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  #1  
Old 11-22-2004, 05:04 AM
DPhiEBrit DPhiEBrit is offline
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Struggling Chapter

Hi everyone this is Brittany. I go to a school where there are only 2 other sororities. Each of these sororities has taken quota and is now at ceiling, while my sorority is still lagging behind. This past year we definitely busted some butt and got 16 girls through formal recruitment. But then during informal recruitment we only took two girls. We really need to get our numbers up and I am starting to run out of ideas. Has anyone out there helped to turn their chapter around. We did a great job of getting quality girls this past year but I want more and more of them to keep coming in. This is a hard job to have on your shoulders but I love it and I am planning on working my butt off to turn my sorority around, but I need help!!!! Please if you have any ideas I would appreciate the help!
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  #2  
Old 11-22-2004, 10:57 AM
Diamond Delta Diamond Delta is offline
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You need to have a workshopt on informal recruitment. Teach your girls to always be on the look out for quality women. You may even want to re-emphasize certain things like women of color, non-traditional women and transfer students who may be a bit older but would make great members. Remember beauty is on the inside of a lot of great girls. Challenge your members to each bring in one girl. That puts the responsibility on each member. Tell them they have to at least invite one girl to the house for lunch or a social or something. Then actually keep track. Make a contest out of it. That will get your girls excited again. Also, do not forget to keep up all the good work you are already doing to keep your sisterhood strong. That will be your real selling point. Good luck!!!
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  #3  
Old 11-22-2004, 11:27 AM
PhoenixAzul PhoenixAzul is offline
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Remember that numbers aren't everything. Obviously you have to ensure that your chapter will continue (you didn't mention if you are NPC or local or what) as successive pledge classes graduate. What would you do with more sisters? What is your "Goal" number of sisters? How many is TOO many. Another thing is that you have to make sure you have enough resources to pledge 50 girls if you got them. As a member of a local chapter that is the smallest on campus (last pledge class was 9, largest in the past few years) we have to be careful how many girls we take. We've been trying to grow slowly but steadily for many years, while still maintaining a small chapter. There's nothing wrong with being a small chapter, really. Even with only have 17 actives we manage to cover all of our philanthropic stuff, help with recruitment tables, hold Panhel seats, and generally have a great time. So take that for what it's worth, good luck.

(PS, my advice. Wear your letters CONSTANTLY. Make sure your sisters wear them to class and answer questions and raise their hands and participate. Many girls shy away from sororities because they think people will stereotype them as dumb, so do your best to shake that. Evaluate the "behind the back" talking too, that tends to drag you down when girls hear sisters talking about eachother...
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  #4  
Old 11-22-2004, 11:43 AM
WVU alpha phi WVU alpha phi is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diamond Delta
You need to have a workshopt on informal recruitment. Teach your girls to always be on the look out for quality women. You may even want to re-emphasize certain things like women of color, non-traditional women and transfer students who may be a bit older but would make great members. Remember beauty is on the inside of a lot of great girls. Challenge your members to each bring in one girl. That puts the responsibility on each member. Tell them they have to at least invite one girl to the house for lunch or a social or something. Then actually keep track. Make a contest out of it. That will get your girls excited again. Also, do not forget to keep up all the good work you are already doing to keep your sisterhood strong. That will be your real selling point. Good luck!!!
Diamond Delta offers so many good ideas here. I totally agree that making it a contest to bring in girls would get a lot of new girls to come check you guys out, and make it a fun way to do it.

Also, talk to any freshmen or even sophomores (half of my pledge class of 31 were sophomores) and encourage them to join. Don't badger them, obviously, but whenever I ask someone why they've never thought about a sorority, they usually spout out a dumb stereotype, and then I give examples of how that isn't true in my chapter and other chapters around campus. Don't push DPhiE (I'm guessing thats your sorority!) on them, but just talk about how much fun you have with all the girls.

If your school has a daily newspaper like many larger schools do, or even a weekly newspaper, place an ad for your informal recruitment. Many sororities around my school do that, and I know our school newspaper is well read so it definitely gets the word out.

Also, if you have a house, hang a banner outside of it advertising informal recruitment. If you don't have a house, maybe try to seek permission from the school to hang your banner in your student union or another popular place on campus.

Just anything to get the DPhiE word out. Wearing your letters around campus prior to informal recruitment is another good idea! Trust me, if girls are interested in sororities, they're checking out anyone in a letter shirt.
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  #5  
Old 11-22-2004, 11:56 AM
AGDAlum AGDAlum is offline
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Have you talked to your national recruitment team advisor?
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  #6  
Old 11-22-2004, 11:58 AM
tunatartare tunatartare is offline
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I agree with PhoenixAzul that you should wear your letters a lot. That's like free publicity. Your chapter should think about sponsoring an event on campus. A lot of sororities do that here, they'll advertise primarily in the freshmman and sophomore dorms. Do something like a finals study break with dessert and stuff or like a party in one of the lounges to watch the OC or any other popular tv show. Hang up flyers and posters and put on them "Sponsored by Delta Phi Epsilon." Make sure that everyone wears letters to that. Seeing your whole sorority together, in letters, being friendly, might get girls who come out to rush to think more about your chapter, or it might even encourage other girls to come to rush that otherwise weren't thinking about it.
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  #7  
Old 11-22-2004, 12:10 PM
KSUViolet06 KSUViolet06 is offline
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All the ideas suggested are awesome! As someone who's been in your shoes, let me offer you some advice. Yes, it's important to have numbers, BUT don't let COB/COR become the focus of the chapter. We went through a period where we had COR twice a week, every week. It paid off, but it really took a toll on our morale and made us all kinda grumpy and tired. So I guess my point is to do recruitment events, but don't totally forget about the little fun things like sisterhoods and socials that help take the stress off of the chapter a little.

Also- while freshmen are great, don't overlook upperclassmen. Some of our best sisters joined the chapter as juniors.
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  #8  
Old 11-22-2004, 12:12 PM
PhoenixAzul PhoenixAzul is offline
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also, if you do a campus event, talk to your favorite fraternity and see if they would want to pair up to sponsor it. This way, you not only get girls, but guys, and we all know what we like to look at . My chapter sponsored a movie night in one of the big classrooms here on campus with a fraternity that we really love to death, had tons of popcorn and chips and pop, time to sit around before the movie, time to talk to the girls and guys, it was great. We also do the "Egger" in spring quarter with the same fraternity where it is 1 dollar to smash an egg over the head of a member of either chapter. Granted a lot of that was just each group getting each other, but damned if it wasn't fun. People saw that, and saw that we had a good time doing it and that we were willing to be silly....
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  #9  
Old 11-22-2004, 12:15 PM
kddani kddani is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by PhoenixAzul
also, if you do a campus event, talk to your favorite fraternity and see if they would want to pair up to sponsor it. This way, you not only get girls, but guys, and we all know what we like to look at . My chapter sponsored a movie night in one of the big classrooms here on campus with a fraternity that we really love to death, had tons of popcorn and chips and pop, time to sit around before the movie, time to talk to the girls and guys, it was great. We also do the "Egger" in spring quarter with the same fraternity where it is 1 dollar to smash an egg over the head of a member of either chapter. Granted a lot of that was just each group getting each other, but damned if it wasn't fun. People saw that, and saw that we had a good time doing it and that we were willing to be silly....
Not to be a party pooper, but i'd be wary of trying that egger idea... hazing-ish issues, people wacking each other on the head issues, and there's a lot of people that wouldn't think that getting an egg smashed on your head is fun.

There's been a lot of great ideas on this thread, and if you do some searches and look back through threads in the greek life and rush forums you'll find posts by other ladies whose chapters have been in a similar situation, there has been a TON of great advice on here over the years.

Good luck, and please talk to your HQ, they have a wealth of information, and staff that can hopefully help your chapter out!
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  #10  
Old 11-22-2004, 12:22 PM
Little E Little E is offline
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I ditto the idea on an all campus event. But if you invite a fraternity, don't make it an official rush event. Also, don't rely on the reputation of a men's group to help yours. You cannot control what they do. (And its not really allowed by NPC) One thing that really helped my chapter get off the ground was 'must see tv' nights. It was more sisterhoody and they hung out and watched ally mcbeal at one point, and another show a different year. Letters are good, so are chalkings as a way to get out your name (though it is kinda late in the year for that). If you want to go more academic, do fireside chats, invite a prof each week or everyother week to discuss something they are into. Phi Psi did this and they had very provocative discussions. Great idea to get their name out. (it was, i believe, part of their agressive drive to change their rep)
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  #11  
Old 11-22-2004, 12:32 PM
PhoenixAzul PhoenixAzul is offline
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The Egger was great, even got a couple of professors to smash us. Made everyone's hair nice and shiny. Lots of cleanup though.

A Kereoke (sp?) night could be fun too.
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  #12  
Old 11-22-2004, 12:43 PM
kddani kddani is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by PhoenixAzul
The Egger was great, even got a couple of professors to smash us. Made everyone's hair nice and shiny. Lots of cleanup though.

A Kereoke (sp?) night could be fun too.
Just goes to show how an event may go over differently with different people.

To the original poster, as the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures, so make sure you kick booty, but abide by the rules of your GLO and NPC (no men involved in recruitment events, no alcohol, etc). The last thing you need is a stressful situation!
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  #13  
Old 11-22-2004, 01:15 PM
adpiucf adpiucf is offline
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Tips for a chapter struggling with numbers

1) Chapter Pride
* Hold a "How are we doing meeting?" Allow chapter members to express their opinions of how the chapter is being run, challenges the chapter is facing, etc. Exec board should allow the members to vent, and should not offer excuses or rebuttals. However, anyone that vents must offer a plausible solution to any problems/challenges that they mention. Keep track of these on a large sheet of easel paper and have the recording sec'y type them up and submit to all chapter members, advisers, and national officers who are regularly involved with your chapter
* Invite your alumnae to come to the chapter monthly for an inspirational chat. They can bring scrapbooks and memoribilia, and talk about their time as a collegian.
* Meet with your regional alumnae advisers and national officers. They can assist you in developing an action plan.
* Hold a "What kind of girl do we want and need?" meeting. Take out the easel paper again and list the attributes you are looking for in a member. Also, who will be graduating soon? What attributes has she contributed that you will now be lacking (IE: your star artist, singer, intramurals athlete, etc.). Look for girls to help fulfill those roles.
* With the help of those national officers, hold a recruitment and image building workshop that will be fun, interactive and helpful. Members should come away with a positive sense of the chapter, themselves and coversation as well as how to look better as a chapter, both inside and out.

2) Panhellenic Relations
* Hold a sisterhood supper or ice cream dessert with the other sororities. Get to know them. If they have super nice things to say about you, word spreads fast! And chances are they can refer women to you.
* Give incentives for members to attend Panhellenic meetings and give awards to the other sororties on campus's members for being "Greek of the Week," etc.

3) Fraternity Relations
* Hold an an event and invite the fraternities to participate-- IE: Lip Sync, Campus Clean-Up, Elementary School Buddy Day, Clothing Drive, etc. Be persistent with their social chairs and philanthropy chairs. Also, try to arrange for 4-way socials with the fraternities and sororities-- the more the merrier.

4) Grades
* Keep your grades up! Brag about your academic accomplishments. Get your girls to qualify for and join the honor societies. This is a great resume builder AND place to network with non-Greeks who could be great sorority members!
5) Campus organizations

6) Public Relations
* Set a day once a week where the entire chapter dresses in letters. If you want, dress to pin once a week, too! Meet on campus for lunch in groups when you are in letters. The more visible your chapter, the more people will notice you!
* Host an event with another campus organization, preferably a women's group, and put it on for the students in the residence halls. You can "rush" the members of the women's group and the dorm residents!
ETA: Also make sure all members are actively involved in at least one, if not 2 outside Greek campus activities and give them incentives to wear letters to those club meetings and be involved in those groups leaderships.
Also send in regular press releases to the university's school newspaper and put banners outside your house or hall to celebrate chapter and individual achievements, even birthdays!

Check in regularly with your chapter and keep everyone happy!

Last edited by adpiucf; 11-22-2004 at 03:55 PM.
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  #14  
Old 11-22-2004, 01:25 PM
tunatartare tunatartare is offline
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I don't know if you'd be allowed to do this by your campus Panhel, or if you'd want to, but last year, during informal recruitment, a chapter on my campus was struggling with numbers so what they did was invite EVERY SINGLE PNM to their pref, even the ones who didn't attend any of their events, anbd they just automatically gave bids to all of the girls who came to their pref. During informal recruitment, girls are allowed to get more than one bid, so there were several girls who went to their pref and got bids only to them and pledged them. It did work for them, because they got 14 NM's last year. A word of caution though, is that they got girls in the remaining 3 sororities to be bitter and mad about that. The PNM's were confused to. Some of them asked us during our pref if we knew why they got invited to XYZ's pref when they didn't go to a single XYZ event.
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  #15  
Old 11-22-2004, 01:57 PM
APhi Diva APhi Diva is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by KLPDaisy
I don't know if you'd be allowed to do this by your campus Panhel, or if you'd want to, but last year, during informal recruitment, a chapter on my campus was struggling with numbers so what they did was invite EVERY SINGLE PNM to their pref, even the ones who didn't attend any of their events, anbd they just automatically gave bids to all of the girls who came to their pref.
I would not recommend this! Numbers are not the be all, end all, and you don't want to give out bids to women who might not meet your chapter's standards just to raise your total! It's great to focus on the positive aspects that your chapter brings to the table and market like crazy, but you don't want to be known as the house that gives a bid to every woman with a pulse!
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