by Ed Gurowitz
Up until 1998, MKP USA was a training-driven organization. That is, most of our revenue came from trainings, mainly NWTAs, and our work was filling trainings.
The Stanford ACT II study blamed the decline in the organization’s viability on its being training-driven and recommended a shift to being a membership organization. This change entailed more than a change of revenue sources – it required a change in our culture. You see, in a training-driven organization, all the accountability is one-way – from the organization to the trainees and those who are finding new trainees to fill the trainings. I worked for a training-driven organization first as a volunteer and then as an executive and trainer from 1978 to 1991, so I’m intimately familiar with the culture of a training-driven organization. In that particular organization, the week’s enrollment books closed on Fridays at 6 pm, and the last-minute rush to meet quotas gave rise to the cry of “two by six” to stand for the frenzy to get those last two enrollments.
As I imagine you have, I’ve also volunteered for, worked for, and been on board and committees for membership-driven organizations. In a membership-driven organization, the accountability is two-way – the organization, including volunteers, staff, and governance (board) is responsible to the members to provide quality service and programs that meet the members’ wants and needs and the members are responsible for the viability of the organization through enrolling new members, fund-raising, donation, and participation.
A great example of a membership-driven organization is the Sierra Club, which claims 2.4 million members and supporters. I’ve worked with the Sierra Club Board and executive staff and in the process got a pretty good view of the organization. People join the Sierra Club for any amount (recommendations start at $15) – some give $1000 a year or more – because they support the mission of the Club:
- To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth;
- To practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources;
- To educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment;
- and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.
While I don’t know this for a fact, I think it’s reasonable to assume that one or more parts of this mission resonate with their personal mission, and their membership in the Club, regardless of their level of involvement in the Club’s activities, is an expression of their alignment with and support of the Club’s mission.
The purpose of MKP is to create a safer world by growing “better” men. We do this by training men and supporting them in circles. Chances are you did the NWTA and have participated in men’s work because this mission resonates with your personal mission. If you’re a member of MKP USA (which means you’ve paid and continue to pay some amount from $1 up for dues), your membership is an expression of your alignment and support of this mission. If you’re not a member, this is what membership means, and I invite you to step up and go public with your alignment with MKP’s mission. As we’re heard recently, we’re stronger together.