The very first thing you need to do when you start planning for recruitment is make a list of potential guys that you want to join your fraternity. This will help you focus your efforts and will become the foundation for your recruitment period. This is a very critical part of this step, and its importance cannot be overstated.
All too often chapters will waste their time trying to find complete strangers to join. That just doesn’t make sense. It takes time to meet people, then it takes a lot more effort to make them your friends to the point where they will want to join your fraternity. Since your rush period is only two weeks (typically), you really don’t have the time to make that many new friends. And that is why you need to be meeting new people and growing your list year around.
So the next obvious question is where do you find guys to put on the list? Really, there are only three places to look. You either know them from home, you meet them at school, or they are recommended to you.
Truthfully, there is no easier way to recruit guys than by being an RA in a freshman dorm. I was exactly that for two years, and found more than my share of guys. It was really quite simple. If you are on a metro campus with a high number of commuter students, participating in Freshman Orientation is a great opportunity to introduce yourself to new student and identify potential members.
You also need to eliminate the reasons why guys won’t join your fraternity. Essentially this boils down to answering the following questions that you know the potential new member is going to ask:
Q. What is the cost of joining a fraternity?
A. I would tell them exactly what the new member dues and brotherhood dues are. Then I would explain where every penny went and why that expense exists. The critical question the recruit wants to be answered is if he is getting enough out of the fraternity to justify the cost. Explain to him the benefit of each expense. For example, make sure he realizes that because all the brothers pool their money together they are able to afford great parties and events that you can’t have without being in a fraternity.
Finances are probably the number one excuse guys use when they don’t want to join a fraternity. Many times though it is just an excuse for covering up the real reason.
That being said, if your chapter is smart, you will eliminate your new member dues through fundraisers. This way, you will be able to explain to the new members that they are able to join the chapter without an initial, unexpected financial commitment. Remember that not everyone is cut out to be in a fraternity. It is best to be honest and open up front with guys about the financial commitments of a brother. The last thing you want is to have a brother on your hands who does not meet their financial obligations.
Q. Does your chapter haze?
A. If your chapter does haze, then you need to reevaluate what your chapter is all about. Hazing is the most damaging thing you can do to your chapter because it kills camaraderie with new members, it de-motivates brothers and it is illegal.
To answer the question, I would explain that my chapter has a no hazing policy. I would explain though that during their new member period, they wouldn’t do anything that they wouldn’t want to do in front of their family.
Q. Will joining hurt my grades?
A. I would always tell the perspective member that it is up to them and fraternity is really irrelevant in this regard. If they are looking for an excuse for not performing well in class, they will be everywhere. However, if they are dedicated to their studies, they will perform well regardless of their extracurricular activities.
Remind the recruit that there are brothers who are excellent students. Also let them know that the success of the chapter is partially judged on GPA, especially the new member class GPA.
Q. I think I want to wait until the spring semester.
A. This is a very common statement, and to be honest, one that makes a lot of sense for most people. However, your objective is to get a recruit to new member. Most of the time, this is an excuse. It is an easy way to say no without saying no. Remind them that they can wait, but if they really want to join, why would they wait six months? Life is full of opportunities that present themselves at awkward times. This is obviously one of those awkward times. By not taking advantage of this opportunity though, they will miss out of six months of great times and great memories that they can never get back.
Patrick Daley, the author of "The Fraternity Leader", has outline many additional considerations that you may need to understand to help you and your chapter have the greatest possible fraternal experience.
I would recommend reading his book.