by Matt Farrell
A few weeks ago, LaRae Crenshaw hopped on one of our weekly ChapterBuilder demos. I love doing these demos. And I love it when a chapter leader finds out about them on their own because they’re just looking for help making their job easier.
Last week, I checked back in on LaRae’s account as I do sometimes with folks who participate in a demo and I saw LaRae (pictured right) and her sister Keiana (pictured left) were on a roll based on the relationship building activity levels and their tracking numbers. So, I reached out and asked if she could share their success!
If you want to grow your group, you’ll learn a lot from LaRae’s story.
Matt: Tell us a little about how you got here.
LaRae: My mom is a Zeta, she had me when she was in high school so I grew up as she was going to college. The sisters on her line made such an impact on her life, and I was able to see the benefits firsthand growing up.
I’m from Memphis, and went to Purdue as an out-of-state student. There were a lot of things I didn’t know about, even how big the rivalry with IU is.
I went to a Meet the Greeks event and met a sister named Jade. She started a conversation with me.
She had graduated and there were no active undergraduate members at the time. But she learned about my major and connected me with her line sister Kim, who had the same major as me.
They both just wanted to get to know me as a person, rather than trying to get me to join their sorority. That has stayed with me ever since.
Matt: Love that. After the friendship, what do you remember from their “pitch”?
LaRae: Becoming a better person through the sorority. A better person and a professional. I want to be a veterinarian, and that will eventually involve owning my own practice. I saw how this could help. The community service aspect was a real spark to me as well.
Matt: Before we talk about how you are growing your chapter. How did your chapter help you grow?
LaRae: I knew I had to be on top of my game, knew I couldn’t let my grades slip, and also knew that I could not let my dedication for joining Zeta slip. So that feeling of an extra class definitely helped me grow. After joining my GPA was higher, because I took time for what mattered in the moment and didn’t have time for distractions.
Matt: Some folks say that, “NPHC chapters don’t recruit, you wait for people to come to you.” How would you respond to that?
LaRae: It’s important for us to create a relationship, to make it as easy as possible for people to want to learn about us. It can be discouraging if people aren’t openly showing interest in your organization. You have to be patient and keep the relationship going no matter what. I try to remember they’re trying to take money into consideration, they’re trying to take timing into consideration.
It’s a lot of work trying to join, it’s even more work staying consistent, putting on programs, all of that.
So I understand why people don’t often openly approach us. We can’t be passive just because of that. If we want those people, we have to be around them and become friends.
Matt: Why – and how – did you bring ChapterBuilder into your process?
LaRae: Hailey from Phired Up came to talk to us, last winter I think. I started looking into creative and exciting ways to get people interested in what we do. Honestly, while on your website I just saw something pop up about ChapterBuilder and it looked interesting. We had been using Excel spreadsheets and it was never enough. ChapterBuilder let us not only organize, but prioritize – if they’re interested, not compatible, where they’re at.
We use it pretty heavily. We have 27 profiles in it right now and it’s helping us set up the future of our organization.
Matt: You had to have gotten some pushback. ChapterBuilder isn’t tradition, why should we ditch the spreadsheet…. How did you respond?
LaRae: Honestly our switch was easy. I got Keiana into it, she’s all about the organization aspect. She got really active in creating the forms and we put them on our Linktree and Instagram. We’ve gotten names straight from that form.
Matt: Tell me about these two forms you have. These are cool.
LaRae: So this first one, called “Interested in Talking to Us?” is for people who find us, who are doing their own research. It can be intimidating for people, wondering who they talk to or what to say, so this makes it easier for them.
The second is for people to give us the info of someone they know. Which then allows us to reach out. It will help them know what we belong to and why we are proud of that.
Matt: I can see someone filled that out for you, and I love how you started the conversation. Sharing that below so people reading this can learn from it.
How do you introduce Zeta Phi Beta to strangers?
LaRae: We definitely have to change our approach based on the person. Some people are very interested, and for them we jump right into the principles, and ask questions to see if they’ve actually done their research and see if they’re really interested.
If it’s someone who has no idea about Zeta Phi Beta, like people who we get from the second form, we just start by making it a personable conversation.
We’re people before we’re Zetas. We’re trying to get to know you before you come into our joining process – because that part is work for both of us.
Matt: Last question. Imagine every fraternity and sorority member across the country was reading this. What can they learn from your ChapterBuilder process?
LaRae: It’s about quality first. We want people that are community-oriented, who want to impact others with the work they plan on doing. We should be able to ask around and hear positive things.
Honestly when you have quality though, take as much quality as you can get. The more quality minds, the more creativity you’re gonna get, the better your programs, it all gets better.
Matt: I loved talking with you, LaRae. Tell us what’s next for you, and how this experience will elevate your career.
LaRae: I’m graduating this year with a degree in Animal Science. Excited about becoming a veterinarian and I can really see how ChapterBuilder will carry over to business.
It keeps you accountable for creating a connection with your potential interest, or clients if you will, and also keeps track of that extra information you may need.
I like that it gives you the little scale as to how active you’ve been, it’s good for Keiana and I. Friendly competition.
Want ChapterBuilder for free for your group? Email Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.