Beyond the Standard Methods (Expansion Names Drivers)

by Vince Fabra

vince-casualOur readers know that Phired Up teaches fraternity/sorority recruitment, but we also assist with expansion and extension projects around the country (starting brand new chapters from scratch).  Whether you’re a headquarters professional or an undergraduate, you’ll find some helpful tips in this blog.

Having been a part of almost 15 fraternity expansion teams, I recognize there are some standard methods for driving names onto a names list both before you arrive to campus and once you’ve been gotten on the ground. On some projects, my expansion partners and I have gotten fat off of the leads generated early on. On others, we had to go back to the drawing board to find other helpful practices. Let me begin this blog by outlining the methods to which I am referring.

Standard Names Generation Methods for Expansion Projects:

Pre arrival:

Do some Facebook Work.

See if the Greek Advisor could hook you up with some sweet lists like the…

  • No-Bid list (students who signed up for formal recruitment but did not receive bids).
  • 3.0 Non Greek Lists (every non-Greek student with a 3.0 or above).

Post arrival:
Do sorority referral presentations asking for some cool dudes they know that are not Greek.

Do those few things and you’re set, right?  Sometimes…

Question: What if the Greek Advisor does not have access to those sweet lists, and the sororities are not as helpful as you had anticipated?

Answer: You’re screwed.

That is why more must be done to accumulate names on your list during recruitment/expansion efforts. These are the 5 tips to ensure you don’t find yourself in tears after the standard methods fail.

1. Chunking
2. Tabling
3. Identifying Key Student Organizations
4. Connecting to the faculty/staff so well that people start to think that you work at the university
5. Become a Student

1. Chunking

You’re looking at your calendar. It looks pretty bare. You’ve only got 5 meetings booked for the day. Yikes! Despite having only 5 meetings booked, this is an opportunity to put 15-25 names on your list if you close those 5 meetings with this simple question, “Who are the 3-5 men that come to mind when we talk about this opportunity?” This is called Chunking.

Students want to feel connected. Referring their friends to your recruitment effort will certainly make them feel connected. If you close each of your one on one meetings with that question, you will create a buy in with the men you sit down with and grow your names list.

Read more about Chunking here.

You can “chunk” at a whole new level once you’ve gotten a commitment from a few guys.  We recommend that as soon as someone commits to your organization, you do some extreme chunking by using our “Mind Joggers.”  Read more here.

2. Tabling

Chunking has been going well, but you need something that allows you to meet with a higher quantity of students. How can you create an atmosphere where students approach you with curiosity about what you’re doing? – Tabling in the student union or other trafficked areas on campus.

Need an example of how to table in an effective way? Check out these blog posts (here, here, and here).

3. Identifying Key Student Organizations

Chunking and tabling have been working fine, but you are having trouble reaching that caliber of student that will greatly help your organization. If only quality students got together, rallied around causes and movements? Where could we find such groups? – On the universities website. Most universities have links like this one.

You now have access to the contact information of every student organization president/advisor. Identify the groups whose values align with your organization and get to contacting them. Seek to make presentations at their meeting, create a focus group panel with their executive board, or meet with the president and chunk him or her. Any of those practices have proven to be successful.  Some organizations we’ve had recent success with include entrepreneurship groups, service groups, politically-minded groups, honors groups, and religious groups.

4. Connecting to the faculty/staff so well that people start to think that you work at the university

I was searching for a way to briefly word tip #4, but I think this works best. The key to connecting to the faculty/staff so well… is to find the one person who is connected and willing to grant you access to the faculty and staff. The Greek Advisor, Student Activities Coordinator, Student Government Advisor, Faculty Advisor of the chapter (if available) are all great places to start.

It is ironic that I be the one to give this advice, because I am not strong at this. Faculty/Staff intimidate me a little. However, when my expansion partner and I crucially needed some support on a project we were able to turn to our point of contact and get connected, yielding many new leads.

5. Become a Student

Use Social Excellence and take charge of campus… You own that place (or at least you can act like it).  Go to large classes, attend sporting events (not just the major ones), and most importantly attend the student activities put on by the 500+ other student organizations that are probably on campus.  Some examples:  A professional snowboarder talks about the environment, lots of students go.  You go too.  The “International Students Coffee Hour” happens once a week and 100+ students mingle in the middle of the student union.  You mingle too.  The Women’s Center on campus screens an independent film with discussion afterward.  You watch and discuss.

Seriously, go to any of the 50 messy bulletin boards on campus and look at the dozens of posters for events happening this week.  Build your agenda.  Be socially excellent at the events.

Don’t get me wrong, ask the Greek Advisor for sweet lists and make sorority presentations, but be prepared to do more than that to put names on your list.

I hope at least one of these tips made you think, “I didn’t know I could do that.”  The truth is, you can. Will you?