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State Advocate 2019 - 2020

Picture of State Advocate

Tom Williams

January 2020

Brother Knights,

Welcome to the second half of the fraternal year! I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season, sharing good times with friends and family. Now that you are refreshed, let’s hit the next six months with enthusiasm and purpose!

This month we will talk about the need for your Council to have a retention committee. Too often we think of retention as the last bitter task of suspending members from the Council when we lose track of them. I want to change your view of retention to be an ongoing process that starts on day 1 with a member. Think of retention as the building of a personal relationship with your members, getting them actively engaged in your Council activities and programs. Once you have a new Knight engaged with his Council, making friends and feeling like he is making a difference, then you are much less likely to have that man become distant from the Council.

The retention process for a new member should start on the day they join the Knights – assign them a mentor to help them. The mentor should attend their Initiation Degree, and take them to their first Council meeting, introducing them to the officers and members. The mentor can answer any questions the new man might have, and help them pick a project work on (ideally, the mentor would work the same project).

Understand the reasons why a man decided to join the Knights, and tailor his experience to meet those needs. If we understand their motivation and get them involved in an area of interest, they will feel part of the Council sooner and be able to contribute. Using the member interest survey form can be a great help here to identify opportunities.

The mentor and Council should make sure the new member knows (and has a ride if needed!) to the next Degrees; men who achieve full Knighthood are much more likely to stay in the Knights and be invested in their Councils. Ideally, the mentor would sponsor the man for the subsequent degrees.

Constant communication from the mentor and the Council will keep the new member informed and feeling like part of the team. Monthly Council newsletters, emails or a Council website that is updated regularly play a key role. It is hard to over-communicate to a new man, so please have a variety of communication channels available to your Council.

If you follow this process, you have a great chance of developing your new members in Council stalwarts and keeping them happy and active. Remember, this process can also work with members who have fallen away, assigning a mentor to them who can rejuvenate a man’s love of the Knights by helping him get involved again in something that is meaningful and fulfilling.

Having a Council retention committee is also key to keeping members happy and active, and serves as the support structure for the Council. A retention chairman should be assigned, and generally have at least one retention committee member per 10 Knights. Ideally, all three Trustees would be involved.

The retention committee should meet once per month, to review members and see if there is a need to reach out to someone. Keeping track of members participation in Council meetings and activities can be a good way to see if someone needs some help. Please DO NOT use this in a punitive manner to badger someone to be more active! This process can help identify someone who was formerly active but has not been seen for months, who should get a phone call or visit to see if there is anything the Council can do to help. It can also be used to help track new members participation to see if they are fitting in.

The retention committee should spend equal amounts of their time on member reviews, delinquencies and creating an action plan. If there is a need to reach out, the committee members handle that with the goal of keeping members engaged and happy. Be proactive so that we don’t get to the place where we need to consider suspensions.

Unfortunately, there may come a time when one of our members requires a suspension. If you come to this time, you must follow the WSC Retention Process guidelines, which can be found on the state website: The second page of this document outlines the process that must be followed for a suspension to be considered by the State Deputy. If you do not follow this process, then you likely will be denied the suspension. If you have questions, please reach out to the State Retention Chairman Darren Parsons, State Forms & Administration Chairman Kevin Fraley or myself, we will be happy to help you understand and follow the process.

Remember, retention starts on day one and has the goal of getting new members involved and active in the Council. Assigning a mentor who can perform introductions and help guide them in the Council ways will go a long way. We need to put in this effort to ensure that a new member will be a Knight for a long time to come.


Vivat Jesus!




Thomas C. Williams

State Advocate