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Keeping Members Involved
The “trick” to member retention and participation is activity. You don’t want to have too much going on as there could be burnout, but at the same time, too little activity could lead to members becoming disinterested. Having regularly scheduled events of various types lets members know when something is happening and allows them to plan for it easier. There is almost no limit to the types of activities your chapter can perform, but there are certain prohibited activities, like going to gun ranges or activities that involve potentially dangerous tasks.
When it comes to planning activities, include your crew. They may have ideas you haven’t thought of. You also don’t have to be the only one who plans and leads activities. This is a great chance for you to see how a member can take the lead, and possibly start seeing if they may someday take over or start a chapter as a CO themselves. Working with the members in planning activities will also let them feel more involved, and help ease your own workload at the same time.
Here is a list of some, but not all, potential ideas for chapter activities:
- Arts & crafts
- Bowling nights/tournaments
- Charity events/walks
- Cocktails & hors d'oeuvres
- Community service/volunteering
- Costuming days/nights/weekends
- Game nights
- Miniature painting
- Model building
- Museum visits
- Social events
Sometimes you have members that are too far to consistently make it to chapter events. There are plenty of ways to keep them involved without having to visit in person. Some chapters hold weekly book club meetings on an online venue, such as Discord, or even go as far as to make a video of the in-residence members discussing the reading, and allow the correspondence members to read and follow along. Others host online gaming nights where they play tabletop, board games, RPGs or even video games, with members who can’t be there physically. With today’s technology, there is no stopping what you can do when it comes to interacting with corresponding members - even movie nights can be done over the internet with services such as Kast.
If you find yourself stuck and lost for new ideas, the Office of Retention has a sub-forum full of suggestions for long-distance members, activities on the cheap, and even some stories from inactive members on what made them become active. Reach out to the Office of Retention should you have any questions.