Difficult problem to address [How to modify rules to retain/increase club membership]

I belong to a local club that has been experiencing a long term problem of less desirable patrons running off more desirable patrons. A lot of the problems revolve around males being overly aggressive and flirtatious with the females, sometimes its the females doing the reverse and part of it is just obnoxious people who talk too much and bother other people. The current management acknowledges this but feels most of them are staying very close to the line without crossing it. The club membership has dwindled to the point of not being able to fill volunteer positions and board positions are a struggle to fill as well. Financially they have only remained solvent because the landlord has cut the rent in half for the past several years so they are being subsidized.

 How the problem affects me. The current building we might be loosing soon or at the very least the rent will likely double. If the rent were to double the foundation which I am in charge of could subsidize the existing club as it is for a few years and then our fund would be broke.  The only hope for survival we have is to increase membership. Unless the problems I described above can be solved I don't see an increase in membership happening. 

  Looking for suggestions on how to best deal with this. How direct can the rules be before they start to violate unwritten rules respecting the club members? The main offenders are only really a handful of members. 

  I feel if we can't solve this problem we don't have a successful business model to build on.

You need to provide more details about the club.

 Not sure I feel comfortable doing that. The club is open to anyone, they hold meetings and have a coffee shop area and small out door area to socialize. Coffee shop is one large table so not much room to get away from people. More space would solve part of the problem. We don't discriminate socially or any other way so an extremely diverse group would be our goal. I know most clubs like this tend to gravitate one way or the other and seldom wind up as diverse as we would hope to see. I am attempting to change this.

Add a complaints system. Two complaints and a person receives a warning. Three and they’ll be asked to not come any more. Make sure that everyone is aware of this rule at the start of every single meeting, and state a few examples of the sort of behavior that is liable to make a person complain.

If your club is still mostly composed of decent people, you could also do a one time “drain the swamp” initiative and ask everyone to provide you a list of people that they like to see when they come and a list of people who they don’t. Though, this would pretty clearly be an initiative to ax the problem makers. So unless it’s widely known/believed that there is an issue, this might not be politically feasible.

The first rule of the club is you do not talk about the club

This is the approach I favor, a little more direct.

Sad to say, it may be that you have left it too late. The people who have left are likely going to be very difficult to persuade to return.

This is my feeling as well, I feel the energy should go into creating a new club, with a new name and start off with better more enforceable codes of conduct. Just based on some poling I have done the general vicinity (6 mile radius) could reasonably attract up to 1,000 members as opposed to its current aging membership of 100. The foundation funds I have only stipulate that we make sure a facility in this area is available to people who need it. Not necessarily the wishes of the current club. As it stands we are not representing those who need it, for some reason I am getting a lot of flack on this.

I remember reading one thread on this board where a member to a gamer club was having a similar situation as the OP. Basically, the men folk were running off the women with their stupid talk.

I have no idea how to search for said thread, but it might have some helpful input if you can find it.

This sad tale reminds me of how disgruntled Stone Cutters formed the Ancient Mystic Society of No Homers.

Call a general meeting - invite members to discuss why they think the club is failing, and what they think should be done about it.

There’s a fair chance the problem males will say "we need to attract more female members’, and you then have the beginning of a dialogue on the sorts of changes that will be necessary to make that happen.

Meeting are held monthly, no one ever shows up.

Do you serve refreshments? Maybe some donuts will bring them around.

I edited the title to provide more detail. HoneyBadgerDC, please try to use more descriptive thread titles. Thanks.

Meetings are not held monthly then.

Dunno. It does start to sound like it may be too far gone. IMO, the only very effective way to get a body whose members are there voluntarily to adopt and adhere to a set of guiding principles is if they write most of it themselves (steered toward sanity as necessary).

Is this the type of club where it would be difficult to find another venue, for either the current version of the club or a new offshoot?

I can speak as someone who had to kick someone out of a Toastmaster club.

Bill* was a Toastmaster going back decades. I’m sure back in the day he was quite the speaker. When I joined three years ago he was dealing with Alzheimer’s and wore a patch as treatment. (He was well enough to drive some distance for the meetings, so I’m not sure how far along he was.)

In my second year I became VP of Public Relations for the club, and sadly, Bill was becoming more and more disruptive. The first time I evaluated a speech was one of his, and it was a confusing ramblefest with a topping of non sequiturs. I was horrified and dragged the president of the club out into the hallway to ask for her guidance. She knew how horrible a speech it was (everyone did) and told me to be honest. That was my first lesson, under fire, in evaluating a bad speech.

He would get up in the middle of the meeting and interrupt whoever was speaking with some lame joke. His evaluations were worthless. He would argue Toastmaster club rules, confusing new members. The final straw was when he stood up and asked a new young lady, rather shy, if she was sleeping with the guest she brought. The young lady never returned.

At the officer meeting I mentioned the elephant in the room, and the President of the club and I arranged to meet with Bill to tell him he needed to resign from the club. Other members had spoken to Bill privately about his behavior to no avail. The other officers were conveniently busy with other things, and I wasn’t going to make the president do this on his own.

It was awkward but Bill agreed to resign. We told the rest of the club Bill left for health reasons but most people knew. I learned later he’d called some other members, bashing me and the president, and only one member cared enough to ask me my side of the story. We have since grown as a club, becoming a vibrant resource for learning and development in the community.

Basically, you have to stand up and get rid of the rot. Depending on how widespread the rot is, you may have no choice but to ditch the club and start anew.

*Not his real name.

I don’t belong to any “clubs”, but I frequent several bars.

Obnoxious people are thrown out and told not to return.

Well that is the problem with “diversity”.

This was brought up on another discussion that the opposite of diversity is community and you often can NOT have both. So your once close community, has been brought down by bringing in lots of other people. Some of whom dont go well with the old rules.

Best bet then is to go back and create community. New members would have to be vetted.

You weren’t lying. He did.