There are a lot of ways to recruit new members to join your group. Every school is different, so the most effective ways to recruit vary from school to school. You and your co-leaders, group officers, and advisor should discuss what seems to work best on your campus. Ask yourselves what other successful groups are doing to recruit and consider following that example.
Gather Your Materials
At the very least, you’ll probably need pens, a sign-up sheet, and a clipboard. You should also have a flyer about your group to distribute at ALL group events. Remember – every single event your group does is a recruitment opportunity.
Group flyers should include at least three pieces of information: the group’s mission statement, contact information, and details of the next meeting and event. Delegate the creation of this flyer to the most artistically-inclined leader. If you plan to have a table, you may want to use posters, give-aways, (such as key chains or pens), and candy.
Clipboarding, Tabling, and Word of Mouth
Tabling involves setting up a table in a busy area at your school or at an event. Use your posters, candy, and give-aways here. Do not stand behind the table, and don’t sit down. Actively approach students to sign them up for your group.
Clipboarding is like tabling but without the table! You are more free to move around and don’t have to worry about watching your table. It is almost always the better, more effective, and time-efficient recruitment method. As the word implies, you walk your school with your clipboard getting people to sign up for your group. Cafeterias and lounges are great places to do clipboarding.
Word of mouth is an effective recruitment tool, but don’t rely on it exclusively. It’s the least deliberate method, and should only be done to supplement formal recruitment efforts. Network with religious, political, or other like-minded groups at school and invite them to join your pro-life group.
Be Proactive, Friendly, and Focused
However you decide to go about recruiting, DO NOT wait for people to approach you. It rarely happens. Walk up, smile, and say “Hi, are you pro-life?” Sign up the pro-lifers and move on quickly from pro-choice students (not because you don’t want to change their mind, but because that isn’t the goal of your recruitment effort). Be interested in the people you meet. Introduce yourself, tell them briefly what your group is about, give them a flyer, and get their information. Stay focused. It’s helpful to have a set goal for names recruited to help keep you on track. It is a good idea to have a partner who can distract people who just want to argue with you while you continue to recruit.
Get as Much Information as Possible
Your sign up sheet should have at least four columns: name, phone number, email address, and graduation year. It’s very important to get phone numbers, and if you put it last, people tend to skip it. Fill in the first few lines of the sign-up sheet with friends’ contact information so that when people sign up, they see they are not the first. They will also be much more likely to fill in the phone number box if they see that others already have. If you notice students not filling in their phone number, ask them for it. If they refuse, fill in your number after they leave so that the next student doesn’t see that box left empty. It seems like a silly psychological game, but trust us – it works!
After you sign up a new person, write down a few notes on him or her on the back of your sign up sheet. Maybe they said they were pro-life because they were adopted or because doctors recommended abortion for their cousin who has Down Syndrome. Did they mention a sibling or parent being involved in politics, pro-life, or religious work? Write down these details. Contact your list of new recruits WITHIN 24 HOURS, thank them for signing up, and ask if they are coming to your next meeting or event. Ask for their involvement right away, even if it’s something small. For example, “Hey Sarah, we have a couple people working on posting flyers up tomorrow, could you help out with that?”
Retention is Just as Important
Many groups are good at getting new signups, but have a hard time retaining members and keeping them active. Delegate tasks to new members and form personal relationships. Have tasks ready to assign to members to get them involved right away. This can be as simple as putting up a flyer on/in their locker. It tends to go against our instinct to ask people for things. But assigning small tasks gives people a sense of ownership & responsibility, making them feel more invested in the group.