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50 Great Recruiting Ideas For Your Student Chapter

The following recruiting ideas have been used successfully by SHRM student leaders across the country to maintain strong and active chapters. Try them out at your school!

  • Raffle off a free membership to someone who joins your chapter during your recruiting drive.
  • Host a special "bring a friend" meeting featuring an ice-breaker exercise, a brief club orientation, and refreshments. Each member must bring a friend with them to the meeting.
  • Display business cards of former chapter members now working in HR to demonstrate that former chapter members are finding jobs in their field.
  • Call or e-mail visitors after they have attended a meeting. Thank them for visiting the chapter and invite them to your next event.​​
  • Obtain testimonials of the value of SHRM membership from former chapter members now working in HR and share them with potential members.
  • Invite people who have a conflict with chapter meetings to join as national members so they will still have access to current HR information through the HR Magazine and HR News publications.
  • Ask your professors to offer extra credit for SHRM membership and/or participation.
  • Create a bulletin board display in a prominent place and develop a chapter web site showing pictures from chapter activities, membership information, and a calendar of upcoming events.
  • Hand out SHRM flyers to students in general business, psychology, and management classes.
  • Announce upcoming chapter meetings in your HR and business classes; invite everyone to attend.
  • Ask members for names of friends and classmates who could benefit from SHRM membership. Send these people a personal invitation to attend your next event. Follow up with a phone call.
  • List your upcoming meetings in your college of business newsletter and campus newspaper. Send e-mail reminders to all members and potential members.
  • Prepare a two-minute talk on the value of joining SHRM. Give your presentation to HR-related classes and then handout membership applications and information.
  • Set up tables displaying SHRM materials at the student activities fair and the freshmen orientation.
  • Provide free refreshments at your meetings.
  • Ask sponsoring chapter members to provide free resume critiques to anyone in your chapter who joins SHRM this month.
  • Create an inexpensive bookmark advertising your chapter, then stuff them in all the business and HR textbooks in the college bookstore.
  • Ask your sponsoring chapter to subsidize $5 - $10 of the student dues for new students joining during your membership drive, then offer this discount to new members.
  • Ask for donations of items such as notebooks, mugs, or gift certificates from the campus bookstore and other local businesses. Offer these as incentives to new members who join during your membership drive.
  • Offer a prize to the person in your chapter who recruits the most new members.
  • Waive or reduce local membership dues for students who join national SHRM.
  • Provide students who visit your meeting with an information packet about your chapter and SHRM. Include a calendar of events, a list of chapter officers, and an application to join.
  • Send out a flyer about your chapter to a targeted group such as new HR majors, undeclared freshmen, or psychology majors.
  • Invite a successful professional in your community to speak to your chapter on the value of joining professional associations.
  • Display copies of HR Magazine, Echoes, and your chapter newsletter at every meeting.
  • Publicize any awards your chapter or members have won, such as Merit Awards or SHRM scholarships. People like to join groups that are successful.
  • Ask professors to mention SHRM to students in their advising sessions.
  • Write an article for your campus paper on a successful chapter project or high profile speaker.
  • Create a membership committee to focus on new ways to bring in members.
  • Organize a behind-the-scenes tour of a popular organization such as an amusement park, casino, or winery. Require students to be members in order to attend.
  • Offer a chapter scholarship or book award (money towards textbooks) for members only.
  • Require all chapter officers who qualify to become national SHRM student members.
  • Highlight and explain a different national membership benefit at each meeting.
  • Hold a meeting in the computer lab and demonstrate the valuable information available to members on the Society's web page.
  • Co-sponsor a high visibility event on campus, such as a dance, concert, seminar, or sporting contest to raise awareness of your chapter and its activities.
  • Participate in a charity event with other clubs. Invite members of other groups to visit one of your meetings and learn more about your chapter.
  • Survey current members to determine what benefits are most valuable to them. Emphasize these benefits when creating flyers or speaking to potential new members.
  • Hold a joint meeting or event with a related club such as Management, Marketing, or Accounting. Distribute SHRM information to the participants.
  • Think WIIFM- "What's In It For Me?" That's what prospective members are asking themselves. Be sure to tell them specifically how membership will benefit them.
  • Hold an informational meeting for prospective members. Have members and chapter alumni tell the visitors how networking through SHRM helped them find internships and jobs.
  • Talk to lots of people about SHRM. Experts say it takes ten calls to make one sale.
  • Plan chapter social events in addition to educational activities. People like to join groups that are friendly and fun.
  • Make each prospective member feel special. Make an effort to remember names and to smile and greet people by name when you see them again around campus.
  • If you have non-members who have come to several events, give them an application and ask them to join. Some people never join simply because no one has taken an interest and encouraged them to sign up.
  • Make it easy to participate. Establish and publicize a regular meeting schedule. Provide a local contact name and phone number on all your materials and then return calls promptly!
  • Review SHRM rosters and remind expiring members to renew their national memberships.
  • Offer an incentive such as an HR pin or mug to members who bring at least two guests to a meeting.
  • Print names of new chapter members in your newsletter and recognize them at chapter meetings. Demonstrate that your club is strong and growing.
  • Announce membership updates at each meeting and remind people to bring friends to the next event. Let your members know that recruiting is a top priority for the group.
  • Always speak with excitement and pride when describing your chapter. Remember: Enthusiasm is contagious!

Looking for more ideas? Try these.
Five Secrets to Successful Recruiting
Student Chapter Idea Book

Questions? Contact Student Programs at or 1-800-283-7476.

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