Relationships Matter in Culturally Based Fraternal Organizations, Too

by Hailey Mangrum

Anyone who knows me knows that my dad is a character. Seriously, he needs a reality show. Along with his humor, he is also a charter member for the chapter of his fraternity. Cool, right?! In one of our conversations, I asked him if he ever recruited someone to join his fraternity. I mean, after all, wasn’t he recruited seeing as though he’s a charter member?! He went on and on with a bunch of pretty words and nice sentences, all to say no. He insisted that because of the image, programs, and impact the chapter produced on campus, men would naturally flock to join. Because of this, he felt there was no need to recruit. My dad isn’t an anomaly to this thought process as I have heard this same rhetoric from various members of culturally based fraternal organizations (CBFOs).

I was curious to see what current students thought of this, so I launched a survey for members of CBFOs asking two questions: (1) what inspired you to join your fraternity/sorority? and (2) have you recruited someone to join your organization, or will you?

Within a day I received 100 responses. The results were fascinating:

• 79% of the participants joined their organization because the mission, values, and/or programs resonated with them.
• 72% of participants said yes they have recruited someone, or they will recruit someone to join.
• 52% of the participants were initiated within 2016-2018.
• 31% of the participants joined their organization because of a mentor, coach, teacher, or church leader is a member.

Friends, this is good stuff. I mean, good. This tells us that a) members of CBFOs have a desire to be engaged in purpose-driven work, b) there is a belief in recruiting, and c) that people join people.

While a chapter may not host a recruitment driven program or have a recruitment chair on the board, recruitment is happening. And many chapters want to actively recruit because they desire more help, more impact, and more chances to change lives with the privilege and development that comes with membership.

The reality is that every program, every Instagram post, and every interaction with someone is recruitment (or if you don’t like that word because it reminds you of stuff you despise, let’s call these “growth tactics”). Growth in organizational impact, community influence, and member development.

Infusing techniques to build rapport, foster influence, and develop relationships into the member development curriculum is integral to the sustainability of CBFOs – and that is exactly what I am excited to do! The desire and/or natural affinity to be in community is who we are at our core.

I am inspired to develop strategies, tips, and resources for students to engage in community through conversations that matter. Whether the content is through web-based material, in-person conversations, or one-one-one coaching, I am committed to developing resources to educate around building relationships and sustaining rapport.

It is important for members to begin having meaningful conversations with people interested in joining. It is important for members to know how to maximize impact and growth through relationships. It is important for members to be equipped with tools to begin a paradigm shift in establishing a culture of interpersonal development within CBFOs.

I am so excited to be on this journey with Phired Up to provide leadership for the expansion and execution of intentional educational experiences for CBFOs. It’s time to move the needle forward in our organizations. We cannot wait for you to join us on this journey!

I’d love to hear from you to talk more about growth for CBFOs! Email me at Hailey@PhiredUp.com to get a conversation started today.