To strengthen council fraternalism by improving admission and retention of new members.


If you find your membership quotas being met year after year but the attendance to your meetings and functions remaining stagnant, the problem may not have anything to do with the programs. Many councils lament that their meeting attendance keeps going down although they keep recruiting. The answer lies not in how many they are recruiting but who they are recruiting. Most councils never get beyond the point of seeing the signature on the Form 100 before they are already setting up a 1st Degree for the candidate.

But a working admissions committee would have probably discovered significant flaws in the candidate's willingness to join, and thus saved the council a great deal of time. If a previously-accepted candidate stops attending meetings or never participates in any programs, a working retention committee would have probably contacted the member and discovered the cause. Too many councils see dwindling participation by members and simply throw their hands up in surrender. What can they do? In fact, these councils can do a lot: first, to ensure that unenthusiastic members are vetted out of consideration before joining; then, to signal to lapsed members that their absence is noted and missed. The council Chancellor is the officer who should be most concerned with both, as it is his particular province to admit and train new members into the Order. Likewise, the council Membership Director needs strong involvement here too. So does the Financial Secretary, the council's Field Agent, the Program Director – anyone whose role in the life of the council directly impacts, or is impacted by, changes in membership.


There are few resources needed here beyond those that are strictly procedural. Councils need to answer this single fundamental question: when we are in receipt of a signed Form 100, what do we do? No matter the answer, a working admissions committee should be immediately consulted to determine the true interest level of the candidate. The interview with the candidate must be less than an interrogation but more than a chat. Above all, the overall long-term health of the council must be evaluated in light of this application. This will require officers of singular dedication. Without their own concern for the council's continuance, they will never be able to judge the candidate's concern. Retention committees will need identical dedication, as well as the tools needed to contact lapsed brothers.


A major drawback to completing this program is the officers' own fears. Too many members of these committees are worried about seeming harsh, or vetting out too many prospective members. Local councils are frequently under pressure from the State and Supreme Council to pick up membership numbers. Be not afraid! Let not your heart be troubled. Your officers' allegiance must be to your own brothers first, especially when seriously considering admissions. This is how a local council can touch its own future.

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