It is not uncommon to be fired up about the recruitment period and the new pledge class that will result from it. So many chapters brought in extraordinary pledge classes this semester so, we are not surprised that you are excited! But ask yourself this: why should pledges get all the fun?
This semester, give a little thought to recruit not only pledges, but also the active brothers already initiated into the Fraternity. Extend to your brothers the same excitement, recognition, and thoughtful programming that the chapter offers its pledges, and you will see more actives returning to the brotherhood semester after semester. It is a tried and true retention tactic, but one that many chapters may not consciously consider an ongoing practice.
As an active brother, Ellyce Loveless, Alpha Zeta '13, spent hours planning and executing recruitment events to encourage students to become involved in APO for the first time. Now, as a Chapter Consultant, she strives to remind chapters that "many recruitment techniques can be applied to our active brothers too. A member may stray away from the chapter due to scheduling conflicts, academic stress, or any number of reasons. Invite them to a fellowship or service event. Remind them why they're an important part of the brotherhood and the value they bring through their leadership and commitment to service. Bam, APO is back in their lives, and they're back in your life."
How can you apply common recruitment techniques to your actives, as Ellyce suggests? Start by honoring the decision every active makes to return to APO day after day, year after year. As we welcome pledges into the brotherhood, welcome actives back into the brotherhood. Motivated chapters could offer a "welcome back" event for their actives in late August or early September; such an event could be a great opportunity to reflect on the chapter's accomplishments from the last academic year, promote events planned for the upcoming year, and give brothers a chance to catch up after a long summer.
If your chapter wants to excel in recruiting its actives, focus on applying existing pledge programming to actives. What you already do to make pledges fall in love with APO can be easily adapted to remind active brothers why they fell in love with APO in the first place. Do you offer a big/little program? This type of programming is intended to give pledges a mentor and a close friend in the chapter. Reunite actives with their bigs and/or littles by planning family fellowships - there is nothing like quality time with your big to remind you that you belong in APO. Does the chapter offer a pledge retreat to promote pledge class bonding? Plan a brother retreat to encourage actives to get to know their brothers even better.
Whatever your chapter does to recruit pledges can translate to recruiting actives. Whatever it does to cater to its pledges should be done to cater to its actives. Use this twist on retention to give your brothers reason to return to the chapter semester after semester, actively participate in its programming, and flourish in Leadership, Friendship, and Service.
If your chapter wants to know more about solid retention practices, register for the APO IMPACT Live: Retention webinar on November 4 at 8 p.m. CT!