Effective Programs Are The Key to Vibrant Members!
Jim Collins, State Deputy
Diocesan Conferences are behind us and going into September councils should have their recruitment and program planning in place.
History shows July and August as slow months due to the final recruitment surge of the previous fraternal year, so September and moving forward is vital to the overall success of membership growth for this fraternal year. It is essential the council officers make an assessment of council operations to ensure the effective programs for church and community are in place.
Evaluation of activities is essential to the long term success of the council to make sure that they remain relevant to the interests of the members.
No matter how many members we recruit, membership will not stay vibrant if we don’t retain the members we already have in our ranks. Effective programs are the key and as we all know, prospects don’t just walk up to you and ask for a Form #100. It takes a coordinated effort by the entire council to attract eligible Catholic men and their families and this is through our visible activity in the church and community. If we don’t ask men to join, who will? Similarly, retention doesn’t just happen, either.
It also takes a coordinated effort by the entire council to make the new member and their family know that they are an important part of the council. If we don’t actively engage each member, through our words and deeds, eventually they will not see a place for themselves in the Order. We can’t allow that to happen, we have too much to offer Catholic men.
The next step for the council is to get the new member immediately involved. Encouraging him to serve on committees that match the areas of his interests is very important for the long term commitment. Every council should be using the Admission Committee Questionnaire to determine the new member’s areas of interest. Once noted, it should be relatively easy to match those interests with council programs that the new member and his family, could become involved in. New members should also be encouraged to come up with their own programming ideas.
If the council does not conduct any activities in the member’s area of interest, he may be just the man to develop an idea for a new initiative.
It is essential new members become active as soon as they join.
The “Shining Armor” Award Program, does just that, it recognizes those men that exemplify what a true Knight of Columbus is.
This program serves as a tremendous way for all councils to get their new members active within the Order and also honor them as a valued member of the Knights of Columbus. The concept behind the “Shining Armor Award” program is to get new members actively involved and to assist in maintaining this membership activity and avoiding the risk of suspension in the future.
To qualify for the “Shining Armor Award” New Knights must, during their first year: • Be involved in at least 3 council service programs • Attend at least 3 business meetings • Receive their second and third degrees • Meet with their council’s insurance representative • Recruit at least one new member
The main focus of the program is to get new members actively involved within their council from the very beginning. If you keep new members active, you’ll have them forever. This program is a great opportunity to have your council’s insurance agent involved in the process of retaining new members from day one. Right after the First Degree ceremony introduce the “Shining Armor Award” program to the new knights and schedule a meeting with the council insurance representative soon as possible.
Just as easy as that, they’ll be on their way to becoming a Knight in Shining Armor and the council’s insurance professional will get his meeting set up with the new member and his family to discuss our top-rated insurance program.
In addition to getting new members involved in programs and serving on committees, one area we seem to fall short is welcoming our new knights to the first council meeting. This experience can make or break the enthusiasm the new member has when he comes to that first meeting. This can be simply done by the council “welcoming committee” introducing the new member to his brothers and encouraging him to participate in the social aspects of the council. These duties should extend beyond the council home as well. When a member of the welcoming committee, or any council member for that matter, sees the new member at Mass, they should take the opportunity to introduce their respective families.
Brother Knights, we are at the threshold of a successful fraternal year and your commitment to the principles of the order is essential to that success.