not only partake in, but often depend upon summer recruitment to build their membership for the upcoming year. Typically the focus is on recruiting incoming freshmen before they even get to campus so that they can move directly into housed chapters, though we do know of some schools, like Gettysburg College, that uses the summer to build relationships with second year students because of a deferred recruitment process.
Whatever the situation, and wherever your school is located, we would recommend exploring summer recruitment as an opportunity to build some early relationships when many chapters on your campus might not be doing anything with regard to recruitment. Since “Quantity Drives Quality,” the more relationships you have over going into the school year, the better CHANCE you have to recruit the quality and quantity of members you desire.
Even if it seems impossible, impractical, or just plain weird to recruit people over the summer, whether you are a fraternity or sorority, BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS during the summer with non-Greek or incoming students can be greatly beneficial. Without the distractions of classes, other organizations, dorm life, etc., the summer offers a great opportunity to develop some friendships (a.k.a. leads) with fellow or future students in your town, neighboring communities, over social media , and through service, leadership, or athletic activities. Do something over the summer to keep your year-round values-based recruitment momentum going.
Lesson 2: Quantity Drives Quality (even in the summer)
“You can not recruit who you do not know,” and this is true even in summer recruitment. The first step to a successful summer recruitment is building a comprehensive plan for MEETING PROSPECTS. Some typical strategies for this include: 1) Prospecting Calls, 2) High School Visits, 3) Summer Fairs and Conferences, 4) Leadership Retreats, 5) Service Events, 6) Social Networking Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and 7) Partnering with the School to Position Your Members. You can learn more about all of these ideas by reading the “6 Cylinders “ handouts Phired Up uses in its Dynamic Recruitment Workshops (search through for the summer ideas).
Many, if not most, successful summer-recruiting-chapters spend a lot of effort making “cold calls” during the summer by telephoning incoming freshman students from a list distributed to them by the university. There are some obvious inherent problems in cold calling as a recruitment tactic for fraternities and sororities – the most obvious of which is that you seem like a disreputable telemarketer trying to sell lifelong friendship and a commitment to values ‐ in other words, you seem like a cult leader trying to recruit people by interrupting their dinner with a badly scripted phone call. Plus every other chapter on campus might be calling the same kid at the same time and that probably turns more people off of Greek Life as a whole at these schools than anyone could possibly imagine.
However,prospecting calls is where most of the best results come from for many summer recruiting chapters — so, if you do choose to do “cold calls,” do them well. There are pages and pages to write on the subject of how to do a good fraternity/sorority recruitment cold call over the summer (and there are more related resources below) but for the sake of brevity, here are some quick tips.
1) Be friendly, genuine, and helpful. Practice with your members for a while first to work the “cheeziness” or “sales-y-ness” out of your approach. Remember, people can hear whether you are smiling or not, and they want to talk with happy people. Most importantly” call with something of value to offer them” a scholarship opportunity, a service event in their town, a leadership retreat you are hosting, or just help from a friendly upperclassman. Call for two simple reasons” to help them, and to build trust for a future call or meeting” do not cold call to recruit (recruitment comes later)!
2) Know your call objectives and talking points. Have a script/talking points that you have practiced. Know what you want to get out of the call (objectives ). Here are some sample objectives: A) Be a welcoming, helpful student from your school, B) Introduce the scholarship opportunity (or something of value to them), C)Learn more about the person, and be interested in him, D) Set up a time to meet soon, E) Leave with a positive, non-threatening perception of what people in your organization are like.
3) Fail your way to success. Look forward to having people hang up on you. Be excited when someone tells you to stop calling them. Celebrate when someone tells you to do things to yourself that are anatomically impossible! The more failed prospecting calls you make, the more chance you have of building a huge list of prospective members. Cold calling is a numbers game. You will find some success, but it will be buried beneath a lot of disappointing hang-ups, caller-ID blocks, and disinterested people on the other end of the line. The more bad calls you happen upon though, the better the chance the next call will be a huge success.
Lesson 3: Think Small Activities
If you got a call in the May following your senior year of high school from someone purporting to be a frat guy who said, “Hi, I am from Alpha Beta Gamma fraternity at the college you are coming to. Me and my brothers are doing this awesome camping trip this weekend deep in the woods. Would you like to come and learn more about our brotherhood?” How would you react? I would imagine that banjo music from the movie Deliverance along with a clear image of how these frat guys were going to show me their “brotherhood” utilizing some rituals and paddles deep in the woods, and then I would hang up on the guy. Your big summer recruitment events and outings are probably a blast for you and your brothers, but for the “best freshmen in the new class,” these are events to be avoided for personal safety reasons if nothing else!
Chapters we have worked with over the summer have used trial and error to learn that better relationships are built with potential members through (small activities ) dinner, coffee, lunch, etc. with just a few members than are built at big fraternity recruitment events. If you are going to have summer recruitment functions as a chapter, think about using them for “closing” opportunities as opposed to early relationship building. Focus on small activities – lots and lots of small activities with lots and lots of potential members so that you can really get to know these people in comfortable settings.
For other relationship building opportunities during the summer, consider: 1) Partnering with the university to offer house tours during orientation, 2) Offer to take parents and student out to breakfast before their day of summer orientation, or 3) Make home visits to the best prospects so that mom and dad can see how great members of your chapter are.
Lesson 4: Mules Are on the Beach
I wish I could say that during the summer the apathetic members of your chapters get energized and are willing to make cold calls, help with recruitment activities, and actively build relationships with tons of incoming students. But they do not. And they probably will not no matter what you do. Get over it. Gather the “workhorses” of your chapter, and get to work. The “mules” of your chapter are on the beach, making excuses, taking vacation (all summer long), saying they “need a break,” or they just plain disappear entirely out of communication for the whole summer. Get over it. Get to work.
Overall, the most challenging part of running a successful summer recruitment effort is managing the chapter when many of your members are spread out around the region, state, country and sometimes world. There are not easy answers to figure this out, just questions for you to consider.
Who will call prospects? How will the chapter know who is doing what and what results they are getting? Who will be at recruitment functions? How will names get added to the master names list? How will multiple chapter members get to know prospects in far away places?
A vital conversation to have as you are planning for summer recruitment should be about membership selection. Who will give out bids? On what authority? What is the measurable values-based selection criteria on which we will determine who deserves an invitation for membership? How will the chapter know who is being considered for a bid, who is getting a bid, who has gotten a bid, who accepted a bid, and who did not accept a bid? Are we o.k. with only a few members determining who will be invited for membership in our organization? Should we wait until the Fall to actually give out bids, and only build relationships during the summer?
Summer recruitment can be a great way to increase the quantity of quality members in your chapter, but it takes a comprehensive plan, strong focus on everyday behaviors, and a lot of stick-to-it-ness.
The biggest mistake I see fraternities make during summer recruitment is failing to develop relationships appropriately. Most groups dive right into asking potential members about fraternity before they even get to know them at all. In fact, I will often ask fraternity men how they first contact a potential member over the summer… They often respond with this “cold call script.”
“Hi I am Bobby from Alpha Beta Gamma Fraternity. Have you thought about fraternity life?”
Bobby, you interrupted my dinner, I do not know who you are, I barely know what a fraternity is, and why should I tell you what I have or have not thought about?! Oh, and by the way… yes, I have thought about fraternity life. I have thought about how fraternities are _____, _______, and ______. (you do not want to know what words they use to fill in the blanks!).
Instead of diving headfirst into “recruitment talk” with the strangers you are calling, try to slowly move them throughout the summer from 1) stranger, to 2) acquaintance, to 3) friend, to 4) Potential New Member, to 5) Fraternity man. You can not jump from 1 to 5. Do not treat a 1 or a 2 like a 3 or a 4. Develop the relationship.
Many successful chapters think of the summer in three phases.
Phase 1: Prospecting (May 1-June 1)
Phase 1 is filled with prospecting cold calls, Facebook prospecting, and high school visits. The objective in Phase 1 is to get the opportunity to meet (face-to-face) as many incoming students as possible. Use the sample call scripts we provide to reach out to as many people as possible during this phase. Do high school visits to the top 20 feeder high schools for your college. Build Facebook groups for incoming students. Try every technique you can to simply get an opportunity to meet face-to-face with potential members. Your calls and presentations should not yet be about fraternity recruitment. Instead, offer the incoming students you are talking to something of value to them (i.e., scholarship, service opportunity, leadership program, advice for incoming students/parents, networking event, etc.). Use that “something of value” to open the door to a potential future relationship.
Phase 2: (June 1-July 1)
Phase 2 is about building friendships through small, normal, unintimidating activities. Your job here is just to hang out with potential members in really simple, really friendly, really easy activities. Think: dinner, coffee, lunch, pick-up-sports in their town, dinner, coffee, lunch, dinner, coffee, lunch (oh, did I say those already?!). The objective of Phase 2 is to honestly just get to know these people. Sure, everyone will probably know that you are doing fraternity recruitment, but there is no need to be high pressure during this phase. Some organizations will choose to take an aggressive approach and propose a life-changing opportunity (fraternity membership) during this phase — which is not a bad idea at all, but most high quality potential members will need a lot of information before they can make a commitment over the summer… after all, they probably have not even been on campus yet!
Note on Parents: This phase of the summer recruitment process is a great time to focus on parents. They are an important decision maker/influence on whether or not your prospect chooses to join. Great chapters recognized that summer recruitment might be 30% about the potential members, and 70% about the parents. Talk their language. Connect them with your parents. Recognize that they are looking for you to demonstrate (not just talk about) responsible behavior that will help their child become successful. Your website, mailing materials, home visits, and phone calls should all be prepared with parents deeply in mind.
Phase 3: Pre-Closing/Closing (July 1-First Day of Fall Classes)
During Phase 3, there is no doubt that fraternity recruitment is happening. In fact, this is the time (and I might argue that not UNTIL now) to do summer fraternity recruitment events (lake house, barbecue, baseball game, float/rafting trip, paintball, etc.). These events offer an opportunity to introduce your now friends to the fraternity. Most of your members should probably know the potential members by now, and the events or outings will be natural, fun, and comfortable for everyone. During this phase, ASK! Either pre-close (If we were to ask you to join, what would you say? ), or after you have pre-closed, go ahead and try to close the deal!
Our friend Alex Carrick, a past consultant for Phi Delta Theta Fraternity wrote a four part series of blogs in 2012 for fraternities about SUMMER RECRUITMENT . He did a fantastic job (and there are lots of hints that he’s a Dynamic Recruitment fan spread throughout the blogs. We wanted to make sure we shared these great summer recruitment tips with all our readers. Thanks Alex for letting us share your great ideas!
Think about it. Summer is the perfect time to get a head start before the thought of recruitment crosses other chapter’s collective minds. If you have never done summer recruitment it may feel a little bit strange. The goal of this series of blog posts is to take out the guess work and give you a path to follow. Read more here .
After covering the basics, the next step is to set up the structure that will propel your chapter to success in summer recruitment. Remember that the key to recruitment is making friends. Therefore the foundation for your summer recruitment plan should be to create opportunities to build relationships. Crazy right? Read more here .
After creating a flawless Summer Recruitment foundation there’s only one question left: where do you find people? Here’s a couple strategies: Read more here.
Hopefully at this point you have executed a successful Summer Recruitment program and have numerous guys signed before they step on campus (assuming that it’s within the rules). The real magic happens once those men you recruited turn around and start recruiting for you. Read more here .
Phired Up has written a lot about the overwhelming success of the Recruitment Scholarship as a tactic to drive names onto an your Names List. We even have an example scholarship application in our free resources. Offer a $500-$2500 scholarship for men who represent what it means to be a gentlemen. Solicit applications through high school counselors, mailers, social media, direct campaigns to lists of incoming students, etc. Interview all the candidates in person (a great first recruitment conversation). Invite them to other small activities with you and your brothers.
Summer Calling Scripts: During summer recruitment for many fraternities, prospecting calls are an important component of their recruitment plan. Phired Up recruitment experts have written two sample scripts for use during those calls. These scripts can be downloaded here .
Prospecting calls (or “cold calls”) are really only acceptable in the summer when there is no other way to get access to incoming students. It is important to focus on the objectives of these calls. The call is NOT A RECRUITMENT CALL. It is a call to a) come across as a helpful student, and b) get an opportunity to meet the person face-to-face.
Here are some tips for prospecting calls (these were originally from an E-mail that we had written to a student who asked for advice on summer cold calls)
1. Be Friendly and Genuine — No surprise there, I know, but it is important to practice talking with a smile on your face and MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY, actually call with the intention of helping someone. If you are calling with a generous, charitable attitude, that will come through on the call and they’ll be more receptive to you.
2. Know Your Talking Points and Call Objectives — Know why you are calling, and have a list of clear talking points that you have PRACTICED. I cannot emphasize this enough, practice makes perfect.3. Call with “Something of Value” to Offer — This is key. When you are making these calls you need a legitimate reason to be calling, and that reason should not be to benefit you. Offer a scholarship, service opportunity, tour of campus, invitation to a welcome lunch, etc. Have a reason to call, and offer the person you are calling something of value to them.
4. Get a Time to Meet — You are not closing any deals over the phone. A cold call is meant to set up a time to meet again soon.
5. Get Permission for Further Contact — “Is it cool if I connect with you on facebook?” “Can I send you an E-mail with a link to the scholarship application?” You get the idea.
6. Failure is Like a Drug — People WILL HANG UP ON YOU. People WILL GET MAD AT YOU. Love it, need it, bathe in rejection. If you let a failed call get you jacked up for making the next call a success, the rest of this will be a lot easier
Alpha Gamma Rho Summer Recruitment Outline
Chi Psi Blog “7 Ways To Take Your Summer Recruitment To The Next Level ”
Tau Kappa Epsilon “Tips For S.U.M.M.E.R. Recruitment“
by Matt Mattson
This work that I do with Phired Up Productions is personal.
For 14 years I’ve professionally worked in the fraternity/sorority world. I am really proud of the work that I’ve done, but it’s been so much more than work — so much more than a job. This is my life. I don’t wake up in the morning and go to work. I wake up in the morning and quite literally think about how I can make fraternity/sorority life better.
I am a proud fraternity man.
Fraternity has made me a better human. I’m a better worker because of the collaboration and discipline my fraternity taught me. I’m a better community member because of the service work that I organized and sweated through. I’m a better friend because of the empathy I gained from my brothers. I’m a better man because of the respect for women, men, straight people, gay people, trans people, people from different cultures and races, and people with different abilities than me — all of whom I first got to truly know through my fraternity. I’m a better dad to my two daughters because of the patience, caring, and life-purpose I learned from fraternity. I’m a proud fraternity man.
I started sharing some Tweets a couple days ago expressing publicly how proud I am of my fraternal membership. We don’t do that enough publicly. We don’t communicate clearly and consistently the important and powerful ways we’ve been changed by fraternity.
Will you join me? Will you Tweet #IAmAProudFraternityMan or #IAmAProudSororityWoman and follow it with a small piece of your story?
Sharing these statements won’t recruit more people, or convince non-joiners to change their minds, but it will help with our overall growth goals as a fraternal movement. Here’s how: practice. Most of us don’t talk about our experience outside of our fraternal walls — especially once we’ve graduated from college, so when we get a chance to do so we’re typically underprepared and end up underdelivering. Start shaping your power statements. Tweet these statements of pride as a way to practice. When I started writing mine, the act of writing them helped me remember (realize?) some of my own truths.
Here are some statements I’ve written so far all in one place…
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. I learned more in my membership than almost anywhere else. I’m a kinder, more caring man because of fraternity.
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. When I joined I was directionless but discerning. Membership helped me understand people deeply.
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. College wasn’t about parties for me. Membership taught me appreciation of diversity and how to truly lead.
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. I’ve built a successful, cause-based career based on lessons learned as a chapter officer.
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. My ritual wasn’t hazing. It was a powerful, spiritual, life-long commitment to serving others.
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. My daughters will see their daddy as an example of a gentleman bcuz of what @alphasigs taught me.
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. I learned about values-based living from no other place in college except @alphasigs
April marks for many of us the beginning of the end of the semester. Finals are approaching, quickly followed by the summer break. Between our classes, our jobs and our activities, the calendar fills up quickly, leaving seemingly little room for anything beyond our standard responsibilities. Telling you that recruitment of all things should still be holding a place on your priority list these last few months of the semester, then, could evoke a predictable reaction:
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Knowing that schedules are busy, to-do lists are long and sleep is limited, here is a list of quick, small, but effective ways to continue working toward your recruitment goals even during this crazy time of year.
It is rarely a matter of not having time for recruitment, but of making the time for recruitment. By implementing any one of these short, fun and efficient ideas (or all of them), you can continue your growth all the way through the busy end-of-the-semester time of year.
by Paul Manly
Why do chapters use alcohol during recruitment? Because it’s easy.
Attracting young men to our fraternal organizations with alcohol and women is easy. That’s why it’s been happening for decades. Chapter leaders often tell me that they’re fed up with their members that are “just here to party.” They’re tired of members that aren’t bought into the character development and philanthropic focus of the organization. Chapter leaders consistently complain about apathetic members who only show up to parties. There’s a way to fix that, you know…
Think about it this way. You apply for an internship at a big company. When you arrive, your interviewer greets you with a big smile and a handshake. He’s playing cards with a handful of employees at a conference table. The interviewer explains that the work environment is quite relaxed. Apparently, employees play tons of card games at the office every day.
You interview well, and you’re hired. During the training process, all employees and trainees are playing cards. The company trains you to be awesome at playing cards. You’re even asked to survey the company and learn from each individual employee what their favorite card game is.
You complete the training process and show up to the office on a Monday with a brand new deck of cards in your briefcase. Now imagine that your supervisor hosts a staff meeting for all employees and interns. He shares with the staff that he’s really upset and frustrated that everyone comes to work and just wants to play cards. It seems like unless some kind of card game is going on, the employees aren’t happy. No work is getting done, and the company is failing.
If alcohol is a focal point of the recruitment and new member education process, then alcohol is a focal point of membership. We can’t be upset when members only want to party if that’s the only value we could articulate during recruitment.
If you want your chapter to be about more than just parties, then illustrate that during recruitment. As a chapter, develop a list of values; a list of things that your chapter values in its members. These don’t necessarily need to be your Fraternity’s official values, but they could be. Create descriptions for each value and coach your recruiters to talk about these ideals during recruitment.
If your chapter wants to recruit with alcohol, o.k. But if Fraternity and Sorority wants to grow up, we’re going to have to find the next generation high-quality leaders. I’m not confident that the people able to take Fraternity and Sorority to the next level join because of free beer.
Recruiting without alcohol is harder, I agree. But it’s worth it.
by Josh Orendi
Battling weight issues has been a daily struggle for as long as I can remember. I was the fattest kid in my middle school class. I remember wearing sweatpants and soccer shorts to school because even “Husky” jeans no longer fit.
In high school and college I played competitive sports – in part because it was a way to control my waist line. Over the last 25 years, my weight has yo-yoed. I’ve learned that a healthy weight for my 5’ 7” body is approximately 150 lbs. I have a pair of size 32” dress pants that are my informal measuring tape. When those pants fit, I know I’m doing alright. Those navy blue slacks now have a grey dust stain that runs straight across the leg from being draped over the same hanger, untouched for so long…
“Wait a second. I thought this was a recruitment blog,” you’re saying. Just keep reading.
In June 2013 I remember cautiously stepping on the bathroom scale and seeing a number I didn’t recognize. 187 lbs. That was a new high that represented a new low. I felt disbelief and then shame. I was literally carrying around an extra 25% of myself. I remember walking to my clothes closet and reliving those painful childhood memories. My wardrobe was full, but I couldn’t button or zip up all but 2 pair of pants. When I stood in front of the mirror in the morning, it became an exercise in denial. I didn’t feel comfortable around my wife with my shirt off. I was angry, frustrated, depressed, and embarrassed.
I know I’m not alone. 36% of American’s are clinically obese (the percentage is trending upwards). The source of my struggle may be nature or nurture – probably both. My family battles weight issues, too. In January of 2013 my dad got gastric bypass surgery. His weight before surgery had reached nearly 400 lbs. By fall of 2013 he had lost 150 pounds! He looked like a different person. More important he was a prouder, more confident man. I was inspired!
In early July I told my wife the only thing I wanted for my birthday was a weight loss program. I didn’t care which one, I just needed something to help me get started. On July 27th I unwrapped the Adocare weigh loss system. That box of supplements and drink mixes sat on my kitchen counter unopened, taunting me through all of August and September. On October 1, 2013 I made a decision. Something inside my head clicked – like the proverbial straw on the camel’s back. I asked my wife, Denise, to help me make better choices and to help hold me accountable. She agreed.
Denise is always supportive. More so than I know how to capture in words. I knew if I asked for help, she’d be there for me. But, I also knew she’d honor my request to call me out when I made bad choices. As much as I wanted to do this on my own, my track record told me that was a strategy destine to fail. I needed help.
Going into that October 1st kick off, I made a few promises to myself (and Denise):
Fast forward 6 months. Today is April 1, 2014. The scale this morning reads 155.4 pounds. I’ve lost 30+ pounds and 5 inches from my midsection. I have a new wardrobe problem. Only 2 pair of my old pants fit, but this time it’s because the rest are too big! I’m still 5 tough pounds from my goal weight, so I’m not ready to celebrate just yet.
I believe it’s important for me to capture and share my story now for several important reasons. First, a public declaration like this will force me over the finish line. Second, if the day comes that I slip backward off the wagon, I want to re-read this post and remember exactly how I to find my way back on the right track. Third, I’m hoping others may find inspiration in my story. I didn’t want to wait or risk not taking the time to tell the story later. Finally, I’ve realized some painfully remarkable parallels between my weight loss journey and my professional work at Phired Up Productions. It’s this final reason that I’d like to elaborate on; the answer to the question my neighbors and friends keep asking:
SO HOW DID YO DO IT?
I used the same techniques that Phired Up teaches to help chapters grow and expand to help me shrink and tighten up. Fraternity/sorority recruitment coaching gets the credit for my transformation. That’s because performance coaching is about way more than “how to rush.” Quality coaching is about behavior modification. It’s about bringing out the best version of someone; helping them realize their greatest potential.
As I reflect back on the last 6 months, I’m a little embarrassed that I struggled for years earlier to find the solution that was right in front of me every single day. Here are the 8 techniques that helped me drop 30+ lbs and simultaneously have helped us grow chapters by 30+ members in less than 6 months.
1. Start with Why: I knew the pain of my over-weight childhood. I saw my dad struggle then rediscover his life. I was tired of feeling like I was living in someone else’s body. My wife and my daughter deserved better…. I knew WHY losing the weight was important. I was (I am) motivated!
Dynamic Recruitment doesn’t happen without a chip on your shoulder … a cause to fight for … a reason to work harder than everyone else. Your “why” leads you into battle and keeps you in the fight. Until a chapter has a group of pissed off, passionate leaders sharing a common purpose that drives them, greatness will may be a discussion but it will never be a destination. Without a blazing hot “why” chapters eventually recruit because they have to or because of external pressure from alumni, campus, or headquarters.
2. Name the Goal: I stopped using wishful language like “I need to lose weight” and proclaimed, “I’m not stopping until 155.”
Most chapters tell us “we need more members” but they rarely reach high level success until they define the specific goal.
3. Track Daily: Even though some days I fell short of my expectations, I never allowed myself to string together bad days because the numbers kept me honest. The daily tracker helped me stay honest and focused. It helped me hold myself accountable. It also showed me little wins as I hit benchmarks along the way. I loved watching the graph line falling. That kept me encouraged.
Dynamic Recruitment chapters all use a Names List to track daily progress. The greatest predictor of a chapter’s success is simply how many names are on the list and how often are those relationship being advanced on the list.
4. Name a Coach: Once I verbalized my goal to my wife and asked her to support me, it was “game on.” I’ll do whatever it takes to keep my promise to her and make her proud. I know she’ll do whatever it takes to help me honor the commitments I’ve made to myself and our family.
Dynamic Recruitment chapters have a coach. I didn’t say “advisor.” Advising is different. A coach is a specially selected, trained part of the organization’s support team.
5. Swap Habits: I had eaten the same breakfast (bowl of cereal) and lunch (peanut butter & jelly sandwich) for 30 years of my life – no exaggeration. Pizza and Diet Coke had become staples in my diet instead of occasional treats. I replaced my breakfast traditions with yogurt/fruit; lunch traditions were replaced with Clif Bars or protein shakes; I haven’t had a Diet Coke in 6 months (thank God for iced tea); late night eating traditions were also eliminated and I learned to cheat with popcorn not left over pizza.
Most chapters have traditions, routines, and habits that are feeding their recruitment reality. Changing tradition can be hard. Sometimes you gotta give up a big tradition, but most of the time it’s dozens of little habits that are the real culprit. The cool part is that once the traditions are replaced for a few cycles, everyone adapts and the new routines become “tradition.”
6. Fail Forward: I have no idea what made October 1st different than all the “today’s the day” promises I had made to myself before. All I know is that quitting is the only way to lose. Most successful people admit that their secret is that they’re willing to fail more often than anyone else they know.
Recruitment success isn’t about escaping failure, it’s about embracing failure – inviting daily failures and using each one to fuel the success that’s just a few more failures away.
7. Momentum vs Rush: I needed a boost to kick start my fitness journey. Advocare’s 24 Day Challenge provided that for me. However, it was the daily choices that sustained my initial loss and kept me going after those 3 weeks. Without the daily, year round decisions this would be a story about another fad diet I tried.
Rush/Formal Recruitment Week is no different. If it’s part of your year-round, daily recruitment activities then you’ll use it to boost your results. If it’s the only time you’re doing recruitment, then you’re setting yourself up for failure with a fake intake process. It’s the recruitment equivalent of a yo-yo diet.
8. Submit to the System: There’s more than one way to lose weight. My way wasn’t working. By submitting to a proven model, I was giving up my daily choices in exchange for the singular decision to get back in shape. I worked the program, so the program worked for me.
Hundreds (probably thousands) of fraternity and sorority members do that every year by trusting Phired Up’s Dynamic Recruitment System. Work the system and the system works for you. Fight the system and frustration is predictable.
This journey has taught me that I’m learning more than a weight loss lesson and more than a fraternity recruitment lesson. What I’m learning are life lessons. These techniques are based on principles that are helping me face other demons in my business, personal relationships, education, spiritual life, etc. Principles that are helping me take control of my life. Change my behaviors. Become a better man.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
~ Aristotle ~
I’m still 5 pounds from my goal weight. When (not if) I get there, I know the hardest part of my journey will begin. I have to maintain the lifestyle that allowed me to reach my goal. Likewise, my fraternity alumni friends know that the hardest part of growing the chapter isn’t recruiting 30 guys, it’s keeping them and continuing to recruit 30+ more every year. I’m up for the challenge. How about you?