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Ready for Fall?: Tips for Recruitment
by Joelle Gamble
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
As Fall approaches, Roosevelt chapters across the nation are gearing up for the return of the academic year. And, with every new semester comes the opportunity to recruit new students to Roosevelt! To help you and your chapter with the Fall quarter recruitment hustle, here is a set of best practices and videos straight from the national archives in the New York City Campus Network office:
Best Practices for Chapter Development
I. Thou shall build a team ... Laying the groundwork for a great Roosevelt chapter usually starts with identifying a supportive team of people to serve in leadership roles, design chapter initiatives, support events, recruitment efforts, policy writing and implementation, and otherwise inspire members to do amazing work.
II. Thou shall identify a project... Whether you’re just getting started as a chapter, struggling to grow membership, or injecting some energy into a new semester, a great way to get people started is by identifying a project—either on a specific issue locally, of interest to your campus specifically, or that can engage people across policy centers—for people on your campus to rally around. Eventually, members will be coming up with all kinds of challenges to tackle, but at first, the easiest way to lose interest is to provide too little guidance and opportunity to engage. These aren’t mandatory! Like all things Roosevelt, member ideas are what make us great, so these projects should be opportunities to join us that make it obvious for people the kinds of work Roosevelt members can do, and give your chapter an opportunity to work together to make a real impact.
III. Thou shall employ the 3C’s of Recruitment... Creativity, Connections, and Commitment are the foundations of a great recruitment strategy. Creativity is key, as hundreds of student orgs might be vying for the time of any one co-ed. That’s why your stunts on the quad, creative first events, Roo-t’beer kegs, “Get Tanked” signs, and creative display of tshirts, publications, etc., are the stuff that will make Roosevelt big on your campus. Connections to other student organizations for events, projects, etc. will help turn out good numbers to events and create a buzz around your chapter, as will connections to orgs on campus that are relevant to the project / initiative your team may have designed. Finally, commit to chapter growth. Roosevelt has created incredible impact across the country, and young people across the country join each year. Be confident that you’re part of a powerful movement—so it’s an easy sell ;)
IV. Thou shall Impress and Inspire ... As already mentioned, the first meeting is crucial. And it’s important to get things moving immediately by both impressing and inspiring your current and prospective members. At the first meeting, leverage the power of the national organization to engage members with video content (like “Redefining Student Activism,” our informational video) and the pre-made sign up sheets, etc. that are available to you in the Chapter Toolbox on the Roosevelt site. Think 2040 programming can help get people thinking from Day 1 about what challenges the community faces, what they’re passionate about, and what Roosevelt might do on your campus. Also, most student orgs don’t have professional websites, video material, etc., so use it to your advantage to impress the recruits! This is also a good time to announce the project/ initiative your team may have designed, and to announce dates for upcoming training sessions on the Think Impact model (with the help of the Roosevelt Staff across the country). No matter what, announce your next meeting to keep up momentum!
V. Thou shall build community connections ... You can start doing this as early as when your leadership team picks a project to work on, but you should definitely be doing it by the time your members start picking issues to focus on, challenges to tackle, and policies to write. This could mean doing volunteer days at the beginning of the semester to get better acquainted with local opportunities and challenges, hosting speakers from area organizations, or setting members up with local mentors. You can host town hall meetings around the issues your members focus on, get opinions via surveys, or volunteer to assist the city council with research. Target the community affected by the work you’re doing (be that at your university, your locality, or across your state), and it will help your chapter have a greater impact, and ensure that your work is relevant and needed. Community outreach is a fundamental part of the Think Impact model. If you drive that home with your members, and train them in Think Impact (with help of National staff), they’ll help you make these connections too!
VI. Thou shall master and evangelize the art of writing a policy piece ... If you don’t master the fundamentals of this skill, and ensure your members get the training they need to pull it off as well, it’s hard to sustain a chapter. Members get frustrated mid semester, feel overwhelmed at the prospect, and sometimes don’t stick it out as Roosevelt members. To overcome these understandable jitters, help people get prepared. Engage with Roosevelt staff to be trained and train others in policy writing and give people low-difficulty opportunities to practice (try op-eds earlier in the semester, warm ups internally, a chapter newsletter, etc.). You can also suggest people write policy pieces as a group (i.e. a whole group works on a piece together) to decrease the lift on any individual. Use old 10ideas journals as guides and, most importantly, remind people that mastering the art of writing policy is difficult, but the power of their ideas to create change is worth it.
VII. Thou shall meet thy neighbors... Welcome to the nation’s largest student policy organization. Now us it to your advantage. Make sure to meet your neighboring chapter heads and get to know the work that they’re doing. That way, everyone in your region can leverage the best practices of successful chapters, mentor those getting started, do projects together, attend joint training sessions, and plan joint events. Above all, get your members to regional conferences. They helps members recognize as part of a national network they have the potential to grow a personal network, and, most importantly, create incredible change as a movement of young people nationwide.
VIII. Thou shall HAVE AN IMPACT that your members can see ... Finish your projects with a bang! Publish work in the school paper, host an event to raise awareness on your campus, and, however, you do it, celebrate the incredible work your members have done!
IX. Thou shall HAVE AN IMPACT that your community can see ... This is the ultimate goal! We know it won’t happen every time, but actually getting those great ideas implemented and seeing the sweeping change your members are capable of is what really accelerates the growth of a chapter. If you engage the community at the beginning (see Roo-mandment V) you’ll have a much greater chance of achieving this goal. And lean on Roosevelt staff to help. Roosevelt members have been getting this done for years. You can too!
X. Thou shall share your successes with the world... The best way to seed recruitment for the coming year is to really celebrate the incredible work you’ve accomplished. Tell your advisors, the student body, the local paper, and Roosevelt staff—we’ll promote you, your members, and your chapter via traditional and social media. The goal: John Stewart or a full twitter crash.
Videos are an engaging and professional way to inform your audience about Roosevelt! Here are four videos that we recommend.
Want to find out more?
Looking for more resources on recruitment and building or starting a new chapter, the national Field Team is here as a resource for you! Each region of the country has a team of amazing and dedicated individuals as resources for your chapter! Don’t hesitate to contact the field team [link to national website page on student staff] in your region:
Regional Coordinators 2012-2013
Western Region: Toni Gomez firstname.lastname@example.org
Midwestern Region: Alina Charniauskaya email@example.com
Mid-atlantic/International Region: Hanna Madsen firstname.lastname@example.org
Northeastern Region: Melia Ungson email@example.com