Every Chapter needs effective recruiting techniques to attract enthusiastic new members. If you’re at a small Chapter, your goal is to build membership; if you’re at a large Chapter, you’re probably seeking diversity and retention.
As future communications professionals, we are uniquely equipped to design strategic campaigns that will educate and motivate our target audiences. Apply those skills to your recruiting efforts. Read below to learn about some creative approaches other Chapters have used to recruit new members.
- Recruitment Materials — Review the five tips, seven benefits and the ten best practices before you start recruiting. Then share the recruitment brochure, member benefits PowerPoint presentation and fact sheet with prospective members.
- Recruitment Reception — Invite prospective members to a reception where officers and Advisers talk about PRSSA benefits and how to get involved.
- Classroom Visits — Have officers visit classes and briefly talk about PRSSA benefits, opportunities and events, and how to get involved. Show the PR 101 and distribute recruitment brochures (PDF).
- Student Activity Fairs — Set up a booth and have officers available to answer questions. Display publications and other materials as well as pictures from past events. Provide a signup sheet so you can get names and contact information from prospective members.
- Professor/Faculty Reminders — Put PRSSA announcements in professor/faculty mailboxes. Ask them to remind students about meetings and activities. You may want to attend a faculty meeting at the beginning of the year to explain the organization and the role you would like them to play.
- Prospective Member Mailing — Obtain a list of journalism/communications students from your department office or office of admissions. Send a letter to the students explaining the benefits of PRSSA membership and invite them to your first meeting.
- Freshmen Mailing — Obtain a list of freshmen or prospective members from your department. Send a letter to the students about PRSSA and invite them to your first meeting.
- Other Departments — Do not limit PRSSA just to public relations majors. Recruit students in other departments such as marketing, advertising, political science, communications or business.
- Extra Credit — Talk to faculty members to see if they will offer their students extra credit for becoming a PRSSA member or for attending meetings and events.
- Information Packets — Include letters from Chapter officers and Advisers, brochures and newsletters, a Chapter awards list, information on how to join the Chapter and PRSSA national information. Send by mail, or hand out in class and the first meeting. Provide copies of the PRSSA member benefits fact sheet.
- Brochures — Create a brochure that explains the benefits of PRSSA membership. You can distribute them during class visits, student activity fairs and recruitment receptions.
- Newsletter — Use your first newsletter to entice prospective members. Write articles about membership benefits and upcoming Chapter activities. Send your newsletter to prospective members, especially first-year students interested in public relations.
- School Media — Run an announcement in the school newspaper, campus radio and TV station, or school website.
- YouTube Video — Create a YouTube video promoting your Chapter. Incorporate humor. See this example from Ohio University.
- Merchandise — Hand out PRSSA merchandise such as pens, cups or sunglasses, or put your meeting times on the back of a coupon for a free drink or free pizza at a local company.
- Dorms and Residence Halls — College students love free food. Offer food and information at the dorms as a way to engage prospective members.
- Partnerships — Partner with another on-campus organization to create an attractive booth at organization recruiting events.
- Social Media — Host a contest that engages new recruits. Have current Chapter members tag others online and invite them to an upcoming event or meeting. Reward participants and newcomers with a prize or food.
Need more ideas? Ask other Chapter presidents through the Google Group, contact the vice president of Chapter development, vice president of member services, or start a conversation through PRSSA social media. You also can see the best recruitment ideas generated at the Leadership Rally in the Chapter Handbook (PDF).