The American Mensa election has ended, and I am grateful to be elected another term as your RVC. I want to acknowledge David Fleming of Central Florida Mensa for his candidacy, and look forward to his continued volunteer service in the future.
The level of turnover in the American Mensa Committee (AMC) is smaller than in the last two cycles, with 10 of the 15 members from last term returning, albeit some in new roles, and one appointed officer from last year moving into a voting RVC role. The four new members bring a wealth of experience at both the local and national level, so I am confident the next two years will allow us to continue much of the progress we’ve achieved in the past term.
At the time I submitted this column the agenda for the AMC meeting had not yet been completed, but by the time you read this you will be able to find the agenda and final officer reports from the 2017-2019 term at http://www.us.mensa.org/meetingreports – select 2019-07-04 – Phoenix, AZ.
A few months ago members from Palm Beach Area Mensa mentioned some interest in holding an event to honor our long-term members, who have shown the commitment and dedication to remain with Mensa for the long haul. I looked at the demographics for Region 10 and discovered that over a quarter of our members have been members for over 20 years, with fewer than a third of those registered as Life Members. At first glance this looked like excellent news – having two thirds of our long term members renewing on a regular basis seems to demonstrate a high level of satisfaction.
However, the downside of that equation is that so many of our members lapse after a short period of time. 70 percent of our members lapsed after less than 5 years in the organization.
So one question that must be addressed is: What do the members who remain get from Mensa that those who lapse do not?
A second observation is that a majority of the leadership in Region 10 Local belong to the long-term member set. Could their longevity be linked to their active engagement in Mensa?
For all the suggestions made on how to get newer members involved, one thing is becoming clear – those who have dedicated their time to keeping Local Groups going need help from the rest of the membership. Quite frankly, many of them are getting tired, to the point that at least three local groups have recently been unable to conduct business at their required Executive Committee (ExComm) meetings because they could not convene a quorum. On one hand, it is commendable that one local group has members who have served on their ExComm for over 30 years. On the other hand, that is also frightening, since it’s not clear what would happen to that group if those leaders were to finally retire.
One tool we’ll be rolling out next month is the Volunteer Marketplace, where members can indicate skill sets and interests that they have or would like to develop in order to serve the local groups, so the leaders have a better idea who to approach when opportunities arise, rather than continuing to reach out to the members they already know. There will be a demonstration of the Volunteer Marketplace at the Annual Gathering, and I will have more to tell you after that.
Until next month (or until I see you online),
Thomas George Thomas