Note: The above video has a little NSFW language.
When the only criteria for becoming part of your guild is to press the Accept button, your guild is bound to have some issues.
Dear Drama Mamas,Drama Mama Robin: Hi Glum. I think your best choice is to rebrand and refocus. I've taken a look at your guild's website and I can see a problem here and there. First of all, the goal of your guild is to help one another level and play. You don't have a real focus, such as PvP or normal-mode raiding. Even if all you want to do is group up for leveling dungeons, that should be your main focus.
I'm trying to grow our guild but nothing seems to work; I'm wondering if its me or its time to close up shop. Our guild (The Laundromat @ Shu'Halo) started 18 months ago and I tried to follow best practices for a new guild. I set up a website (laundromat.enjin.com), clearly written expectations, rank structure, a well stocked bank, set up 5-6 events a week in some cases, scavenger hunts, made trivia contests, created a welcome machinima, wrote 15 episodes of lore and more. In spite of all this, I can't seem to find people available or interested in participating.
My question is -- what else can/should I do? Sit at the feet of a successful guild to observe, ask for criticism, rebrand and refocus, change servers or close down the guild and take up turnip farming?
One Glum Goblin
You seem to have a lot of members. Are they mostly just doing their own thing and sometimes chatting in guildchat? You call your guild a social one, and that tends to be what a social guild does.
You also have a few negative things in your rules. For example, you say "You don't have the right to complain unless ..." Your guildies should feel like they have a voice in what happens to the guild, otherwise why stay? You may want to go through your rules and clean them up to be more positive.
But what I think it all comes down to is your method of recruitment. You are using an add-on. You say on your site that the community appreciates this, but I speak for a large part of the community (readers, let me know if I'm wrong) when I say that those guild invite add-ons are annoying. Even if you give a whisper along with the auto-invite, it's still an auto-invite while we're trying to go about our business on new or otherwise unguilded characters.
Just inviting anyone without a guildtag is going to get you a bunch of people who are just guilded for the perks. They aren't going to participate or even talk much. In our Drama Mamas guides, we usually recommend not joining these types of so-called friendly, social guilds that recruit everyone specifically because of the lack of camaraderie and focus those guilds have. Hence your problem.
Good ways to recruit are using the in-game guild recruitment tool and advertising on your server's forum. My favorite way to recruit is to invite people you PuG with who turn out to be good players. This will become much easier once Connected Realms is rolled out, of course.
If you change your focus and start recruiting only those players who have the same goals and similar schedules to yours, then you will find that your guild will participate far more in the activities planned for them. I'd wait to ramp up the recruitment when patch 5.4 hits, as there will be more people returning to the game at that time.
Good luck in turning your guild into the guild you want it to be.
Drama Mama Lisa: This is a matter of focus, Glum. If your goal is to help one another level and play, you must actively create opportunities to do so!
- If nothing else, create a standing meetup time when most of your members are typically online. You want members to know that if they want to run some instances or get help with a big quest step, they can count on finding guildmates who are ready for action at 8:00 server time every evening (or whenever is peak time for your group).
- Actively organize groups. You and your officers (you do have willing, working officers, right?) need to actively facilitate getting everyone who logs in to play at meetup time into a group or activity whenever possible.
- Regularly schedule activities at various level ranges. Make sure members know where to find the information and how to sign up.
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.