Recruiting new members is a crucial aspect of Cardinal Key since new members are the key to the continuation of the organization.  

However, we have a couple facts working against us: new members must have junior status to join; some of our chapters have a one-year only membership!  Even those with longer membership (allowing members to remain active the rest of their college career), have members for at most two or three years.  With turnover so rapid, it is essential to recruit members who are committed to the organization. Recruiting new members is the future of the organization, however many chapters struggle to attract applicants.

One of the most important aspects to recruitment is creating a strong presence of Cardinal Key on your campus.  When students see members active on the campus and in the community, they will become interested in the organization.  So how do you increase your presence and visibility? We came up with a few suggestions for you:

  • Undertake service projects that are happening on the campus.
  • Have distinct apparel:
    • Order red sweatshirts or t-shirts that say Cardinal Key
    • Have all members wear red (or gold) on a particular day of the week or month
    • Dress in a Cardinal Key or red shirt when doing service projects
    • Use the patch you are given in your new member packet!  Put it on  a bag you use regularly, or have everyone put them on similar cardigans, blazers, or shirts
  • Recognize your new (and current) members in a visible way:
    • Take out an ad in the college or university newspaper congratulating new members
    • Auburn participates in their campus “honors call out” where applicants find out that they have been  chosen or “tapped” for membership
    • Make sure to wear your graduation cords that come in your new member packet!

Whatever the method, creating a strong campus presence is an important part of recruiting new members.

It is vital to publicize the organization and the recruitment process on the campus through a variety of means.  Chapters should start publicizing their recruitment as early as possible. It could be helpful to create a theme for your publication, which can be done through poster or banners on campus, email, facebook, websites, or other methods.  Chapters can also set up tables around campus in high traffic areas to provide students with information and applications.  Many chapters have had success in recruiting by sending a letter to all the students who qualify to become members of Cardinal Key (your Sponsor, President, or Secretary can usually get a list of addresses from the Registrar).  Other chapters send letters to faculty and staff asking for membership recommendations. On smaller campuses, these letters can be followed up with formal or informal visits to potential members.

Recruitment will look somewhat different, based on the size and traditions at each campus, but Cardinal Key chapters must be creative in coming up with ways to attract potential new members.   It may be helpful to organize a team or committee of current members whose focus only on recruitment. However, never underestimate the impact that individual members of Cardinal Key have on the recruitment process.  Reaching out to individuals to invite them, and talking about CK on a regular basis can be a part of recruitment!

Successfully recruiting new members who are passionate and committed will help ensure the continued success of Cardinal Key on your campus.  If you are struggling, we are here to help.  If you have very successful recruitment, we’d love to hear from you to pass your ideas to other chapters!

  • Photos?

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    Please feel free to tag the National Cardinal Key Facebook group in your CK photos or send them in a message. We would love to share what your chapter is doing.