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  #1  
Old 05-11-2023, 05:47 PM
TieDyeCloud TieDyeCloud is offline
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In Need of Recruitment Advice (trying to save my chapter!)

Hi all,
I am here looking for advice. My sorority has been declining in membership a lot the last few years and it's mostly due to the covid-19 pandemic and this new stigma surrounding sororities and frats. This year we are so below total that nationals could close our chapter. We have primary recruitment coming up this fall and there will be international officers present. I am terrified that if we don't have a good recruitment year we will close.

It's so hard to recruit because normally my school is so small. Normally we have around 200 PNM's and last year they had about 105 and my chapter being the smallest got by far the smallest PC. Informal Recruitment is also so hard because so many people have dropped our chapter that we just sort of have this elephant in the room with our student body? My college is small so everyone knows everyone.

I know Ive just been going on and on about the factors working against us but the last one is that our chapter morale is just pretty low. We'll only have about 23ish recruiting members due to having folks on panhel/RC's. Our VP Recruitment is pretty pessimistic and is putting a lot of work in but sorta has an attitude that "we won't have a good recruitment year." Also with the bama rush documentary dropping soon people are even more worried we won't have good PNM turnout and that'll be it for us.

Has anyone been in a similar situation and managed to turn things around? Any success stories you can share?? I would so greatly appreciate it because as a leader in my chapter it's becoming harder to motivate folks and I know none of us want to close but I don't know what to do at this point.

Thank you
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  #2  
Old 05-11-2023, 07:38 PM
AnchorAlumna AnchorAlumna is offline
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My own chapter was in your situation and I've seen others. Usually the chapter by that point has insurmountable odds and closes.
The ONLY chapter I've ever seen turn it around was one at a very small college then associated with the Southern Baptist church. The chapter had fewer than 20 members and half of them were graduating.
It wasn't the sorority members, nor the sorority regional and national/international leaders (who were trying to save a neighboring chapter at a bigger school) that did it.
It came down the the Greek advisor, a wonderful lady who was not a member of any Greek org. She decided that the chapter would not close. After the usual recruitment in the winter, she determined that the chapter would holds its own recruitment after the formal recruitment was done.
First, she ordered all the sororities and fraternities to quit saying nasty things about the flailing chapter. Every sorority and fraternity member plastered their backpack with buttons supporting the chapter. They learned lots of about the sorority. Freshmen women were encouraged to sign up for the recruitment parties.
I think about 100 signed up. Three rounds of parties, I think, were held, and sorority sorority members helped our original members talk to the PNMs. Invitations were issued and the chapter pledged somewhere around 50 new members.
Believe it or not, attrition was very low and the chapter is thriving today, 20+ years later.
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  #3  
Old 05-11-2023, 11:42 PM
TieDyeCloud TieDyeCloud is offline
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thx

ahh thats really hard to hear but thank you for sharing. My hope is that even though we've had a tough time with COR, we learned from some of our mistakes last year and we will be able to have a good primary recruitment year since it's during primary recruitment that PNM's don't necessarily have preconceived notions about the chapters on campus.
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  #4  
Old 05-12-2023, 06:20 AM
carnation carnation is offline
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Are you in Alabama? Seems like girls from other states wouldn't care and if they believe everything that's thrown out in that documentary, they're the kind of girl you wouldn't want anyway.
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  #5  
Old 05-12-2023, 01:15 PM
TieDyeCloud TieDyeCloud is offline
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Iím not from Alabama, my schoolís Greek system is actually so so different from Alabama/other state schools, but I donít think many PNMís realize that which is why theyíre so hesitant to sign up for recruitment.
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  #6  
Old 05-12-2023, 03:10 PM
Cheerio Cheerio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnchorAlumna View Post
My own chapter was in your situation and I've seen others. Usually the chapter by that point has insurmountable odds and closes.

The ONLY chapter I've ever seen turn it around was one at a very small college then associated with the Southern Baptist church. The chapter had fewer than 20 members and half of them were graduating.

It wasn't the sorority members, nor the sorority regional and national/international leaders (who were trying to save a neighboring chapter at a bigger school) that did it.

It came down the the Greek advisor, a wonderful lady who was not a member of any Greek org. She decided that the chapter would not close. After the usual recruitment in the winter, she determined that the chapter would holds its own recruitment after the formal recruitment was done.

First, she ordered all the sororities and fraternities to quit saying nasty things about the flailing chapter. Every sorority and fraternity member plastered their backpack with buttons supporting the chapter. They learned lots of about the sorority.

Freshmen women were encouraged to sign up for the recruitment parties.
I think about 100 signed up. Three rounds of parties, I think, were held, and sorority sorority members helped our original members talk to the PNMs. Invitations were issued and the chapter pledged somewhere around 50 new members.
Believe it or not, attrition was very low and the chapter is thriving today, 20+ years later.
AnchorAlumna: That true story appeared in at least one NPC (inter)national magazine. It was heartening to read how initiates from the Strong Chapters acted as Recruiters to PMNs DURING the Special Recruitment by and for the Weaker Chapter. Such beautiful Panhellenic Spirit!

TyeDyeCloud: try not to take the Bama Drama program as any type of panhellenic gospel. Most media producers are required to get as many eyes as possible viewing their event, and are not shy in the use strong psychological tactics (including fear) while telling their side of a story.

That said, it seems rather late in the school year to just now be attempting to pull together a plan for your weak chapter. Having a pessimistic VP Recruitment doesn't help.

Through my long career as an NPC initiate, weak chapters that continue to improve year-upon-year may still suddenly incur a vote to have their charter dissolved. Improved but not perfect recruitment numbers, better chapter gpa's, better participation in mandatory chapter activities...yes, all those improvements can STILL result in a chapter's closure.

From your OP it appears your chapter's been doing what it can, and must, do to turn any corners your HQ demands. Please know your continued efforts as a Chapter Leader may not be enough.

Have the courage to perform at your very best for your chapter this Fall. You can't worry about low pnm attendance numbers if you're recruiting their socks off and bidding an enthusiastic quota plus. HQ oughtn't close your chapter from lack of funding when each chapter member makes timely payments.

You mention everyone knows everyone on your small campus, so figure out a way to use that to your advantage.

Their are so many additional pluses you can use to be more positive and encouraged, not just as a chapter member/leader but in any phase of living.

You have to LIVE IT if you truly want it. Know WHAT you want, then do EVERYTHING needed to GET what you want.

If you fail, and your chapter is closed, you will then still know you did your very best.
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Last edited by Cheerio; 05-12-2023 at 03:34 PM.
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  #7  
Old 05-12-2023, 06:36 PM
ChioLu ChioLu is offline
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Our chapter at Stanford nearly closed in 2005 due to low membership. In order to save the chapter, they did COB and found PNM’s who were interested but skeptical. So they said to those PMs, “Is there anyone not in a sorority who you would want be sorority sisters with?“ Then, they went to that girl and said the same thing. It started a chain and they got so many new members that every initiated member got to take 2 Little sis’s. It revived the chapter and they continue to be strong, plus they eventually got a house on campus (not all sororities have chapter houses at Stanford).
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  #8  
Old 05-13-2023, 02:07 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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It would seem to me that your national officers should be on campus the semester prior to formal recruitment. They should’ve assessed the campus atmosphere toward Greek life and toward your chapter. They should’ve met with the GL advisor. There should have been meetings with each chapter officer and recruitment trainings for the chapter. Why are members serving on Panhellenic? It would seem that they could be more helpful to the chapter as chapter members, rather that serving on Panhellenic.
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  #9  
Old 05-13-2023, 02:41 PM
DGTess DGTess is offline
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Decades ago, but when I joined my chapter we had 23 women. When I left, it was 18. It got down to 10 or so before it started to turn around, and our national organization wanted to close us. Our chapter fought tooth and nail. Mind you, this was all before RFM and structured "recruitment", we had no campus total, and it was a small campus with a very small population of women.

The chapter is now at total and has been for years.

The best advice we got was "Make friends, and invite them to join." Find women you like. Invite people from study groups, campus clubs, sports teams, etc. but people you have come to know through another avenue. On a small campus, that is easier to do than on a large campus, as you already have interpersonal relationships built.
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  #10  
Old 05-13-2023, 06:02 PM
TieDyeCloud TieDyeCloud is offline
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FSUZeta we did have nationals come to campus earlier. They are going to try to work with us. We have some ideas. To be honest I think I posted this out of emotion. I’m trying to remember that if nationals truly didn’t think we’re viable they would’ve closed us when they came up here (we were told by them that they could have but are choosing not to). I’m just hoping and praying now that our efforts will be enough.
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  #11  
Old 05-14-2023, 02:39 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TieDyeCloud View Post
FSUZeta we did have nationals come to campus earlier. They are going to try to work with us. We have some ideas. To be honest I think I posted this out of emotion. Iím trying to remember that if nationals truly didnít think weíre viable they wouldíve closed us when they came up here (we were told by them that they could have but are choosing not to). Iím just hoping and praying now that our efforts will be enough.
So do I.
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  #12  
Old 05-15-2023, 02:32 PM
shadokat shadokat is offline
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My own chapter, after thriving for a long time, suddenly wasn't doing well at all during recruitment. It wasn't an out of the blue thing, but over time, it had dropped off. When they got down to 18 women, concern really kicked in. Then we found this amazing group of women - 30 to be exact - who had gone to Greek Life and asked for them to open the campus for extension because they wanted to bring a new NPC group in. Campus, because we already had too many sororities, said no. So we went and found those women, and after a mini recruitment and interviews and such, we invited the entire group to join.

The active sisters in the chapter were not part of the interviews. Once the mini recruitment events were over, the chapter was notified that IHQ would be interviewing the women and making selections. The active sisters were allowed to become alumnae member if they didn't want to take part in the rebuild. It for sure saved our chapter.

My advice is don't be afraid to ask for help and ask for it often. Your IHQ is there to HELP YOU! Also, make friends with your campus Greek Life office. No Greek Life personnel want to lose a chapter from their campus. Also, find a chapter advisor if you don't have one, or if you have an old alum of YOUR OWN chapter as an advisor, talk to your IHQ about finding another advisor to work with your current advisor from a more successful school.

Best of luck to you
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