The easy answer is to bring in new members. However it is, as we all know, not nearly as simple as that. We must also keep those who have already become members. We have to build on what already exists and that doesn’t work if we have a revolving door that has members leave as often as members are gained.
Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done about those who die. Those who move cannot be forced to transfer. But if they’ve enjoyed their experience in Lions thus far, chances are they will look forward to finding a new Lions Club in the area to which they have moved . So… the key is to understand how to make membership in Lions an important part of a Lions life.
What can we do to make Lions as important to a member as the family, the job, or any other interests?
First and foremost, members have to feel like they are important to us, that we don’t take them for granted. Second, we must remember that, for most of us, the reason we’re Lions today is most likely not the reason we joined. Somewhere along the line there was an epiphany that said to us, “this is what Lions are!!!” So, in brief, to retain a member for the long term, we must make membership in the club as enjoyable as possible for that member. The bonus in doing so is that membership remains enjoyable for us.
A key to enjoying Lions is communication… concise communication. When it can be done, who, what, when, where and why in one minute or less is best. But be prepared to answer questions. Another important key is orientation… make that ORIENTATION. The new member has some preconceived notions based on observation about us. They are most likely a fairly narrow view. Even some long time members can do with a continued orientation… a couple of minutes at each meeting presented by different members each time can go a long way toward keeping everyone on the same page.
In the end, though, we have to realize that Lions become members because there is some expectation that membership will fill a need in their lives. It may not be readily apparent to them …or to us …what that need is and I would venture to say that whatever it is, it changes as we experience Lionism. If we make it fun and remember to enjoy what we are doing, we can hope to see our numbers grow.
Some will ask why there are no specific recommendations. The answer is that we look to you for those. Just remember one thing — The most important member of your Lions Club is the person sitting next to you. Without that member, you are alone and cannot accomplish nearly as much as you can as part of a team.