Anyone who knows me knows that at any given time, I am involved in 5 different extracurriculars—and usually at least two are some kind of leadership position. And odds are, at some point in your UD experience, you’ll also be in charge of an extracurricular or two, or at least significantly involved. And if you are in charge of an RSO, the odds are also that you will be taking the helm of a ship barely afloat, if not sinking—not every RSO has the stature and establishment of The Review or SCPAB. So how to get some wind in those sails?
In my time at UD, I’ve been a part of many organizations at various stages of progress. I’ve been a member of HenMUN, an established organization for which I simply had to do what I was told. I’ve started my own organization, trying to build an international affairs publication from the ground up. But this year, I became one of two student Vice Presidents for Phi Kappa Phi, a prestigious honor society that has lost its footing due to the flood of “fake” honor societies (you know the type—they spam you with emails for earning a decent GPA, and all they ask is $50-100). Unlike the other societies that have a home in your spam folder, Phi Kappa Phi and its cousin, Phi Beta Kappa, have proof of their legitimacy through scholarship for members and partnership with UD’s Honors Program.
The problem that I and my co-VP are trying to tackle is proving the society’s legitimacy and making it stand out. We will be following pretty standard rules for breathing life back into an organization, rules that can be applied to any RSO. This is because new recruits = life. This is why the following steps largely focus on attracting new members.
- Figure out what works, and expand on it. Of the members you currently have in the group, survey them. How did they find out about the club? What keeps them coming back? If most recruits come from Student Central, strengthen your presence there. If current members attend meetings because of events, hold more.
- Make the brand a familiar and recognizable one. This one is pretty straight forward. The Review has a strong base of recruits because it’s The Student Newspaper. Such stature can be mimicked. Get the organization name out there by posting flyers, holding highly public events, and asking current members to advertise.
- Get recognizable endorsement. Students are more likely to join an organization that looks legitimate. One way to do so is to contact the department heads/secretaries (the people who send out those emails to all students in your major) related to your organization, asking them to advertise your interest meetings or other events.
- Have fun. Another way to recruit is to make sure your current members are loyal to the organization. The more loyal the members, the more they will advertise the club simply by being enthusiastic. One way to foster loyalty is to have fun. Take them to Brewed Awakenings to chat. Make them excited about the RSO.
That last one may be most important, not just for a successful RSO, but for you. Make sure you’re enjoying the work—have fun!