The Delta Gamma chapter at the University of Georgia had struggled with membership numbers prior to when I joined the chapter through informal recruitment in the fall of 2007. Chapter Total at the University of Georgia was 175, and with my new member class, the chapter hovered around 100 members, making us the smallest Panhellenic organization (out of 17) on campus.
During my sophomore year at Georgia, I was given the opportunity to serve as vice president: membership for a chapter that now totaled 120 members. Eager to improve the way we recruited, I found “I Heart Recruitment,” and immediately ordered a hard copy for myself and a PDF copy for our elected recruitment team.
Over the next two years, we implemented a new recruitment model for both formal and informal recruitment (COB). Using the tools in “I Heart Recruitment” we empowered more members of the chapter to take ownership of the recruitment process and significantly improved chapter morale. We invested our money and time in things that mattered — chapter bonding, branding, good conversation, values-based selection criteria — and we learned how to translate our success in informal recruitment to UGA’s full-frills formal recruitment process.
Simply put, utilizing “I Heart Recruitment” empowered my chapter to be able to play the formal recruitment game on our own terms. In two years, the chapter grew from 120 to 180 members; a growth of 50%, and we even started to love recruiting.
More impressively, my chapter continues to be successful long after we initially implemented the methods from “I Heart Recruitment.” The year following my graduation from Georgia, my chapter met Formal Recruitment Quota for the first time in 15 years! Three years since implementation, the chapter thrives at over 220 members, and is one of the largest Delta Gamma chapters in the country.
-Submitted by Jen Gilbert
by Matt Mattson
Before you ask someone to join your organization for the rest of their lives, I think you should have them fill out a formal application and conduct a serious interview. I don’t think that’s crazy talk. To get a job at McDonald’s you need to do that. So, you know, I think we should do that too.
Lots of fraternities already do. Some do it in a stupid way and make it intimidating for the prospect. That’s not what I mean. I think we should take it seriously, and make sure you find out the things you need to know before offering this guy a chance to represent your organization. Is he a criminal? Is he tens of thousands of dollars in debt already? Does he do drugs? Does he hate meetings, work, and community service? You know — the basic stuff that most fraternities do not know about their new members until it’s too late.
I’d recommend building a Values-Based Selection Criteria (example here) and basing most of your questions off of that.
I’d also recommend making sure we ask four specific questions in the interview…
Hazing, sexual assault, alcohol and drug abuse, and discrimination seem to be our fraternity world’s primary demons of the moment. Will asking those four questions (or similar ones) ensure you don’t recruit hazing, racist, drunk driving, homophobic rapists? Unfortunately no. But at least it’s something. At least it starts the conversation. At least it opens up dialogue and gives us a little bit more of a chance to talk about the men that we need, to look for warning signs, and to set an expectation that this stuff isn’t tolerated in our groups.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been in this business for a few years now (14ish). I find myself feeling disheartened by fraternity too often. Especially this time of year, which seems like one of the two primary “silly seasons” of our fraternal world where we collectively make lots of dumb ass decisions (the other being spring formal time). I don’t know how to fix these problems. The only thing I can think to do is ask our better members to have more real conversations about the stuff that matters. Those four questions in a formal interview might be a good place to start. A formal interview might be a good place to start. Selection standards might be a good place to start.
Tom Murphy, Phi Mu Delta National Fraternity’s Executive Director recently shared some amazing statistics about the 2013-2014 school year for their organization.
Before Fall 2013, the 96-year-old fraternity had 15 chapters and colonies and a total of 309 undergraduate members.
Today, just 9 months later, the organization has just under 600 total undergraduate members at 17 schools. This dramatic growth, according to Murphy equals “the most initiates we’ve seen in at least 35 years.”
“We are who we are as a successful fraternity because of the hard work of a lot of people,” said Murphy, “and I absolutely count Phired Up’s partnership with Phi Mu Delta as an important factor in our success.”
When asked how the organization achieved such dramatic growth this year, Tom mentioned three factors:
Phired Up has been a partner of Phi Mu Delta for many years. This level of commitment from both parties has resulted in custom-built curriculum that Phired Up’s trainers have tailored to the unique needs and strengths of Phi Mu Delta men. Fall 2013 training sessions included never-before-attempted deeply experiential social challenges that allowed members to gain the confidence necessary to execute on their Dynamic Recruitment action plans.
This isn’t the first time we’ve written about Phi Mu Delta’s recruitment success. Several years ago, this was posted on Phi Mu Delta’s website and reposted on Phired Up’s, “Phi Mu Delta saw a 44% increase in the number of men pledged to join Phi Mu Delta this fall! Great work gentlemen and special thanks goes to Phired Up! Productions and Josh Orendi.” At the time, Josh Orendi — one of Phired Up’s founders — said this, “Tom Murphy deserves a lot of credit for PMD’s success. I can’t think of another Executive Director that is more passionate or puts in more time doing hands-on development work with his chapters.”
Murphy continues to be unique amongst fraternity executives. He put 6 weeks of unbelievable on-the-ground effort this winter into a major expansion project at Ohio Northern University. His deep involvement resulted in a huge success story — one of several new groups started this semester.
When asked about other factors making Phi Mu Delta successful, Tom immediately mentioned the organization’s bold decisions to close and then re-start chapters that are failing to live up to the Phi Mu Delta standard. The organization will not tolerate hazing, nor will it put up with risk management irresponsibility. As a result, Phi Mu Delta is offering a truly special fraternity option to students looking to be a part of something values-based, and focused on brotherhood, service, and democracy.
Dynamic Recruitment Spotlight Archives: This article is one in a series of spotlight interviews we’ve posted over the years. Read more here – National Fraternity Doubles In Size; Credits ‘Living Our Values‘ | New #1, Alabama Takes Over as Nations Largest Greek Community | Meet The Fastest Growing Fraternity In The Nation; Alpha Sigma Phi | How Alcohol (or the lack thereof) is Helping One Fraternity Grow Fast
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).
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!”
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.
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!
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 .
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 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“
by Matt Mattson
This work that I do with Phired Up Productions is personal.
For 14 years I’ve professionally worked in the fraternity/sorority world. I am really proud of the work that I’ve done, but it’s been so much more than work — so much more than a job. This is my life. I don’t wake up in the morning and go to work. I wake up in the morning and quite literally think about how I can make fraternity/sorority life better.
I am a proud fraternity man.
Fraternity has made me a better human. I’m a better worker because of the collaboration and discipline my fraternity taught me. I’m a better community member because of the service work that I organized and sweated through. I’m a better friend because of the empathy I gained from my brothers. I’m a better man because of the respect for women, men, straight people, gay people, trans people, people from different cultures and races, and people with different abilities than me — all of whom I first got to truly know through my fraternity. I’m a better dad to my two daughters because of the patience, caring, and life-purpose I learned from fraternity. I’m a proud fraternity man.
I started sharing some Tweets a couple days ago expressing publicly how proud I am of my fraternal membership. We don’t do that enough publicly. We don’t communicate clearly and consistently the important and powerful ways we’ve been changed by fraternity.
Will you join me? Will you Tweet #IAmAProudFraternityMan or #IAmAProudSororityWoman and follow it with a small piece of your story?
Sharing these statements won’t recruit more people, or convince non-joiners to change their minds, but it will help with our overall growth goals as a fraternal movement. Here’s how: practice. Most of us don’t talk about our experience outside of our fraternal walls — especially once we’ve graduated from college, so when we get a chance to do so we’re typically underprepared and end up underdelivering. Start shaping your power statements. Tweet these statements of pride as a way to practice. When I started writing mine, the act of writing them helped me remember (realize?) some of my own truths.
Here are some statements I’ve written so far all in one place…
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. I learned more in my membership than almost anywhere else. I’m a kinder, more caring man because of fraternity.
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. When I joined I was directionless but discerning. Membership helped me understand people deeply.
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. College wasn’t about parties for me. Membership taught me appreciation of diversity and how to truly lead.
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. I’ve built a successful, cause-based career based on lessons learned as a chapter officer.
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. My ritual wasn’t hazing. It was a powerful, spiritual, life-long commitment to serving others.
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. My daughters will see their daddy as an example of a gentleman bcuz of what @alphasigs taught me.
#IAmAProudFraternityMan. I learned about values-based living from no other place in college except @alphasigs
[Note: At the end of this blog we announce an important upcoming webinar series for sororities!]
[Another Note: We've written a highly-read blog on this topic before here. Read it and share these with your sisters.]
by KJ McNamara
Panhellenic Councils across North America are all trying to answer the question: How do we teach sororities to do values-based sorority recruitment?
This has been our goal for years as sorority women; creating a recruitment system that helps our chapters find women who value the same things as our members, and helping our Potential New Members select chapters based on their character.
At Phired Up we have always said the key to values-based sorority recruitment lies in 4 necessary ingredients. Those 4 things are: the Criteria we use to select our new members, the Behaviors we demonstrate during recruitment, the Conversations we initiate during the recruitment process and finally, the Expectations we communicate to PNMs during recruitment. Lets break these down a little bit…
Criteria: How do we currently select our members? How are we helping our PNM’s make their selection? Are these based on values? How can we create a selection criteria that is not an emotional reaction for each individual but rather something that is a little more systematic?
Behavior: What does our current behavior communicate about what we value? What do our values communicate about how we should behave? Our behaviors should speak so loudly about what we value that we should never have to tell a PNM what we value or put it on our name tags or t-shirts. Every PNM should walk out of our recruitment events and be able to tell you what we value.
Conversation: Each of our sororities is a lifelong commitment… which means that we need to have a serious conversation with each of our Potential New Members about how important our sorority is, how it has shaped us, and why our sorority matters. But so often in recruitment I hear women say, “that was the best conversation ever, we did not talk about the sorority once, we talked about our guilty pleasure fast food restaurants.” Are we preparing our members to have serious meaningful conversations with PNM’s during recruitment? Are we preparing our PNM’s to ask meaningful conversations during recruitment?
Expectations: Are we accurately portraying our membership expectations during recruitment? Are we holding PNM’s up to the expectations we have as Panhellenic Councils? The information we communicate during our first interaction with PNM’s will be what they remember and understand to be true about our organizations. Sororities are the most prestigious women’s organizations on any given campus… are we communicating that during recruitment?
As a Panhellenic, these 4 things are a place to start. If you want to help your chapters incorporate values into their formal recruitment preparation… this is the common ground to start from. Remember to take small steps. You cannot transform into a values-based recruitment chapter/community over night, but maybe consider a 3-year plan with changes you hope to make each year. If you want help thinking about what to incorporate values-based recruitment each year give me a call!
If you want more information about Values-Based Sorority Recruitment we are hosting a series of three webinars for Panhellenics everywhere starting in April! Here are the questions we will answer and the information we will cover (CLICK HERE TO REGISTER):
Week 1: What is Values Based Sorority Recruitment? Why did it start? What does it mean? How do we achieve it?
Week 2: Criteria & Conversations. How do we create a selection Criteria as a sorority Chapter? How do we help our PNM’s create a valuable criteria for picking a chapter? What types of conversation workshops could we host? What types questions can PNM’s ask to conjure up meaningful conversations?
Week 3: Behaviors & Expectations. What changes do we need to make to our behaviors? How can we better communicate through our behaviors? How can we attract quality members while communicating our high expectations? How can we hold all women in the recruitment process up to our expectations?
Just for fun, a handful of the Phired Up staff were doing some dreaming yesterday in response to the question, “What New Year’s recruitment resolutions do you hope fraternity/sorority leaders keep in 2014?”
Here’s what our team of experts generated as recommendations for fraternity/sorority chapters across North America. Any that you want to commit to?
by Tina VanSteenbergen
Enjoying a calm afternoon lunch at home, flipping through channels for a sitcom rerun to watch as I zone out and enjoy my sandwich, I stumble across The Learning Channel’s Say Yes To The Dress. Admittedly, I’ve never seen the show in my life, so my instant reaction was to turn the channel. Even more honestly, the only reason I didn’t immediately change the channel was because the narrator said the words “National Football League” and grasped my attention. Expecting to see a special on professional players taking dance lessons for their wedding or NFL team-themed and decorated wedding reception, I paused for a moment to investigate. Clearly I had never seen the show before, because neither of my predictions was even close to correct. This was an episode of Say Yes To The Dress that would profile the soon-to-be brides of NFL players as they searched for their perfect wedding dress. I’d been duped. But it was too late—I was hooked. So I threw on a blanket and got comfortable, prepared to watch a few minutes of some reality TV.
For those of you as unfamiliar as I, Say Yes To The Dress is a TV show about women in the process of planning their wedding who come into a bridal boutique to search for the perfect dress for their special day. Each bride is assigned a consultant who’s job it is to listen to the bride-to-be describe what she’s looking for and to help her find it.
In the two episodes I’ve now watched (they were back-to-back; don’t judge me), I’ve seen brides loosely describe their dream-dress in various categories: fit, fabric, silhouette, color, etc. Above all else, these women describe in detail how they’d like to feel in their dream dress. “Beautiful;” “sexy;” “like a princess.” It’s clear from the beginning that while finding the perfect dress is a complicated process, the feeling the bride gets when she puts it on is what matters most.
And so the process begins. The consultant brings dress after dress, the bride wearing it for a few minutes before deciding whether or not it is the right dress for her. She shows it to her friends, family and bridal party; hopeful they’ll feel the same way she does, either for better or worse. Sometimes there is dissention or disagreement about whether or not the dress is “the right fit” for this bride, and other times there is a unanimous agreement: “This is your dress! You belong in this dress!”
Now this is not a show I’ve ever seen, nor is my wedding day an event I’ve put a great deal of effort into planning at this point. I learned many, many things that afternoon about wedding dresses and the process I might one day undergo to find that perfect dress for my perfect day. But here’s what surprised me the most: how much this process reminded me of recruitment.
There is often a process we undergo to find our new members. We talk with our potential new members for a few minutes here and there, seek out the feedback of our sisters and collectively make a final decision about whether or not she is the “perfect fit.” Inevitably, even though we have some loose idea of what that person needs to be to belong with us (smart, fun, classy, cute, etc.), we make a decision about whether or not she should be a part of our sisterhood for life based on how she makes us feel. Did we like her? Did she make us feel funny? Bored? Connected to? And when we know, we just know: “She belongs here! I can just feel it!”
Shopping for the dress she’ll wear on her wedding day was, for most of these women, a truly emotional experience. There were ups, down, tears, laughter and ultimately (and hopefully) joy. I’ve never shopped for a wedding dress before, but I can imagine that the emotional assessment is an important part of the selection process. But I couldn’t help but wonder: wouldn’t a little objective analysis be helpful to these women? They rarely seemed to enter the boutique with a tangible list of must-haves (cut, color, designer, style, etc.), and it seemed to me that having that list might have taken some of the stress, uncertainty and even tears out of the process. Just like recruitment.
Taking the time to develop measurable selection criteria, a list of what we’re looking for in our future sisters and more importantly how we’ll know if she has it, is one way to ensure that we’re not simply making a decision based on pure emotion. What are we looking for? What do we value? What does a woman need to have to belong in our chapters? As you develop this list, think about what you and your chapter value: scholarship, sisterhood, leadership, service. Then, determine how to measure whether or not a potential member might possess those same values: How is her GPA? How many of our sisters can vouch for her? How many activities has she been involved in? Has she held any leadership positions? How often does she volunteer? Developing the list is like describing your dream member.
Finding your future sisters can and should be an emotional process, just like shopping for that special dress. But as I watched the women on Say Yes To The Dress ride the emotional rollercoaster, as I’ve watched countless sorority women ride that same rollercoaster through recruitment, it’s clear we’re missing something: the power of selection criteria—the power of knowing what we’re looking for and how to tell whether or not we’ve found it. Take the time with your chapter to develop your values-based selection criteria to avoid riding that rollercoaster and more importantly to avoid experiencing “buyer’s remorse” about your new sisters. Unlike a wedding dress that no longer feels just right, there are no return-policies when it comes to sisterhood.
Here’s a sample of a “Values-Based Selection Criteria” for sororities.
That’s how many people own a copy of one of the publications from Phired Up about HOW TO GROW FRATERNITIES AND SORORITIES using Values-Based, Relationship-Focused, Results-Producing techniques. You can find them here.
We are so grateful to the people who have bought, read, shared, written it, and most importantly USED a Phired Up book about how to grow Greek Life. Good Guys, I Heart Recruitment, and Social Excellence: We Dare You are three books that have been passed down in chapters, read by fraternity/sorority staff members, and helped many members re-think how to attract high quantities of high quality members.
Here are 9 things those 32,028 readers read in our books…
1. “Many sororities have a crippling illness: Dependecitis. Dependecitis (the primary symptom being an unhealthy dependence on formal recruitment) is a nasty disease that makes all chapters infected believe they have to spend a lot of money and time on planning their formal recruitment events in order to recruit members.” -I Heart Recruitment
2. “Next time you have a big rush event on campus where you publicly and proudly display your IM basketball trophies, photo albums and banners, ask yourself if you’re displaying features or benefits.” -Good Guys
3.”‘Don’t talk to strangers’ is rooted in the psyches of many adults. During childhood, when we were too young to consistently avoid danger, many of us had this mantra drilled into our brains by loving and protective parents. But that phrase is a paralyzing prescription for mediocrity and limited potential in adulthood.” -Social Excellence: We Dare You
4. “Your house may have different letters on it than mine, but our foundations are built from the same stone.” -Good Guys
5. “Does your organization have a dream right now? Does your chapter have something to shoot for? Do your members have a powerful, compelling reason to do the sometimes menial tasks it takes to make your recruitment efforts successful? Have you determined what, as a sorority, is important enought for all of you to work toward… so important in fact, that it doesn’t matter how much effort is necessary, it will get done?” -I Heart Recruitment
6. “It is up to us to determine whether we will let our electronic relationships bring us closer to the real world around us or separate us from it.” -Social Excellence: We Dare You
7. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: quantity drives quality. The more women you get to know and the more names you can accumulate, the better chance you’ll have of getting more high quality members.” -I Heart Recruitment
8. “Empower your prospects and new members with the message that they are the future of your fraternity. Let them know that now is the time for them to start being a leader. Ask them to look everywhere, including their classes, dorm, and teams to find the men they want to join them on their fraternal adventure.” -Good Guys
9. “If you want to be popular — in the traditional high school cafeteria sense of the word — you have missed the point. If, however, you want to win the respect of the people around you; if you think it is cool to engage in deep meaningful conversations with anyone, (regardless of social status, race, age, creed, sexuality or any “other” different than you) because they can provide you a deeper understanding of the world, well… we’d like to sit at your table for lunch today. Let’s redefine cool together, shall we?”
"Chill to Pull Ratio"
I had never heard this phrase before a couple weeks ago. I was attending the Phired Up Growth Summit with some of the brightest minds in the fraternity growth industry. It was here amongst colleagues, mentors, mentees, and an (almost) all male audience that I heard about the Chill to Pull (CTP) ratio. In an effort to fully understand this, I did a little research. I Googled (this gives me a scarlet letter in the research community by the way, but I digress). I Googled and amongst the rubbish I learned that CTP is defined as “The amount of chilling with your boys/pulling ladies one fratstar can achieve. Five to Five is the highest ratio. “ I learned that there is a whole website dedicated to Chill to Pull with a whole statistical equation on how calculate CTP. The remarkable gentlemen at Total Frat Move even promote an automatic CTP calculator….
As I was discovering the true meaning of CTP I was surrounded by respected colleagues and friends. I looked up from my keyboard and my eyes met those of my younger and smarter colleagues. There was a air of “So, doc- what do you think about this?” in their eyes- almost like they were waiting for me to go off on an all familiar rant about masculinity and how we need to be researching more on how this impacts group growth and how men must stop the madness in fraternity chapters. I did not do that. I mean, that’s all still true but instead I thought about how this might actually not be all that bad. Let me explain.
Chill to Pull could fit into a Values-Based Selection Criteria quite easily. When we say “chill,” what do we really mean? We may mean someone we have fun hanging out with, a guy who just gets us, someone who is up for anything at any time, a guy that can provide friendship without drama and hassle, or a person who has our back. When we say “pull” we mean how many women will come around as a result of you. Why do you think women come around certain men and not others? I’ll tell you what I know- women want to be around guys that make them feel safe, help them have a good time, maybe they have a crush or they have an actual friendship with a guy. Women want to be around men whose company they enjoy and who respect them. They want to be around men who make them feel good and who are gentlemen. I suggest that having a high “pull” score actually means you are a values-centered gentlemen and having a high “chill” score actually means that you are a good brother. Let’s break this down a little further.
Chill to Pull can be used in an actual membership selection process like this. Let’s say prospect A is up for a vote. You want to evaluate his CTP. You may start by asking the following questions:
1. Is prospect A a guy we enjoy hanging out with?
2. Does prospect A have the ability to have our back in any situation?
3. Does prospect A have the potential to fit in to our fraternity culture? (in other words- will he fit in doing stuff with us that a lot of us like to do?)
4. Does prospect A have a personality that makes women want to be around him?
5. Does prospect A respect women and have the ability to help women feel safe at parties and outings we host?
6. Is prospect A generally non-creepy when it comes to women?
Answer these questions using the following scale:
1- No, not at all
2- Not really
4- for the most part
5- Absolutely, 100%
Average the scores in questions 1-3 to get your chill score
Average the scores in questions 4-6 to get your pull score
Incidentally, I know some fraternity chapters do not intend for CTP to be this, shall we say, professional and polite. That’s ok- they are not even men who read this blog because they are too busy chillin’ and pullin’ and for your information- men that spend all their time chillin’ and pullin’ in college become adult versions of that very same guy and its UGLY. This is for you, horses , who do read what we share with enthusiasm. This is just a little nugget and reaction on a way to turn something that can be pretty sexist and lame into something that actually makes a lot of sense.
By the way, my official CTP according to the online calculator is 2:1. We all know that my CTP is actually MUCH higher than that, so there is really no way that test is statistically valid anyway. Keep fighting the good fight, gentlemen.