Recruiting new members for your Chapter may be difficult but it is not impossible. It is essential to take the time and energy to recruit members because PRSSA’s mission is to help students grow personally and professionally through three pillars: enhanced education, broaden professional network and the launching of one’s career. With this in mind, our duty as board members is to share these benefits with people at our university to identify and recruit new students for our Chapters.
This year, we decided to rebrand our Chapter entirely. We chose blue and gold as our color scheme because they resemble our school colors. We also chose a palm leaf as our logo because our campus is by the beach and we typically have sunny weather. The key to rebranding is to remain consistent in all the materials you create. Whether it’s your website, your Facebook page or your dues form, everything must look succinct.
Having a catchy slogan will also boost your branding because you will become more memorable. Our Chapter’s slogan is “Bringing Brands to Life.” Be creative yet simple with this.
When it comes to social media, aim to post at least four times a week to ensure people are viewing and engaging with your content. For our Instagram, we alternate between a graphic and a regular photo. That way, it is pleasing to the eye and our viewers are not overwhelmed by too much text. An aesthetic Instagram feed will encourage people to follow you and click on your photos.
Material items are great; however, not all of us have a sufficient amount of money to buy swag for our members. You should aim to make the value of your Chapter as high as you can regardless of giving material items out or not. Ask yourself, what can we offer our members that they don’t already have?
Provide workshops that will benefit members and have guest speakers that are relevant and exciting. If you can’t think of any guest speakers, feel free to reach out to professors or even other PRSSA Chapters in your region.
We are a national organization so don’t forget to market yourself that way. Remind prospective members that in addition to receiving Chapter benefits, their membership also comes with a plethora of national benefits such as the Internship Center, the ability to apply for awards and attend national events.
Word of mouth will always be a productive way of spreading a message. During the first weeks of school you should assign each executive board member to conduct at least two classroom visits. I recommend visiting the lower division classes, as that is where your biggest target audience, the freshman.
During the first few weeks of school there are usually events you can table at to promote your club. Be colorful and stand out! Give out goodies as well to get people’s attention. Have handbills prepared which should include the date of your first meeting. Have people write down their emails as well so you can continue reaching out to them.
After you’ve promoted your Chapter as much as possible, your first general meeting can be a make it or break it moment for recruiting new members. Ensure that you cover all the bases about PRSSA, from the national level to your Chapter level.
Make sure your guests are fully engaged during the meeting by being enthusiastic and organized while presenting. Rehearse at least once whether it is all together with your board or each individually. It is a big turn off when you’re watching a presentation and you can tell that they are winging it. Don’t forget to have food at your meeting as this will also ensure people show up.
When you partner up with a non-profit, you hit two birds with one stone. Not only are you working with a cause that matters but you’re also reaching a bigger audience than just public relations students. This semester, our Chapter partnered with Blue Jeans Go Green, a Cotton Incorporated Organization. We’ve been collecting pieces of denim that will then be up-cycled into insulation for low-income housing. Blue Jeans Go Green also works with other organizations like Habitat for Humanity in building homes. It has been an excellent experience for our Chapter as we were able to create a committee and involve more of our members. Blue Jeans Go Green gave us an opportunity to partner up with other clubs on campus like the Student Sustainability Coalition, American Marketing Association, Student Communication Association and the Hispanic Student Business Association. In doing so, we were able to promote PRSSA even more and reach an audience that is interested in either PRSSA or the non-profit we are working with.
Ines Torres is the president at California State University Long Beach. She is the new Team Leader for Bateman at CSULB. She is a fourth-year undergrad student majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Public Relations.