COB Best Practices

Continuous Open Bidding (COB)


This means that chapters can COB to Total and/or Quota.

Yes, even if you are over total, but did not match quota during formal recruitment, you can COB/pledge to quota.

Example: If you matched quota of 25 during formal recruitment, are over total, but 3 potential new members did not accept their bid and/or decided to voluntarily release their membership before pledging, you can COB 3 new members.

The purpose of total is to provide opportunities for growth of the Panhellenic community, parity among the chapters and to allow the maximum number of women to participate in the sorority experience. All chapters are only guaranteed the opportunity to COB after primary recruitment if total is set at largest chapter size plus (LCS +). And, since total is decided at bid matching, chapters will only know if they can COB or the exact number of bids they can offer once bid matching occurs.

Total is the allowable chapter size including both new and initiated members.

If a chapter met total, it is no longer eligible to invite new members to join until either:

1. The chapter is below total

2. It is the primary membership recruitment period

3. The chapter pledges to quota from the primary recruitment period

If at any time during the academic year, a chapter falls below total, the chapter is eligible to recruit new members through COB to reach total.

In the spring of 2023, NPC passed a resolution that pilots a total method setting team to determine and set total for College Panhellenic for the spring of 2024, fall of 2024 and spring of 2025. Each College Panhellenic is assigned a specialist to set total for each term.

When is total determined and set?

For the primary recruitment term

For fully and partially structured recruitment campuses, total will be set by the total specialist after bid matching but before bid distribution.

For continuous recruitment campuses, total will be set before the first day of the academic term.

For the non-primary recruitment term

Total will be determined and set within the first 24 hours of the start of the academic term.

Total is determined and set by the total specialist; however, it is up to College Panhellenics to communicate to chapters about total so all chapters can invite women into sorority membership if they have spaces available according to the total set.

For more information about Total & Quota, click here.  

NPC Policy

COB Policy (2022)

COB is not intended to precede or take the place of the primary membership recruitment period, nor should there be a COB process prior to the start of fall primary membership recruitment. Likewise, no COB process should occur during the period at the start of the academic semester/term until total is determined and announced. 

  • The purpose of COB is to enable those chapters that did not pledge to quota or pledged quota but did not reach total, to pledge additional new members immediately following the primary membership recruitment period. 
  • The intent of COB is to provide maximum opportunities for membership to the greatest number of chapters possible and the greatest number of women who are eligible to join a sorority. 
  • The college Panhellenic, therefore, will not place restrictions on the COB process, which may include (but is not limited to) designated COB dates, schedules and bid distribution. 
  • The chapters will work with their inter/national organizations to determine the best timing and method for the recruitment of Potential New Members in a COB process.
  • On campuses with deferred (spring primary) membership recruitment, any COB prior to the scheduled primary membership recruitment period should be limited to upper-class and transfer women, COB would not be open to first-year women until after the primary membership recruitment period.

Adjusting Total Policy (2023)

  • A College Panhellenic should evaluate total every term.
  • In the academic term that primary recruitment is held, total is determined and announced following bid matching and before the start of bid distribution. 
  • In the academic term(s) in which primary recruitment does not take pace, the revised total must be determined and announced within 24 hours of the start of the academic term.
  • For fall primary recruitment campuses, total cannot be set to less than 95% of the total that resulted from the adjustment in the most recent academic term in which primary recruitment is held. 

Continuous Open Bidding (COB) and Snap Bidding Eligibility Policy (1995)

A potential new member who withdraws from the primary recruitment process before the signing of her MRABA shall be eligible for snap bidding and COB.

Options in Determining Total (2023) Policy

1. Average or median chapter size (whichever is larger).

2. Midpoint between median and largest chapter size.

3. Largest chapter size.

4. Largest chapter size plus up to 20 women.

When a campus experiences greater than a 2% decrease in the Open House Pool over the previous year, total must be set at midpoint or higher.

For College Panhellenics with only two chapters: when selecting a method among the four options, total will be set at the number yielded by the calculation or 40 whichever is higher.

For College Panhellenics with facilities: if half or more of all chapters are not meeting facility obligations, total will be set using method #4. All chapters- whether or not they have a facility-will be included when determining what percentage of chapters are not meeting their facility obligation. Total will automatically be reset to LCS plus 1 unless this policy requires a total setting method that will set total at a higher number. Facility obligations shall be defined as the revenue from chapter membership necessary to support facility expenses. Each NPC inter/national organization will report to NPC on behalf of its local chapters, by June 30 of each year, whether its chapters are meeting their facility obligations.

COB Plan

6-Stage Process

1. Meet someone new and make a friend.

2. Introduce your friend to your other friends. (Sisters)

3. Introduce your friend to Alpha Xi Delta (discuss features & benefits, academic requirements, time commitment and financial requirements).

4. Evaluate your friend against our established values-based membership criteria (TFJ, 4 core values).

5. Ask your friend to join Alpha Xi Delta.

6. Get an answer!

Panhellenic Involvement

The College Panhellenic should make every effort to eliminate as many barriers to joining as possible.​

  • Not placing any restrictions on the COB process.​
  • Maintain a database of interested women.​
  • Not require PNMs “register” with Panhellenic.​
  • Set total in a timely manner.​
  • Keep any helpful documents on hand and make them easily accessible. ​
  • Help chapters get the word out about their COB efforts.

PNM Outreach

Contacting PNMs

  • Identify members already involved in organizations/who have connections with PNMs that can initiate contact.​
  • Outreach should be to only unaffiliated PNMs.

COB Rose Garden

  • A list of ALL potential new members, regardless of desirability.​
  • Grow your list of potential candidates for membership, identify target PNMs/desirable candidates and being outreach!

Communicating with PNMs

  • Are PNMs in COB different than those in formal recruitment?​
  • Think of every possible question that someone who is unfamiliar with sororities might have about what it is and what the process of joining is like.​
  • What are some unconventional places you might find eligible women on your campus that would be desirable PNMs?

PNMs Want to Know

  1. Who are you?​
  2. Why should I care?​
  3. How can I join?

COB Membership Selection

  • MEC is responsible for evaluating PNMs to help establish who our target PNMs are.​
  • PNM Evaluation should be completed by ONLY members of MEC.​
  • Should utilize a PNM strength coding system that includes a numerical scale.​
  • Info can be found on PNMs COB interest form, recommendations, supporting info (resume, reference, etc.) social media.
  • Each PNM that members meet – whether at events or one-on-one meetings – must be voted on.​

  • P, C, A scoring on a scale of 1-3 for all membership selection.​
  • Scores can be submitted through OmegaRecruit.​
  • No requirement for how many members must meet a PNM, or how many times we must meet a PNM before extending a bid.
  • Election to membership to not necessary or required. 

Extending COB Bids

  • If possible, offer the bid in person!
  • Make it special! Bring bid day swag or invite them to your bid day if you are having one!
  • They may have questions and or not be sure about their decision. Answer questions they may have and wait no more than 24 hours to reconnect with them.