Bridging the Communications Chasm

Strategists need good data. Statistics aren’t everyone’s favorite subject. But comparing our council to the past, helps us chart our future.

In 2000, the Marian Council had 1,500 members with an average age of 57. Of those, 200 were very active volunteers (“do-ers”). Our ranks have dropped by a third, but we still have roughly 200 do-ers. Ages range from 18 to 101, average 65.

Over the same period, the percentage of non dues-paying members has doubled. These are priests and 40-year members–good group! But half of our income from dues goes to printing, postage, supplies. No dues are spent on the hall. Bingo revenues have waned, while property taxes have trebled. We still make charitable donations, but we rely on other fundraisers.

Recent efforts to boost participation are yielding more first-time volunteers. We need more. A surge of young members has slowed the rise in average age. But good men are already busy. Working dads don’t have as many available hours as retirees. This impacts the way we staff events. The same applies to our Ladies Auxiliary.

Thirteen years ago we had no website. If you didn’t attend meetings, the Knight News was your only medium of information. Today, 70% of members receive our weekly eNews. Last month our website and Facebook page enlightened 30,000 non-members to our philanthropy. Our marketing team deserves adulation for such public relations!

Obviously, no medium of contact is more effective than face-to-face. Two years ago, we began an effort to “check in” with every member by phone or in-person.

The 300 members who do not receive our emails are, by and large, the same ones who pay no dues nor participate in our activities. Many KofC councils have stopped publishing paper newsletters. Economics will soon force us to follow suit. How can we keep everyone connected? Ideas are welcome… this is important.

A strong council is a connected one. We’re in better shape than most, but we must do more. And the best way to keep a council strong is to keep all members involved, engaged. Knights who participate in activities say they get more out of membership (duh), whereas those who never “find time” to volunteer complain they don’t feel involved.

The Marian Council Marketing Committee welcomes your feedback and suggestions.