Success Story: Alpha Gamma Rho at LSU
Can a 19 man fraternity chapter become 90 members strong in 18 months?
There’s a group of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity men at LSU photothat are about to erase the question mark in that sentence and replace it with an exclamation point. I had the pleasure of talking with Andrew Ellender, the outgoing VNR (that’s AGR language for Recruitment Chairman). Here are clips of our conversation:
Phired Up: What’s going on with AGR at LSU?
Andrew: We’re on fire! A year ago we were struggling with 19 members. I attended a conference called AGR Recruitment School in Kansas City that was led by Phired Up. I met AGR brothers from across the country and learned about Dynamic Recruitment. The LSU chapter got serious about doing exactly what we learned. We recruited hard last summer and initiated 28 new members in the fall.
Phired Up: Slow down. How did a 19 man chapter recruit 28 new members?
Andrew: It was a combination of things, but some of the most important changes were introducing a recruitment scholarship, getting serious about using a Names List, doing the Mind Jogger activity, hiring a brother to lead recruitment during the summer months, and partnering with the Ag Department to get contact information for incoming freshmen. Our alumni have been amazing, too. They really raised the stakes by doing a massive remodel of our house which doubled its size. That put a lot of pressure on us to make sure we grew the chapter with quality brothers.
Phired Up: How do you feel about taking that many guys?
Andrew: It’s amazing! Are you kidding?
Phired Up: You mentioned the Names List. Tell me about that.
Andrew: We learned at Recruitment School that if we want to get serious about Quality that we have to get serious about Quantity first – Quantity of relationships drives Quality of members. We never even had a Names List before. Now we have 200+ names we’re focused on and we’re working toward 600+ this semester. Those 67 examples that Phired Up brought to Recruitment School really work!
Phired Up: You’re about to graduate, does that mean the chapter will go back to being less than 20 guys?
Andrew: No way! Our new VNR is amazing … probably better than me. He went to his first AGR Recruitment School last month. We had a 10+ hour drive home and he made over 6 hours of phone calls to potential members during that drive. It was crazy. He had meetings set up at the house and on campus all that week. We’ve already got 8 guys ready to initiate, 12 is the goal, and I’m starting to think we can make a run at 20.
Phired Up: Whoa, I’m getting lost in the numbers. Break that down for me.
Andrew: I don’t think our chapter has ever in its history recruited more than 16 guys in a full year. Now, we’re recruiting year-round with Dynamic Recruitment. We took 28 last fall. We’ve already got 8 of our 12 man spring goal. We know how to improve on our results from last fall so 30-40 is the new expectation for fall 2012.
Phired Up: Hang on, I’m doing the math … So you’re on pace to become a 90 man chapter!?!?
Andrew: I don’t like to talk in numbers because I think it limits our potential, but yes.
Phired Up: What advice would you give to people reading this that want similar results for their chapter?
Andrew: When I attended my first Recruitment School, I met an alumnus named Dana. During the Action Planning portion of the day he asked me to tell him the largest number of new members I thought our chapter could recruit. I told him 15. He said, why not 30? I thought that was crazy but figured maybe he’s right. Then we put a plan in place. The funny part is that now, I have my sights on recruiting 50+ per year. Sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to think big enough and realize how much we’re able to do when we put our mind to it.