Part 4 of Why the Orange Order is struggling in New Zealand

Whats With The Orange Order

In the last 3 articles we have covered the gulf between existing members and the younger population who are needed to preserve and continue the Orange Order in New Zealand.

happy family

The future generation?

The relevant observations identified are:

  • New Zealand is a secular country and religion is no longer a driving force for joining the order.
  • In fact, practicing Protestant numbers are declining.
  • The question for getting younger members to join depends on finding a new incentive that will interest them.
  • Current, ageing members will eventually drive the order to extinction if there is no change.
  • The fact that younger people are not interested in joining appears to be wider issue than just New Zealand.
  • Younger people have different priorities that their parents:
    • 2/3’s think they will be worse off than their parents (buying a house for example is out of reach for most of them).
    • They communicate using mobile, social media and Video, entirely different medium than their parents.
    • In fact the majority of the current members have no interest in social media, another communication gap that widens the gulf.
  • Younger people are concerned with economic and social progress, and area the order has no public policy on, or communication channels dedicated to.
  • The executive of the order in NZ had the foresight to get a website and Facebook page starting 3 years ago but the interest taken by the members is still in a minority.
  • The order is working on expanding these two new communication channels.
  • The order has run various campaigns over the last 30 years attempting to expand the membership but as yet have found no message or incentive that attracts younger members.

In fact the order has a rich and important history that it does not publicise. The effect of King William’s rule resulted in the Industrial Revolution which in turn resulted in the Digital Revolution where our younger generation now live. His actions moved society from an agricultural base to its modern urban based civilisation and much more.

His actions were like dropping a stone into a still pond, the resulting ripples have spread far and wide.

 

How would we talk to someone in the younger generation about the order?

Here is a tongue-in-cheek hypothetical conversation between an existing orange order member and a young person who has neither heard of the order nor interested to find out.

Order member (OM) -> “Have you heard about Prince William of Orange?”

Young Person (YP) -> “No, why!”

(OM) -> “If he hadn’t stepped into the history books you probably wouldn’t be here today, and if you were, in all probability you would be a peasant helping your family survive on a small plot of land that they didn’t own”

(YP) -> “That sounds serious, what did he do?” {At this point this young person is probably typing “Prince William of Orange” into Google on their smart phone}

(OM) -> “He started the process of allowing you to vote for who will govern the country and create laws, your right to live where you want to, and to choose the career you want. Over 300 years ago he founded an army to become King of England and started the ball rolling for all the changes you take for granted today.”

(YP) -> “Cool” {the past has no relevance to their daily life}

(OM) -> “Have you heard of the orange order?”

(YP) -> “Nah, who are they?”

(OM) -> “They started out after the big battle King William won with the aim of supporting and continuing his ideas and stopping religious persecution”

(YP) -> “So what do they do today? What do they stand for? What are they trying to achieve in the future?”

(OM) -> At this point the Orange Order member better have a good story ready, that’s relevant to today’s younger generation, that’s of interest to them because otherwise this young person they are talking to is going to excuse themselves and leave. We have to find an incentive that resonates with them!

We have mentioned early in this series that the Order in New Zealand is inwards-looking by remembering its roots and that is admirable.

But the younger generation as we have shown in past articles are looking for organisations with outward-looking goals, especially towards economic and social progress.

Yes, the order does support other organisations that have these goals through charitable donations but has no goals or aims itself in this area.

Yet that is exactly the thing this new generation is looking for.

 

The order is lacking that public persona that shows it has the concerns of the younger generation at heart.

So to wrap this series of articles up we get back to the most important question, which is “what is the best incentive to present to the younger generation that will attract their interest and enthusiasm?”

Please comment below with your ideas, opinions, agreement, disagreement or whatever you think will further this conversation.

P.S.

In case you missed it, here is the link to the previous articles (http://brch.me/op91 & http://brch.me/op92 and http://brch.me/op93

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