Just like how cars run on gas, organizations like Circle K International run because of their members.  Without members, club leaders lack followers, peers, and pretty much the inspiration to make their club great.  In order to move forward, leaders must understand the significance of recruiting new, and promising, members.

Whereas recruitment can be performed at any place and any time (Yes! You can always promote CKI in normal conversations with strangers), the following recruitment tips are geared towards a formal recruiting session like organizational booths at freshmen orientation or Get-On-Board-Day (organizational fair) events.

BTW, please take pictures at your recruiting event and post them on your social media sites to increase your club’s visibility.  Furthermore, if you’re slightly more motivated, send the images, along with a little description, to our awesome District Communication Officers: Amy Tedford (amy.tedford@alabama.circlek.org).


1. Ask If They Were in Key Club

(UA Circle K recruiting Key Clubbers)

Ivy League schools usually recruit students with high GPA and high standardized testing scores.  In almost similar sense, Circle K has better luck in recruiting from a pool of Key Clubbers.  This should be one of the first questions you would want to ask any new students passing by your booth.  If they reply, hopefully happily, that they were in Key Club, you should be very excited to talk to them about how CKI is a college-version of Key Club and that they should come check out your meetings. (Do not be surprised if the former Key Clubber has not heard of CKI.) You may also want to inquire whether they had taken a leadership role in Key Club; you may spot your future officers!  If they were not in Key Club or, worse, have not heard of such name, you should fear not!  This is the opportunity for you to strike up a conversation about your awesome organization.

You can also make a sign that calls out for Key Clubbers.  Make it stand-out and big, so you get the right crowd!  Don’t forget to have an interest list with a couple pens so that you can later email the people that come to your booth.  At least have columns for name, (school) emails, and student number (for SGA purposes).  You may include columns asking for majors, high schools, past leadership experiences, and whether they were in Key Club.

Also remember that former Key Clubbers or any potential members of an organization tend to be very passionate to get involved on your campus.  Some of them may already have a page-long list of potential clubs at their disposal.  Make their experience worthwhile while talking to you so that they can make CKI their top priority.





2. Use Your Favorite Circle K Branding

(from CKI Brand Guide)

Almost everything in this modern age comes down to marketing.  The choices made can oftentimes be influenced by the slightest change in visual presentation.  People like consistency and a little formality. By this very reason, many organizations, including CKI, have come up with many standards clubs should go by.  Your club does not have to follow exactly everything listed in the CKI Brand Guide.  However, you still need to sell unity and the official-feel to incoming students.  I recommend you and your club scroll through the guide and Make Your Materials Pop!.  Pick and choose what tools or designs can be used to benefit your club.  Examples include using the same text font and color for your title and using the same CKI logo and same background design/color for your poster.

You may like to visit AL District CKI Chapters page to get design for your club name.  Contact Kyle Pierce (kyle.pierce@alabama.circlek.org) if you have any questions regarding branding or technology; he is the expert!





3. Make Recruitment Fun & Memorable

(Gabe and I at USA Freshmen Orientation during organization session)

Make sure to incorporate the fun element into recruiting, too.  Standing at one spot for hours, only to be disappointed by many indifferent students, can be frustrating.  The stresses and discontentment build up and will show on your facial expression and body language.  Not only does that not good for the recruiting aspect itself, this feeling may affect your whole day, and maybe your whole summer break.  Trust me, you don’t want that.

A solution to this association of the tediousness and “it’s another mindless task” feeling to recruitment is to change your whole perspective about recruiting.  Why should you spend hours unhappy when you could spend them joyously?  Be selfish and add decorations or rotate different themes to recruiting so that you’re having fun too.  Dress up and be in character if you’d like.  Take turns with your recruiting friends to go around the organization fairs and hunt for free stuff.

Last summer, Gabriel and I had so much fun with wearing shorts and beach costume for a week of beach theme and decorating our tables with props for a week of Mario Party/anime theme.  We also incorporated beads throwing, making sure to give some to other organization recruiters to advertise for our booth too.  We made friends with other recruiters and had fun just being there.  Gaining new members for our club is a plus.  The fun really reflects in the way you interact with potential members.  Many may think you are strange, but a lot of people will be sold, expecting the excitements in the air at every meeting.

If you are into social media, utilize them.  Maybe have people check in on your Facebook page, develop a hashtag system, or do a raffle challenge with Instragram or Twitter.  Be creative!





4. Use Personal Experiences to Draw in People

You say how awesome CKI is all you want, but they will never totally believe you until you speak from your heart.  Incoming students are not going to be sold if you sound like a script.  Start thinking about how CKI has impacted the way you think or the way you interact with others.  How has CKI inspired you to do something great (like volunteering, fundraising for a cause, running for officer positions, being more compassionate and brave)?  Why do you serve?  What was the thing that keeps you coming back to CKI?  Why did you join CKI in the first place?  Was there ever a time when someone in CKI lent you an ear or shoulder and expected nothing in return?

In this moment, you may like to highlight the friendship/fellowship aspect of CKI.  You may feel very belonged in this group of like-minded people who have become your close friends.  CKI may be more like a family than a club to you; if so, mention that as well.  This will probably be your best selling point because majority of incoming students, especially freshmen, are from out of town or are wanting to start a fresh slate after high school.  They would want to be campus active and involved in many organizations because they want to establish friendship.  They want to feel belonged.  Give them a second home, away from home, for them to look forward to as classes get rough.





5. Highlight the 3 Tenants of CKI

After pouring your heart out with a personal story, you may want to tie the conversation in with all that your clubs have done.  This could be achieved by talking about your favorite service or fundraising projects/events or talking about an out-of-town experience like DCON, ALA, or ICON.  In doing so, you may want to talk about the 3 tenants of CKI: service, leadership, and fellowship.

Being the world’s largest student-led collegiate service organization tells you that CKI is big and service-ful.  If a person joins CKI, he or she should never be deficient in service hours.  Yes, your club may require a number of service hours, but your club does provide list-full service opportunities.  Be sure to have pictures of your club performing service at the table.  Pick ones that capture majority of these: volunteerism, fun, enthusiasm, family, friends, leadership, giving back to community, etc.

You may want to mention that your club offers a lot of leadership opportunity.  If your club is small in, then there is more opportunity for any active members to participate in the leadership roles offered within the club.  If your club is fairly large, then more officers/committee chairs can be made to accommodate the size.  Either way, leadership is a win-win topic.

Your social events will shine here!  Our club is not all about doing boring (that’s a myth) volunteering work; we’re all about having quality time together as a group, serving in something we are passionate about.  We are also about creating meaningful relationship through club dinner, board games night, karaoke night, football game night, bowling, etc.  Include some pictures as evidence as well.





6. Hand Out a Nice Keepsake

Who doesn’t like free stuff?  Although freebies often deviate the audience from your recruitment goals, they are a great way to draw people.  Moreover, if you couple freebies with a nice marketing tool like an information of when and where your meetings are, this will be a great way to get your club’s name out to your campus community.  Especially highlight your first meetings.  You can certainly get creative with this.

Some ideas are the followings:

Ramen noodle with a note saying “Choose Circle K and Cook Up Lifelong Friendships” or “Hungry for Leadership Opportunities? CKI has some for you!”
Free candies like Hershey’s Kisses (Circle K) or a small bag of m&m with a note of meeting dates, times, place
-Customized car stickers with club name and meeting time

More advanced:
raffle ticket that will be valid at the first meeting
free club t-shirt for a random person who likes your Facebook page or sign in at the table
Refrigerator magnet
-BPA-free plastic Water Bottle with club logo
-A bag of fresh popcorn with something to remind them of CKI

You can get more ideas like these at the bottom of Strengthen Your Club page and pages 4-5 of CKI Marketing Guide.





7. Develop a Catch Phrase

Many people like something simple and witty that will grab their attention.  Make sure to catch them off guards by handing them a lollipop and asking, “Are you a sucker for service?” (Credit goes to Gabe)  During our beach theme, I pretended to be serving a beach ball to passerby and ask them to “come serve with us!”  Be creative and come up with 2-3 cute and simple sentences.  Rotate them throughout your recruiting session and have fun with it.  Don’t be afraid to try something new.

PS: If any asks if you are associated with the gas station, you can mention, “we may not be a gas station, but we offer full service!”





8. Ask About Their Interests and Academic Plans

Another thing you should do before or after you talk about your personal experience and stories is to make it about them (as much as it is about us).  You want your conservation to be interactive and not a one-sided speech.  Be sure to engage them in the conversation.  Ask them what their interests are, what are their majors.  Friendly ask them why they choose to come to your school and what are their expectations.  Spend a few minutes to give them advice about college (especially with classes and social aspects).

Then, tie everything back to CKI.  With majors that will most likely result in a professional career, they would have to keep up with their volunteer hours.  With majors like art and music, you may let them know about different leadership roles and creative tasks they can do in the club.  Clubs grow well with diversity; they function better when their members have different personalities, interests, perspectives, and skills (as long as they get along and respect one another).  You can never go wrong with having too many members.  Make sure you get to know them as much as they get to know your club (if they join your club, you are going to have to do that anyway).





9. The More, The Merrier

People = Power.  Don’t underestimate the effect of bandwagon.  Your one voice is small; combining many small voices, you will get a scream!  Make sure to encourage your club members to join you in this persuasive journey of recruiting.  Many people will add the excitement and fun to the environment of your presentation.  They are also able to jump in to fill the gaps in the conversation that you forget to mention.  Make it another social event to where after the recruiting session members are invited to join you for lunch or other fun summer activities.  Remember, voice is power!





10. Show ’em How Prestigious We Are

If you have not realized, we CKIers are under a big umbrella network of Kiwanis International.  This means that we are related to Aktion Club (adults with disabilities), K-Kids (elementary school students), Builder’s Club (middle school students), Key Club (high school students), Kiwanis International (adult organization that serves children of the world).  Yeah, no kidding about how diverse and big we are.  Watch this video to find out more: K-Family.

This vast network of our K-family is something we CKIers should be proud of.  No matter how diverse different organizations in the K-family are, we all share the same identity: we love to serve.  CKI has raised over millions of dollars for its preferred charities such as March of Dimes, Students Team Up to Fight Hunger (STUFH), and UNICEF.  Our district especially supports literacy in Alabama via Jean Dean Reading is Fundamental (RIF), an organization that distributes books to children in economically disadvantaged communities.  Take pride in being a CKIer!

Read more about CKI’s preferred charities here: How We Serve.




Use your imagination to make recruiting time fun and memorable!  It’s very important that you get basic information like name and emails from those who are interested in joining CKI.  Whatever method(s) you use to recruit, your main goal should be to get students to come to at least your first meeting.  If you can do that, then you’re half done with getting your words out.  It’s now up to how you conduct your first meeting that will either keep them or scare them off.  The next step would be for your club to have a board meeting before your first meeting to go over the year’s expectations, plans, and agenda for your first meeting.




To get more ideas about recruiting techniques, check out this link from CKI website: Recruiting Strategies.

To get ahead in making meetings fun and meaningful, try this: Recruitment & Retention.


Thank you for reading!