by Matt Farrell
On a recent digital training, students and I were experimenting with initial texts to send to potential members. After lighting up everyone’s phones with a catchy text, one student’s text back caught my attention.
“I wish my council did this for me before I joined!”
It got me thinking… if everyone (including you, reading this) joins fraternity or sorority because of a strong connection made with a human, why don’t councils take advantage?
Well, exciting news: a few councils beat us to the punch and already started. Even when we told them it would require a spreadsheet upload from their formal recruitment technology, they remained undeterred. As one student put it, “We know there are so many students on our campus not ready to jump right into fraternity or sorority, but still wanting a one-on-one conversation.”
So, how are councils doing it? With the same ChapterStarter accounts that expansion and extension teams have used to build new chapters in the modern era. It’s all at scale, with no energy typing out new names, adding new numbers into their phones, or worrying about who has already talked to who.
And it’s working (it also helps that their advisors have access to all the data.)
Here are three big ways councils are excited about ChapterStarter, as told by the users themselves.
Scouting New Leads:
Joshua Robinson, Associate Dean at Jacksonville State University, is embracing the ability to add to their names list during an era where new students aren’t exactly kicking the door down.
“ChapterStarter allows us to not just be satisfied with who is filling out our registration form. We definitely have some exciting ideas of what we want to do. Asking our students who have signed up, “Do you know anyone that might be a good sorority woman,” and not having to rely on them to fill out a form. We can ask them through the tech and add them ourselves if we need to.”
Even if your council has 1200+ names registered on CampusDirector, as was the case with Florida State University Panhellenic, Associate Director Freddy Juarez reminds us how easy it is to add more without losing track of the old ones.
“We can generate new leads and allow our recruitment counselors to engage our PNMs in a customized and scalable way using tags, text messaging, and the built-in email functionality.”
Managing Existing Leads:
But what about those 1200+ women already signed up?
Jenna Leval, Panhellenic President at Florida State, adds “ChapterStarter allows our Panhellenic community to connect with potential new members in an incredibly unique way. We are able to reach out to more women to share the benefits of the experience and to prepare them more than ever for the week of recruitment.”
At UC Irvine, the ChapterStarter focus lies on a deliberate way to “further enhance the engagement of potential new members with current affiliated students amongst our three councils,” says Ed E-Nunu, director of this community with 47 different organizations. “UCI knows this resource can further help them grow and connect like never before.”
Speaking of large communities, the University of Illinois has one of the largest fraternity populations in the nation. This threatens to make the feeling of connection less individual, and Vice President of Recruitment Bill Laitar is determined to change that with ChapterStarter.
“The texting feature is a greatly useful tool to communicate with all the potential new members. It allows us to get out last minute changes to the whole of the population, while also letting us answer the individual questions of the men seeking to join the Greek community.”
Fostering Continued Engagement
The true appeal of ChapterStarter for councils goes beyond adding new names and tracking existing ones. It allows the overall feeling of engagement to go as far as you want it to.
Jacksonville State, like many communities across the country, is facing an uncertain fall with confidence that the fraternity and sorority life experience is more important to share than ever before. As Panhellenic President, Mckenzie Chunn is overseeing a recruitment team with the primary goal of increasing PNM engagement.
While the format may look different, and long-term ramifications may seem cloudy, Chunn is focused on how ChapterStarter gets back to the basics of one-on-one connection.
“It’s going to allow us to get into contact with the PNMs so much easier to promote the sorority experience!”
How will your council benefit from this? Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to talk through ideas!