Having established why pledgeship is a key success factor for BYX, we hope to get into the weeds a little bit and examine how our chapters can effectively execute pledgeship and recruitment.
While thinking about how to create a pledgeship process that both glorifies the Lord and lays down a great foundation for the future of the chapter, it begins with recruitment. A lack of recruitment will lead to a low number of pledges which significantly hinders the pledge class from doing events together that bring the chapter together and also influence the campus. It takes a significant effort by the entire chapter to bring in both the quantity and quality of pledges that the chapter needs to fulfill the purpose of the fraternity.
Recruiting begins and ends with relationships. Relationships are the most essential element of recruiting efforts. So before I delve into many practical points for efficient recruiting, understand that all recruiting is centered around relationships. Good events, organization and advertising can only go so far. Take time to invest in people and build a connection. Recruiting = Relationships.
Have a product worth commitment.
Bottom line is everything you do as a chapter either positively or negatively affects your recruiting efforts. You are constantly selling yourself to your campus, so be aware of the campus perception of BYX and try your best to make sure that’s a positive perception. Don’t worry to an unhealthy point. Our job is to limit that negativity and love well within it. If we strive for quality within all facets of the brotherhood, positive momentum will be captured. Quality matters.
Gain commitment from brothers.
Create a standard for the brothers in recruiting potentials that is extended outside of Rush Week. You cannot reach the chapter’s potential in recruitment if you rely solely on the efforts of a small group of brothers from the pledge team or recruitment committee. All brothers have to be involved in recruitment at some level. I suggest that chapters start a standard of excellence, which encourages each brother to invest in 1-2 potentials throughout the year, prior to rush. For smaller and developing chapters I suggest 2-4 potentials per brother. Notice the key terminology here is INVEST, not invite. It is easy and impersonal to invite. That’s average. For greater results brothers need to buy into this concept of investment over invitation
Organize and Connect.
It is of utmost importance that you create a recruitment database. Make a Google doc with the following information on potential pledges:
- Phone Number
I would also suggest that you group the men based on their interest in BYX. This allows you to be more proactive with connecting with potentials and also alleviates the possibility of missing guys in the recruiting process. You can tailor certain recruiting events and efforts to specific guys and groups. You can send certain guys to the right people to ensure the best results. By doing this you’re less likely to forget about connecting with certain potentials.
It makes the process of recurring contact much easier. After you have spent time with a potential (recruiting event, dinner, etc.), follow up through email, text, phone call or letter. Thank you notes and update texts are a nice touch and will help you engage more with men considering the fraternity. Details in these relationships are important and can set BYX apart from other fraternities who are recruiting these men.
Advertise and Promote.
Doing a small handout with rush information and contact information works well. Nationals has made this easier than ever by creating a template in which you will be able to input your rush week information through the BYX website. If you make a flyer and it is well put together, make sure it is placed in high-traffic areas.
If your chapter is going to do a social media campaign, make sure the brothers share, retweet and like it on their pages since they are likely going to have a more direct connection to the target audience. If your chapter’s social media page is filled with great content but it doesn’t have a prominent following or the right followers then it could be pretty ineffective. Overall, remember to be professional and intentional with all promotional content.
There are two pieces that make the pledge interviews a success:
- Finding out if the guy has a relationship with the Lord.
- Getting to know the guy on a personal level.
The key to this is listening. Allowing the potential to share his faith and answer the questions provided by the pledge captain will give you all the information you will need to extend a bid or have a follow-up interview.
The Pledgeship Semester
Now this is arguably the most influential aspect in building into the future success or failure in your chapter. Having a pledgeship process that promotes servant-leadership by active members and a healthy amount of requirements for the pledges will have them leaving initiation ready to pour into the chapter the next semester.
A hierarchical-style chapter with the pledges being demeaned while promoting minimal investment by the pledges will give these potentially future members excuses to either drop during the semester or not graduate as an active member. A Kingdom-minded fraternity will, in some ways, go against what the world thinks of when they hear “fraternity.” Actives serving the pledges will give each pledge a glimpse into how to be an active come initiation night.
When I was pledge captain, a pledge told me at initiation night that, “this was the best experience that I would rather not have to do again.” That told me that it was difficult enough to garner an investment, while also promoting an environment that was God-glorifying and enriching to the pledge.
As I have stated before, great recruitment will be the primary thrust that will drive the semester. Invest into the potential members, and you will (most likely) reap great results. The goal is to find the next generation of members who will lead your chapter forward. Remember, if you don’t do anything else during pledgeship, do these three things:
- Recruit as many men who love the Lord as you can.
- Give them a pledgeship semester that allows them to invest into the chapter
- Foster a culture within the chapter to promotes actives serving the pledges.
Doing those well will greatly enhance your chapter’s success in fulfilling our purpose of brotherhood and unity in Christ on college campuses.