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The Reach

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Creative Ways Your Chapter Can Recruit Members

Creative Ways Your Chapter Can Recruit Members

The Alabama Region was recognized this spring for having the most chapters earning REACH Rewards in 2016 — 27! So how did they do it?

Former Alabama Regional Officer Lionel Barzon thinks he knows — he said the Alabama Region is highly motivated and pushes the bar higher in terms of chapter growth and achievement.

Barzon, who served as a regional vice president in 2016-17, said his local Sigma Lambda Chapter at Calhoun Community College has found success by hosting a Phi Theta Kappa awareness week each semester — and giving prospective members an extra incentive to join that week.

“During the fall 2016 semester, our chapter ran a special promotion for awareness week offering new members a $10 discount for joining during that week, which resulted in 29 new members,” Barzon said.

While some chapters devote entire weeks to an awareness push, others find success by promoting membership continuously throughout the year. But for Sigma Lambda, the formula seems to be working.

Looking to capitalize on that momentum, the chapter ran the membership discount promotion again during their spring 2017 awareness week as well, adding 78 new members that week.

During awareness week, current chapter members staffed booths in campus lobbies, distributed free PTK t-shirts, and invited faculty and staff to wear them that week to increase visibility.

Current Alabama Regional President Cheyanna Huston-McCrea, who is a member of the Tau Mu Chapter at Enterprise Community College, hopes the region can keep up its membership momentum this year.

Huston-McCrea said her chapter sends out chapter officers and members to the classrooms to “tap” students — personally inviting them to attend an orientation and welcoming them to the chapter, in addition to the invitation letter that comes from PTK Headquarters.  

“Some of our other chapters have the teachers tap the students in their classrooms,” she said. “Many ideas I've heard from officers and advisors in the Alabama Region involve making their chapters known on campus and letting students know that Phi Theta Kappa is not a scam, but something they should take advantage of.”

Necia Nicholas, Sigma Lambda advisor and Associate Coordinator for the Alabama Region, said her chapter also sends its initial email invitations through the Center for Excellence.

“But, knowing that some of those emails may go to spam/junk folders, we sent a ‘pre-invite,’ sort of a ‘heads up,’ to all eligible students prior to the invitation,” she said. “It serves not only to help them look for the email, but to realize that it is not spam, not a fraternity, etc.”

Nicholas explained that with approximately 1,000 eligible students every semester, they don’t feel they can utilize some of the personalized strategies others chapters use, such as calling, texting, or tapping.  

“But, we want to help them understand that it is truly an honor,” she said.

Barzon added that each chapter of Phi Theta Kappa should fully understand the necessity of always looking to recruit and build opportunities for members to join their chapters.

“With each new member that joins Phi Theta Kappa, there is a chance for the next International Officer, chapter president and other vital chapter officers joining,” he said. “Whether it be through successful awareness week campaigns or one-on-one recruitment, no chapter should overlook the importance of recruiting as many new members as possible.”

And according to Phi Theta Kappa President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, that’s what it’s all about — opening that first door to opportunity by inviting eligible students to join Phi Theta Kappa.

“We established REACH Rewards because we believe strongly in the mission of Phi Theta Kappa and want as many students as possible to receive the benefits of membership,” she said. “These benefits include scholarships and increased opportunities for engagement with their peers and key faculty members on campus, which lead to higher rates of completion among our members.”

Barzon and numerous others agree.

“Personally, my experience with Phi Theta Kappa has been one of constant learning and personal growth in serving my college, community, and the society in which I live with an opened-hearted mindset,” he explained. “I have made lifelong friendships and learned far-reaching lessons as a chapter and regional officer.

“I will always reflect on the priceless and valuable lessons Phi Theta Kappa has given me.”

See a full list of chapters that earned REACH Rewards in 2017, and learn why your chapter should participate. For membership recruitment resources, check out Phi Theta Kappa’s visibility toolkit.

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