Sunday, 3 May 2009

Big game hunt

Specifically, Lions.

Since I have been 'elected' (Election? What election?) to serve on the membership committee next year, I have from time to time mused on what contribution I can make to the proceedings. (This usually takes place while I am walking the dog, which is an ideal time to get away from everything and think.) Maybe now would be as good a time as any to commit my jumbled thoughts to paper - screen, cyberspace, whatever - in an attempt to sort them into a semblance of logical order.

We have, over the years, tried a number of schemes which we understood had proved successful with other clubs. None of them worked for us. Actually, now that I come to think of it, I can recall only three things that we have tried, but nevertheless, they all involved spending money... No, that's not right. TWO of them involved spending money and the third MIGHT have involved doing so had it met with success, which none of them did.

I think I have the chronological order of these three schemes correct, but it really doesn't matter anyway.

1. We placed an advertisement in the local paper telling the world that we were looking for members and asking interested persons to ring the given telephone number. Naturally, we had to pay for the ad, but the response was zilch.

2. Each member of the club was asked to pass to the membership committee the name of a potential member. The committee then wrote to the (very) few people whose names were given to them, inviting them to attend a dinner meeting at which several Lions had been primed to speak for a couple of minutes about different aspects of the clubs activities etc. The thinking behind this idea was that people can be too shy to invite friends, colleagues, neighbours to a Lions meeting with a view to joining the club and a more roundabout approach might work better. It didn't. But at least we didn't have to pay for any guests' meals.

3. We had leaflets printed (at quite considerable cost) and a few members delivered them door to door. (Amazing how many couldn't manage to do any of that!) People were invited to come to an open evening to find out what Lions do. We arranged refreshments and displays, with most regular attenders on hand to answer questions. One person turned up and we heard no more of her.

So, what should we learn from these failures? Could we change how we go about any of them to give them a better chance of success? My view is that none of them work, although I understand that a club just along the coast to the west has used the leaflet drop on several occasions and met with great success. Why does it work with them but not with us? They do cover a small town, whereas we are in Brighton, a city with a diverse population which is in a constant state of flux with a large proportion of its residents either students or young people who have not yet settled down and don't really feel themselves to be part of a 'community' in the way that residents of a village or small town do.

I still maintain that the best way of bringing in a new member is by personal invitation, but maybe we could rethink that a bit. What we have done in the past is to bring in a new member and then try to find a suitable job for him. Suppose we do it the other way round? If the club could agree on a list of jobs that we want covered, maybe we could find people specifically to take on those jobs. Two things spring immediately to mind: Peace Poster and Young Ambassador. Now I come to think of it, I do know a couple of people who could promote the Young Ambassador scheme.

What we need, however, is agreement on what jobs the club wants covered before trying to recruit anybody to cover one of them. It would be disastrous if one of us recruited somebody to do, say, Peace Poster, and then the club refused to get involved in the scheme or the president wouldn't appoint the new member to that job.

That seems to have clarified my mind a little. All I need to do now is to remember where I have written down these thoughts!


Uncle Skip, said...

You are correct about personal invitation being the best method. The main drawback to that is that the tendency is to invite folks who fit our own demographic. Another difficulty is that many of us tend to invite one and think we're done.

Brighton Pensioner said...

"folks who fit our own demographic"

Which is the main reason why so may of our members are aged 70+.

Uncle Skip, said...