We want to call out something that’s really messed up in sorority-land: feeling like COB means your chapter is somehow broken or less-than.
That’s just not right.
For too many sorority women across North America, if your chapter finds itself in a position to do COB (Continuous Open Bidding a.k.a COR a.k.a. year round recruitment), you can feel a sense of shame, embarrassment, and failure.
If that feels even vaguely familiar, please read on. We have some important things to share.
- You are not alone. We’re seeing a quickly growing level of “vacancies to total” across the industry and across all Panhellenic organizations. This is real. There are lots of reasons for it, but based on what we can tell, over half of chapters have been in a position to COB in the last few years.
- COB Puts You In Control. When you are recruiting beyond the formal recruitment process, you have control. You get to choose where you seek out prospects. You get to decide how long it should take to build relationships and evaluate whether a woman is qualified for membership. You get to be in control of the whole process. While formal recruitment has lots of benefits, a lot of that process is out of your control (including who the pool of PNMs is in the first place).
- COB Isn’t About You. It’s easy to feel like the opportunity to COB means people don’t like you, or you aren’t as popular as other chapters. We’d like to offer a different perspective. It isn’t about you at all. COB isn’t about getting “enough” women or making sure your chapter keeps up with the women next door. COB is about the women on campus who would never have even sought out sorority but will find it to be transformative for them. Excel at COB as a chapter for the benefit of the young women on campus whose lives you’re about to change.
- COB Is More Aligned With Generation Z Needs. Have you given thought about how to recruit the newest generation of students differently than we used to recruit? You’re going to want to read this blog (and watch the accompanying video).
- Recruitment Was Never Supposed To Be A Competition. Formal sorority recruitment was engineered in such a way to take the competition out of the process. Of course, that’s not always how it shakes out. But for sure recruitment isn’t a win/lose game. Great recruiters understand its about “fit.” And if the amount of women who found “mutual fit” with your chapter during formal recruitment doesn’t match up to the amount of new members you’re seeking, that’s about the pool of members not you. Go find the women who do fit!
We’ve somehow made the idea of COB to be toxic. It’s not. Continuous recruitment is smart; not toxic. It’s generous and authentic and likely to attract stellar leaders. It’s deeply aligned with our organizations’ historical roots and our values.
Check out this blog for the Top 5 Tips for Panhellenic Continuous Recruitment