Membership Growth is Key
Under the theme “One Member, Per Council, Per Month,” the Membership Seminar instructed Knights of Columbus state deputies, membership chairmen and other leaders to grow the Order through consistent and organized effort.
Deputy Supreme Knight Dennis A. Savoie opened the meeting with an inspirational address about the new membership theme. “Ask every council in your jurisdiction to recruit one member per council, per month,” he said. Stressing the simplicity of the message and the program, he added, “That’s it!”
“The Order will grow by leaps and bounds,” he continued.
The key to getting members into the Order on a timely basis is regular First Degree ceremonials, he said.
“If we believe in the Order, as I know we do, and if we believe in the principles we stand for, as I know we do, then we will offer a First Degree at least once a month,” Savoie said.
Supreme Master Dennis Stoddard, chairman of the Supreme Board of Directors Membership Committee, led the meeting. Also on the committee are Supreme Directors Daniel J. Baker of Georgia, Javier S. Martinez of Texas, Alonso L. Tan of Luzon (Philippines) and Frederick J. Abraham, executive vice president of Fraternal Services. Gary Nolan, vice president for Membership Growth and director of Ceremonials, also spoke.
Stoddard said that membership is the “lifeblood” of the Order and forms the basis for all the Knights do in charitable works and support of the Church. He told the state deputies and other leaders that they are expected to set an example in their jurisdictions. “You cannot have the title without the responsibility,” he noted.
Baker said that in membership recruitment, the Order needs to get “back to basics.” The steps are: plan, execute and follow-up to make sure people are executing the plan, he said.
Martinez spoke about the Order’s initiative to involve the diocesan bishop in recruitment efforts. “Each state deputy should have a good working relationship with his bishop,” he said.
The state deputy should ask the bishop to send a letter to all the pastors in the diocese that a notice about the local Knights of Columbus council should be placed in the parish bulletin. “If you have the bishop and the pastor on your side, all your recruiting problems are practically solved,” Martinez said.
Nolan explained how ceremonials are tied to recruiting and retention. The ceremonials of the Order educate, instruct and attract men to the Knights and keep them interested in advancing to the next degree, he said.
Ceremonials are “a positive, life-changing event for that new member,” Nolan noted.
He said that the good works of the Knights are also a great tool to recruit men who wish to put their faith into action. Recruiters must stress “the do’s” – or works – of the Knights more than “the dues” of membership. “The do’s that a Knight willingly pays in service to others will keep that man active and satisfied with his membership for life,” Nolan said.