Have a campus organization?  Here are some tips for recruiting new members and keeping them actively involved in your cause:

  • Set up a recruitment table for your organization.  Do this at occasions such as student activities fairs (usually held at the beginning of the academic year) and accepted students weekend (usually late in the spring).  You can also set up tables at Parent’s weekend, homecoming, and reunion weekend.  If your school doesn’t have these events, set up a recruitment table in an area with high foot traffic (such as the student union) every day for a week.  At the end of the week hold a meeting for all the new recruits so their interest won’t lag.  Here are some addition tips for running a successful recruitment table:

    • Stand in front of the table and actively recruit people as they walk by.
    • Never sit behind the table.
    • Have a gimmick to attract people to your table (music, candy, etc.)
    • If possible, have a guy and a girl at the table

  • At the beginning of each semester hold a recruitment drive.  Post flyers around campus about your organization.  Send out an all-campus email (if your school allows student groups to do that).  Encourage existing members to bring a few friends to your next meeting.  Have a prize for whoever can recruit the most new members for your organization.

  • Use Facebook.com to identify students to recruit.  Facebook allows you to search by political views, so take advantage of that capability.  Start a Facebook group for your organization.  This can serve as a gateway to club participation – you will be able to communicate with students who are sympathetic to your cause but aren’t active club members yet.  It should be your goal to turn these likeminded students into active participants.

  • Always be in a recruiting mindset.  You never know when you will meet someone who will be a perfect fit for your organization.  Always be on the lookout for new students and faculty to work with.

Getting a new student to a meeting is only the first step.  It is important to keep them engaged so they turn into an active club member (and maybe even a future club leader).  Here are a few tips for getting people to the next level:

  • Give members real responsibilities.  Put enthusiastic members in charge of small projects.  If they “own” the project, they will be more likely to work hard and establish deep roots in the club.  If they perform well, give them additional responsibility.  This is a win-win:  the club will be able to do more activities and club members will be more invested in the cause.

  • Ask for feedback from club members.  What speakers do they want to bring to campus?  What issues would they like the club to address this year?  People want their opinion to count for something.  Involving general club members in these brainstorming sessions will result in more interest than if only the club officers are involved.

  • Reward outstanding members with a title.  If someone is helping out with event planning, make them an “assistant vice president.”

  • Meet regularly and have a steady stream of activities so members stay active.  Always have a club activity or event on the horizon.  People want to be part of active organizations, not stagnant ones.  Successful events will keep current members involved and will also serve as a recruiting mechanism for potential members.

  • Reward outstanding work.  Have a “conservative of the month” or similar award to recognize important contributions to your club.  The prize doesn’t have to be fancy – most people will appreciate being publicly recognized for their hard work.

Allison Kasic is director of the R. Gaull Silberman Center for Collegiate Studies at the Independent Women’s Forum.