It’s easy to imagine our Founders Sarah and Eleanor meeting with friends and classmates after class, in the library or over a meal to share their plans for Tri Delta and why they should join. It’s how our Founders recruited early Alpha Chapter members—and how many chapters today grow our sisterhood!
Informal recruitment (also known as continuous open bidding or COB) allows our collegiate members to reach out to unaffiliated women who have qualities of an ideal member and invite them to learn more about the lifetime experience Tri Delta has to offer. Last year, 70 percent of Tri Delta’s chapters were eligible to participate in continuous open bidding following formal recruitment.
Benefits of COB
Executive Board Director Lenora Oeters, Cincinnati, found her home in Tri Delta through COB. No one in Lenora’s family had ever joined a sorority, so she was unfamiliar with the requirements and timing of formal recruitment. “I essentially missed out on formal recruitment before I even realized what I was missing out on,” she says. And, because she had just transitioned from a small private high school to a big public university, she needed time to settle in, get to know the campus and all its organizations, and learn how she could get involved. After hearing about sororities and seeing their leadership in action, Lenora decided to explore COB in the spring of her first year.
“I remember the first time I went to the Tri Delta house, we just hung out and watched a movie and I got a tour of the house. I felt instantly at home and admired the women that I got to hear from and related to them so easily. It was that natural environment and authentic connection that I feel like is so easily facilitated in a COB experience.”
More and more chapters are embracing informal recruitment as a way to build our sisterhood with exceptional women who are committed to Tri Delta. Here are a few reasons why COB can be a great option for your chapter:
1. Show off your personality
Some chapters simply aren’t energized by or comfortable with formal recruitment! COB can be a way for you to show off your chapter’s personality and share what makes you unique—in a more casual, authentic way.
The same may be said for potential new members (PNMs). Those who aren’t attracted to the idea of formal recruitment, but would like to find a place to belong, may feel more comfortable with informal recruitment.
2. Tap into a larger pool of PNMs
During COB, any woman on campus can be a potential new member. Who hasn’t worked on a project or been in a class discussion with someone whose talents, skills and values make you think, “They would be an amazing Tri Delta!” COB allows members to act on those connections and follow their instinct to invite outstanding women into our sisterhood.
3. Create positive PR on campus
COB is a great way for chapters to more widely share Tri Delta’s message on campus. Promoting and demonstrating the sorority experience in a less formal way can help boost your chapter’s image to PNMs and across campus.
Planning Successful COB
COB looks different for each chapter—some chapters are able to complete the process in just a day or two after recruitment. For others, there may be multiple pushes throughout the term. Nu Chapter at Ohio State has found success in COB in recent years. They shared their tips on how they plan a successful COB effort.
1. Ask new members to recommend PNMs
When looking for PNMs to target, Nu Chapter taps into their new members’ network. They encourage their new members to look for classmates, roommates and other friends who want to be a part of Tri Delta and whom they see as a good fit. “This helps with retention,” shares Chapter Development Consultant Sophia Smith, Ohio State. “The women want to be a part of Tri Delta for a reason, and if it aligns with our values, they will be eager to get involved right away.”
2. Reach out to PNMs personally
After receiving names of PNMs from new members, the recruitment team reaches out to each one personally to invite them to an event, whether it’s a coffee date, a small group event or a small open house. The goal is to have the PNM meet many current chapter members to best see how they might fit. This also gives the PNM the flexibility to participate in COB in a way that works with their busy schedule.
3. Empower current members to participate
Nu Chapter has found that COB also has had a positive impact on overall chapter retention. “Members feel empowered because it’s a way for them to get their non-affiliated friends involved in Greek life, specifically in Tri Delta,” says Sophia.
Ultimately, the purpose of COB is to help our chapters grow our sisterhood. If your chapter has the chance to participate this school year, embrace it as another tool in your recruitment toolbox. It’s a wonderful way to share the joy of membership in Tri Delta and to discover lifelong sisters you may not have found through formal recruitment.
Lenora says, “I guarantee that COB will allow you and your chapter to find women who love being in Tri Delta and contribute to her overall growth and development.”