Sr Capella writes about how they retain people in their region.
The Question of Retention – Thelema RVA, July 2017
What works in one group might work in another group. Therefore, feel free to use what works for you and discard what you feel does not.
- Retention seems to be a formula equal to the number of people we reach x a factor of willingness x a factor of ability.
We review who we have not retained in order to understand what we need to do differently. So we looked at feedback from those who have departed or become inactive. We found the following:
- About 50% of people who did not continue to come around were “Not Free” (e.g. not able to come due to distance, relocation, schedule, family, relocation, family/dependent intervention, car trouble or busy with school/work/family or a personal ordeal)
- The rest were a combination of the following (mostly Not Willing):
- Trouble Working in Groups (as a result of mental health issues and/or personal prejudices)
- False Expectations (they did not find what they were looking for either due to a misunderstanding of Thelema or Crowley, or assuming an “anything goes” environment, assuming someone other than themselves is responsible for their learning or progress or assuming magick does not work because they did something once and it failed.)
- OTO Grand Lodge FAQ – reviewed with all joiners. Reviewing this singular document up-front has nearly eliminated misunderstandings.
- Thelema RVA House Rules – reviewed with all joiners. Since implementation, there has been a much lower instance of behavioral issues.
- Education Committee’s Classes on “Thelema Basics” and “Thelema Ethics” taught to all newcomers as one of their first classes. This has been another key to reduce misunderstandings.
- Crowley info added to our website. This has helped with untangling individuals from misinformation they have received elsewhere. Hoping this will also help members manage any issues with misinformed intervening family members.
- “Ticket System” employed whereby joiners are given a menu of classes on color-coded Tickets to choose from. In so doing, the approach became one of Self-Direction. Note: Members can also choose from non-Ticket items if the topic is appropriate.
- Have Members take turns running the business meeting thereby deciding what goes on the calendar for the upcoming month. This is another approach to Self-Direction.
- Do some Daily Ritual at every meeting. (Will, LBRP, Resh…) When folks say that the magick does not work, I say “are you doing your daily rituals?”…the issue here is with the proficiency of magician, not with the magick.
To correct Trouble Working In Groups (Much Improved)
- The House Rules (6 Items) found in our Program Guide clarify acceptable behavior as well as outline the corrective action options employed in cases of an infraction.
- Participation Guide clarifies schedule flexibility which may be needed as folks work through people-issues.
- Keep a flow of communication open in order to receive the sage wisdom of others: Kaaba info, Mentor, other body masters, etc.. Problem-solve.
- The Education Committee’s Class on “Thelema Ethics” class has helped tremendously in this area.
- Keeping an open dialogue with members and ask them what is bothering them and ask them if they think the issue is themselves or the other person. Encouraging a little healthy introspection is always good.
- Personal Alchemy classes help with driving the focus towards introspection / internal locus of control.
Various Forms of “Not Free” (Work-In-Progress)
- The Personal Alchemy classes are what helped me through my ordeals, and may help others bounce back from a hit in their life (in the category of relationship, job, health issues, etc.). (As per the Book of the Law the ordeals are unwritten and the gross must pass through fire).
- Referring individuals to OTO Bodies or Thelema Groups near them is a Distance Option.
- OTO US GL correspondence@ email is another Distance Option.
- By Appointment Option for Saturday 1:1 classes if they cannot make Monday night class.
- OFF-SITE SELF-ORGANIZE & SELF-FACILITATE OPTION is available for folks who want to step up and teach a class or facilitate a discussion, activity or social on dates & times other than the Monday night class.
- The Participation Guide has helped folks understand they can come and go as they please and show on a weekly basis, monthly basis or drop-in basis. They can also pursue the OTO degrees on an annual basis, which is ideal for some folks who are just too busy with their lives to commit to much else.
Written by Sr Capella
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U.S. Grand Lodge or of O.T.O.