A new school year brings a fresh start.
No matter your goals for the year, membership is the foundation of every DECA chapter. It’s important to plan ahead to reach potential new members and find innovative ways to engage your current members as well. With more than 10 years of DECA experience under their belts, Collegiate DECA Executive Officers Lindsay Joyner and Max May share their secrets to successfully growing chapter membership.
1. PARTICIPATE IN AN EVENT HOSTED BY YOUR SCHOOL
At the beginning of the school year, there’s bound to be a variety of recruitment events hosted right on campus! Tabling at these events can provide an amazing opportunity to get valuable face time with potential DECA members. Make your table fun by offering interactive games or activities with prizes for the winners.
2. SPEED DATE WITH DECA
One fun setup for a recruitment event is in the style of speed-dating, with two circles of chairs facing one another! Let the potential members take a seat in the inner circle while existing members rotate around, getting to know everyone and sharing their own DECA experiences. After the event is over, take down phone numbers or email addresses for the potential members and have the existing members they spoke with reach out to them with more information!
3. HOST A MINI-COMPETITION
If you want to host a recruitment event with great opportunities for learning, host an informal, mini-competition! Invite potential members to try their hand at role plays and case studies by breaking them into small groups and encouraging them to present their ideas to mock judges. This is a great way to teach potential members how DECA competitions work, and allows for some awesome networking opportunities.
4. DINE TOGETHER AT DECA DINNERS
Invite potential members to a local restaurant for a meal with the chapter. Before the food is served, answer icebreakers and share fun DECA memories as a group! You can even pair existing members with potential members in order to foster more personal conversations. After the meal, share ideas as a group for fun future activities.
5. CELEBRATE A DECA WEEK
DECA Week is a hit at many chapters across the DECA world. DECA Week gives you the opportunity to show your community what you are all about, and helps other members get a taste of what DECA is like. Throughout the week, you can set up events that you think will get members to be engaged with. Here’s a sample DECA Week:
MONDAY: Trivia night
TUESDAY: Dodgeball tournament
WEDNESDAY: Karaoke night
FRIDAY: Informational night
This helps students and others to get to know who is in DECA, and become friendly with them throughout the week. Even if they aren’t interested, they could tell a friend who might become your next chapter president.
6. RAISE MORE THAN FUNDS
A lot of chapters have fundraisers, but it’s always great to think outside of the box. Fundraisers are a great marketing opportunity and a fun way to engage current members. Organize an event and spend a month or two promoting the event on your campus and in your community.
7. HOST TOURNAMENTS
Host a tournament of a game or sport that most interests your school community. Whether it’s a certain video game or a fun outdoor activity, you’ll engage more potential new members (and raise more money) if you know your audience already enjoys it. Allow people to register in teams. Partner with local businesses to provide food or swag for teams when they pay. For example, each team pays $10 to get entry into the tournament and pizza for four members. While tournaments definitely require a lot of planning and promotion, the impact could be huge for your chapter’s finances and membership.
PRO TIP: Leverage leadership in younger members by asking for committee chairs to lead certain aspects of the tournament.
8. PIE A DECA MEMBER
Pay a few dollars, pie a member. It seems pretty simple, but it’s also very effective at getting some attention for your chapter. You could even work with educators and administrators on your campus who are willing to be good sports for a good cause. Not only can this event draw a crowd, it can get a lot of attention on social media if you post pictures or livestream it.
PRO TIP: While this is a huge opportunity to get some eyes on DECA, make sure your message isn’t lost in the mess (literally). You should strategically have members signing people up, sharing information and getting to the real reason you are there.
When trying to engage potential new members, focus on fun. Students have busy schedules, so while you’re getting down to business at meetings, use these ideas to build a stronger membership base, engage new students and show your current members how much you appreciate them.