Retaining a council starts at its inception. A well-formed council, with guidance from the State Council and the District Deputy, goes a long way to keeping a council active and vibrant. When a council lacks guidance, it will most likely encounter problems. There are multiple aspects of maintaining an active council:

  1. Conduct an orientation of the Officers’ Duties (Use the video, “Those Who Serve.”)
    a) Find this video at under the tab “Instructional” then scroll to the last video.
  2. Train key officers on how to conduct their job. The officers are:
    1. Grand Knight (Grand Knight training video available using the same link and instructions above.)
      1. How to run an effective meeting.
    2. Financial Secretary (Financial Secretary training video available using the same link and instructions above.)
      1. The duties and responsibilities of the Financial Secretary, including and not limited to the use of the FSPC.
      2. The correct 1845 procedures.
      3. All the forms that are the responsibility of the Financial Secretary.
    3. Treasurer
      1. How to open and maintain an account.
      2. How to keep accurate records.

D. Recorder
i. How to take notes during the meeting.
ii. How to use the Recorder Minute Book.

E. Trustees
i. Teach them to help oversee the well-being of the council and how to conduct an audit.
ii. Duties of a Trustee as noted in the REFERENCE Section of the Grand Knights Handbook (Form 915).

F. Membership Director
i. How to work closely with the Financial Secretary on membership issues.
ii. How to Schedule Admission Degrees for new members.
iii. How to appoint, with the help of the Grand Knight, the following:
(1) Admission Committee
(2) Retention Committee
(3) Recruiting Committee

G. Program Director (“Surge…With Service” training video available using the same link and instructions above.)

  1. How to identify members that will conduct council programs.
  2. How to help the Grand Knight prepare a planning meeting for the fraternal year.
  3. How to make sure that there are enough programs to attract potential new members to join the council.
  4. Teach him to work closely with the Membership Director and admission committee to identify the programming interest of new members.

3) Admission Committee

  1. Use some of the many Membership videos at
  2. How to effectively screen potential members, include Parish Pastor or Council Chaplain.
  3. How to make sure that a member interest survey or anything similar is filled out and signed by the member as a commitment to his participation.
  4. How to carefully match the potential member with an officer, a director, or the proposer to help him continue along the way to his full knighthood.

When a council begins showing signs of trouble, the District Deputy is the first line of defense to keep the council from becoming suspended.

  • The District Deputy needs to make sure that he is in constant communication with the Grand Knight.
  • During each quarter he must attend at least one council meeting or more.
  • Observe the behavior and demeanor of the officers.
  • Must attend the state organizational and state mid-year meeting to keep abreast of all the new programs that the state council and supreme are promoting.
  • Should conduct at least two district meetings a year. In addition, he should not be afraid to solicit help from the state council.


Signs of Trouble

The following is a partial list of the signs that a council is experiencing difficulty:

  • No one is willing to take office.
  • They are getting behind on paying their per capita for state and supreme.
  • No quorum for their meeting.
  • Few programs are being conducted.
  • No new members.
  • Indifference amongst members.
  • Not supporting the parish or the Pastor.
  • Form 1295 Semi Annual Audit – Schedule C
    1. Large number on the Assets line, “Due from ________(number) members”
  • Not completing some or all of these required forms #185, #365, #1295, & #1728.


When one or more of these signs appear, the District Deputy and the State Council need to start taking measures to help the council. Always, try to involve the Pastor in resolving issues in the council.

Remember, by recognizing the warning signs of a council in trouble and acting upon them, the efforts to retain a council will keep our Order strong and growing into the future.

TW Starkweather
State Membership & Council Retention Chairman