Sunday, November 24, 2019

(238) Tapping the Tremendous Potential of the 80% of Members Who Contribute Little in a Volunteer Group


Grand Knight Tyler Reynolds and Paul Sebastian Delivering His Acceptance Remarks

      Today, I was recognized by my Knights of Columbus Council 3335 as “Knight of the Year”.  In my acceptance talk, I brought out problems specific to our Council, yet common among all volunteer groups……..local churches, Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, Elks, etc.  

       Very applicable is the Pareto Principle or in other words, the "Law of the Vital Few".  That is, 20% of the members do 80% of the work.  In that 80% of the membership who are rather inactive and do little, there is a tremendous potential to be tapped.  I addressed that issue in my acceptance talk and offered a suggestion to better utilize the 80%.

       There are many who don’t like to attend meetings, but are willing to work.  Then ask them for their help when work is to be done.  The point is to get the 80% involved in one way or another even if it’s occasional.

        The text of the acceptance talk with some additions is as follows.   

Knights of Columbus Council 3335 
St. Louis Church Gallipolis, Ohio 
November 24, 2019

       I am deeply honored by this recognition.  Thank you so much for this honor.     I tried to tell the guys that there are others more worthy and I recommended one.  But those boneheads wouldn’t listen.

       This award really is no big deal for an old fogie like me because I’m retired and have an empty nest.  I should do more as long as the Lord gives me the health and strength to do so.  Many guys work full time and have young kids at home.  Yet they make great contributions to our council and the parish.  I could never do what they do when I was working full time and had a full nest of four kids.

       You know what?  I feel guilty about receiving this award because I’m not sure if I have my priorities straight.  Our first priority must be God which begins with Mass attendance every single Sunday as a bare minimum.  Second is family.  Third is job; and fourth is volunteer work, that is charity.  Dead last if time allows are hobbies, tv, watching sports, pleasure, etc.   I tried to do it all and fell behind with things at home, taxing the patience of my wife.  I’ve struggled with maintaining that balance.  Thus I paid a price for this award.

       You know?  Our Knights of Columbus Council can do so much more for our parish and for our community.  We can be a real force for the renewal of our parish, to make it a dynamic parish, a solid parish family, a contagious environment for spiritual growth, a stronger community of love where people care about each other and help each other more.

       WE CAN DO IT, if each member would do just a little bit more.  Yes, there’s family and job obligations that cannot be neglected.  But if we really want to do a little more, we can.  Too often we have the attitude:  “Let George do it.”  Guess what?  You’re George!  Because of that attitude, we no longer have a monthly breakfast.  All we can give you today is coffee and donuts.  It’s discouraging when only a small fraction of our membership (about 20% sometimes less) show up for monthly meetings.
       Let me propose a way WE CAN DO SO MUCH MORE.  Members of the 80% who do little, come to a meeting once in a while and specialize in SOMETHING.  Mike Ours can’t attend meetings, but once a year he mobilizes his family to do a tremendous job with the Giving Tree.  That combines faith, family, and charity.  That teaches the virtue of charity to his kids.  Every October Tim Stapleton and his extended family put together a fabulous Family Fest of faith, fellowship, and a lot of fun for young and old.  They even built a chapel, confiding that people will come and they did.  

     Allen White mobilized his son and nephew to work on the annual Coats For Kids campaign.  Mike Haas specializes in maintenance and needs help.  I specialize in writing the newsletter and bulletin inserts.  Jim Ryan specializes in organizing the Free Throw Competition for the developmentally handicapped.  

    Even though Oscar Bastiani uses a walker to make it to Sunday Mass and meetings, he is in charge of our two raffle ticket fund raisers for charity and youth scholarships.  He is currently in the hospital.  Even the bed ridden and shut-ins are most valuable as they pray and offer up their aches and pains as dynamic prayers for the Knights of Columbus.  St. Mother Theresa attributed much of the success of her nuns to an army of invalids or “other persons”.  Each one is assigned to a particular nun for whom s/he prays and offers his or her sufferings.  Every single knight is most valuable and can contribute something.  
     We urgently need a couple of teams to specialize in the monthly parish breakfast to bring the parish together as a solid community.  Each team would work every other month.  Some of our offices take a lot of time, especially the Grand Knight (Tyler Reynolds), Financial Secretary (Keith Elliott), and Treasurer (Josh Davison).     

       Let’s do our part, each one of us.  The old guys can’t do it all.  We need the energy and innovative ideas of the young guys.  May every Knight step up and may new guys join us with fresh blood and fresh ideas.  Then we will become a great force for good in the parish.  Thank you so much.

Appendix - McDonald, Mark “Why 20 percent do 80 percent — and how to fix it”.

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