Every PRSSA Chapter has its own recruitment style. Some use more traditional techniques such as posters, mail inserts and all-campus emails to reach possible members. Others host large-scale parties with pizza and refreshments to bring in prospective members. Whatever methods are used, I would argue that being an effective recruiter is one of the most vital skills for a Chapter to command.
My Chapter was chartered in 2012, and for us, event planning and recruitment were two of our top goals. We experimented with all-campus emails, but we decided to avoid using our funds to create print material and rely more on what we found to be our most powerful tool: the Coffee Date.
It started inadvertently when we realized our all-campus emails and targeted Facebook messages were not attracting members. Instead, all of our potential members were coming from referrals, which originated from friends, word-of-mouth and through professor recommendations. From there, members of our Executive Board contacted and met with each prospective member one-on-one over Starbucks in the center of our campus. As a result, I am happy to say that every prospective member we met for coffee decided to join PRSSA.
So what about this seemingly simple method is so effective?
Potential members were pursued directly on a personal level, rather than by impersonal mass-communication methods. When met with, they were treated to a cup of coffee (honestly, just about every college student’s dream) and asked about their specific goals and backgrounds. This allowed our Executive Board to directly address each individual’s particular needs with relevant information about PRSSA and how it can help them.
By using the Coffee Date tactic, we have found that we establish dedicated, passionate members that actively participate in events, our student-run firm and our event planning committee.
If you would like to apply this idea to your Chapter recruitment efforts, here are some additional tips.
- During the Coffee Date, share a one-page fact sheet with bulleted PRSSA statistics, requirements and opportunities that the prospective member can keep.
- Bring your laptop or tablet to show them pictures or videos of your past events and meetings.
What recruitment techniques have you found to be the most effective?
Ben Butler is the Chapter president and a founding member of Geneva College’s PRSSA Chapter in Beaver Falls, Penn. He is currently blogging one illustration a day for a year.