Recruitment is hard, part 2: goals and values

I spend a lot of time thinking about recruitment issues these days. This could be because I'm involved in a few student groups that have been spending a handful of time talking about it lately.

While a good portion of discussion about recruitment is (and should be) focused on "selling" your organization to newcomers, just as much of the discussion should center on clearly defining your organization and what it offers to potential members. A common line of questioning to many of my groups has been the following:

If we claim we are chosen based on values or work towards a set of goals, but we do not display these values or further these goals, then what were we chosen based on and what are we working for? Will others understand the purposes and goals of our organization? How will we "sell" our organization as something based on these values or working towards these goals?

People often don't like to think about this issue because it approaches the "recruitment problem" with "sticks" more than it approaches it with "carrots." I take issue with these concerns because I feel like they put organizations on pins and needles out of the fear that any misstep will ruin their image.

I suggest taking this line of questioning as a basis for discussion, instead of as something requiring the development of new policy.