Monday, December 04, 2023
Log in or create a new MyGrange account
Keyword / Search: 


Membership News
Membership News: Evaluate the

By Faith Quinlan, CT State Grange Membership Director

  January 3, 2022 --

Recently, I participated in a membership training course where we were asked to evaluate the “health” of our membership and our current recruitment and retention programs. Although no one in the workshop had a “healthy” score, I learned that we all had “health” issues.

Things considered “unhealthy” are groups where the average age of the membership and leadership are aged over 65. Although good leadership at any age is not to be dismissed, there is a benefit to a younger leader or adding younger members within the leadership team. This ensures a future where we have the next generation in the “pipeline.”

Another sign of “poor health” in an organization’s membership is lack of engagement with younger generations, in our meetings or activities.   The number one cause of extinction for a group like the Grange, is that we age out. We age out because the leadership has not ensured younger people. These people must be equipped and pre- pared to take over these important roles.

These next words may feel painful to read, but I want to share all that I learned. The top complaints made by newer and younger members (people under the age of 40) stated they feel like they don’t fit in at these older organizations. They feel like there is no place for them to support the group in a responsible or professional manner. They feel like they may never get a chance at leadership because of their age or newness plus they are not invited to participate.

To be “healthier” this workshop believes though an influx of new members seems like the right thing to do to grow, that will not succeed if they do not feel like there is a place for them in our community (Grange community).

Do we risk everything to hold onto all the traditions? Do we forego some rigidity to make room for fresh thoughts and opportunities?

I believe our eldest members and leaders are invaluable to our continued success. Maybe we just start opening opportunities to younger members who want to engage and let them try things in a new way, lets mix them deeper into our com- munity. This means, and I know I am saying something monumental for Connecticut, relaxing the fixated hierarchy and tradition from the State level to the community Grange level.

Our leadership on every level needs to represent the community in which we live. Do you see your- self represented in the leadership? Do you see the people of your family, town, city, state represented? Are we truly representative of our community? Are we truly prioritizing our succession plan? Are we engaging the next generations of members?

In 2022 my team and I will still be here to support membership growth and retention programs but, remembering a discussion about how we engage younger members and offer them opportunities should be equal in our priorities.



© 2023 The Connecticut State Grange. All Rights Reserved.