Tips and Suggestions
- Set up a series of Informational Meetings.
- Create a brochure that answers questions & serves as a resource.
- Set up Informational Tables in the SAU or Campus Center.
- Participate in club fairs and gatherings. Co-sponsor campus events.
When recruiting members, always try to think in terms of “what’s in it for them.”
- Remember that a personal contact is always better than 100 flyers and advertisements. People join organizations because they like the people they find there. Nothing can replace the simple act of getting to know someone and asking them to join.
- Get scheduled to make a brief introduction of your organization at residence floor meetings.
- Don’t expect a person to come to a meeting in a room full of people he/she doesn’t know. Offer to meet the student somewhere and go to the meeting together. Make sure you personally introduce that person to others in the group.
- Hold meetings and events in comfortable, visible, easy-to-come-to places.
- Feed potential members. College students are attracted to free food.
- Recruit people by the issue that interests them. If there are people very interested in one issue, you can recruit them to head up a program on that issue.
- Go out of your way to make new members or potential members feel like “players” right away. When someone has expressed an interest in getting involved to any degree in your organization, immediately give them a meaningful task to do.
- Go door to door in the residence hall and talk to students about the organization- then invite them to come to an event later in the week.
- Make a list of all of the advantages of being a member. This could include public speaking opportunities, or any number of other things. Use this list of advantages as your major selling points for new members.
- Always take photos at meetings and events, then put together on the Link/social media for prospective members to see.
- Create a display and request to have it displyed in an SAU case.
- Rent a video camera and make your own recruitment video. Its ok if it’s amateur and unedited, just make it funny! Show your group members at an event. Show a few minutes of a typical meeting. Show your members hanging out, playing cards. Whatever! The more hilarious, the better.
- Print up business cards for your members to carry. Be sure to have a place for members to write his/her own name and number, but the card should also say, “Open meetings! Please come!”
Know & Understand Your Organization
Both the leadership & the membership need to know the organization goals and objectives. Have an organizational meeting to discuss goals and objectives. Are your goals still accurate? Is it time to update them? Where do you plan for the organization to be in six months? A year? Develop a membership profile. What type of people do you need to help the group succeed? Who would you like to have join? Who would complement your current membership?
Set Recruitment Goals
How many new members can your organization reasonably assimilate into the group? Keep your membership profile in mind. When designing your recruitment strategy, ask yourself what places do these prospective members most likely frequent? Do they have special interests? What kind of publicity would attract their attention?
Remember What Made You Get Involved
What attracted you? How were you recruited? If you weren’t, how did you hear about the group? Why have you stayed involved?
Get Everyone Involved
Have your current members contact people they know, who may want to get involved. Personally invite them to attend a meeting. Word-of-mouth is the best and least expensive type of publicity you can use. Talk about your group. Tell people what you have to offer them and the benefits of membership. Ask them about themselves – and really listen. Personalize the message to each potential member. Let them know how their talents, skills, and interests would help the organization.
Design an Advertising Campaign Using Visual Elements
Recruitment campaigns need to have a visual element as well. Have those members with artistic talents work on your posters, flyers, banners, bulletin boards, etc. Be creative. Get the publicity up early enough. Your publicity can be effective only if it’s noticed!
Plan a Special Welcoming Meeting
Many groups find it beneficial to have a meeting or ceremony to welcome new members. Group participation in some form of official initiation process is one way to make your members feel wanted, needed and appreciated.
Hold an Orientation for New Members
Train your new recruits. All too frequently, groups skip any form of orientation and just place their new recruits directly on committees or organizational projects. Understanding the organization and its goals and objectives, structure, norms, and taboos is important. By taking the time to orient new members to the privileges and responsibilities of membership, you create a more educated membership – people who can and will make significant contributions to the organization.
Parts of a successful orientation program:
- The rights & responsibilities of members.
- Organizational governance, operating policies, & procedures.
- Organizational history, traditions,& programs.
- Assimilation of new members into the organization.
- An overview of campus services, activities, programs for student organizations.
Create this to give new members. Include:
- Interest Form: Personal data, skills, experience, expectations, class/work schedule, interest areas.
- Statement of Organizational Philosophy & Goals: Copy of Constitution. Description of what your organization does, for who, and why.
- Committee & Position Description: Should be specific without limiting creativity and individuality.
- Organizational Flow Chart: Shows leadership positions. Helps people understand how the organization functions. Analyze the needs of your members. Remember why people get involved in the first place and then meet those needs.
Have a Retention Campaign. Continually recruiting and training new members takes a lot of time and energy. So plan in advance. Set new members up for continued involvement.
A printable PDF version: