Many of us have heard phrases like, “It’s about recruitment, not rush” or, “Recruitment is 24-7-365”. And while we may agree that it sounds like a novel idea, very few of us actually understand the how of year-round recruitment. In this month’s blog, I’d like to share with you some ideas for practical application of “365 recruitment”; as well as some other ideas I’ve picked up along my travels around the land of Sigma Pi.
You can have the most charismatic chairman in the world, but if he and the rest of the chapter can’t keep track of names and progress, then you are destined to underperform.
- Consider using chapterbuilder.com. It’s a “freemium” service and does the organizing part of recruitment for you! With a web portal and app that allow the chapter to control the communication and rankings of potential new members all in one centralized database, Chapter Builder hands you the organization of recruitment on a silver platter so you can focus on meeting people and building relationships. *No, I don’t work for ChapterBuilder.com; I just love their product!
- If you are not using Chapter Builder or a similar service, consider utilizing the Name List built into the Chapter Workbook as a template. It will be somewhere safe from being lost or broken that every member can access and add the guys he meets year-round.
- Hold a Recruitment Workshop. Not just a committee report during rush season each week. A separate, full-on workshop about how you as a chapter plan to hit your recruitment goals. Something that gets you all on the same page with events, PR, names list, everything.
Have a plan – A written Values-Based Recruitment plan (Due Oct. 15th) is not only required for the Standards of Excellence, but frankly, it’s just flat out good to have. Knowing what qualities you look for in a new member is a critical part of quality control when expanding our ranks. The following are just a few examples of ways you could qualify the type of men we are looking for:
- HS or College GPA
- HS or Campus involvement
- Number of interest events one attended
- Number of Brothers one has met with
- Parental consent/ commitment
- Hold a term “Kick-off” event before each recruitment cycle. Try to target high-volume campus events that aren’t restricted by local IFC or campus regulations, i.e. Welcome week or move-in days. By attending these events you can advertise your open after-event. This event could be a poolside BBQ of a clubhouse on-campus, a game night at the Rec Center, anything that can accommodate a large group of people and does not violate any regulations. Just be sure to advertise and be inviting people to it all break long and during move-in.
Understanding Recruitment Theory 101
- Types of Recruiting:
- Active: This is all of your efforts and events that you put on for the direct purpose of recruiting new members. Formal recruitment events, tabling, flyers, tweets, going door-to-door, IFC orientation, etc. Active recruitment is typically what we think of as the job of the recruitment chair/ committee. However, if we stop there, we are losing out on so very much untapped potential.
- Passive: This is tied to your reputation, but the bottom line is that passive recruitment is everything else besides active efforts. This recruitment comes from how much, and how well thought of you are on you campus. This will lead to other students and the campus recommending that new men give Sigma Pi a chance to meet them. Passive recruitment in improved by becoming more active in your campus community, advertising your Service events whenever possible, being excellent sportsmen during intramurals, wearing our letters often on-campus, and generally conducting yourselves well among your peers and community.
Warning! Passive recruitment is also negatively impacted by all of these factors. However, we rarely think of the year-round impact of our passive recruitment in our day-to-day operations.
- Pipelines – These are continuous sources of members regardless of your active/passive recruitment. By mastering Pipelines and creating new ones, recruitment can fall into your lap and you will be able to be more and more selective with the quality of your membership.
- Legacies: You should know what legacies are coming to you campus well in advance. Just because someone is a legacy, doesn’t mean he will choose Sigma Pi. You still have to make a good impression or he will be elsewhere so don’t take them for granted!
- High Schools/ Home Towns: How many of your guys know someone who is coming to your Univ. from their HS or hometown? Have you even asked them?! Use every existing connection your chapter has and add them to your Name List early. By “hosting” them as early as freshmen move in day, you can solidify their loyalty to go Sigma Pi over anyone else.
- Other Student Organizations: Got a guy in SGA? ROTC? How about a Business Fraternity? Have them make an announcement at their next meeting that Sigma Pi is looking to add more Leaders to the chapter. These members will be acting as example that you CAN do both. Plus, many of these members have separate views of leadership experience that could become valuable to Sigma Pi.
- Sorority Referrals: This is a BIG one. Get a couple of your gentlemanly dressed men, go to each sorority meeting that you have a relationship with even one member of (girlfriend, sister, what-have-you). Go in front of the their chapter and with confidence tell them something along the lines of:
- “Good afternoon ladies, my name is X and I am here on behalf of Sigma Pi Fraternity. As recruitment season approaches, we are once again looking to get the best men on campus. So we thought, ‘Who better to ask than the lovely ladies of [Sorority Name]?’ So, if you would, I am going to leave this referral sheet with [Sister of the sorority you have a connection with] and she will get it back to us later this week. Thank you so much for your time and we look forward to meeting your recommendations!”
- Then leave, and give the same speech to each chapter. Any names that you get will have that sorority’s reputation attached to it, in other words, strong leads.
Many times during recruitment it starts off with someone standing up and saying, “Everyone in the chapter is on the recruitment committee!” I get it; we know that the best way to get a large recruitment pull is for everyone in-turn to pull his weight. But other than dropping the aforementioned guilt-bomb every so often, most of us aren’t doing much to facilitate that happening. So here are a couple ideas…
- Captain System – Structuring your recruitment committee with a Chair who is focused entirely on logistics and planning. The chair does NOT need to be a skilled recruiter AT ALL. He only needs to be extremely organized and able to organize successful events, keep up with the Chapter Builder/ names list, etc. Then assign 3-5 “Captains” (typically your best recruiters in the chapter) who are responsible for an equal share of the chapter membership as a team. This system creates internal competition and a larger overall effort from the chapter to recruit. Also, by dividing the chapter into smaller groups, there is more focused accountability for each team to pull their weight. Be sure to incentivize the teams, captains, and best individual recruiter (regardless of team) in separate categories. The incentives need to make sense for your own chapter. It could be a free pass for the winning team to have casual dress at the next meeting, or a “Get out of Sober Duty” pass, some people want $ off their dues or preference of Little brother pick. The bottom line is that it should get the people GOING! The most important thing is who/what team brings in the most guys. A great way to asses who actually recruited who? Ask the new members at their first meeting “Please list the one brother who was the single most influential in your decision to join”. Then allocate large points according to this survey to those recruiters.
- Viral Recruitment – Once you have determined that a potential new member is committed and able to join the chapter, add him to your efforts. We all know that a large pledge class is more enjoyable than a small one, so tell that to your potentials and have them spread the good word to their roommates, classmates, study groups, HS friends, etc.
Reach your Goals
No, “A huge pledge class” is not a real goal. And if you aren’t setting a goal, how can you be expected to reach it? Both during the on AND off-season, we should be recruiting towards actual goals. Here are some ideas…
- Did you know that the Executive Office has actually set annual Pledge (men who get pinned) and Initiate goals? You can check your goals and much much more at any time at www.sigmapi.org/soetracker. By reaching one or both of these goals, your chapter will receive SOE points towards your score.
- Post-Rush down time? Nonsense! As long as you are using a names list, you should be setting year-round monthly goals for adding names to it. Incentivize meeting these goals with something meaningful to your chapter.
Whether you are focused on chapter growth, or on the freedom to be extra selective with the quality of your membership it is always a good time to recruit!