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sorority recruitment

In college on
October 25, 2017

How To Retain Members As A Student Organization

Recruitment is a big part of the growth of any organization, but once you get those members it’s just as important to keep those members. Retention is important to strengthening your organization. No organization wants a ton of turnover–it doesn’t matter if you belong to a sorority or a smaller student organization on campus–retention is important. 

Retention keeps your organization strong and helps your members get the most out of your organization. If done well, you can retain students from the time they enter your organization to the time they graduate and beyond. Retention builds strong relationships and valuable relationships well. 

In this day and age it’s easy for people to move around–which is great in some ways, but it really means you have to work hard to prove your organizations worth. What makes your organization stand out and become an important part of someone’s life? What do you bring to the table for them so that they can’t get your something anywhere else? You are pitching the value of your organization every single day to all your members. It’s so easy to just stop doing something that isn’t valuable to you–so make sure you are always showing off the value of your organization.

For today’s article, I want to share a couple of retention techniques with you to keep your members interested in the organization and excited about it as well.

 How To Retain Members As A Student Organization | Recruitment is a huge part of the student organization process, but how do you retain members once you have them? Today on the blog I am sharing how to retain the members that you recruit, and why you need to focus on retention as a student organization.

1. Be Clear About Student Organization Expectations

Depending on the size of your organization, it may require a lot of work. Even if you are a big organization, you may have pretty high expectations for your members. When you aren’t clear about those expectations from the start, it can create a ton of turnover.

Think of this as a kind of buyer’s remorse. Your member came into the organization expecting one thing from it, and then you gave them a more complicated version of that or one that doesn’t look like the sell at all. 

Think about this meme about the dancing hotdog for a second. You don’t want your organization to be a “when you order something online versus when it arrives” type of organization. You want your organization to live up to the expectations you set, which means you have to be honest.

What kind of commitments should people expect?

  • How much time should they expect to spend on the organization?
  • What are the monetary expectations like?
  • Should they expect a lot of fun events, charity events, etc.?

When you are clear from the start, you won’t catch members off-guard, and they feel more compelled to stay.

2. Get to know new members

If your organization is getting new members, get to know them. Sororities are a little easier in this regard because of the entire new member process of getting your sisters initiated, but what if you aren’t in a sorority? How do you make sure that your new members feel connected to your organization as a whole?

  1. You can assign new members to older members so they have a mentor.
  2. You can do new member socials so older members get to know new members.
  3. You can create a position in your organization whose sole job it is to be a resource to new members (you get to decide how long that new member process lasts.)

Make sure your new members feel included in your organization, because if you recruit them and don’t retain them you will be right back at square one.

Extra Tip

Sometimes you need to do this even when you don’t have new members. Pairing up your members might be a good way for members to get to know people they wouldn’t normally get to know.

3. Create a suggestion survey or box

Sometimes it’s much easier for someone to suggest something in an anonymous way.

Open a suggestion box and have your officers go through those suggestions and implement things regularly. Not only should you implement things regularly, though, you should let your members know exactly where you got the idea you are implementing. If you pulled a comment from the suggestions box and decided to implement that activity, let your organization members know. This way, people feel like you are hearing and understanding the information they share with you.

The organization shouldn’t be just a product of the officer team, but a product of your whole organization so you should always take what others say into consideration.

4. Make events fun, not mandatory

Having an active membership is important, but your members cannot eat sleep and breathe your organization. Things come up, so instead of making every event mandatory–make every event fun.

Too many mandatory events will put a damper in the calendars of your members and they might decide that your organization is too much for them. Instead make events fun and exciting to go to and offer incentives.

  • Have a themed meeting (pajama day, costume day for Halloween, Disney, Wild Wild West, you name it!)
  • Offer a prize to the person who comes to the most events in a month
  • Have fun socials and mixers

Keep things exciting and appreciate those who come to a lot of things, but don’t make your whole calendar mandatory to get participation. Be understanding of people’s lives.

Focus On Quality Not Quantity

When it comes to meetings, you don’t have to have all the meetings to be a successful organization. Focus on making sure that all the events you host as an organization are quality events. Don’t host an event just because you haven’t hosted one in a while. Keep your members posted and wait until you can create a quality event for your organization.

5. Reach out to those who may be slipping

Sometimes you have members on the edge of quitting. If you can identify those members–reach out! You never know how much meaning a simple “love you and can’t wait to see you at the next meeting” text will have. Always be ready to spot those who are having a tough time and pull them back to your organization. Instead of letting those who are ready to quit, go, step in and let them know you care and want them in the organization. 

Get to the bottom of exactly why they want to leave. You don’t have to be forceful, but ask them a few questions. Is it the money? The time commitment? When you get to the bottom of why they want to leave, you may be able to offer remedies to their problems. If not, at least you tried.

6. Be open to change and opportunities

Having a stake in an organization really does increase retention rates. Make sure your members have plenty of opportunities for advancement in your organization in the form of leadership roles and general inclusion in the organization.

Start new positions on the leadership team, make sure everyone feels like they have a say in what your organization does, and be open to learning about new ideas for leadership roles. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with every new leadership role, but if someone sees something your organization is missing hear them out out on implementing it.

Conclusion

I hope these tips have helped you come up with a retention plan for your organization. If your organization wants to succeed and have amazing members working on retention is always an important step to strengthening your organization.

Does your organization take retention seriously? What’s your best advice for increasing organization retention rates?
 

In Guest Posts, sorority on
July 23, 2014

Formal Recruitment Tips for First Generation College Students: Walking The Walk

Now that you have spoken with your campus sorority advisor, Pi Chi, and some sorority alumnae, its time to talk about presenting yourself in a positive way during formal recruitment.

So much rides on making a great first impression during recruitment that I considered writing about this topic first. Since most first impressions are set in the first few moments of meeting someone, most of it is based on how you choose to present yourself. The following tips have been collected from my personal experience on both sides of sorority recruitment.

How to determine the dress code for each recruitment round.

Usually, dress code information can be found on your university’s Greek Life website under Sorority or Panhellenic Recruitment. In the past, I found these dress codes to be vague and only slightly useful when choosing outfits for formal recruitment. An example of one university’s dress code for the first round of recruitment is:

“Dressy blouse, slacks or skirt, or dress.”

WHOA. You better slow down with all that specificity, University X, I might put together TOO GREAT an outfit with that level of description.

An easy way to get a better idea of what to wear is to ask your Pi Chi for outfit examples for each round, or ask what she wore when she went through recruitment.

To give you an example, I have made some suggestions and visual aids from my own recruitment experience. If you were going through formal recruitment at my college, this is the advice I would give you as your hypothetical Pi Chi.

Round 1 – Open House

Dress Code: Dressy Casual

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 3.57.56 PM.png

Outfit suggestion –

  • Black skinny slacks (not denim)
  • Peplum top
  • Statement Necklace
  • Stud earrings
  • Classic bracelet (No watches!)
  • Cute, sensible shoes

The reason most people in-the-know about recruitment suggest not wearing a watch is that by nature humans check the time over and over again, for no reason other than just a nervous tick. Unfortunately, the sorority member speaking with you interprets this as you being bored with the conversation or dismissive of her sorority in general. Yikes.

Round 2 – Philanthropy

Dress Code – Casual

At my school, the Greek Life office gives each potential new member a recruitment t-shirt to wear for this round. Since I did not have an example of one of those shirts, I substituted a college t-shirt, but you get the idea.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 4.17.09 PM.png

Outfit Suggestion –

  • Recruitment Tee
  • Nice, dark wash jeans – no holes
  • Stud earrings
  • Simple necklace – pendant or charm.
  • Cute, casual shoes

Since my formal recruitment was held in January, the popular look for philanthropy round was a bit different. Most women wore their recruitment tee under a coordinating cardigan with dark wash skinnies tucked into cute, low-heeled boots.

Round 3 – Preference

Dress Code: Semi-Formal

Preference round is the most important, and serious, round of recruitment. The dress code reflects this by being semi-formal or cocktail attire. The tone of the round is generally somber and reflective, so this is not a place for neon or busy prints. Keep it simple with dark or muted solids – think black, gray, navy, or dark green.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 4.27.37 PM.png

Outfit Suggestion –

  • Black cocktail dress
  • Black, closed toe pumps
  • Statement necklace
  • Stud earrings
  • Delicate bracelet

Some notes on preference round styling –

  • Dress should be no higher than three inches above the knee. You will need to be able to sit down without a wardrobe malfunction.
  • Pumps should be no higher than a 3 ½ inch stiletto heel.
  • Hair should be simple and conservatively styled.
  • Keep your jewelry simple – statement necklace if your dress has a high neckline, simple pendant if it is lower. Stud pearl earrings. Simple bracelet.

Some notes on overall styling and presentation throughout all the rounds of recruitment-

  • Paint your nails a conservative color – think nude, light pink, or clear. French tips seem to have fallen out of favor, so I would stick to a solid color.
  • Apply hand lotion prior to the first round each day – you will be shaking a lot of hands!
  • For the pale girls like me – I hesitate to recommend a spray tan for formal recruitment because of the massive amount of things that can go wrong with them – like turning orange, missed spots, makeup not matching your neck, etc. I was not confident enough to go through recruitment au natural, so here is my recommendation for achieving a slight glow without the risks of spray tans:
    • Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs – Yep, its makeup for your body. Choose one of the three colors that most closely matches your skin tone. Spray into your hands and rub into your skin in circular motions. Be sure to go lightly on your first application so you won’t get streaks. I use two coats of the lightest color. I find it gives me a bit of a glow, while masking my visible veins and all the bruises I have from being a klutz. You can find this product at Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens, or a drug store. I think one can is $8 or so. It washes off easily in case you need a re-do.
    • Women who do not need to look tan can also use this product because it comes in darker colors that essentially act as BB cream for your body. It makes everything look better, and gives you a bit of a shimmer that distracts the eyes from uneven skin tone, body acne, visible veins, etc.
    • Makeup for formal recruitment is surprisingly simple. The best look for each day is minimal and conservative. Here are examples of minimal looks-

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 4.17.50 PM.pngScreen Shot 2014-07-07 at 1.14.24 PM.png

  • Some places to find affordable recruitment clothes –
    • Forever21 (my fave)
    • Maurice’s
    • H&M
    • Gap

The main idea behind styling for formal recruitment is to present the best version of yourself possible. It is not disingenuous or fake, it shows that you take pride in yourself and your appearance and will show that level of care to your image as a member of a sorority. Work within the style guide given to you by your university’s Greek Life office, show off your personality, and be confident that you look and feel your best. This confidence will make it much easier for you to interact personally with the sorority members you will be speaking with during the different recruitment rounds.

Happy Recruitment!

-Tera

In Guest Posts, sorority on
July 22, 2014

Formal Recruitment Tips for First Generation College Students: On Becoming Knowledgeable

Sorority formal recruitment is a stressful, emotional process for a fifth generation legacy, much less a first generation college student. I remember when I was a potential new member, feverishly devouring every blog, forum, and website I could find that would finally de-mistify the recruitment process to this would-be sorority girl.

My friends all seemed confident in the recruitment process, safe in their confidence in being extended a bid by one of the sororities. I had no such confidence. I was terrified that I would not be found pretty enough, accomplished enough, or wealthy enough for membership.

Even though I read every Going Greek article known to womankind, I still felt like I was in the dark about sorority recruitment. After guessing my way through an emotional recruitment, I dashed through a rainy January bid night to my future sorority home.

That recruitment weekend was five years ago. Looking back now, as a sorority alumna, I realize the reason those articles did not help me is because they were written with second or third generation students in mind, women who had mothers, grandmothers, and aunts to help explain the recruitment process. So even though I cannot jump into a time machine (yet – I’m looking at you, science) and tell my past self these tips, I can pass on some of the things I learned as a first generation sorority member to you.

1. Use your school’s resources

Go to the Greek Life office and speak to the sorority advisor, explaining that you would like to learn more about Greek Life from an unbiased sorority woman and ask to have some one-on-one time with your Pi Chi (recruitment counselor assigned to a group of potential new members during recruitment) PRIOR to the beginning of formal recruitment.

This tip is useful for those of you who do not have friends or acquaintances in Greek Life or other useful contacts that can be your Sherpa up the mountain of sorority recruitment. The best time to seek this type of counsel would be a month or two prior to formal recruitment, that way the sorority advisor will have more time to spend with you.

Ask the sorority advisor or your Pi Chi these questions:

  • Can you walk me through the stages of recruitment?
  • What do sorority women in general expect from potential new members?
  • What should I expect from the sorority members?
  • Can you tell me about your recruitment experience?
  • Do you have any advice for how I can positively stand out as a potential new member?

Building a positive relationship with your Pi Chi will greatly increase your chance at having a positive recruitment experience. Pi Chis are there to help you have the best possible recruitment, and they can do their jobs the best when they know a little about you and your goals for sorority life. So take the initiative and get to know your sorority advisor and Pi Chi.

2. Ask your recommendation writers for help

If you attend a school that requires recommendations from sorority alumnae prior to formal recruitment, ask the women writing your rec letters to spend some one-on-one time with you to explain the recruitment process and its more complex workings.

These women have specific experience with the sororities on campus at your school. They might not have been members of that particular chapter, but they have information about recruitment practices, values, and goals of specific national organizations.

For example, while I cannot speak to any chapter other than my own, I can give you information such as Sigma Sigma Sigma’s values, philanthropy, and new member process.

Alumnae have great perspective on being a life-long member of a sorority. Does that particular group practice alumnae life in a way that supports your goals and values? This is crucial information because, even though it’s cliche, “a sorority isn’t just four years, it’s for life”.

3. Get a Recruitment Coach – if you can afford it

Yes, this is a thing, and yes it will help you immensely – specifically if you are going through recruitment at a major Southern school. Recruitment coaches can help you prepare in a way no other person can. They coach you in making great first impressions, interviewing, and personal presentation.

This is not an endorsement, but Sorority Corner is a site dedicated to providing recruitment resources and coaching at many difference price points. You may only need the $67.00 sorority recruitment webinar, but they have packages all the way up to personal coaching at $575.00. I include this information because I wish I had known about sites like Sorority Corner when I was preparing to go through recruitment.

Do your own research before deciding on a coaching program to make sure you are choosing one best suited to your needs.

4. Reach out to local sorority alumnae chapters

As a current member of an alumnae chapter, I know that every member is committed to helping the next generation of sorority women. The women interested in sorority recruitment are the next generation of collegiate and alumnae chapter members.

You can find contact information on national organization websites and Facebook. Call the contact woman, explain what you need, and I know you will be connected with a woman who can help you.

The benefit of reaching out to sorority alumnae is two-fold.

  1. If you still need a rec letter, the woman you speak with might be willing to write you one after having a few conversations with you.
  2. Sorority alumnae all started out as potential new members interested in recruitment, just like you. These women know exactly how you feel and possess intimate knowledge of the general recruitment process, as well as their particular collegiate chapter’s methods.

Alumnae can also be great mentors for specific aspects of recruitment, such as how to respond to questions, making a great first impression, and following your heart when choosing a sorority.

Some alumnae chapters even hold mock recruitments during the summer before school starts- this is the best practice you could have for formal recruitment on campus. Going through this process will give you the benefits of experience and knowledgeable alumnae helping you improve on the spot.

This type of knowledge is invaluable to a first generation student who does not have the benefit of older women in their family to guide them through recruitment.

5. Be up-front and honest about what you know versus what you do not know

I found in my experience as a first-generation student and potential new member that being up-front and honest about what you do know versus what you do not know about Greek Life can save you a lot of stress and negative emotion later in the process. I tried to go Greek all by myself with only the Internet to guide me, and it was messy, confusing, and sometimes devastating. If I would have taken advantage of resources like the Greek Life office on campus, local alumnae networks, and the sorority women in my community, I would have had a much better experience during recruitment.

Myths, rumors, and gossip swirl around sorority recruitment like fog around a dementor. If you arm yourself with knowledge from reputable sources, you will have a more positive recruitment experience. Do your own research, meet with sorority members in your community, follow your heart and have fun – sorority recruitment is one of the most memorable events in your collegiate career.

Catch the next post for information on how to present yourself during formal recruitment!

Happy Recruitment!

In sorority on
July 17, 2014

Sorority Love: Recruitment Videos That Give Me Feels

I can’t be the only sorority woman who gets chills watching other people’s recruitment videos! It doesn’t matter the sisterhood, I love watching recruitment videos on YouTube. When I get in the sentimental mood I can be seen searching for any sorority recruitment video out there, but I love slideshows and recruitment videos the most.

 Sorority Love: Recruitment Videos That Give Me Feels | Sororities often put out amazing and emotional videos during recruitment to share their sisterhood with potential new members and the public. Click through to watch 6 amazing sorority videos that give me the feels and learn more about the sorority experience while you do.

Here are some videos that give me major feels.

1. Tri Sigma HPU Sorority Recruitment Video 2014

2. University of Memphis Sorority Recruitment Video 2013

3.  USC Chi Omega Recruitment Video 2013

4. SLU Panhellenic Recruitment 2014

5. AXID RECRUITMENT VIDEO 2011

6. Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority Recruitment Video 2010 at Belmont University

I hope you got chills too! I love watching other sorority women talk about their sisterhood and really prove that this is something important. Sorority women should celebrated for all that they do for women across the country. I don’t know what I’d do without my sisterhood, so it feels great when other women talk about how their sororities have impacted them and made them better people.

What is your favorite sorority recruitment video? I’d love to see some down in the comments, because I love watching them!