Strengthen Your Chapter
Every Chapter needs effective recruiting techniques to attract enthusiastic new members. If you’re at a small Chapter, you’re goal is to build membership; if you’re at a large Chapter, you’re probably seeking diversity and retention.
As future public relations 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 Reception — Invite prospective members to a reception where officers and Advisers talk about PRSSA benefits and how to get involved. Show the PR 101 DVD.
- Classroom Visits — Have officers visit classes and briefly talk about PRSSA benefits, opportunities and events, and how to get involved. Show the PR 101 DVD and distribute recruitment brochures (PDF) or membership guides (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 sign up sheet so you can get names and contact information from prospective members.
- Bookmarks — Print double-sided bookmarks on cardstock with a description of PRSSA, meeting dates for the semester/quarter and contact information. Get permission to put the bookmarks in journalism/communication textbooks before classes start. Distribute them when you make class visits or ask professors to pass them out to students.
- 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.
- Freshman Mailing — Obtain a list of freshman 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 to just 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.
- Brochures — Create a brochure that explains the benefits of PRSSA membership. You can distribute them during class visits, at the student activity fair and the recruitment reception.
- 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, on the campus radio or TV station, or on your 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. Put your meetings 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 a more noticeable and attractive booth at organization recruiting events.
Need more ideas? Ask other Chapter Presidents through the listserv, contact the vice president of Chapter development or start a conversation through PRSSA social media. You can also see the best recruitment ideas generated at the Leadership Rally in the Chapter Handbook (PDF).