This week in SOAR…Recruiting New Members

In several of the Leadership Council meetings this week, many student organizations expressed a need to learn more about how to recruit new members.  We understand new members are vital to the success of your student organization so we wanted to help you by providing some helpful tips and resources for you.

It is often said that 70 percent of your potential members might be interested in your organization, but do not know it exists, do not know how to contact the organization, or are too shy to take the initiative to find out how to join. The reasons people join student organizations vary.  Many students will join your organization to meet new people, to make friends, connect to the community, to get involved, to explore new or existing interest and to have fun.  Some students may join your organization for an experience that they can add to their resume or to feel as if they are making a difference on campus and in the greater Boston area. Understanding why students join the student organizations is the first step in discovering new and creative ways to recruit them.

With 325 student organization on campus for students to join, it is important for your organization to have a good recruitment plan.  If you do not have a recruitment plan in place, here are a few tips to help you get started.

  1. Know and understand the goals, mission and purpose of your organization and make sure the leadership and current members know and understand them as well. Current members who are familiar with the organizations purpose, mission and goals can talk comfortably and confidently about the organization.   Remember: current members of the organization are the best recruiters. They are the current face of your organization.
  2. Update your orgsync page with important information about your organization such as the names of board members, contact information, time of meetings, etc. This information is connected to the Campus Activities website and this will be the first place new students will go when they are looking to get involved with your organizations.
  3. Set recruitment goals. How many new members do you need to recruit to be an active student organization? Issue personal invitations to join. Ask each current member in the organization to bring one new member to your first meeting or have each person in your group suggest the names and contact information of at least three people who may be interested in your group. Invite these individuals to one of your events or meetings.
  4. Plan events with other campus groups. Co-sponsorships allow for people who may not know about your organization or may think they do not want to join to gain a glimpse into your organization. These could be socials, community service programs, or activities.
  5. Broaden your publicity campaign. Seek to diversify your organization and expand its base by targeting commuters, adult learners, and students of different racial or cultural backgrounds.  Create a visual publicity campaign by posting flyers, handing out flyers and advertising on the plasma screens. Create an information sheet, pass it out and post copies in the Curry Student Center. Students are more likely to remember your organization and how to contact you if they have the information in writing.  Word-of-mouth is the best and least expensive type of publicity.
  6. Attend activities fairs and leadership retreats. Participation can give you the opportunity to talk about your group to students who are already interested in becoming involved in organizations.
  7. Never underestimate the power of a personal invitation. People feel special when someone asks them directly to become involved in an organization.
  8. Hold a membership week or a public relations drive. Make t-shirts, have info tables on the quad, or ask to do a brief presentation in a class to inform potential members of the benefits and opportunities of membership.
  9. Recognize that even a little time and energy from a member is better than none. The degree to which members can contribute their time, treasure, and talents varies greatly and may not be the same amount that the others are willing to invest.

Additional resources:

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