Lieutenant Commander Kelly Barrow addressed the National Leadership Conference in Foley regarding membership Recruiting and Retention saying it's everyone's duty to recruit new members for the SCV but retention is the real problem. Although advertisements, lapel pins, license plates and stickers may be effective, the best recruiter is SCV members. From a business perspective we must ask ourselves, how do we bring back our past customers, our delinquent members, how do we keep our current customers, and how do we attract new customers. The Charge encourages us to further the causes of vindication, virtues and liberty. There are five Rs for Growth: Recruiting, Reinforcement, Retention, Reinstatement, and Replication.
Recruiting may be Demand Side or Supply Side. We should be more concerned with helping men honor their ancestors and heritage than pushing membership. Nonetheless, it would be awesome to grow membership so that one day we see a million cracker march on Washington DC. To further recruiting, keep an ongoing list of perspective members; SCV headquarters maintains a record of application downloads from the scv.org site which includes names and addresses which are available for camps to use for contact. But camps should keep lists from festivals and gun shows and other events where recruiting booths or tables are set up. Send these perspective members camp newsletters and announcements and keep them active in these communications for 18 months. Advertise meetings in local newspapers which may be free for non-profits such as the SCV.
Many camps have annual recruiting meetings which along with a Lee-Jackson commemorative event, a Confederate Memorial Day observance and a Christmas Social constitute the four major camp events each year. A grassroots effort including sending handwritten invitations, bringing perspective recruits and including a hot dog cookout or ice cream social are successful ideas. Make the annual recruiting meeting a Brigade or even a Division event. Use SCV media like copies of old Confederate Veteran magazines and brochures at recruiting booths. New Army recruiting tents are available to use at these events on loan. Getting perspective members involved with the Friends of the SCV is an effective way to keep them involved and informed as they pursue and complete their genealogical research. Your camp should join the local Chamber of Commerce as a 501.c.3 to attract new members who may be recent transplants to your community and neighborhoods.
In recruiting, there is a Target and a Broadcast Method. The Target method utilizes a personal approach where one usually knows the recruit and they may already be familiar with the SCV. The problem with recruits gained by this method is that they likely develop a club mentality and don't get involved and responsible with camp activities or leadership. The Broadcast Method provides a potentially broader number of people contacted and many are strangers and relies on the concept that if you build a tent, they will come. But the members attracted by the Broadcast method are usually more motivated. The best recruiting tool is a vibrant camp which has camp meetings in an accessible location with consistent programs in punctual organized meetings with a fraternal atmosphere including outreach to the community. Assign new members to an older camp member as a resource or questions and encouragement and to provide a personal touch for a year or so.
The second R is Reinforcement. New members should be assigned to a committee so that they get a sense of belonging and usefulness and ownership. The camp Commander should make an effort to meet new members stressing the importance of the work of the camp. The camp should always have plenty of projects in process to work on and new members should be encourages to participate in these projects to feel important and an asset to the camp.
The third R is Reinstatement. 2/3 of all members in the SCV are delinquent members. The National Headquarter maintains a list of these past members. The Camp #584 is the Headquarters Camp which has most of the delinquent members. Many of these wanted to get their SCV membership certificate and not renew and didn't seek to get involved in a local camp. Candy White at headquarters can be contacted for a list of Camp 584 in your area and local delinquent members.
The fourth R is Retention. Initiatives like effective camp communication including the camp newsletter and an updated website encourage retention along with frequent varied opportunities for activities in which to participate. The Membership Renewal System has created a centralized more automated method for ensuring every member gets notification for membership renewals. The scvli.org on-line SCV Leadership Institute is a terrific resource for instruction for new members and members seeking leadership positions and opportunities.
The fifth R is Replication. The monster camp is not a good goal. If a camp is growing, spread the success and try to start new camps in surrounding communities using the same folks and successful initiatives which made the original camp great. This concept follows the model of the 1st century church and the Great Commission and modern missionary evangelistic churches.
Recruiting and retention should not just be man to man but camp to community. The five Rs address how to attract and retain SCV customers.