It’s time to start thinking about ways to invite your school’s eligible students to join Alpha Lambda Delta. It can be hard to make Alpha Lambda Delta stand out in an invitee’s mind amidst the flood of information coming into the outstanding student’s inbox. Here are a few tips for planning your inductions, inviting eligible students, and communicating the value of membership in ALD.
The logistics of inviting eligible students into ALD can be daunting. Here are some tips to help keep things moving a little smoother:
- Get your list early: Request your potential-member list from the Registrar as early as possible. See Registrar guide
- Plan multiple contacts: Chapters have better success when they contact potential members in a variety of ways:
- An e-invitation via My Honor Society
- A physical letter to students
- A physical letter to the student’s family
- An email sent directly from the advisor
- An information session to answer invitees’ questions
- Have your plans set: Have your initiation ceremony planned so that you can include details about the event in your invitation and welcome message.
- Write an amazing letter: Write a letter that will make students want to join, and make sure to highlight the benefits of membership. It's also a good idea to reference any previous interaction they might have had with ALD. Did you speak to students in first-year seminars? Club fairs? Tabling in the Student Union? Help them make the connection. Email us if you'd like editing assistance, and sample letters are available here and as templates within MHS. Be sure to check for typos and missing information in the letter/email. Carefully check spelling, grammar, and format using the Preview Window in MHS. An invitation to join an academic honor society should not have mistakes and look sloppy.
- Personalize: Customize your invitation letters and e-mail for your campus – use your institution’s logo or seal, and mention events and programs specific to your chapter. Include local contact information in each message. See the MHS Guides available for personalization options.
- Keep the invitation letter/email compelling but concise. Use links to ALD’s website and other resources, rather than go in to too much detail. Save information about the initiation ceremony and next steps for your welcome message instead of including all the details in your invitation. Mention the date and time in the invitation, go in to more details in the welcome. Tip: include the acceptance link and invitation code twice, once early in the message and then again at the end. Students sometimes don’t read/scroll all the way through so they miss the code.
- Ask Extra Questions: If using MHS, you can add invitee questions. Ask if they plan to attend the initiation ceremony. Do you provide t-shirts? Ask for sizes. Start them thinking early about possible officer positions and ask them if they are interested in a leadership role. You can also ask fun questions, and use the information at a meeting: favorite movie, ice cream flavor, musical group, etc.
- Parents love us: We’ve already mentioned it, but it’s worth mentioning again-sending a letter to the students’ parents can double your response rate. The National Office can offer financial support to chapters who want to send a letter home but perhaps cannot afford the supplies such as envelopes and postage. Email us for more information.
- Use Facebook: Set up a Facebook page for your chapter and invite prospective members to become fans. Be sure you are also connected to the social media accounts of @nationalALD, so prospective members get a sense of being part of a national organization.
- Mail out early: Make sure to get your e-invites and/or letters out early and beat the flood of other organizations vying for your prospective members’ attention.
- Follow up: MHS makes sending reminder e-mails easy. Be sure to change your reminder messages so they don’t say the same thing each time – mix it up a little!
- Think outside the box: All of these ideas are suggestions, not rules. If something else works better on your campus, go for it! In fact, please email us your successful ideas and documents so we can share them with other chapters.
Host Info Sessions for eligible students during your invitation period, and include session dates and times in your letter. Choose two or three dates when the officers and current members can attend. Info sessions can be very helpful for students who have questions about the organization. First impressions are everything. Have a planning meeting with officers and make sure everyone is clear about his/her role so that the session flows smoothly. Wear your ALD shirts at the sessions if you have them. Have a check-in table to greet students and have them sign in. You can use this information later if you want to survey students who don't join to find out why they didn't join. Some ideas for what to talk about:
- General information about Alpha Lambda Delta (history, purpose, The Flame)
- Description of programs and activities of your Alpha Lambda Delta chapter. Consider creating a PowerPoint and showing highlights from the past year.
- Dues and optional t-shirt costs
- Deadline for prospective members to decide to become members
- Distribute applications for officer positions and explain selection process
- Share stories about why you joined and the benefits you’ve enjoyed
- Do something fun such as having a PowerPoint trivia game about your university or pop culture, and toss candy to those who come up with the right answer.
- Display evidence of success: a Flame article you submitted, chapter awards received, chapter shirts, ALD honor cords, your scrapbooks, a display board with fun photos from events, etc.
- Provide snacks and refreshments if you can!
Why Join ALD?
Making ALD stand out in the minds of eligible students is important. To let invitees know the reasons students join, have current members tell their story. Find out why they joined and promote those reasons. Inform prospective members that ALD:
- Is a resume booster
- Has no time requirement*
- Provides campus and local service opportunities
- Affords the opportunity to meet other students committed to academic excellence
- Is economical, with one-time-only dues payment for lifetime membership
- Offers over $207,000 a year in scholarships and fellowships at the national level. Our chapters offer an additional $100,000 annually in local scholarships
- Was founded in 1924 and has over 90 years of tradition and over one million lifetime members
- Provides national and campus leadership opportunities
- Offers honor cords and other regalia for graduation
- Will never sell members’ contact information to third parties
- Is non-exclusive - members can join any other society without losing their ALD membership
*A note about time commitment: We make a point to tell students that their level of involvement in ALD is up to them. Many students want to simply be a member and have no interest or time to participate in chapter activities. This is OK! Passive membership in ALD has its place. It allows the student to be recognized for academic achievement and proudly include the honor on their resume. They are eligible for graduate fellowships for the rest of their life, and their membership supports scholarships and fellowships for all members.
Fall Semester Promotion
The majority of ALD chapters send invitations in the spring, based on fall grades. That leaves the fall semester to promote ALD as much as possible, so students recognize the organization when they receive their invitation to join. Students want to join an organization that is active and well known. Marketing ALD in the fall can also help to motivate first-year students to strive for academic excellence, and current members can be used as role models for what’s possible.
- Participate in student organization fairs, typically sponsored by the student activities office. Take care to create an impressive display at your table. The same goes for Open Houses sponsored by Admissions.
- Send “good luck” postcards or emails to first-year students early in the fall semester.
- Send letters to offices on campus who work closely with first-year students, outlining the benefits of joining ALD, and asking them to promote joining when students they are working with receive an invitation. Suggested offices include academic advising, first-year experience, and honors. See sample letter used at Purdue University.
- Visit first-year seminars and give a brief presentation if possible. It is also helpful to distribute an informational flyer to students.
- Sponsor an all-freshman academic success convocation as part of Fall Welcome Week.
- Distribute ALD stress balls for first-year students before mid-terms and finals.
- Sponsor a summer mentor or service project to help freshmen adjust to college life.
- Create ways current members can tell their stories. Utilize the power of peer influence! Each member has a story to tell – how maybe they struggled throughout the fall but sought out resources and managed to get that 3.5 GPA. Profile current members on the chapter’s website or Facebook group, start a blog, etc.
- Use the Media Releases sent from the National Office or create your own. Has your chapter won an ALD award or has a student received a scholarship? Use the media releases sent to you – they really do work! Send copies to your institution’s public relations office, plus the campus newspaper, radio and TV station, yearbook, magazine or newsletter. Chapter-generated releases can cover such topics as induction ceremonies, chapter activities, and recognition of a student member who has achieved some sort of scholarly recognition. You can also invite these outlets to attend (and “cover”) your initiation or other programs. A picture in the campus newspaper is great publicity.
- Introduce the chapter officers to the Admissions Office staff. Offer to have chapter members work as tour guides for prospective students, and if allowed, wear ALD apparel. Hand out Alpha Lambda Delta brochures at all activities sponsored by the Admissions Office. If your school sponsors a high school honors day, offer to help.
- Make sure that Alpha Lambda Delta is listed on your institution’s website – test the search tool.
- See Chapter Activities guide for ideas to stay active on campus. An organization that doesn’t do anything probably isn’t going to get recognized. Come up with an activity each semester that is beneficial for the entire school; it can be your “signature” program and what your chapter is most known for.
- Establish, and most importantly regularly update, a chapter Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram account. Chapters can use Facebook to promote activities, spark discussions, and share news. Old and outdated information sends the message that the group is not active on campus and can be a major deterrent to joining. Be sure to keep information current!
Try to determine reasons that students decline membership invitations at your institution. Then see if you can counter those with different methods.
- Is cost a major factor at your school? Alpha Lambda Delta’s membership fee is relatively low among honor societies, but it still can tax students’ budgets, especially if they’re getting invitations from multiple groups. Would the administration consider assisting with individual students’ cost? Or maybe your chapter dues push the total fee too high. Can they be lowered? ALD does offer a fee waiver in special circumstances for a limited number of students.
- Are other honor groups competing at a high level? Perhaps you can more effectively stress the value of Alpha Lambda Delta in your letter of invitation. If competition is coming from a non-ACHS certified society, be clear about the differences. For concerns about ALD being perceived as bogus or not a legitimate honor society, see An Open Letter to Students Invited to Join Honor Societies.
- Many students cite time commitment as a reason for not joining. Be sure to emphasize that a commitment to be involved is not required, as noted above. Remember that students may change their mind after joining and realize they can, in fact, attend programs and events.
Don’t forget about the brochures, door hangers, and Flame postcards we provide free of charge. Your chapter will be asked to place an order in September, but if you need more, complete the Publications Order Form. And in general, you are encouraged to explore the national website and social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @nationalald), as we continue to add resources for chapters and highlight our stellar students and chapters. Happy recruiting!