By Landon Killion, Expansion Consultant
Dead week has passed, and you have survived your final exams. As you clean out your room preparing to head home or to your internship, there is only one thing on your mind…SUMMER RECRUITMENT.
Let’s be honest, you weren’t thinking summer recruitment. Don’t be ashamed, I am sure you are not the only one. There are the family trips, sporting events, holidays, days spent on the lake, and countless other activities that overshadow our thinking. This is ok. We all need a break!
With the summer break also comes a great opportunity to take advantage of the down-time and get a jump on recruiting your chapter’s next new member class.
The expectations for a successful recruitment season vary within your chapter. Some members might believe that throwing the biggest and best summer events will generate the most signed bids. Others might think that having 40+ men wearing the same shirt might do the trick.
The reality is this – When it comes to summer recruitment, investing your time and money into the relationship side of recruitment will prove to be much more successful. Having events are necessary, but the sole purpose of summer events is to allow your current members to start building relationships with potential new members well before they arrive on campus this fall. So, rather than focusing all of your efforts on larger events, summer recruitment efforts should also focus on smaller events such as lunches with a small group of brothers and potential new members. On the larger scale, you can also do larger events like lake days or a BBQ. However, these events should be in strategically located areas where you have the ability to attract more potential new members.
Whatever your strategy, it’s extremely important to focus on the front-end of the relationship building process. How are you going to know who your referrals are? How are you going to know where they are from? How are you going to make a connection? As you head into summer break, I challenge you to follow my top three steps to a successful summer recruitment strategy.
4 Steps to Successful Summer Recruitment
Build Your Referral List – Send out an opportunity for your undergraduate members, alumni, parents, and other supporters on campus to refer potential new members. This can be a Chapter Builder form, a link to chapter website, your social media platforms, or a Google Sheet. The important part is to have a place for these people to refer anyone they know who will be attending your university from their communities, high school, hometown, church, etc.
Start Small – Building off the referral list you are set to take the next step. You now have two, equally important pieces of information that you will need to make a connection: The member who made the referral and the potential new member himself. Encourage the member who referred the individual to setup a lunch, dinner, or coffee with the potential new member. The purpose of this is to start building that relationship with him. Answer any of his questions he might have about entering his freshman year. Offer to be a mentor to him as he enters this transition in his life. Provide him with marketing materials that have been developed for recruitment. Personalized outreach such as this will show him that you genuinely care about his needs.
Don’t Forget About Parents – Spending time discussing Phi Delta Theta with the parents of potential new members is vital. They have spent nearly two decades raising their sons to be great men, and they’ll want to know how the fraternity experience will enhance the foundation that they have worked tirelessly to build. Be transparent, be prepared, and offer to connect them with selected parents of current members. While your outreach will be beneficial, most parents will gain the greatest value from interacting with other parents who are in the same stage of life.
Chapter Event – After a few smaller outings with a potential new member, you’ll both be eager to bring other members from the chapter into the equation. After marketing this chapter wide event on your social media platforms, this is where a strategically located, larger event comes into play. The key is to plan the event in an area where you have a high density of referrals and current members. Sure, this provides the environment for your brothers to meet potential new members, but more importantly, you are connecting incoming freshman with another incoming freshman.
The purpose of any summer recruitment tactic is to make a connection with incoming students before they step foot on campus. Your chapter will be rewarded with great recruitment success as it builds the level of authentic relationship building leading up to handing out bids.