In 2018 clubs have changed rapidly. Everything from getting rid of rules that determined what kind of bike you needed to join, to the Internet being used as a recruiting tool. The whole structure of the motorcycle club has evolved into something that usually puts people in two camps. Protocol Believers and Non-Protocol Believers. If you’re ever on social media you can see this playing out like your daily soap program on CBS. Today let’s focus on one area that drives a lot of Protocol Believers absolutely insane. That’s the use of the internet for recruitment.
I’ve gotten hundreds upon hundreds of emails on this subject. I can bet you, even though I do this article, I will get a hundred more. So let me state my position right here on the subject in hopes of avoiding an inbox full of these emails again. Afterall, this is a subject no matter what will keep raging for many years to come.
Is the internet a tool for clubs to recruit? Yes, if used correctly. What do you mean by that Hollywood? Already got the first question that I would get out of the way lol. No seriously, the internet is a good tool for recruitment, but like I just said, it has to be used correctly and with caution. Where clubs go wrong using it, and where the bitches come into play, clubs will start up a chapter or patch in an individual without even knowing the guy or guys they are patching into their club. That’s not a damned brotherhood, that’s a pyramid scheme.
If you’re riding as a 3 pc or traditional club who wants to expand and grow, use the internet to your advantage, but be damn smart in doing it. I’m xyz motorcycle club. I get contacted by someone claiming to have 6 guys wanting to start a chapter of the club. Great, an opportunity to expand the club into another region of the country. Here are the steps I would take to facilitate that lead.
1. Take time to talk with the person, doing some video chats via Skype. But always remember to give the bare minimum of information about the club. You do not know this person, he’s an individual who contacted you over the internet, keep that in mind.
2. Be straight up from the beginning with the individual. Before you even go through the process of being granted a chapter or charter, they will have to come meet up with the club in person, have a sit-down so you can gauge them.
3. Hang around period, again let me repeat that word, hang around period. Do not ever just grant a chapter to six or whatever number the guys you met over the internet, and now met once in person. Just as an individual wanting to join a club, a whole potential chapter should go through this period. The hang around period should least be a minimum of 6 months, ideally at least a year. Why so long? It enables your club to gauge the level of commitment of the potential chapter. Will they follow your clubs bylaws? Will they get a clubhouse up and running during the hang around period? Commitment is everything, especially when you have clubs out there that will throw a patch at anyone. This has truly been the case with some foreign clubs wishing to get a foothold in the USA.
4. Prospect Period- This is the period that is most crucial. If a potential chapter sticks out the hang around period, (Which I can bet, 98% will not because there are other clubs that will grant patched status right on spot) prospecting the potential chapter is where the rubber hits the road. This stage again should be a minimum of 6 months, but ideally 9 months to a year. Why is it crucial? For one, a potential group of slinging dicks across the country are wearing your rockers, if they can’t make it then you have to send someone out to get your property. Two, this is the time when the chapter will have to prove they can back the patch against other clubs depending on the arrangement or what type of club you are, what side of the fence you ride on, or simply if you’re an independent club with no dog in the show. Will that chapter run at the first sign of trouble? Will that chapter meet all the requirements set out by your club? This is the time that will gauge all those questions.
So that is my position on internet recruitment. It should take at the minimum of 1 1/2 years before the first contact on the internet, to first vote on full chapter or charter status. Oh, before I forget, I’m not one who believes that 2 people make up a charter or chapter. That’s just plain idiotic. If you get that kind of contact, tell them to get with you when they get the 6 guys cause 2 will do your club no good and it’s a waste of your time. Why? Because if its only two people, they do not have the networking base with other clubs or they are outcasts.
That brings me to another point. Personally, I could care less about who was thrown out bad by one club or another wanting to join another club (You can piss on a tree wrong and a club nowadays puts you out bad). But you have to ask yourself if that particular person is worth the hassle. If your club wants to respect tradition, then you will not take other clubs throwaways. But if you sit and talk with the individual, gauge for yourself, get both sides of the story, meaning, talking with his ex-club, then talking with the guy put out on bad, then make that decision based on your own club policies.
Background checks are something so important but disregarded by most clubs. A simple background check can reveal a ton of information on an individual. First and foremost, if the dude is a sex offender. A rat is on the same level as a sex offender. These are the people your club wants to run from (Or have some fun and beat the living hell out of the guy) because they are nothing but human shit. Your club doesn’t want to go through the whole process mentioned above just to find out you missed something so simple. Due diligence, especially with someone found on the internet is a must.
This is just some of my feelings if the club is a 3 pc patch, 99%er or whatever you want to call it. I didn’t mention 1% clubs because I feel if they are truly 1%, they would stay entirely away from internet recruiting. 1% clubs are on a level that shouldn’t require the internet to recruit. And yes, I only view a maximum of 10 clubs as true 1%er clubs, the rest who slap on diamonds are just doing it for the claim to fame in my eyes.
Riding clubs are an organization who can really benefit outright from internet recruiting. If you’re a riding club who gets together and hangs out, goes for rides and wants to network everyone across the country. Then the internet is a great tool for you. Now, this is assuming that you’re running a 1 piece patch and not a 2 or 3 piece. Yes, there are riding clubs that wear the 2 or 3 piece style before I get those emails.
Personally, believe it or not, I prefer hanging out with riding clubs nowadays. I did my time in the clubs, got my fill of the lifestyle, but I like the independence I enjoy, without the worries of looking over my shoulder or dealing with clubs politics. That doesn’t mean I don’t support clubs, I’ll support them until my last breath, but right now riding clubs are my preference. Notice how I have to answer the question before the email is even sent lol.
In closing, the internet is a powerful recruiting tool if used correctly. But the internet should never substitute common sense when growing your club. The time-honored traditions of the Hang around and Prospect time will save you a ton of headaches, just as it has for over 50 years with the building of some of the biggest and strongest clubs in the world. If it worked to grow the big 5 clubs, then hang around and prospect traditions will do the same for yours. Don’t be in such a rush to grow your club at the cost of looking like fools. The big 5 clubs didn’t grow overnight. They grew over decades. Learn from those clubs while at the same time using the tools available to you. If used right, your club could grow and prosper like no other time in motorcycle club history.
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