Theory of Membership Recruitment
Membership recruitment is the most important activity in every TKE chapter. Recruitment is the way we perpetuate the ideals of the Fraternity and ensure the future success of TKE. Without new members, there will be no Tau Kappa Epsilon. Every member is responsible for making membership recruitment a success.
Membership is Muscle
It has been said that in fraternities, "brotherhood is the bones, but membership is the muscle." This analogy is accurate, because no matter how great the brotherhood, no chapter can successfully function if it doesn’t have the men to do the job. In order to have enough men to conduct a successful athletic program, a quality social program, and meet the financial and organizational needs of your chapter, you need to have a strong membership recruitment program.
If your chapter couldn’t get the social with the top sororities because you didn’t have enough men, you know how important recruitment is. If you didn’t win that important football game or didn’t produce the winning float in the Homecoming competition, perhaps it was because you didn’t have enough members with the specific talents and abilities necessary to do the job. Every TKE chapter is involved in countless activities, and it takes a team effort to achieve success. If your chapter "team" is going to have a winning season, then it’s important that you have a good recruiting effort this and every year.
The men who join today will shape and lead your chapter’s accomplishments in the future. The more who join, and the higher the quality of those men, the greater your chapter will become.
Quality vs. Quantity
It is impossible to go for high quality without a thought about quantity. And it is impossible to set a high recruitment goal without some regard for the quality of the men. Simply put, quality and quantity are not mutually exclusive. They go hand in hand.
Quality means sharp, purposeful men who will contribute to the Fraternity’s future through in a concern for the internal well-being of the chapter. As we increase in size, we increase the number of sharp, good quality Tekes. Soon the percentage of good quality men in your chapter will increase.
In his doctoral thesis, Dr. William V. Muse, Past Grand Prytanis, concluded, after studying more than 70 chapters of many national fraternities, that the single most important factor in determining whether a chapter was dominant on campus is its size. Without fail, the better chapters on a campus were the larger ones. The poorer chapters were the smaller ones.
The oldest excuse for weak recruitment is that the chapter has elected to take a few "quality" men instead of "just taking everybody." Interestingly enough, the chapters who use this line almost invariably have the problems of low Grade Point Average; below-average membership; low levels of participation in campus organizations; poor, mediocre or non-existent reputation among other Greeks, particularly sororities; poor intramural results, and a large amount of money owed to the chapter. In reality, true "quality" recruitment can be determined by how many potential members you turn down, not how many you take. Taking 25 out of 200 men will yield better quality than seven out seven.
If a chapter achieved its recruitment goal, the Recruitment Chairman will be glad to tell you, "We did great...We got 25 guys!" If the chapter fell short, "quality" becomes an excuse. "We only got four guys, but they’re quality guys." By no means does a small recruitment class mean that the men you recruited are not quality men. Saying that the quality of those men makes up for failing to meet your goal is nothing but an excuse. If you want your chapter to be great, you need a large number of quality men. You need to set challenging goals and meet them.
Have you heard this argument? "We don’t want to get too big like the other chapters on campus. Half of them don’t know each other. We don’t want to lose our strong brotherhood by getting too big." It’s an excuse. Close brotherhood is a function of how the membership is built and developed and the level of trust, respect and communication in the chapter; it is not a function of size. Contrary to the opinion of many small chapters, the brotherhood in large chapters tends to be good because there is a team atmosphere and members work together toward goals, while, on the average, there are more disputes, personality conflicts and placing of blame in chapters with fewer members. Lack of success makes people defensive and eats at their confidence. The frustration of not having enough resources and manpower to achieve the success we want, and the necessity of having many members perform tasks they either aren’t qualified for, don’t enjoy, or simply don’t have time for, can destroy the foundation of a Fraternity.
The fact is that there is no quality versus quantity argument. Strong chapters have both.
Why Membership Recruitment?
It would be easy to sit back and hope that just because you put recruitment activity dates on the calendar, quality men will come to you and want to join. But it doesn’t work that way. Membership recruitment requires hard work. It takes a great deal of time and effort on the part of all chapter members to find quality men and convince them that they should join TKE. Good prospects won’t just come to you - you have to go to them. It’s a big job.
"Why bother?" some may say. "We’ve got a close group of members right now; if we just pick up a few new guys we’ll be alright." The answer is simple: membership recruitment is the future of your chapter. If your chapter has a strong recruitment effort, it will grow stronger, while a weak recruitment will make it weaker. New members bring new talents, skills, interests and abilities which will only make the Fraternity experience better for all chapter members. The more quality men you have, the more resources you have that can be called upon when your chapter is facing a challenge and striving for excellence.
Unless we have a positive attitude toward everything we try, our chances of success are very poor. With membership recruitment, this is very important. This doesn’t mean that things will go well simply because you have a positive outlook. But it does mean that you must approach membership recruitment with confidence and the knowledge that your hard work will produce positive results. It means looking for opportunities, not looking to criticize. How many men would we get if we were to approach them with a less than positive attitude? Would you have joined TKE if the Frater who talked to you had not been convinced that TKE was the best thing for him?
But be careful - positive attitude alone won’t make you successful. There is one more very important ingredient that must be considered - work...the willingness to do the job. A good Fraternity works to be good. If we have our programs well planned and organized, the tasks will be much easier.
The work and attitude are the means to success. Knowledge of the work to be done will help to create the positive attitude. For this reason, the Recruitment Chairman must have a very thorough knowledge of recruitment techniques and be able to communicate these ideas to all of the members of the chapter. He must train the chapter and help determine a strategy and management model, but must also set the tone for how the chapter will approach membership recruitment.
The key to an effective membership recruitment program is for the Prytanis to appoint a Chairman who will accept the responsibility of organizing and executing it. Because the Prytanis must work well with the Recruitment Chairman, and understands the work and responsibility involved in holding that office, it is important that the position be filled by appointment. The Chairman need not be a great recruiter himself, but must be able to inspire others to action. He must be organized, he must be a hard worker, and he must have the right attitude. Other than the Prytanis, the Recruitment Chairman is the most important person in the chapter.
It is not the responsibility of the Recruitment Chairman to be the team’s Most Valuable Player, though. He is not responsible for recruiting all the new members for the chapter by himself. The Chairman is the coach who must bring out the best in all of his players so the team can win. Like any good coach, he must put the right players in the right positions, teach the fundamentals, and inspire the team. A great Recruitment Chairman makes all-star recruiters out of his Fraters.
Upon selection, the chapter must give the Recruitment Chairman complete responsibility and authority for conducting an effective recruitment program. It is the responsibility of the Chairman, with his committee, to bring the membership of the chapter equal to or larger than the largest Fraternity on campus. It is the responsibility of the chapter to fully support the Recruitment Committee to ensure success.
Recruitment Chairman Qualifications
- Leadership qualities
- Responsible and dependable
- Respected by the chapter
- Has time to do the job
- A self-starter
- Inspiring and motivating
- Good at delegating