Recruiting and Building
The most important aspect of being a field director is recruitment and building on campuses. This can come in many different methods and forms, and different techniques can help you or hurt you depending on where you go. In this blog I want to discuss three different methods that I have used and how it has helped me be successful in the field.
Clipboarding can be very useful if you use it properly. I use clipboarding when I am breaking into a new location and need to find a large number of students in a little amount of time. In the past I have clipboarded with petitions, voter registration forms, and recently, at the advice of my regional director, to actually just start a chapter. The latter was probably the most effective method I’ve ever done. If you go around campus letting students know that you are starting a new club and need their help, they feel like they are directly assisting in the founding of something (which they are), but it also helps break down the walls that college students have when it comes to people asking them for stuff. In a matter of two hours, I was able to collect 165 student sign ups at Western Carolina University. Since you are mobile, you also have the opportunity to go where the people are, and it usually ends up starting great conversations. I started a 30 minute conversation that ended up with 15 people about government corruption.
The next method of recruitment that I employ is tabling. Tabling has its place but it is better to do that once you have a definitive leader and are working to advertise for the organization. When I table I make sure to have all the information I would need for the day, and I will either try and find a place indoors, or set up my own table. The upside to tabling is that you can have one on one conversations directly about Turning Point and the work we do. You can also set yourself up for great student activism shots. Are are some that I got with students from various universities:
University of North Carolina Greensboro:
University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill
Appalachian State University:
Tabling also reinforces a presence on campus. When students see TPUSA material on their campus once a week or a couple times a month, they remember the branding regardless of whether or not they actually have interactions with you.
Activism events should be done with established groups. I know personally, I use activism events not only to raise awareness for an issue, but also to market the organization on campus. I find that doing activism events separates your organization from most other organizations on campus. An activism event on campus is a sign that you are present and actively trying to make impactful change on campus. Students respond to that and want to become part of that. There are many different things you can do, ranging from speaker events, to free speech balls, to unionized hot dog stands. The picture shown above is from a free speech ball I helped out with at Ohio State University. I’m currently gearing up to throw down some free speech balls all over the state of NC. I find that using free speech balls is extremely effective because it is an automatic attraction for college students. Who doesn’t want to write whatever they want on a giant beach ball?
After the recruitment event, you can follow up with students who attended or who you interacted with, and use the momentum and publicity from the event to add more students to your club and build that chapter.
There are so many different options you can pursue regardless of your personal skill set or comfort level. That is why it is important to find what works for you. Personally, I have pretty good people skills, and no shame. This makes clipboarding and activism events perfect for me because I can utilize my strengths in a way that make for effective recruitment. Recruitment and chapter building is not only for certain people, anyone can do it.