Brian Magness

Brian Magness
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Between the Lines January 2018 issue

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Retention, We Need a Fire…

One of the issues we all have is retention. This is the biggest obstacle your Chapter will face. Chances are, there’s nothing you have done to cause a drop in Membership and there is nothing you can do about regaining people that have gone away. Sorry to say but the only thing you can do is monitor the trends and report on your findings. However, you can use the information and many, many years of experience from others. There are nice “Helpful Topics” .pdfs, under Leadership Tools on the website, that spell out some ideas.

Have you ever tried to build a campfire? What are the four things you need to have a fire? You need Fuel, Heat, Oxygen, and a Chemical Reaction between the first three. It’s great when you first get it started. It provides warmth. It is beautiful. It is something that was created by hard work. Then, it decides it wants to go out. How do you keep it going? You add fuel and oxygen. The heat is there and the chemical reaction has already occurred. We need to provide the fuel and we need to make sure that it receives enough oxygen. See where I’m going with this? Your Chapter, and retention, are the same as maintaining a campfire.

The fuel needed are Members. The Oxygen needed is your Member’s enthusiasm. Once you have a handle on keeping people excited about being a Member, you have a great fire. Once that fire “takes off” all you need to do is lend a little fuel, every now and then, right? But when you add a bunch of fuel, what happens? It’s blazing! So what do you think happens when you just sit there and watch it burn and do nothing? You know the answer.

Our jobs, as Members, is to maintain the fire. Keep your excitement about our cause, your Chapter and everything related and you will have a great Chapter. Use your excitement to recruit and help retain Members. Use it to infect others who may not be as enthusiastic, but try not to overdo it. It can come off as pushy or overbearing to some timid people and it could backfire.

Every now and then someone will throw a bucket of water or pee on the fire. Guess what, the Heat is still there. The Chemical Reaction has already happened. The Fuel is still there. There is just as much Oxygen as there was before. So there might not be as much flame, or warmth, but you still have something that was created by hard work and maintained by devotion. Try to either eliminate the bucket, or the d*@#, but remember you still have a solid foundation for a good fire.

No one has the answer about how to retain Members but you can be a huge part in it. If you see stuff going on, or someone about to pee on the fire, do something about it. Make sure you keep your fuel dry and fan the flame as much, and as often, as you can. The more people contributing to the well-being of the fire, the larger the fire will be.

Peace, Ride Safe, hope you have a Great L&L, and Remember the days are getting longer.

Brian Magness