This Spring, thousands of college graduates will walk across the stage to receive their degree. What awaits them is exciting. New jobs for some, graduate school for others, new cities for many, and new experiences for all are only days away. Leaving college can be an exciting time, but it can also be a nerve-racking time as well.
In college, making friends is relatively easy for most people. Everyone lives in pretty close quarters, there are always new classes to meet people in, and there are tons of clubs and activities to check out and find other students with similar backgrounds, experiences, and interests. For so many students, college is a comfort zone. A home away from home. College is the perfect environment to practice Social Excellence.
However, once you get in “the real world”, practicing Social Excellence takes a bit more work than it did in college. Here’s what we’ve learned about being socially excellent after college ends:
1) Social Excellence is outside of your comfort zone
You can’t meet people sitting on your couch. As an adult, it is really easy to fill your days with work and home responsibilities. However, those often don’t lend themselves to meeting and engaging with new people. In order to practice Social Excellence in the real world, you’ve got to actually out into the real world. You’ve got to step outside of your comfort zone. You’ve got to remember that every friend you’ve ever had was a stranger first. You can’t make new friends without first meeting a few strangers. Yes, meeting strangers is scary. We’ve talked before about how making new friends is hard. It is. But if you want to have a social life outside of just your friends and family from college (or be successful by pretty much any measure), you’ve got to be prepared to get off the couch and shake some hands.
Need a few ideas on how to make this happen? It can be really tough, especially in a new city! Here are a few places where you can make new friends:
2) Social Excellence isn’t a #SquadGoal
You’ve had a squad for years. If you’re reading this blog, odds are your squad was made up at least partially by members of your fraternity or sorority. But don’t forget that Social Excellence isn’t about having a ton of friends – it is about creating meaningful relationships with others. Through being generous, curious, vulnerable, and authentic, you can build these types of relationships with new people as you navigate the harsh realities of #adulting. Remember that just because you had an endless supply of friends and new people in college, it doesn’t mean you need to recreate that endless supply after college. We applaud you if you can, but its ok to have just a few new close friends too.
3) Social Excellence happens on social media too
We would never want you to be one of those people who only communicates with others behind their computer. Sure, you can make great friends online –but the power of in-person connection matters. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep up with your friends on social media. It is a great way to help encourage friends from a distance, show them that you’re thinking of them, and stay involved in their lives even if you might not see them as much as you used to. We’ve shared quite a few ways for you to demonstrate Social Excellence on social media. However, don’t’ forget that you can’t keep relationships entirely online. Catching up in person is critical to keeping long-term friendships healthy.
We are excited to congratulate you and welcome you to life after college! There are so many awesome, exciting adventures ahead of you. There are also so many great friends you’ll have that you haven’t met yet. And you won’t meet them until you step outside of your comfort zone and make it happen!
By Vince Fabra
Recently, I was asked, “What is your favorite word?” My response was “Philanthropy.”
I know what some of your are thinking. “C’mon. The guy that teaches values-based recruitment says his favorite word is ‘philanthropy?!’” It’s a little cliché, but I can honestly say that of all the words I know, ‘philanthropy’ is my favorite.
First of all, the phonetics of the word are beautiful. It is wonderfully constructed, rolls off the tongue perfectly and hits the ear nicely. Say it out loud… “Philanthropy.” It’s so beautiful!
Then, after adding meaning and context, the word maintains its beauty and also becomes powerful.
philanthropy: goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially: active effort to promote human welfare
Fraternities and sororities were created to be philanthropic organizations — to actively “promote human welfare” and spread “goodwill to fellow members of the human race.”
Both as an undergrad and as a fraternity professional, I have witnessed organizations work very hard to change the meaning of my favorite word. ‘Philanthropy’ on some campuses is now synonymous with ‘competition, bitterness, drama’. With the constant flow of embarrassing news stories in the media, we can add ‘inappropriate’ and ‘misogynistic’ to the list of twisted synonyms too.
To all of my philanthropy chairs across the country, allow me to share a message with you. This is the same message I’m trying to get across to your recruitment chairs.
“Philanthropy does not equal event.” (and “Recruitment does not equal event.”)
It is fine to host philanthropy events, but the act of spreading “goodwill to fellow members of the human race” is not exclusive to dance competitions and food events. It can be done every single day with a budget of $0.00. You don’t need to reserve rooms on campus, “get the word out there”, or drive fellow organizations into a competitive frenzy over a trophy THAT DOES NOT MATTER!
All you need to do is actively promote human welfare and spread goodwill to fellow members of the human race.
However, if you feel like an event in necessary to your philanthropic efforts, by all means, I hope you plan and execute an immaculate one. But during the planning process, please continue to ask yourself and your members…
Philanthropy is still my favorite word. It still sounds beautiful. I want to thank the thousands of fraternity and sorority members that work towards preserving and restoring its true meaning —also, in the process, thanks for spreading goodwill to fellow members of the human race.
By: Vince Fabra
You’re almost there! You’ve been working hard since mid-August. That’s not a light at the end of the tunnel. That is the summer sun, and it gets brighter with each passing day.
Rather than coast through this next month or two, how can you and your chapter get a jump start on summer recruitment?
Here are the top 5 ways to grow your names list before summer break.
1. Focus on leads from last fall and spring. Do you remember all of those potential joiners that told you they“needed some time to think” or “just wanted to wait a semester?” Those few names should be at the top of your list going into the summer. Connect with those folks, take them to lunch, and be their friend. Reigniting those relationships can be very helpful to your recruitment effort.
2. Sorority/Fraternity Presentations. Try to schedule an announcement during the next chapter meeting of an organization that you’re close with. Chances are, with the semester/quarter winding down, there might be an opening. This is where you ask for help. Inquire about high quality rising sophomores or incoming first year students that they know. A great presentation can yield 50+ new leads. Be humble and be prepared. Have note cards and pens ready to pass out to each member. Dress professionally. Do your homework on the chapter, and try to be in and out of there in under seven minutes.
3. Mind Joggers. We typically don’t get results when we ask our brothers/sisters to generate leads. That’s because there is a rotating sheet of paper that is passed around at chapter meeting, and our members are too busy snapping to write any names down. The Mind Joggers activity will help get those members writing names down. Here is a video and a worksheet to help.
4. Campus Involvement. Grab an activities calendar, go look at a bulletin board, or check the social media pages for the Student Activities Council. What are the 3-5 events/activities that are taking place before summer break? Can you and your members attend and make friends? Can you and a few of your members volunteer to help plan, set up, and break down the event? BONUS: Can you create a partnership without asking for anything in return? You just want to help!
5. Chapter Scholarship Application. Let’s properly manage our funds. The best recruiting chapters have a Scholarship for incoming first year students. Rather than spending thousands on burgers, t-shirts, and minor league baseball tickets, these chapters set aside $500-$1000 for a scholarship. When executed well, there are hundreds of applicants, which can lead to dozens of new members. Check out this template.
If you try one or two of these, you’ll be in good shape. If you try three or four, you’ll be set up for success. Try all five and I have no doubt that your chapter will exceed your recruitment goals. Stay tuned to Phired Up for helpful tips over the summer.
by Tina VanSteenbergen
April is one of my favorite times of year for sororities. My Instagram and Snapchat are flooded with pictures and videos of chapter formals, Greek Life awards banquets, date parties, mixers, study sessions, and sleepovers. The sun is out. The weather is nice (for most of us). And the best part — finals are still a few weeks away!
This seems like the part of the year when we get to sort of “settle-in” to sisterhood.
Take a moment and think about the women in your chapter – the women you’re enjoying being sisters with this month. Think about the groups of friends—pledge classes, family trees, and the women that all take the same classes, or work in the same places. And now, think about the other members. You know the ones. The women who aren’t really connected to their pledge class. The one woman who doesn’t spend a ton of time with her Big. The one(s) who don’t seem to have a group to study or work with.
While many of us bask in the beauty of sorority this time of year, there are surely women in your chapter that are having a very different experience. Maybe the expectations they had about being in this chapter aren’t being met. Maybe there’s some drama with their roommate or sister. Or maybe, and far more likely, they just don’t feel connected to the chapter, or any one person in it. Maybe she doesn’t think that she matters to the chapter. Maybe she doesn’t think she matters to you.
The sisters you’re thinking of right now could be just a short time away from choosing not to be your sisters—to leaving the chapter. But there are simple steps we can take to avoid that end, to make sure that she is included in our Insta posts, our Snaps, and our sisterhood. Retaining and engaging your members can look as simple as…
We know that people join people, but we have to remember, especially this time of year, that people leave people. More importantly, people stay for people. Be the person that helps someone decide to stay this April. Help them settle-in to sisterhood!
By Dr. Colleen Coffey-Melchiorre
We talk a lot about recruitment of new members, but what about sustaining that membership for a lifetime? Too often members enthusiastically join an organization only to lose their passion a few short months later. At Phired Up, our team is particularly curious about why these members withdraw from their organization. Why do people swear their lives to a fraternity or sorority and then leave? What makes people exit organizations they once pledged to love forever?
We have heard from hundreds of “left members” (people who resigned membership of their own accord). What we’ve learned about their top reasons of resignation are surprising. Here are two of the most common reasons:
1. Mis-aligned expectations. – “I thought I was getting into one thing, and it was totally different after a while.”
2. Lack of Connection. – “I did not matter to the organization in the way I thought I would.” At Phired Up, we call this reason: “people join people and people leave people.”
As leaders of fraternities and sororities, your primary job is to conceptualize the core purpose of your organization through example and action. This means understanding what your group is all about, communicating that purpose, and acting on it.
To help make this happen, start by examining current practices. How does your organization communicate who they are? Are we lying (to ourselves and others) or telling half-truths? Are we sugar coating the nature of membership? Why?
How often are we considering our people first? Are we focusing on listening to our members? Do we teach inclusion? Are we intentional about making sure everyone has a place? How often do we ask members what they think and how they are feeling?
It’s likely your group is somewhere between having no retention focus and being rock stars at retaining members. The truth is, retention is work because it’s about building and maintaining meaningful relationships, knowing your people, and communicating your actual experience to the outside world.
Ready to start building better retention practices? Start by doing these four things:
1. Evaluate your roster. Who is disengaged? Why? Can someone intentionally and deliberately build a relationship with that person to include and understand them more?
2. Evaluate your recruitment strategies. Be more real. Let’s be honest, you don’t have football throwing barbecue parties on the lawn everyday of the year. You don’t always dress in matching lily prints and love everyone all the time. How can you showcase the beautiful, and sometimes broken, reality of your group? Be honest about time, money, values, and day-to-day experience.
3. Put your people first. Work to make each person in your group know their specific purpose. Share it with them and appreciate them.
4. Ask questions. Evaluate your membership’s current feelings by asking them what they like and don’t like about their membership and what they need more of.
What sustains people in relationships, religions, on diets, and in brand loyalty? Getting what they thought they would get, and feeling like they are an important piece of the whole. By promoting the truth about what it’s like to be part of your organization during recruitment, and through taking active measures to help each member feel important, you can instill a similar sense of loyalty in your members and boost your chapter’s retention results.
By: Taylor Deer
A professional football coach walks into the locker room of the eagerly awaiting team. Having come off a tough loss in the championship game the year prior, they had to wait all summer, sitting with the defeat each and every day until training camp began in the new season. Every player in the locker room was expecting the coach to unveil the new game plan through a speech that would inspire them to take back the championship for their own.
The coach stands before the men. Tension is rising in anticipation for what new tricks and strategies the brilliant coach had been coming up with all along. The coach extends his hand to show that he is holding a football, no different from the one that these players had seen every day of their lives since they were young.
The coach says: “Gentlemen, this is a football.”
He would then go on to describe the football as if the players had never seen one before. Then he took them out to the field, the same type of field these players were playing on their whole lives. He began to describe what the lines meant, that the object of the game was to run, pass, or dive the ball into the end zone. He started on page one of the playbook and would teach the most basic and fundamental maneuvers every player on that team had known for years. He re-taught the players how to block, how to tackle, and how to run up and down the field as if they had never done so.
Was this the world’s worst football coach? Did the players rebel and quit the team?
Nope. This coach’s name was Vince Lombardi. Lombardi is widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches of all time. The Superbowl trophy isn’t named The Superbowl Trophy; it’s named the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
He was so successful because his players knew the fundamentals better than anyone else. They won championships and set records because of this.
Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers weren’t the exception either. Many highly successful coaches taught their teams how to be successful by shifting focus to the most basic parts of the game. John Wooden, a record-breaking basketball head coach would teach his players how to tie their shoes. Emmanuel Stewart, world-renowned boxing coach, wouldn’t take any fighters (regardless of their fame) who didn’t work on their jabs.
What I see in my profession is a sincere lack of teaching the fundamentals. Every year, even if I visit the same group, I am astonished at the lack of knowledge being passed on. Recruitment chairs don’t know their main responsibilities, don’t have a number of men they want to recruit, and don’t teach the chapter the basics of recruitment.
The teams that master the fundamentals are the ones that are highly successful. Here are a few things that I believe every chapter member should know in order to be successful in recruitment.
1) How to have a conversation.
2) How to treat people.
3) How to dress.
4) How to Pre-Close
5) When Recruitment happens.
All it takes to get on your way toward becoming great or – even better – legendary, is an ability to get back to the basics. Your chapters are ready, and so are you.