Recruitment Drive | Fall 2012
Back to School Recruitment
With summer nearly over, it's time to start preparing for fall recruitment! Orientations, student activities fairs, and the first few weeks of classes in general are key times for your chapter to find new members -- new students are looking for ways to get involved, and your chapter should channel that enthusiasm into liberty activism!
Take part in YAL's Fall 2012 Recruitment Drive to gain new members, earn national recognition, and even win cash awards for your chapter!
Your five main goals for this recruitment drive:
Sign-up as many new recruits and dues paying members as possible.
Organize a successful first meeting and start planning your Constitution Week.
Identify the people who will lead your chapter throughout this school year.
Document your efforts on the YAL blog to have a shot at winning $250 for future activism! Winners will be selected based on numbers of new recruits.
Upload all your new members to your chapter profile on yaliberty.org using the Members Upload tool.
How will you achieve these goals? Keep reading to find out!
PHASE ONE: The Basics
Here are the essential steps you need to take before you begin any activism, including recruitment. Knock these out first!
- If you are not a YAL dues-paying member yet, become one. Join YAL for $10 right now and get a FREE T-SHIRT!
- Join or start a YAL chapter on your campus. It's very easy to get started here.
- Familiarize yourself with the new YAL website, especially the "members management" tool.
- Download your Guide to Build an Effective YAL Chapter. Designed by YAL National, this detailed guide includes all the basic activism information a successful chapter needs to know.
- Order a banner for your YAL chapter. A professional YAL banner will add aesthetic value to your table, which new people will use to judge your chapter. Learn how to easily order a banner here (we've taken care of everything -- even the YAL logo).
- Purchase clip-boards and pens at your local Staples, Target, or Walmart.
- Print out plenty of sign-up sheets.
PHASE TWO: Get Recruitment Resources
Make sure your chapter is well-equipped for recruitment by taking advantage of these free resources from YAL and our partner organizations.
Apply for YAL's Activism Kit: a box of useful materials mailed directly to your chapter's doorstep. Complete the online application to receive this valuable box of resources ASAP! Included in the current Activism Kit:
- Guide to Building an Effective YAL Chapter
- "Join" and "Philosophy" YAL Palm Cards
- YAL's Official Magazine, Young American Revolution (YAR)
- Economic Liberty and the Constitution
- Great Myths of the Great Depression
- The Place for Economics in Learning
- Why Austrian Economics Matters
- YAL Buttons and Stickers
- If you need even more copies of our magazine Young American Revolution (YAR), you can submit a special application to have additional copies shipped to you! This semester's issue features a great election guide titled, "Do Obama and Romney both Suck?"
- Sign up for Students for Liberty's Resources. SFL's materials, some of which are free, are available to YAL chapters to supplement your activism. Check out their:
- Free copies of After the Welfare State
- Tabling Kits
- Other free books
Order an Operation Politically Homeless. Apply for a free Operation Politically Homeless kit from our friends at Advocates for Self-Government.This is a tried and true recruitment tool to find pro-liberty students already on campus.
- Get in touch with YAL's other Strategic Partners. Many will provide your chapters with excellent, free resources
- Don't forget to print out plenty of YAL sign-up sheets! Download a sign-up sheet template here. Quick tip: Completely fill out the first two lines on every sign up sheet. No one wants to be the first to sign up, and if you completely fill out every field, it is more likely a student will do the same.
- Keep track of your recruitment plans with this checklist.
PHASE THREE: Preparing for Fall
Even before you're on campus, it's time to get busy. After you've applied for all the resources you can get, you'll need to start making important reservations and contacts on campus as soon as possible.
If you haven't completed this checklist in the time frame suggested, don't quit—the delay has made it more important than ever that you start now.
- Call your Student Activities Office and reserve space! Call your Student Activities Office TODAY and start the process of reserving meeting space and, more important, a table at the student activities fair (or open house, or organization day, or whatever your school calls it). If you don't have a table in a prominent place at the fair, then how do you expect to reach underclassmen (especially first-year students) and grow your chapter? Also, reserve tabling space on campus in high-traffic areas.
- Get back in touch. Reach our to your chapter officers, members, and sign-ups by phone and email, so they are ready to hit the ground running too. Send out an email to your membership or use the "mass message" feature in the members management tool on the YAL website to email your membership. See how everyone's summer is going, inform them of your first chapter meeting, ask for their input this fall, and always make yourself available by giving out your phone number and email address.
- Get in touch with your State Chair and Regional Director (YAL's Leadership Team). If you're not already familiar with YAL's Leadership Team, you can find your main contacts' names and information here. Contact them today. YAL's Leadership Team is available to work with you to formulate a recruitment strategy for your campus, fine-tune your existing plans, or help you coordinating your efforts with other chapters in your area. If you think you've got everything figured out, they may surprise you with effective tips to help you improve your efforts.
- Organize a per-semester meeting. Call your Chapter Officers and get everyone together at a local restaurant, bar, or on campus to discuss the school semester and delegate responsibilities.
- Organize your first informational meeting. Before you start recruiting, have your first meeting scheduled, so you can tell new recruits how to get involved. Create a Facebook event for your first meeting and invite all your members to it as well.
- Assign a Recruitment Director. If you have the luxury of quality leaders in your chapter, assign a Recruitment Director and delegate responsibility to them. Then, work with your Recruitment Director to create a list of members who will help with your Recruitment Drive. Assign a schedule with specific times for your members to work at the table. Try your best to have at least one guy and one girl out in front of your table at all times. Use this sample tabling schedule to keep everyone on track.
Also, assign one or two members to stand off to the side of the table to 1.) talk more in-depth to passersby who want to get involved and 2.) deal with those who want to debate you but don't actually want to join (don't let these types of people distract you from your main goal: finding new recruits!).
Complete as much of these first three phases as possible before you return to campus and school starts. The more preparation you can do in advance, the more smoothly and effectively your recruitment efforts will go. You should be able to complete everything we've mentioned so far in just a few hours, all from the comfort of your computer chair.
PHASE FOUR: Flyer Bomb and Dorm Storm
Remember your #1 goal: to get as many sign-ups and new dues paying members!
To reach all students on campus, you'll need to create some buzz about your chapter by getting the word out in as many places as possible. As soon as you get back on campus, round up some chapter members to start plastering your campus with YAL flyers, especially focusing on new students' housing and gathering areas.
There are two primary techniques for this: Flyer Bombs and Dorm Storms.
Post flyers all over your campus, especially in high-traffic areas and on university bulletin boards, to announce your chapter's dominance over the student political scene. Don't forget! On every flyer, make sure you include at least the time and location for your meetings, your chapter's Facebook URL, and an email address and/or phone number to contact your chapter. You don't want a student to see your flyer and not know how to get involved immediately.
We've made two customizable flyers for you to download, with both color and black & white versions. Click here to download them now.
Encourage active members to go door to door at their student housing and introduce themselves and your YAL chapter. Bring a sign up sheet with you to get contact information from anyone who seems interested. Don't debate; just be friendly. If no one is home, slip a flyer under their door. Here's a great one-page guide to conducting a good Dorm Storm.
- Buy chalk and write your meeting information around campus. Chalk in high traffic locations, use large letters, and use attention-grabbing language.
- Create yard signs and large posters through Vistaprint.com and post them in high traffic locations. You might want to especially target your philosophy, political science, business, and history classroom buildings. Think big and bold!
- Write to your school newspaper about an important issue and reference your organization. Choose an important issue that students care about on campus and write a article on how libertarian principles can solve that problem. Make sure to reference your organization and when your first meeting takes place.
- Make sure to notify your school's master calender administrator about your meeting schedule. The schools master calender notifies students what events are taking place. Try to get your meeting time and place in the calender.
- Build a relationship with faculty and school administration. Department heads can be your biggest ally when it comes to boosting turnout at your chapters events. Develop a relationship with the heads of your school's Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy departments. Check out this article from YAR about the importance of building a relationship with school faculty and administration.
- Announce your chapter and meeting schedule before classes. Many professors will let you make announcements before class. Take the opportunity to inform your classmates about your chapter and how to get involved. Write your meeting schedule on the chalkboard.
- Email your student body. Some schools will let recognized student organizations send out blast emails to all students. Take advantage of this opportunity to promote your chapter. Make sure you include your meeting schedule and a way to contact you.
- Collaborate with other campus organizations. Attend meetings of other campus groups to recruit for your chapter. Usually it's a small percentage of students that get involved at all, so here's a way to find active students. If your groups have ideological similarities, then see how you can work together to advance those principles. Check out this article from YAR about the importance of coalition building.
PHASE FIVE: Student Fairs and Tabling
Start by learning how to table well. Even if you're an old hand at tabling, you can always add to your skills. Read this short guide to tabling, and take a few minutes to watch the video YAL staff made to explain effective tabling technique:
Before your Recruitment Drive kicks off, schedule a planning meeting with your active members and Chapter Officers to nail down important details. This is NOT your informational meeting. It shouldn't be open to the public. This is for planning purposes only.
During the meeting, confirm everyone's tabling schedule and when they need to be where. You should already have completed all the basic scheduling over the summer (see Phase Three above).
Essential Tabling Supplies
- A table -- find out if your school provides one or if you'll need to bring your own so you aren't caught unprepared
- 2’ x 6’ vinyl YAL banner (see instructions for ordering one in the Resources section above)
- Sign-up sheets -- print more than you think you need
- 9' x 9' table canopy
- Foam poster board
- Pack of permanent markers
- Lots of Ink Pens
- Free books, flyers, YARs, and other resources you got from YAL's Activism Kit and our partner organizations
- Candy, drinks, pizza, popsicles, or some other food item to attract students to your table
So you signed up a bunch of new recruits. But, you're only half way done with your Recruitment Drive. Just as important as signing up new students is making sure they get involved in your chapter.
New recruits should hear from you the same day they sign up. Call the most impressive new recruits that night. Tell them how excited you are and invite them to your first meeting personally. For the rest, email them that night as well. Send a brief email welcoming them to your chapter, give them information about your next meeting, and invite them to join your chapter page on the YAL website and your Facebook group. You can use MailChimp, a free, simple online program, to make your mass emails professional. Or you can BCC all your new contacts from your email inbox.
Additionally, be sure to upload all your members and new recruits to your chapter page by using the Members Management tool at www.YALiberty.org. This tool is an easy way to upload and download membership lists and mass message them through the website. It is how we will keep track of your membership growth for the Recruitment Drive contest as well.
You can do far more than basic tabling to attract new members to your chapter. Consider some of these options -- or think up your own!
- Petitions. Since this is a recruiting event, you may not want to do anything too divisive. A petition to bring Ron Paul to your campus or to end an unpopular program at your university will help you generate large lists of emails that you can add to your contact lists.
- Operation Politically Homeless. Get a free kit from the Advocates for Self Government to show students where they fall on the political map. The ones who fall in the liberty quadrant are prime recruits.
- Liberty Raffle. During tabling, collect raffle tickets in exchange for contact information. Raffle off a desirable item (e.g. Amazon gift cards -- everyone needs textbook money) at your first meeting, with the requirement that you must attend the meeting to win.
- Popsicles for sign-ups. Give out popsicles, candy, water bottles, or some other treat in exchange for contact info.
- Buy a toy helicopter and fly it over students. Discuss with intrigued students how thousands of government drones are now watching U.S citizens, and explain YAL's stance against this invasive policy.
PHASE SIX: Your First Meeting
It's essential for you to have a well-executed and organized first meeting (a.k.a. -- an informational meeting) if you plan to make a good first impression and sustain membership growth. You have only 30 to 60 minutes to make your case, so how do you make the most of it?
By now, you should have plastered your campus with flyers, tabled for multiple days, and invited tons of new students to your meeting. Your meeting time and location should have been confirmed weeks ago, so it doesn't conflict with any major campus events. And, every promotional material you distributed had the meeting time and location on it. So let's start preparing for your meeting.
Compile a checklist of all materials you might need. Here are some materials you may consider:
- “Young Americans for Liberty” sign to place on the front door
- Appropriately-arranged seating
- IT equipment
- Sign-up sheets to collect attendee names, email addresses, and phone numbers
- Name tags
- Copies of presentation and/or agenda
- YAL promo materials, such as fact sheets, pamphlets, and flyers.
- Snacks and drinks
At the Meeting
Arrive early to make sure everything is working, set up a professional display, and greet everyone who arrives with a smile.
Bring sign-up sheets and have everyone sign in.
Be confident and enthusiastic when speaking. You are essentially pitching why people should join your organization. If you don't sound confident and enthusiastic, how do you expect your new recruits to feel?
Maintain order. Try not to get carried off topic too much. Avoid open debates (entertain debates after the meeting). Stay on task. And make sure you accomplish everything you intend before moving to unscheduled topics.
Be social and welcoming. Remember, you are having a meeting to increase your membership. People won't want to join if you aren't any fun. Try to meet the new recruits and encourage your Chapter Officers to do the same.
- Give the "Intro to YAL" PowerPoint presentation to introduce YAL, our mission, and your chapter. Keep your presentation short and to the point, sticking to common ground issues. The PowerPoint will shortly be added to download here.
- Explain your semester plans and get input. This should be your first opportunity to tell your chapter members about Constitution Week. If you plan in advance, you can debut your activism project and sign up volunteers to help executive the event.
- End the evening with a fun social event at an inexpensive restaurant or coffee shop -- ideally withing walking distance from campus -- so you can get to know your new recruits in a fun environment.
Read this guide to running your first meeting for additional information.
Earn Media Attention
Use these resources to get all your activism in the campus, local, state, and maybe even national news!
For assistance with any aspect of earning media attention, email YAL Director of Communications Bonnie Kristian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach out to the Regional Leadership Team for Support
Use these links to find the State Chair and/or Regional Director for your area. If either position has not yet been filled, learn more and apply to join the Leadership Team here.
Want to earn some cash for your chapter?
The Recruitment Drive contest is simple: What chapter can recruit the most new members?
Starting August 1st and ending December 14th, we are tracking chapter membership. Whichever chapter can sign-up the most members and upload them to the YAL website through their "Manage Members" tool will win cash prizes.
Here are the prizes:
- $250 to the chapter with the most new members from a student body of fewer than 5,000 undergraduates
- $250 to the chapter with the most new members from a student body of 5,000 to 15,000 undergraduates
- $250 to the chapter with the most new members from a student body of more than 15,000 undergraduates
To enter your chapter in the Recruitment Drive contest, you must do two things:
- Document your recruitment efforts by posting pictures, videos, news articles, and/or descriptions of your activities to the YAL blog. If you are a Chapter Officer for your chapter, then you should have the ability to easily write a blog post on the YAL website. Log into the website, then roll over "Tools" in the top right corner, and select "Write a Blog Post."
- Upload all your members' information to your chapter page through the "Manage Members" tool on the YAL website. If you are a chapter Officer for your chapter, then log into the site, roll over "Tools" in the top right corner, and select "Manage Members." On this page, click "upload members." Then, either download the Excel file template or manually enter the information into the provided fields for each new member. Once you upload this member information, each new member will get an email asking them to join your chapter.
At the end of this contest, we will tabulate how many new members every chapter has added to their chapter page. The chapters with the most new members and a documented Recruitment Drive will win $250 based on their undergraduate student body size.