Locals, states, and even national Miss America organizations recruit constants. Every program level seeks to increase awareness and participation in the organizations. On its website, MAO advertises resources for potential contestants potential contestants. “Whether you want to become a doctor or a dancer, an accountant or an architect, the Miss America Organization has an opportunity that will help bring you closer to achieving your goals,” the ad reads. And there are success stories included there to prove it. When targeting high school and college-aged women, these success stories are more than a little enticing.
What are some best practices for growing the organization?
First and foremost, establish your organization with consistent branding. Use the Internet to send the message you want contestants to hear. It’s fast and easy, and most of the time it can be free. It’s also a great resource for getting the word-of-mouth referrals ball rolling. The Miss Washington County pageant sends e-mails to former contestants, parents, and volunteers, asking for referrals. “Sometimes someone knows someone and that sparks their memory,” Jen said.
But even in a digital age, don't underestimate the power of snail mail. “I send a(n information) packet to each middle and high school in my local area, with a letter to the guidance counselor on the scholarship opportunities. I also send these packets to all dance, cheer, vocal coaches, et cetera, in our area,” Jen said.
No matter what strategy works best for your pageant, know that you don't have to recruit alone. Take a page from Jen’s book and put your former titleholders to work enlisting new constants. “We have our titleholders give out cards to girls involved in their extracurricular activities,” Jen said.
Written by: Erika Rose is fourpoints magazine's staff writer. Read more about contestant recruitment in the August 2013 issue of fourpoints!