by Matt Mattson
Imagine yourself as a cowboy/gal roaming the plains. You've got a thousand head of cattle to rustle back to the ranch by sundown. Those cattle are really in need of a good night at the ranch, and it is your job to wrangle and herd them home.
Alright, this is a stretch, but now imagine a herd of first-year men or women on your campus. Almost all freshmen travel in herds for safety and security. There off in the distance as the sun is beginning to set you catch sight of that flock. They seem fine on the surface, but your trained cowpoke eye can tell that they could really use someone to help them find their home. Here's the challenge… are you tough enough to herd them to the place they belong — your fraternity/sorority? Are you willing to cowboy up to cluster recruiting?
I’ll be honest, I want to be a cowboy, so I'm stretching this analogy until it fits. But here are some important lessons to learn about something we call “Cluster Recruiting.”
1. People don't want to join by themselves. It is scary to join a fraternity or sorority, and nearly everyone would prefer to do it with their friends alongside them. Make it a rule to never recruit one person — always recruit their friends as well. If you get one person interested in your organization (or just interested in going through the recruitment process), then you should make it policy to get their friends interested as well. Potential members are more like sheep than lone wolves — gather the whole flock and shepherd them to the home that your organization can provide.
2. If you see that group of 5-10 first-year students on campus heading to the dining hall, be a good samaritan and interrupt their little group with, “Hey, I'm guessing you're heading to the dining hall, are you guys freshmen? I used to eat there all the time until I found out where all the upperclassmen eat. Could I show you the new sushi restaurant on the other side of campus?” Gitty-up because you just made 5-10 friends. Now all you have to do is develop those relationships and help them see how your organization can make their lives better.
On every campus there are herds of wild potential members wandering the open plains. They need a rough and tumble ranch hand like you to wrangle them in and help them experience the good life on your ranch.