Chapters across the country are seeing great success in their recruitment efforts, with outstanding gains from several chapters since 2014:
Delta Delta Chapter, University of Tennessee: 235% increase
Theta Chi Chapter, Muhlenberg College: 433% increase
Iota Xi Chapter, Florida Institute of Technology: 100% increase
The chapter presidents of Tennessee, Muhlenberg and FIT describe the chapter planning and effort behind this year’s surge in their recruitment numbers.
What made your fall recruitment so successful?
Seth Carver (University of Tennessee, 2016): The reason why I believe our fall recruitment was so successful was the planning and effort put forth by our recruitment chairmen Niall Harlan and Doug Kievet. As soon as they were given their positions, they worked alongside the committee members to plan events that were different than most chapters. Starting in the summer we began to reach out to gentlemen who we believed were men of excellence. One event I believe was extremely successful was a Delta Delta Chapter and potential new member minor league baseball game outing. About 10 brothers alongside 10 potential members attended a Sounds game in Nashville. This was a great way for new members to meet our men and get to know the Delta Delta Chapter on a personal level. One additional factor stressed to the brotherhood was steering away from typical recruitment questions and attempting to truly know each potential member. We also attended a recruitment workshop this summer put on by the Southern Division which enabled this great success.
Dan Bigelow (Muhlenberg College, 2016): I think the men realized the importance of this semester's recruitment efforts. Looking around that first chapter meeting at 17 men, we saw recruitment as a now-or-never kind of thing to keep our chapter alive and viable. Our men did a great job speaking to potential new members every day leading up to, and during, recruitment week, and we went into each event with the mindset of finding as many men who met our standards as possible and making sure they came back the next day. Our events were centered on conversations: video game night, followed by a board game night, followed by an information session about the obligations of being in the Fraternity, followed by an invite-only barbeque.
Steve Butalla (Florida Institute of Technology, 2016): Our organization, ambition and brotherhood made this fall recruitment successful. Everyone worked incredibly hard over the spring semester, as well as the summer. Countless hours were put into overhauling the recruitment process. A huge emphasis was placed on values and making sure the potential new members were completely aware of what a fraternity is, and what it means to join something greater than yourself. On-campus presence was also a huge contribution to our success; during the entire week before and after formal recruitment, we were on campus hanging out, going to the dining hall, playing ping pong in common areas, etc. Part of our presence was also our flier and social media campaign. Standard size fliers were posted around campus, but large, 11"x17" fliers were also hung in high traffic areas. Social media was also utilized to its fullest extent, as we posted frequently on Instagram and updated our Facebook page every day.
What advice would you give to a chapter struggling with recruitment? How do you turn it around?
Carver: One piece of advice I would give to chapters is you must stress where your chapter is headed and not necessarily where it is now. We portrayed the image to all our potential members that Delta Tau Delta was different from others on our campus because of our commitment to excellence in everything we do and that we would not be satisfied until we were recognized as the leaders on campus. Position yourself as the best and explain to the recruits why the values can be so beneficial while in college and for the rest of their lives. Also member participation is a must; we made sure to make all of our formal recruitment events mandatory so the chapter could really show its true colors. We also found the attitude going into recruitment is also something that greatly affects how you do. If everyone is excited about the process, I believe it really resonates with the potential new members.
Bigelow: We've been struggling with recruitment for some time now. For us, turning it around started with simple math, and realizing our numbers weren't sustainable. Once the chapter was on the same page, we planned our events and made sure everyone knew the expectations: engage as many new men as possible at each event, no more than two or three brothers in a group, highlight why you joined Delts and what it has meant to you, and talk with them about who they are and their personal life. For those struggling, work with the membership on developing a unified identity for the chapter (maybe a few words that define your group) and work on people skills so brothers know how to interact well with potential new members.
Butalla: You can't view recruitment as a job; you have to have fun with it. When potential new members are seeing the brothers having fun and enjoying each other, it makes them want to join. Another thing you need to do is capitalize on the strengths of your chapter. Ours is our academic success (number one on campus of eight fraternities), leadership opportunities within the chapter, and the brotherhood. Education is another way to turn recruitment around; the brothers need to be aware of how important recruitment is. Recruitment is an essential obligation of a Delt, because without it, our organization will not survive. This fact is a powerful motivator to inspire members, because I know no brother would want to see his chapter close because of a lack of membership.
How do you plan to sustain this recruitment success?
Carver: I plan to sustain this success by instilling into our new members the concept of 365 recruitment. We can never be complacent with the amount of men in our chapter because everyone can benefit from being a Delt. Although we did very well, I emphasize to our members that without continued devotion to excellence in recruitment this excitement will not last. Also we stress that in everything we do we are not only judged as individuals but as Delts. With this being said, we all must behave in a way congruent with the values of men of excellence. That means being the ones involved on campus, making good grades, and treating all individuals with respect.
Bigelow: Sustaining success will come with realizing we need to keep growing as a chapter. Continued contact with the men we see as possible Delts will be key, as will planning pre-recruitment events to meet as many men as possible. The enthusiasm and passion must come from somewhere other than having our backs against the wall and instead from our men wanting to ensure the chapter grows to be the best it can.
Butalla: Currently, our new member education class has a few projects to complete, and hosting a recruitment event is one of them. We also have members shadowing the recruitment chairman to learn everything about recruitment and what the position entails. Keeping the morale up and the brotherhood strong will be the way to sustain this excellence in recruitment.