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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: Recruting
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Author Topic: Recruting  (Read 921 times)
Tactics
Recruit

Posts: 14

« on: March 04, 2019, 07:25:34 PM »

So.... I have a small squadron that used to be large and proud but died when a key member passed away.
I joined shortly after the aforementioned key member died. Me and my family have been trying to revive the squadron over the past few years and we have made it to 17 cadets (around 10 of which are active) out of a town of around 14,000-16,000 people. I have hit a roadblock though, And that road block is Recruting. We have done quite a few events and done allot in the community but we are losing more members then we are gaining. Please, I need ideas to help us 
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,821

« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2019, 07:35:00 PM »

Do you run an active program with cadets progressing regularity and doing cool stuff outside the squadron?

Generally happy members will invite their friends.

How many adult members do you have  and are they also fully active?

Any idea what the demo is on middle schools in your area?  Are there actually people to join within
reasonable distance of where you meet?
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NIN
Administrator

Posts: 5,214
Unit: of issue

« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2019, 09:25:03 PM »

So sometimes when I have this discussion with someone, I break out some rough "back of the envelope numbers" to give me a place to start the discussion of what you can reasonably expect in a particular area. That frames other aspects of the discussion.

Your unit meets in a city of of about 12,000 people (2017 estimate was 11,242, and its been growing over the years).  You have 36 total members.  Meaning that if you were recruiting from just the town, you'd be 1 CAP member for every 330 people or so. 

But you know, that's probably not entirely accurate, because people will come from miles around, not just inside city limits. So, lets call a 20 mile radius from the town as a good "jumping off point" to examine.  Figure that's about a 30 minute drive in rural areas.  A good place to "concentrate" your efforts for maximum return, this really is your "primary" recruiting area. In that 40 mile diameter circle, you've got about 34,914 people.  1 CAP member for every 969 people in that footprint. Thats still nothing to sneeze at. It's a pretty good saturation.

By way of comparison, my unit,  being an active and successful outfit in a somewhat less rural area, has 105 members. Under a similar 20 mile radius circle there are 307,354 people.  That's 1 CAP member for every 2,927 people.

At a certain point, you've got to ask yourself:  have we reached the potential saturation point of the population, are we pulling from further away, or are we doing about as good as we can expect to do here?

Honestly, as far north as you are, in the population area you're, in, 36 members is not terrible. Looking at the unit's historical data, the unit was 64 members in May of 2005, and the last "high point" was December 2010 with 48, last "low point" was November of 14 with 24.  You're right in the middle right now.  From where I sit, I don't think you have a terrible "recruiting" problem.

That being said, you've got 19 senior members. Are all those seniors active? If not, why not?  More on that later, on to some other points.

I get what you're saying about having lost a "key" squadron member.  This illustrates a common problem with many CAP units: they're sometimes just one birth, death, marriage, divorce, job change or illness away from teetering on the edge of oblivion.  Who wants that?  If a unit is (was) operating around one "personality," you've just made the point: that personality gets PO'd and quits CAP, or dies? Then what happens? Are the members there for the mission and the organization or the personality cult that was in place?  This is a tough line to walk, because leadership is a little bit about charisma, and the ability to get people to do what you need them to do sometimes requires a little more than straight up "leadership." You want them to help you do things, but they have to want to be there and they won't want to be around someone who doesn't inspire them to do cool things. 

The trick is to make it about the unit, not the person.

Again, this speaks a little to manning: do you have 19 people doing 12 CAP jobs, or do you have 5 people doing 12 jobs and 14 back-benchers glad they're not getting asked to do something? This gets down to the leadership being able to "get the right people on the bus, and get them in the right seats."

Which isn't a recruiting thing, its mentoring, member management & leadership.
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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
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The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2019 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
OldGuy
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 585
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2019, 06:11:36 AM »

Use social media - for example - https://www.peachjar.com/ - to target your demographic. Find / recruit / create a PAO and a R and R officer to work together getting out in the community. Color guards are a GREAT community relations tool.
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Kayll'b
Recruit

Posts: 36
Unit: PCR-WA-080

« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2019, 03:21:48 AM »

It sounds to me that your problem isn't recruiting; it's retention.

Retention isn't about keeping cadets, it's about having a reason for the squadron; if cadets feel their meetings are pointless of course they are going to leave.
One of the best ways to do this is to get your cadets involved in wing and other activities. As well as bringing back ideas from wing.

This will result in happier, and more excited cadets, which then results in cadets enthusiastically urging their friends to join CAP.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 05:55:37 AM by Kayll'b » Report to moderator   Logged
SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,653
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2019, 03:30:06 AM »

It sounds to me that your problem isn't recruiting; it's retention.

Retention isn't about keeping cadets, it's about having a reason for the squadron; if cadets feel their meetings are pointless of course they are going to leave.
One of the best ways to do this is to get your cadets involved in wing and other activities. As well as bringing back ideas from wing.

This will result in happier, and more exited excited cadets, which then results in cadets enthusiastically urging their friends to join CAP.

FTFY.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
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