Recruitment and getting your organization's name out there is difficult as a registered student organization, whether your organization is old or new. Today on The Happy Arkansan we are discussing a few excellent ways to get your organization's name and face out there.
1. Host A Visibility Challenge
So, what is a visibility challenge? A visibility challenge is where you challenge your members to be loud and proud about your organization. Essentially you ask them to do the following:
Wear your organization's swag and post about how the organization makes them feel.
Simple enough, right? Pick one day out of every month and ask your members to wear the organization's shirt. Then give them a prompt that they can use to post about the organization on social media. Here are some example prompts:
- What is one lesson they have learned from the organization?
- What's their favorite value that the organization teaches or has instilled in them?
- What would they say to people who are thinking of joining the organization or similar organizations?
- Who is a member that inspires you to be a better member? (Get them to tag that member in their post.)
- What is their favorite event they have ever attended that the organization hosted?
You can come up with so many questions that your members might love to discuss.
Ask your members to use specific hashtags when they make their post, tag your national organization, and do what they can to make the post more visible, because it is a visibility challenge after all.
If you are hosting a visibility challenge and you have issues with participation, put a little incentive behind it.
Do a drawing each month for a Starbucks gift card or a gift card to the local textbook bookstore that people in your organization use.
Pick a winner by seeing who posted on social media using the campaign specific hashtags you set up. Pick a platform or two you want people to post on. Or you could get everyone who wants to be entered into the drawing to share what they posted with you via email or submit it to a form or Google Drive spreadsheet.
Then once you have that information, use a random name picker to pick a winner and get them their prize. If you decide to have them send you the information, make sure you put a definite time limit on when they should send you the information by. People love to wait until the last minute, and you don't want to wait forever to draw a winner.
2. Hold A Sweet Tea/Hot Chocolate Social
If your organization is full of social butterflies, you may want to host a sweet tea or hot chocolate social (depending on the time of year of course.) Get permission to set up a table near the Student Union, contact your campuses dining services and get them to provide lots of sweet tea/hot chocolate and something light like cookies or something portable like a cupcake. You may even want to get permission to bring your own food if it is cheaper for your organization.
On a busy time like the first week of class, midterms, or finals week get you organization members outside to socialize with people passing by. Have an activity to do like cornhole or even just a cool big sheet of paper or a banner for people to sign and leave their mark on the event.
Have flyers for your organization to hand out at the event. On the flyer share your social media platforms, who to talk to about joining, or any other information you find relevant. Give the people working the booth some talking points and make sure they know about some of the cool events you have coming up in the organization.
Make sure everyone who passes by your table can pick up a sweet treat on the way to class.
3. Do A Walk or 5K Race
If you have a lot of athletes in your organization and you love giving back to charity see if you can host a walk or 5K for an organization nationally or in the area. Walks and 5Ks are very popular, especially if you can theme it. This list from Greatist that showcases The 29 Most Incredible Theme Races Of 2014 is a great place to start if you are looking for a potential way to make your race stand out above other races going on near and on your campus.
Do you want to know another great thing about races? They usually come with a t-shirt of some sort. Shirts mean prolonged promotion for your organization because you can have your name on the front of the shirt (and even make connections with other organizations by getting them to sponsor spots on the back of the shirt to make some extra money to host the 5K.)
Walks and 5Ks do take a lot of commitment. You have to plan the walk. Planning includes things like finding vendors, finding a location/route for the walk, finding participants to do the walk, and more than likely security personnel for the walk. Plus, you have to get your organization members to work the walk (whether that's in shifts or it's an all day thing) and then finding a way to hold people who don't show up/don't have an excuse accountable for missing their duties.
Walks are great though because you can usually give a lot back to the community by doing a walk plus getting your community in shape is a win-win for everyone.
4. Get Pied In The Face For Charity
This was one of my favorite events that my sorority hosted, but I have also seen it hosted when I was an Ambassador. Either way, this event is pretty easy to manage.
Do not get intricate with your pies. In the event with my sorority we just got a paper plate and sprayed whipped cream on the plate. It's the effect of putting a pie into someone's face, not necessarily the messiness factor that draws people to this event.
Also, put down a plastic tarp over the area that you intend to do this, whipped cream does not like to come out of concrete for some reason, not without a little force anyway, so be smart and cover the area you plan to do this event at.
Also, if you get pied in the face do not laugh and snort the whipped cream into your nostrils, learn from those who have gotten pied in the face before you.
When I was in my sorority, we hosted an event called Pie A Sigma Tri. This was an event I ended up getting pied in the face during (although I didn't sign up for it, it was for the children, and one of my classmates saw me at the booth and wanted to pie me in the face.)
During this event, each pie was $3 per throw for members and $4 per throw for officers in our sorority.
We did the entire event in one day, with some obvious promotion before the event so people knew what day and time we would be doing this event.
This is a fun event because you can pie as many people as you want. The next event I am talking about is more for professors and university presidents (high profile people in your university you know everyone can't get to pie in the face because they can't be outside all day getting pied in the face.) If it's just members of your organization, though, you can work shifts at your table so multiple people can pay to pie their friends; RAs; roommates; and just random people in the face.
Pay To Get One Specific Person Pied Once
When I was an Ambassador, we hosted an event where we chose a few prominent figures on campus to get pied in the face potentially. We had buckets in the Student Center where people voted on their favorite candidate to get paid in the face with change. Then one day, right outside the Student Union we pied that person in the face for the whole campus to see. That person ended up being the president of the university. If you can get a prominent person on campus like the president of your university, the chair of your department, your university mascot, etc. to get pied in the face in front of the school–that would be a great way to raise some buzz about your event.
You may want to have an exact person in mind before you advertise and get people to donate based on that one specific person or you may want to have a competition where you have people pick between the three people in the university they want to see get a pie in the face. Don't give people too many choices, but make all the options meaningful to your campus.
To go along with your challenge of picking a specific person to pie in the face, you can also raffle off tickets for who gets to pie them in the face. Get people to pay a dollar or two for a chance to pie the high profile person in the face.
This is a double whammy of promotion for your organization because you get promotion once when you have your charity drive and then again when the person gets pied in the face. It is a little more work because you are planning two events, but this can be beneficial.
5. Have A Talent Show
If you have a lot of really talented people in your organization, you can plan a night of fun for your entire campus and get everyone on your school involved.
One of my favorite events that I have seen other sorority chapters in my sorority Tri Sigma host is Tri Sigma Night Live. It's a twist on SNL where the entire campus gets together to recreate an SNL skit for charity.
I have also seen some awesome pageants being thrown in my day to raise money for charity. If you can hook this up with your state pageant system, that would make the event even more beneficial and will make it even more likely that people will enter your pageant.
You can also plan a basic talent show. Be sure to throw in a few acts from members of your own organization here and there. They probably shouldn't be able to win the talent show, but it will help fill time slots in case an act is running behind, doesn't show, or in case you don't have enough acts.
What did you think of your results? Be sure to share them with me in the comments below so I can see what you will be working on next.