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).
Three Keys To Summer Recruitment
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!”
Summer Recruitment Lessons
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.
SUMMER RECRUITMENT: Three Phases
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!
5 Quick Summer Recruitment Tips
- Summer Recruitment starts in the winter !
- Meet the Parents. Recruit his mom and the man will follow. There is no substitute for meeting in person, especially at his home with his parents.
- Scholarships are smart . For bonus points open them up to women, sophomores, and transfers. Remember the end goal is to meet great people qualified for membership. Sometimes that happens through a referral from a scholarship candidate.
- Piggyback. Leverage school events like orientation, move in, RA training, tours, summer classes, etc. Ask how you can help departments like admissions, new student services, housing, etc.
- Pipelines & video chat. It is no secret that chapters that consistently dominate recruitment have a pipeline such as an area high school, specific sports team, or certain major. Thanks to Skype & Google Hang Out, pipelines just got a lot longer. Now you can build relationships over the summer with incoming students who live several states away — even a continent or two away. Technology makes personal summer recruitment possible for groups of students who have traditionally been ignored.
Summer Recruitment for Fraternities (4 Part Series)
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 .
SUMMER RECRUITMENT: Scholarships
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 RECRUITMENT: Call Scripts
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“