Note from the author: We are producing this series of articles with the end goal of education fellow Protestants as to the benefits of joining the order.
Firstly if you haven’t read the first article then take the time to read the article at (http://brch.me/op91)
From the feedback we have received it appears that attracting new members, especially younger members is not only a problem in New Zealand, but is occurring elsewhere as well.
We are publishing this series of articles in the hope that sisters and brethren outside of New Zealand will contribute ideas to our goal of attracting the younger generation.
As stated in the first article (http://brch.me/op91), New Zealand is a secular country and the younger generation don’t have the same incentive to join the order as still exists in the other English speaking countries of UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
Interest in regard to religion in general is declining rapidly across the whole population in New Zealand. The last census in 2013 recorded only 7.44% of the population identified themselves as Protestants, down from 16.4% in the 1991 census. The figures for people declaring themselves Christian was 48.99%, down from 60% in the 2001 census. Also, 50.82% classified themselves as having no religion, the first time it exceeded 50%.
The end result of this trend is that the interest from the younger generation in the orange order is almost non-existent, even the children of current members are not making the commitment.
So What Does Interest the Younger Generation?
The Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2017 surveyed 8,000 millennials (born after 1982) across 30 countries and came to these conclusions:
- In the developed countries only 36% of millennials predict they will be better off that their parents and 31% say they will be happier
- They feel that it’s only through the workplace that they can feel most able to make an impact with “good causes” at the local level.
- They have a general lack of optimism regarding economic and social progress
- Many millennials feel unable to exert any meaningful influence on some of society’s biggest challenges, but that mainly only comes from initiates setup by businesses.
- 77% have involved themselves with “good causes” and not-for-profit organisations and this helps them feel empowered and able to influence the world around them
- A total of40% are following or taking an active interest, but only via social media
- 30% have taken an active volunteer/organiser
- 30% have supported these organisations by becoming members
- And 23% have raised money by sponsorships, organising collections or other means
- Millenniums consider themselves “super connected” to social media and have strong information and technology skills
- Millennials realise that they don’t have the softer skills such as socialising and mixing because of their connected social media interactions
What conclusion can be drawn from this?
The most obvious is that the younger generation prefer to mainly communicate via “SoMoVid” (social media, mobile and video). We are living in a “mobile-on-demand” world where YouTube and its ilk have replaced traditional family evenings around the TV set.
With only 36% of millennials predicting they will be better off that their parents and only 31% saying they will be happier than their parents why would they follow in their parent’s footsteps? (Such as joining the order. It’s no wonder it’s a non-starter).
Yet 77% of this group is keen to be involved with “good causes” and not-for-profit organisations.
And of that 77%, there are 30% who have committed to become members, so there is hope if our targeting is focused on this particular group.
That implies that our current approach to the younger generation is wrong!
Currently we “sell” the order based on its principles, lodge work and fellowship within the order.
This new generation don’t have these values and the message we present is not in a “SoMoVid” form (social media, mobile & video).
The New Zealand Order has made a commitment since the end of 2013 to get into social media and have an online presence. Our progress and plans in expanding this will be covered in the next article in this series.
To wrap up this article.
Your comments you provide will help us in planning and creating a story relevant to the younger generation and presented as a video series which we will publish on our YouTube channel and then promote within New Zealand. We are trying to condense the Order’s history down to the key points and outline its future in a manner relevant to the interests of the younger generation. In case you missed it, here is the link to the previous article (http://brch.me/op91)
Next Article is http://brch.me/op93