PU_NotAboutYou_Blog (1)

It’s Not About You: You Can’t Recruit Who You Don’t Know

By Jayson Davis & Joshua Lane


Can we honestly say we’ve met everyone? Every student on campus knows us, and we know them? Or are we just constantly reconnecting with the people we convinced to come to our events?


Here’s something we need you to remember – it’s the idea that people join people, not events. And that they won’t join people they haven’t connected with or built relationships with.


Here’s what we mean… You see, when asking students about their interest in fraternity & sorority life, around 43% will say they have a high or neutral interest in it. BUT, on average, only 10% of the typical on-campus student population is in a fraternity or sorority.


The math just doesn’t add up, does it? Why are we not around 43% of the campus population if so many people have an interest in us?


It’s because we’re too often focused on our events – making them bigger, flashier, marketing them – and we’re not focused on the idea that relationships drive our recruitment efforts.


And, we can’t recruit who we don’t know, who we don’t have relationships with, who we haven’t met yet. If we only focus on the names given to us, those we’ve already met, the things we always do, we won’t grow.


It’s not about us and what we’ve always done. It’s not about our events. We will grow when we focus on the idea that people join people and that there are many people who we don’t really KNOW yet and who don’t really know us either.


So, let’s start thinking about them. Let’s brainstorm who they are and where they are. Not what we’ve always done. Grab a pen & paper, or copy and past this list. Ask yourself if you really know everyone who’s out there, mark down who you know and make a list of the opportunities and spaces that exist where you DON’T know anyone.


Do you know…


  • ALL Clubs And Organizations

    • Are all of our chapter members in another club? Let’s get them connected on campus

    • Who are the leaders in those clubs?

    • Who are the newest members of those clubs?

    • Who is going to their events?

    • Who is looking for an experience that the club can’t offer, but your chapter can?

    • Who is looking for a spiritual space?

    • Who wants to volunteer?

    • Who wants to support a great cause?

    • Who is looking for a culturally-based organization?

    • Who is looking for an inclusive space?

    • Who is looking for a space they can feel welcome as their whole selves?

    • Who is trying to improve their overall wellness?

    • Who is looking for leadership opportunities?

  • ALL People in your Major

    • Who is looking for study groups?

    • Who is looking for mentorship?

    • Who needs help with time management?

    • Who is looking for an internship?

  • ALL the people live on campus

    • Who lives down the hall?

    • Who goes to all the floor meetings?

    • Who is applying to be an RA?

    • Who is from out of state?

    • Who still goes home a lot?

    • Who is trying to figure out their meal plan?

    • Who is looking for people to eat with?

  • ALL the people from off-campus

    • Who doesn’t have a community on campus?

    • Who could use some people to eat with on campus?

    • Who is looking to go to a campus event, but doesn’t want to just sit around in between?

    • Who is looking for the microwaves to heat up their food?

  • ALL the people who could use some help with college?

    • Who just transferred?

    • Who is in Grad School?

    • Who has to take care of the family?

    • Who has to take care of a child?

    • Who is the first person in their family to go to college?

    • Who is trying to study abroad?

    • Who is experiencing homesickness?

    • Who are the Juniors and Seniors looking for a network?

  • ALL the people in club sports or athletics or school-spirited?

    • Who wants a cheering section at their games/matches?

    • Who exemplifies school spirit?

    • Who is looking for leadership off the field?

    • Who wants to cheer on ALL sports?

    • Who wants to work in athletics?

    • Who is looking for others to sit with?

    • Who is trying to eat before or after?


Bonus Ideas:

  • Have you considered tabling in a different spot on campus? If we show up where we always are, we’ll always see the same people. Is there another space on campus where we can set up our table and see new faces?


  • Who never responded, and why? Ask them why. Reach out to them. Try to begin forming a relationship with them.


  • Who do your newest members know? Don’t wait till next semester to meet them, let’s meet them now! Your newest members can be the quickest pathway to more names on your list – they likely know more of the people that you don’t know.


  • What are some referrals we can get from other chapters on campus? Ask academic advisors, professors, the service office, the admissions office, other staff who work with student leaders.


  • When attending a Campus event, be sure to split up to meet more people. When we clump we cover a small space, when we spread out, there’s more room to meet more people.


  • No matter what year in school, sit in the front 3 rows, and meet a new person in class every day, in a different way.


  • Impressing people is cool, connecting with people is growth. How are you helping your members find ways to actually connect with others?


Other clubs and spaces on campus might say they are offering the same thing you’re offering: community, belonging, and leadership, and that it’s free. But we know that fraternity and sorority is so much more.


We need to be able to answer the question “Why is Fraternity or Sorority worth it?” The folks outside of our fraternity and sorority community who don’t know us, don’t know why we care so much about our organizations, they can’t read letters from the Greek Alphabet that we wear so proudly. And our events certainly won’t answer this question for us.


To meet, connect, and recruit those we don’t know, we need to look beyond what we’ve always done. Don’t tell us nobody knows who you are when we also don’t know everyone who’s out there. You don’t have a recruitment problem; you’ve got a connection problem. So think about what more you can do, break the mold, and get to KNOW more people today!


Want to know more? Check out these resources below:

Names Drivers 

Mind Joggers

Building Pipelines? What Does That Even Mean

How to Build Connections