Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Don Koch, International Vice President for Division 1.
In November 2017, I was honored to be a guest at the Carolinas Region Leadership Conference held at the Central Carolina Technical College. The Regional Coordinators, John Sharpe and Beth Carraway, left it up to me to decide what I wanted to speak about. There are many things about Phi Theta Kappa that I love to share with members, such as the Five Star Competitive Edge Program, scholarship and leadership opportunities, and growth and development opportunities, to name a few. However, I wanted to address an issue that I hear no matter where I travel: how to increase membership.
Before we can talk about how to increase membership, we have to understand why we would want to. Having an increased membership base opens up the possibilities of getting more projects done with fewer students. This is a win-win for everyone, as you are not fighting a dearth of resources. More members translate into more like-minded individuals to share challenges and successes with.
Also, there is an increased chance that other students will become informed because of an increased chapter presence. The bigger the chapter, the bigger the fellowship events.
How do we accomplish this goal of increased membership? At the Carolinas Region Leadership Conference, the 27 chapters, alumni, and advisors in attendance were given a form and asked to list best practices for growing chapter membership. These are the 15 most-mentioned best practices:
- Hold an orientation for high school students
- Host fellowship events with food
- Be humble
- Share pictures of past events, trips, and activities, either through a slideshow at meetings or with your PTK scrapbook
- Have a Twitter account for communication
- Find solutions for students that can’t afford membership
- Make phone calls to students
- Put PTK on the dean’s list letter
- Allow students to “work off” membership fee through participation in service projects
- Establish a service points system
- Wear “Ask Me About PTK” buttons
- Create special t-shirts for active members
- Send candy grams to instructors
- Build relationships with supportive alumni, faculty, and advisors
- Arm your chapter officers with PTK knowledge
The Golden Opportunity Scholarship addresses a solution for students that can’t afford the membership fee. Wearing Phi Theta Kappa shirts to make your presence known and sporting the “Ask Me About PTK” buttons has the potential to create many opportunities to share your PTK experience to prospective members.
Because it was listed often, being humble may be a great take away for us when we are talking to others. As servant leaders, we should silently display a reason that a student would want to be a part of our organization.
Also, making sure as officers that we have adequate Phi Theta Kappa knowledge will go a long way in recruiting new members. The opportunity someone shared with you is what you want to share with others. This is how you build a relationship of reciprocity that will lead to working with synergy.
There is more to this list, and I will be more than happy to share it with you upon request.
Put these 15 best practices to use for your chapter during PTK Awareness Week, February 26-March 2.