There are many college students interested in the ideas of liberty who are just waiting to find your chapter on campus. And there are many more who have never been exposed to our ideas. So it’s our job to transform all of these uninformed students into dedicated liberty activists. That process begins with your recruitment efforts!
The beginning of the semester is the BEST time to recruit new members! Freshmen and transfer students are looking to make new friends and get involved with campus organizations. And to help you successfully reach as many people as possible, YAL has materials, a custom banner, and instructions to enable your chapter to be the largest student organization on campus.
The three goals of every activism event are to:
Follow these steps to make the most out of your activism strategy.
Hopefully, you have stayed in contact with your chapter members over break, but if not, it’s time to touch base with them again. Host a meeting or conference call before the school year starts to discuss your plans. You’ll need volunteers to help with your Membership Drive, so begin assigning tasks and confirming participation ASAP.
Also, upload all of your sign-up sheets to yaliberty.org/signup, and upload your members list here on the YAL site.
In addition to tabling, it’s important your chapter promotes its first informational meeting by saturating campus with flyers, posters, and chalked notices. Every little bit helps, and you will almost certainly have some people show up to your first meeting because they saw an eye-catching, engaging message written on the sidewalk in chalk or on a poster or bulletin board.
To make sure your promotional materials look professional, check out YAL’s branding page . It has all the graphics, fonts, and colors you’ll need to create your own materials.
Download YAL’s handbook for chapter leaders, “Winning on Principle” to access all the information that an ambitious YAL chapter needs to know in order to grow.
The most important goal for your Membership Drive is to sign up new recruits. Simply put, it’s a numbers game. How many new recruits can you sign up to join your chapter? You will receive sign-up sheets and a clipboard in your Activism Kit. If you’re running low on sign-up sheets, download more here.
Reserve a high-traffic area to table on campus once you have picked your dates for execution. As a recognized student organization, it should be as simple as contacting your student affairs office and jumping through the necessary hoops to receive permission to table.
If your YAL chapter is not yet officially recognized by your university and it won’t let you reserve tabling space, don’t fear. Get creative, and always remember that the table doesn’t get recruits: you do.
If your campus gives you any trouble and tries to relegate your activism to a “free speech zone,” please contact us so we can help you defeat these unconstitutional regulations.
Reserve a classroom and the necessary video equipment, so you can host a film screening of a video. Predict how many students you think will attend the film screening, and reserve a room to accommodate.
Pro tip: Always reserve rooms that are only big enough to accommodate 75% of the amount of people you expect to show up. It is better for everyone to think that your event ended up having standing room only when you host it in a smaller room rather than think that hardly anyone showed up when you host it in a large auditorium.
We strongly suggest that you walk through the room before the event, so you understand how the equipment works and how to set up the room properly.
Now that you’ve finished preparing for your event, go to step two: Execution!
Stay focused. The purpose of every activism event is to build your chapter and grow the youth movement for liberty. This is the only way that your YAL chapter can grow and maintain a lasting presence on campus. Always keep YAL sign up sheets on hand.
Sign up everyone you possibly can, and make sure to upload their contact information to your chapter page using the member upload tool. And always follow up with the students who have signed up at your table.
Pro tip: Ask every student who you get to stop at your table to sign up for a reminder about the follow up event, and ask them if they can make it to the event. Students are more likely to follow through on something they verbally commit to.
Distribute flyers at your table, and post them around campus to promote your follow-up event. Be sure to create a Facebook event and invite all your friends and YAL members. Write with chalk on campus sidewalks to educate students about your activism effort and promote your follow up event. Think of creative ways to get the word out. You can never promote too much!
While tabling is key to growing your chapter, it’s important to recruit in as many ways as possible to expand your outreach. Clip boarding, flyering, dorm storming, word-of-mouth, and social media can all be used in combination to create an image on campus and recruit members. A simple way for you to grow your chapter from your dorm room is Facebook Graph Search. Follow these easy steps and you’ll be growing your chapter in no time:
Sign in to your Facebook account and search using the bar at the top of your Facebook Page.
Type into the search bar characteristics that will help you develop a target list. For example, it’s likely that people who go to your school and like Ron Paul are interested in your YAL chapter. Start there and expand to other liberty figures, organizations, and topics.
The default search result displays “posts,” so make sure you click “people” to view those instead.
You’ll likely see a long list of people you’ve never met before! These are people at your school who like Ron Paul too. They are perfect recruits for you to reach out to and grow your chapter!
But don’t stop there. Think of all the different combinations you can use to develop lists of people who might be interested in joining your YAL chapter: “People at Wake Forest University who like Young Americans for Liberty,” “Friends who like Rand Paul,” etc. The possibilities are endless!
Once you’ve created a target list, send these new recruits a friend request. If they accept your request, this will ensure your message is delivered to their Facebook inbox and not their other or spam folder instead. It also will let them know you’re a real person and not some creeper. So it’s important that you send them a friend request before you message them.
After they accept your friend request, go through everyone on your target list and send them a friendly message to join your chapter. Keep it short and to the point.Don’t sound like a spam robot, and don’t try to start a debate. Your goal right now is to get them to join your YAL chapter and attend their first meeting.
Here’s a sample message you may want to tailor for your recruitment efforts:
I’m a fellow Demon Deacon and fan of Ron Paul. I noticed you liked him on Facebook, too.
I’m the Young Americans for Liberty chapter president at Wake Forest. We’re the libertarian/constitutionalist group on campus, and we’re planning some exciting events for the fall.
Every Tuesday at 8 PM in Benson Room 201 we get together. You should come out to our next meeting.
Please message, email, call, or text me if you have any questions or just want to talk about liberty. And if you’re interested, please join our Facebook group here: www.facebook.com/groups/WakeYAL/
Can you make it next Tuesday @ 8 PM?
Even if it’s your campus paper, getting media attention for your activism event can reach hundreds, if not thousands, more people. Use these resources to learn how you can make the news at the campus, local, state, or even national level!
You only have one chance to make a good first impression. Your first meeting after your Membership Drive should set the proper tone you want to convey as a chapter. That’s why YAL created a guide to running a successful meeting so that you can know exactly how to retain your new members with your meeting.
Here are some great resources for your informational meeting.
Host your event to featuring a speaker, a documentary screening or a presentation as soon as possible. Your event should be within a couple days of your tabling activities so students don’t forget.
Schedule the meeting during an evening time slot which will conflict with the fewest number of classes possible, and don’t schedule events (other than socials) on weekends — don’t give your new recruits any reason not to attend!
Sign-ups are worth nothing if you don’t execute a proper follow up with each new contact you have and get them to your follow-up event.
After you’ve conducted your recruitment effort, host a follow-up meeting to plug all of your new sign-ups into your chapter. This is the perfect time to be creative with how you get your new sign-ups to engage in your YAL chapter and how you can educate them on the philosophy of liberty.
Don’t rely on email follow ups: no one reads them besides the government. Be sure to give each interested student a personal phone call and ask them if they can come to your next meeting. Remember, students are more likely to follow through with something that they verbally commit to do.
After you’ve called everyone, send a follow up text the day of your event to round up any stragglers who wouldn’t show up otherwise. Try something like this:
“Hey [name], this is [name] from YAL. Thanks for stopping by our table today! We’re getting ready for our follow-up meeting and social in [location] right now. Can you make it tonight at [time]?”
Email will only serve as a good reminder to those whom you’ve already reached by phone, text, and social media.
At the meeting, begin by introducing YAL and explain how to get involved in your chapter. Next, screen your film or give your speaker the floor. Be sure to reach out to your YAL Regional Director to get recommendations of good films or speakers.
After the meeting, offer an opportunity to socialize by going out for pizza, drinks, or whatever works best for your chapter to discuss the meeting and the ideas of liberty.
Conduct follow ups consistently even after students have come to their first YAL meeting. Consistent communication with students is the only way to ensure that they establish lasting friendships within your chapter, and therefore, stay involved after their first exposure to YAL.
Use the Member Upload Tool to upload all your new members’ information to your chapter page.
You can greatly increase the impact of your chapter’s activism efforts by documenting and sharing your story with other YAL activists on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Be sure to use our hashtag #MakeLibertyWin.
Once your chapter has conducted a successful Membership Drive, it will pay to have a social to bring everyone together, celebrate your hard work, and provide an opportunity for your new recruits to feel welcomed into the group.
After your follow-up meeting, consider hosting a social. You can go out to a local pizza pub, a nearby bar, or do something more creative like go to one of your school’s football games together.
People may first become interested in your YAL chapter because of the ideas of liberty, but no one will stay as a member unless your chapter proves to be a source of camaraderie and friendship for them.
Through conducting a successful Membership Drive, you won’t convince everyone to join your chapter, but you’ll see your membership grow quickly. You’ll be thankful you put in the effort when you have a record-setting turnout at your next chapter meeting!
Remember, every event you do on campus should be used as a launching pad for your next big project so don’t let your momentum end with this Membership Drive! Use this energy to mobilize for your next big activism project.
Contact your Regional Director with any questions you have by emailing RD@YALiberty.org!