There are no finite answers as it relates to the future of recruitment. I don’t have any answers, and I do this for a living. However if there’s anything we’ve realized over the last couple of months it is the resiliency of the human spirit and need for human connections.
Enter fraternities and sororities. The fraternity and sorority experience is one of the few that provides a sense of security and a home away from home. We know that potential new members come to our organizations because they want to fulfill a sense of belonging. But there are some things we do know: that once this is all over things will look and feel a little different. So let’s look at this as an opportunity for a starting point.
The Target Market
Waiting for formal recruitment to roll around will set us up for failure. There’s a 20/60/20 concept of people who join our organizations:
- 20% are Always Joiners: These are the people who have already done their research and are already trying to figure out how to register for the recruitment process.
- 20% are Never Joiners: These are the people who would not join a fraternity or sorority if their life depended on it.
- 60% are Maybe Joiners: These are the people we pass by every day that we know casually – maybe from class or through friends of friends – but we never actually ask them to join. They don’t like the formalized recruitment process (and let’s be honest – most of us don’t like it either). They don’t like the stereotypes of Greeks as a whole.
Do you ever notice that the members who were Always Joiners only tend to show up for the fun things and always have an excuse when it’s time to pay dues or come to the service event? And, do you notice the people who said they would never join turn out to be some of the most responsible and dependable members? Those, the ones who say they are Never Joiners but actually join (they’re the Maybe Joiners), need to be our target market.
“But Dan, how are we supposed to recruit anyone given the current state of things?…”
I’m so glad you’re asking that, and I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There is one fundamental truth in our organizations that directly relates to recruitment: People join people. Honestly not many people care about the formalized recruitment process (including our own members); no one truly remembers what food was served or what kind of centerpiece you had or how it took them forever to locate the informational. Sure they might remember an event or party, but what people remember are the interactions they have with your members while at those events.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou –
There are things we know for certain: the formal recruitment and registration process will continue (it might look a little different or be held at a different time, but overall it will continue). This means the Always Joiners will still have a way to join. However we need to stop relying on the formal process for our members. That basically means you’re just picking from the people who simply show up.
Then what exactly are you looking for? Whelp, that’s on y’all to figure out. But you need to know what you’re looking for in a person. I’ve heard too many times that “oh yeah they’re cool / they’re chill / really nice” and we don’t have a clue how to actually give characteristics of someone. If we’re debating on giving lifelong membership to someone, shouldn’t you try a little harder to describe them?
What traits are you looking for in a member? Are they academically engaged? Involved in something else? Passionate about service? Willing to pay for things that are important to them?
You are what you recruit. So start thinking about the qualities of the potential member. After all, the quality of a person will drive the quantity of your organization size. As always, if you’d like to touch base to talk through ideas, concepts, or just figure out what in the world you should do next, feel free to email me at Faill@campuspeak.com and we’ll find a time to chat