5 Tips to Enhance Your Chapter’s Outreach and Member Recruitment

The start of the fall semester symbolizes a period of exciting change for all PRSSA Chapters. While many Chapters experience leadership and membership changes from the previous year, they are welcomed with the opportunity to recruit new students to join PRSSA. Although new member recruitment and outreach can be fun and rewarding for your Chapter, increasing membership requires focused attention and effort. In this article, I will provide my five best tips for your Chapter to enhance its member recruitment and outreach tactics so PRSSA becomes the “IT” organization for students on your campus to join!

Involvement fair setup, courtesy of Scripps PRSSA

Tip #1: Make your involvement fair table POP.

College involvement fairs are a perfect way to promote PRSSA to prospective members, especially first-time freshmen who are still trying to discover what they are interested in. To best cater to the interests of new students, create an eye-catching table that leaves a strong first impression. When tabling at involvement fairs, make your setup visually appealing by having photos and brochures highlighting previous Chapter achievements. Additionally, draw students in with games, small giveaways or opportunity drawings. Something as simple as handing out free candy or having a PR trivia game can go a long way, especially for students who discover PRSSA for the first time at an involvement fair. Lastly, always remember to have an interest form for students to write their contact information so you can follow up with prospective members and inform them of upcoming announcements.

Tip #2: When classroom pitching, think outside the box.

Classroom pitching is an integral form of outreach that all Chapters should implement. While pitching PRSSA’s benefits to public relations classes is important, you can gain members of all majors by highligting PRSSA’s career benefits in your pitch. To ensure that you reach as many potentially interested students as possible, extend your classroom pitching efforts to marketing, advertising, liberal arts and english classes. Expanding the number of classes you pitch to increases the chances of reaching students who may not have been aware of PRSSA and how it can help them in their careers. 

Example of event calendar, courtesy of Cal State Fullerton PRSSA 

Tip #3: Promote your semester event calendar ASAP. 

When promoting PRSSA to prospective members, your Chapter’s event calendar will be your best friend. When students can reference a general outline of the programming your Chapter hosts, it will help them better understand how they can participate and get involved in your Chapter. Even if you do not have all of the details for your programming locked in, give students an idea of what they can expect by providing the title and approximate date of the event. By posting your event calendar on social media early on, students will have events to look forward to and be more interested in purchasing a membership.

Tip #4: Host a welcome mixer for prospective members. 

While involvement fairs are a great way to meet new students and get their contact information, the busy environment can make it difficult to tell students about everything PRSSA has to offer. To give students more context about member benefits, it is always a good idea to host a welcome mixer for interested students. At the welcome mixer, you can formally introduce the executive board to prospective members, have a slideshow going over member benefits, and include icebreaker games to get everyone to open up and network. A welcome mixer is a perfect way for new students to match names to faces and ask questions directly to the executive board about how to become members.

Tip #5: Create a two-way communication channel for students interested in PRSSA.

There is no better way to quickly spread announcements and information related to your Chapter than a two-way communication channel. Apps such as Slack and Discord are highly useful in getting your members to talk to one another and for the executive board to keep members up to date about upcoming opportunities. Encourage students to join your group communication channel over social media and at events. Once students join your Chapter’s channel, you can expedite your outreach process by reaching out to students directly on the channel and answering any questions they may have at that moment. 

Ava Kendrena is the PRSSA 2023-2024 National vice president of member services. She is a senior at California State University, Fullerton, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in american studies. Ava joined PRSSA as a freshman in 2020 and served as her Chapter’s vice president of administration during the 2022-2023 term before transitioning to the PRSSA National Committee. Outside of PRSSA, Ava is passionate about the music industry and hopes to work in a music publicist role. You can connect with Ava on LinkedIn

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