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The Top 10 Things Your Chapter Should Do Right Now To Respond to COVID-19

The storm called COVID-19 is raging right now, and while the impact it is taking on real humans, real families, and real lives is far more important than anything you’ll read on this blog… it’s also taking a major toll on on fraternity and sorority. You might not be able to feel it yet, but it’s serious. Please do the following 10 things as soon as possible!

  1. Be aware of the severity of this situation. Fraternity and sorority membership will be significantly impacted by COVID-19. We will lose members. We will have a harder time attracting and securing new members this fall. We absolutely must act now. Read more here.

  2. Reprioritize. When you took over your position you might not have had GROWTH at the top of your priority list. It should be there now. Consider re-arranging your leadership to make sure your top talent is engaged with marketing, recruitment, intake, new member education, and retention. This is an all-hands on deck situation. Gather your workhorses and get to work. You might need to move some of your priorities down the list and make sure you double, triple, and maybe quadruple your efforts and resources related to membership growth.

  3. Identify a purpose to rally around. Survival, believe it or not, is a poor rally cry. No championship team every won because their team was energized around “not dying.” So, as a chapter leader right now is the time to pick something that your chapter will be about. What is the mission your chapter is on this year? What do you want to attract more people to help you accomplish? Be about something. Be specific. Your members will rally together around a cause they actually care about. They’ll work for a purpose, but they won’t work just because you ask them to. This purpose should also serve as your core marketing narrative. Write a paragraph about your vision and use it to communicate what your chapter is about to potential members and parents.

  4. Quickly build/improve growth infrastructure. We’ll be very specific here. You need four basic things as the foundation from which you can build your recruitment plan. You need a way to keep your on-going recruitment efforts organized (because you do not want to depend on any “formal recruitment or intake” period to find out who’s interested in joining your chapter). You need a weekly meeting with your top workhorses (here’s the agenda). You need a schedule of summer and fall opportunities to engage with potential members (mostly digital, and some face-to-face stuff in the fall). And you need a written process/policy for selecting new members.

  5. Record and create content. Videos. Refreshed website. Photos. Written pieces. More videos. Live FB/IG sessions. YOU NEED CONTENT. If you’re doing a lot of recruitment digitally, your only opportunity to connect with people is through… the internet. And you’ll need content to fill your social media feeds and your digital presence. Have each member record a 60 second video of “Why is fraternity/sorority worth it?” Ask the parents that love your chapter to record their own 2 minute videos that you can post on your website and social media (and send to any incoming prospects’ parents). Write FAQ’s, blogs, create a vlog, produce a video of old pictures. Ask alumni to create videos. Schedule live broadcasts, webinars, and more. You need a content team, and you need to activate them immediately.

  6. Aim specific messages at parents. This summer and fall, parents will wonder… What is your chapter’s hygiene policy? How many hand washing/sanitizing stations do you have? What is your policy for if a member is sick? Can my child have a single room for safety’s sake? How strong is the wifi at your house? Are non-members allowed inside your facility? How often will members be checked for symptoms? There’s a good chance a) you don’t know these answers (ask alumni, HQ, and campus-based pros for help), and b) you definitely don’t have this information on your website yet. Take action.

  7. Fill your funnel. You need access to non-affiliated students so you can start building relationships and trust with them. Ask for lists (from your campus and any other source you can think of). Ask again. Ask your council to provide immediate access to prospects who have indicated interest. Start doing prospecting and pipelining work (see info in point number 8 below). Your team of “workhorses’” first job is to add 50% more names to your list than you had last year. Open this document of “60 Tactics for Meeting Non-Affiliated Students,” and consider that the following could all be done digitally (with slight adaptations): Recruitment Scholarship, Sorority/Fraternity Referrals, Mind Joggers, Partnering with Select Organizations, Non-Greek Surveys, Ask The Rest to Find The Best, Professor and Class Referrals, Alumni Referrals, No-Bid List/Past Recruitment Lists, On-Line Referrals, Resource Center, Chunking, Scouting, Parent Solicitations, Referrals from High Schools, Presentations to Student Organizations, Niche Targeted Marketing, Top 20 Lunches & Coffees, Crossword Puzzle Help, High School Pipelines, Positive Absurdity, Organize Study Groups, Advocacy, Make it Easy To Sign Up, Text For…Something,.

  8. Actively (but not with SPAM) start digital recruitment now. You’ll find detailed recommendations here. This is the most important one! If you haven’t read that resource yet, please do so now. Here’s another important point… Your members need to be prepared. They need quick training on how to effectively grow your chapter. WE HAVE TRAINING THEY CAN ACCESS RIGHT NOW!

  9. Fill social media daily. Do anything you can think of to increase your followers to include non-members (start by following #classof2024 folks). Then post daily. Get active in your IG story. Connect with folks on reddit. Aim parent-oriented messages at Facebook. Buy ads aimed at your target demo. Post, post, post. Engage, engage, engage. Go beyond anything close to what you’ve done in the past. Be authentic and real. Now is the time to dive deeply into giving your chapter a powerful social media presence.

  10. Plan for multiple fall scenarios. What if recruitment is cancelled? What if school is all on-line in the fall, but organizations can operate fully (just fully digitally)? What if everything is back to “normal,” but the incoming students definitely are not what you’re normally used to? That digital recruitment resource outlines 4 scenarios. Your chapter’s leadership should have a plan for all four.

This isn’t fair. You did not sign up for this. But here you are. Leading your chapter. Ready to be the hero whether you want to or not. This is your moment. This is your chance to create the future.  We’re here to help.