Hosted by the National Recruiting Officer and with some members from the National Executive, Provincial Delegates from around the country and assorted local Moths in attendance, the workshop started with the overarching introduction that the Eligibility issue has been laboured so often over the past 20 years that nothing new could be added. As an organisation geared to Active Service and with the majority of members upholding this basis, we should be seriously concentrating our efforts to seek out (amongst others) those ex-SADF members who are/were eligible for the General Service Medal. There are an estimated 350 000 recipients to this Active Service Campaign award and, while many veterans have already received it, there are many more who have not yet been accorded the honour. It may be noted that there remains an uncertainty regarding the eligibility of the GSM, but the delegation was referred to Circular 2003/56 which very concisely explains this point, and how it applies to Recruitment. (Refer GSO’s Annexure “B” paras 10.2 and 10.3)
Of course, we cannot count on getting every one of those chaps onto our Nominal Rolls. Some have indeed joined up, while others will remain disinterested in the Order. Some are involved in other associations, church affairs, neighbourhood watch, sports clubs, school bodies and so on. Some have left our shores and some have Passed On, but if we were able to recruit just 1% of that total, then we would effectively be doubling our membership.
The National Recruiting Officer has shown that we need to concentrate our recruitment efforts to target the 45 – 60 year-age group and, co-incidentally, this grouping encompasses very nicely the General Service Medal / State of Emergency era. It follows that the chances are that any South African male of that age has likely completed National Service between the ‘80s and early ‘90s and is thus a potential recruit. It can’t be too hard to find them. Each One Reach One!
Much discussion abounded with regard to the Retention of members. Once recruited into the Order, he should feel that he “belongs”, but the statistics indicate a noticeable loss of membership with less than 5 years’ service. Questions regarding reasons for this led to some interesting points being tabled:
~ How do we keep our existing members?
~ What are the successful Shellholes doing that influences retention of membership?
~ What makes those Shellholes “work”?
One point well made was that those successful Units place much emphasis on ACTIVITIES. When a member (new or not) is presented with various happenings such as functions, events, outings, guest speakers and so on at his Shellhole, he invariably gets involved. This led to another range of points made – revolving around “THE FIVE I’s”, viz
We could say, then, that Involvement = Retention, and similarly, Communication = Retention.
Does the MOTH find itself bound by Langauge? Are we perhaps seen as a one-language Group?
The general consensus is that we are fast changing into a bilingual organisation, when once it was considered primarily an English group. The recent Survey also indicated that 41% of new recruits over the past 5 years are, in fact Afrikaans. There are even Shellholes who operate primarily as such.
What about FOURTH Generation veterans? (the post 1994, ex-SANDF forces).
They are younger and thus better positioned to see the Order past the next 3 decades. They are multi-racial, computer-literate and have access to many resources and ideas that we have perhaps not tapped.
However, the general feeling is that we have little chance of bringing this generation (in numbers) into our Fold. Their needs and focus are different to what would be required, and we were informed that the current Reserve Force units are currently involved only within our National borders and without formal Operational/Active Service terms of Conflict.
Delegates were asked to consider a SWOT analysis applicable to their own units and Shellholes. Some points were tabled and others were added by the delegates. A short list is included:-
Established (90 yrs)
Operates independently of Race, Religion or Politics.
Marketing / Recruiting
Communication / Retention
Top-heavy Management Structure
Inadequate Training / Follow-through
Redress all Correct all Weaknesses
Approach other Veteran Groups
Legislation & Politics
Alternate Veteran Groups
The Gathering then fell out to Harmony and much informal comment and discussion followed between the delegates. All things considered, the Workshop was considered to be a success with a number of points made for further discussion back “home”.