Lambda Chi Alpha at RPI Shares Dynamic Recruitment Success

We are excited to share the success story that Jonah from Rensselaer Polytechnic University’s Lambda Chi Alpha Chapter experienced while using Dynamic Recruitment earlier this Spring! Read our interview with Jonah below.

Tell us about yourself and how/why you became the recruitment leader of your chapter? + How did you first learn about Dynamic Recruiting? How did you get connected with Phired Up?

My name is Jonah Mudse, I’m a rising senior at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York. In the fall of my first year, I became a brother of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

I first served as my chapter’s alumni relations chairmen where I planned and hosted our ‘SuperReunion’, essentially an alumni weekend that gathered record numbers of our brothers throughout the decades at the same place. This was before I understood why gathering matters, but this became an experience that I knew I wanted to share with more people.

Literally two weeks later, Matt Mattson was speaking at a two-day ‘Greek Forum’ event on campus. He was launching a three-year relationship with my university with the intention of transforming how fraternities and sororities on campus grew. My chapter’s recruitment chairmen didn’t want to go but the school required the attendance of two, so my chapter president asked if I would go and he would excuse me from activities I would rather not be at. I decided to go and, little did I know at the time, this forum ended up leading me to now two years of being knee deep in fraternity recruitment.

At this forum, Matt shared with us the data, the stories, and the tactics of how incredible organizations fundamentally share their excellence. It made sense that sharing excellence requires excellent relationships. It further made sense that a recruitment plan centered on these relationships (aka Dynamic Recruiting) was a more-than-solid way to go. The mindset  Matt shared with those Greek leaders during those two days planted itself in my heart. Matt’s perspective really shaped my view of this whole organization thing and how powerful those organizations can be.

What had your chapter tried in the past? What wasn’t working?

In the past, we’ve been great closers!  We’ve always been a group that naturally had the best selling points: GPA, chapter house, low dues, high awards, etcetera. Our best recruitment strategies were the ones that got the most people in the door. This worked really well when we planned the right events that happened to be advertised to the right people.

As long as a student came to most of our rush events and especially as long as the loudest guys in the room liked the PNM, then they got a bid. We voted on them on Sunday (eh),  gave it to them personally on a Tuesday (good), then we would find out if they signed on Friday (not so good). When event attendance was high, there happened to be enough personal interaction that the process somewhat worked. Where we really were lacking, and didn’t know, was that recruitment could be so much more than just getting people in the door; recruitment could actually propel the chapter to levels of success we couldn’t imagine at the time.

image0What result were you looking for?

When I took over as director of recruitment, I was looking for a class of PNMs who:

1. Understood the expectations of membership, and

2. Who were excited to take ownership of the chapter’s accomplishments.

I felt it was really important for retention and buy-in that there were zero surprises for a PNM after they signed their bid, so we laid everything out before they even got a bid. I also felt like setting the expectation that this class would be able to take ownership of the chapter’s future successes was not only attractive to the average Gen-Z mindset, but was also a fundamental cultural characteristic that if manifested, would revive my chapter and set it on a path to success full steam ahead.

Tell us about your process! How did you build your team? How did you secure buy-in with your team?

I was elected in December of 2020, and recruitment started in the last week of January, so we had to move fast. In the past, committees were formed by sending out a Google Form. I did that, but only expected 1-2 where I wanted a committee of 5-7. So I put together a list of 10 brothers I thought would be solid recruiters. I just called each one with an old fashioned phone call and asked about their spring plans. After 10 calls, I had my committee of 7 committed to a successful spring recruitment.

To encourage buy-in and to really level-set the committee, I bought them all access to Phired Up’s Digital Classroom for the IFC Fraternity Recruitment training modules. I had the team formed before Christmas and gave them until the week after New Years to complete the course. This got everyone on the same page and allowed us to get to work almost right away.

Shifting a chapter from static recruitment to dynamic recruiting is difficult. It takes real culture change! What was hard? How did you secure buy in with your chapter and other community stakeholders?

Dynamic Recruitment tactics had somewhat been informally used in the past, but a full on dynamic recruiting system was foreign to my chapter. I was facilitating our recruitment plan remotely and never allocated enough resources towards communicating the new system and progress updates to the chapter. This built up tension throughout recruitment between some members of the general chapter and the recruitment committee. I was unaware of this tension until it exploded with two weeks of recruitment left.

At that point, I specifically made an effort to keep the general chapter up-to-date with the recruitment committee’s actions. I opened up our plan and discussed each tactic with anyone who was curious. I had to be careful when discussing the “why” behind Dynamic Recruitment and instead had to focus on the “what”. The why seemed to spark friction where the what seemed to get people excited. Interestingly enough, the feedback I was getting from brothers was more negative while the feedback I was getting from PNMs and alumni was generally positive. That was a difficult path to navigate, but knowing that I was recruiting based on and with the values that I pledged my oath to most definitely helped me through it.

You’ve talked about using dynamic recruiting to help grow other groups you’re involved with at RPI! Can you share more about your thoughts on how a dynamic recruiting strategy works for all types of organizations?

I use Dynamic Recruitment to grow everything. I’ve used it to grow Lambda Chi committees that involve brothers from different chapters, to grow church small groups, to grow the track and field team, to find more employees for my employer, and I plan to use Dynamic Recruitment to launch a new organization on campus in the fall of 2021.

The power behind Dynamic Recruitment, and why it works for all types of organizations, is the authentic trust that forms between PNM and recruiter. In the fraternity process, the PNM trusts the recruiter enough to sign that bid of membership. In the church small groups, my friend trusts me enough to spend his Tuesday night with a bunch of strangers. For the track and field team, my friend trusts me enough to start coming to practice and hitting the gym. For my employer, potential employees trust me enough to discuss the viability of a hefty commitment on top of classes. For this new organization I’m launching, new members will have to trust me enough to get on board and be founding partners of something risky, something that might fail. Dynamic Recruitment facilitates interactions that build relationships founded on trust, trust that can be leveraged to grow your organizations.

Brag on your team! Talk about your results (qualitative and quantitative).

My recruitment committee were a bunch of rock star brothers. These guys:

… put 250 names on our list,

… sent over 200 openers,

… hosted over 100 1-on-1 or 2-on-1 virtual meetings,

… showed up to 7 bid vote meetings,

… offered 21 bids,

… and built strong enough relationships that 19 signed their bids.

This was transformational for us. In the past, we’d give 20-25 bids out of the 60-70 guys we met at events and 10-15 would sign. The best part of our spring recruitment wasn’t even the 19 for 21 sign rate, it was the 2-to-1 new member to brother ratio we had at our first few events post-recruitment. These new guys were excited to join and committed to becoming brothers. This excitement really gave our chapter a fresh look after a difficult year navigating the pandemic.

It’s May – Fall 2021 recruiting starts now! How are you continuing to press into dynamic recruiting? What’s your plan for this summer? Talk about some of your goals!

I stepped down as recruitment chair this May. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to continue Dynamic Recruitment but rather because it made more sense (with deferred recruitment) to elect our recruitment chair for an academic year term, rather than a calendar year term (like how we elect all other officers). That being said, I used Dynamic Recruitment yet again to recruit the next recruitment chair, then I shared absolutely everything I had learned with him and committed to being on his committee.

My favorite part about who replaced me is that he’s one of the 19 who signed their bid this last spring. He’s only ever been exposed to Dynamic Recruitment and has never seen our event based recruitment of the past.

Fall recruitment is limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Our focus is on recruiting the friends of our 19 new brothers. Using them to build a list of friends and then chunking those friends to meet their friends should give us enough exposure and interactions to build a solid class of 10-15. The main focus of this fall’s recruitment plan is building a list of freshmen to recruit in the spring. We are planning several campus-wide events throughout the semester where our brothers can interact with anyone and everyone.

This summer is about getting those 19 new brothers up to speed with our recruitment plan. Chunking their friends will be more powerful if RJ does the chunking rather than Jonah sending the text that says “Hey Matt! Got your number from RJ. My name is…” and you know how the story goes. It’s doable, but we’re going to try to set a precedent where the spring recruitment class becomes the fall recruitment team.