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Selecting Members for Your MAG (Mutual Help Group)

MAGs, or “Mutual Help Teams” are standard ideas for preppers who don’t have already got built-in reserves of manpower or backup within the type of massive households stuffed with able-bodied members, or a number of associates within the space who’re of like thoughts.

A MAG is little greater than a bunch of preppers, sometimes with various expertise, sources and benefits to carry to the desk, who voluntarily pledge to assist and assist each other throughout instances of catastrophe or different disaster.

Ideally, it serves as a type of tribe for preppers who don’t have one among their very own already, and this may be an necessary hedge in opposition to a nasty final result each time the chips are down.

However as you might be in all probability anticipating any MAG is just pretty much as good because the sum of its elements, and becoming a member of a MAG that is stuffed with members who’re shifty, unmotivated, duplicitous or simply losers can lead to you being let down within the worst method if you end up counting in your fellow members to drag their weight.

It’d take a couple of unhealthy apple to spoil the bunch, however in MAGs it looks like non-performing members drag everybody else down out of all proportion to their numbers.

In case you are in command of, partially answerable for or a part of a committee answerable for vetting incoming potential members on your MAG, it’s completely important that what to search for in any doable candidate, and that you just display screen them appropriately to weed out the non-starters.

In in the present day’s article I’ll be offering you with suggestions, steering and perception that can assist you select the fitting members on your MAG.

MAG Membership Necessities

Earlier than we are able to delve into what separates good MAG members from unhealthy ones, we first have to know what is anticipated from a MAG member. The reply really varies.

Since a MAG can take many shapes and are available many sizes, it follows that the necessities they’ve of their members will range wildly from one to the subsequent.

Some would possibly solely require that members loosely community and attempt to assist one another the place possible. Others would possibly require a solemn pledge that members will come to the help of different members when requested within the aftermath of a catastrophe or disaster it doesn’t matter what.

Some MAGs will solely need members to assist out with what expertise, instruments and manpower they’ll muster, whereas others may need the real expectation that every one members pool their sources collectively when issues actually go pear-shaped with the intention to greatest survive as a ready-made group in no matter proto-society follows the collapse of our present one.

There isn’t any essentially proper or fallacious reply; since membership in a MAG is voluntary barring some entrance screening by management it’s as much as the group operating the MAG or the collective membership collectively to resolve what is suitable.

However it doesn’t matter what necessities are insisted upon by any given MAG the members will need to have sure innate qualities with the intention to be counted on by their fellows.

Regardless of how unfastened the affiliation, irrespective of how strict the bond, sure folks simply don’t get together with others in any sort of staff endeavor. Others are plainly sluggards or sandbaggers, and can at all times take greater than they put it.

These are your basic parasite varieties that should be averted in any respect price. And nonetheless others are genuinely malicious, preying upon group pursuits and constructions with the intention to pad their very own pantries and their very own pockets. People like this are merely a extra superior type of predator.

Since an in-depth dialogue of the necessities, requirements, and different specifics {that a} MAG ought to or mustn’t require of its members is a completely completely different article or collection of articles, I’ll solely offer perception into what traits and qualities it is best to display screen for as a member of your MAG’s “entrance” board, or because the chief screener.

These are methods, techniques, observations and procedures that I’ve used personally to good impact up to now, and have seen associates do likewise with, so I’m assured they are going to give you the results you want.

Selecting Members for Your MAG

Within the sections beneath I’ll be going into element on a wide range of matters regarding screening candidates that can make it easier to get the cream of the crop on your MAG.

A few of these gadgets will check your observational powers, whereas others are “acid check” methods and methods that may assist type the wheat from the chaff; a number of folks interview effectively, however few can sustain a ruse or present folks what they need to see for prolonged durations, and underneath duress.

1. Admit Slowly, Expel Rapidly

Regardless of how keen you might be to start out rising the ranks of your MAG, don’t be too fast to confess folks underneath any situations, except, in fact, the applicant in query is already an individual that’s effectively inside your circle of belief, and whose high quality has been confirmed time and time once more underneath adversarial situations.

Similar to in enterprise, most individuals are method too fast to let somebody come aboard solely to search out out briefly order that they’ve some evident character flaw, an entire lack of individuals (or different) expertise, are slackers, or exhibit another purple flag conduct or weak point that will have fully preclude you from hiring them within the first place had you seen it.

The identical is true for any group the place gatekeeping is important to keep up a excessive customary of high quality.

The longer you make somebody wait, the extra hoops you make them leap by (as long as they’re cheap, and strikes them incrementally nearer in direction of admittance) the higher.

Time itself is commonly a superb arbitrator of high quality, and can shortly show any defects in relation to impulsiveness, endurance or sense of entitlement; every one among these by itself might be a poison tablet for a possible applicant to your MAG.

And however, as soon as somebody has been admitted into the group don’t be afraid to chop them unfastened on the drop of a hat if they’re nonetheless inside their probationary interval or are in any other case a greenhorn.

Some folks worsen the longer you allow them to dig in, and when you begin noticing detrimental negative effects and different issues as a direct results of permitting somebody into the group, it’s best to do away with them as shortly as doable earlier than they begin to drag down group morale and trigger different points.

Admit slowly, expel shortly!

2. At all times, At all times Do a Background Verify!

These things is so elementary it actually mustn’t want a reminder. I’ve included it right here as a result of there may be extra to doing a background verify then simply getting the report and giving somebody a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down.

Somebody’s response to having a background verify finished on them in a relatively casual setting like a MAG would possibly owe you extra about their character than what the report really says.

As an example, it is best to let any potential member know you’ll be operating a background verify on them (as soon as once more, except they’re somebody that’s already effectively inside your circle of belief).

Folks with nothing to cover mustn’t flinch within the least. Individuals who could have one thing to cover, however are at the very least upright and honorable about their intentions ought to let what it is best to anticipate to see on their background verify.

Lastly, individuals who allow you to run the background verify and uncover their soiled laundry for your self are maybe not one of the best folks to incorporate in a high-trust atmosphere.

An apparent purple flag for any potential joiner is any present of mood tantrum or nice resistance to having their background verify run, or refusing to supply official identification to expedite it.

Word, for the file you don’t essentially must have saints and choir boys in your MAG to ensure that it to perform at a excessive stage reliably.

However it is best to, nonetheless, be very cautious of admitting anyone with a historical past of criminality, as criminals will typically betray group belief to fulfill their very own goals.

This isn’t to say that folks with a felony historical past should not worthy of belief on a person or small, in-group stage, solely that it is best to assume lengthy and laborious earlier than admitting anybody with such anti social traits.

Another tip: make any member pay for their very own background verify. This could not price greater than $20 to $40 relying on the place you reside and what service you utilize to run the verify.

Any member who would object to such a small price is a penny miser and may be very prone to be stingy with different provides sooner or later as effectively. Proceed with warning.

3. Make Them Put Pores and skin in The Recreation.

No member, or potential member, ought to have the ability to profit off the group efforts, the group shops and the group’s help with out first placing pores and skin within the sport.

This implies they need to furnish one thing that’s of use to the group with the intention to present they’re severe about being a part of the group.

The shape this takes is basically depending on what your group requires. It is likely to be a certain quantity of fabric items of some type, it is likely to be labor or another tangible profit like entry to land and even making use of the new-join’s expertise for the advantage of the group.

It’s completely important to filter out folks that aren’t actually severe, individuals who need the sizzle, however don’t need to do what it takes to get the steak.

Everybody can seem as honest, as severe and as switched on as doable proper up till the time they must put within the work, they must sacrifice and so they must be the one to place the staff or group first.

Don’t require one thing so radical that it seems as a rip-off going within the different route, although; they need to not must pay any exorbitant sums of cash to the group kitty, donate half or everything of their very own provides, or transform someone’s home on a promise of membership or as a part of their probation.

It should be cheap, and one thing {that a} cheap particular person would see as a worthy sacrifice in direction of admittance to a bunch that’s price being part of.

4. Expertise or Belongings Required to Be part of

Who it is best to let be a part of and even apply to your MAG is usually a query of what the group is in search of, and what the applicant brings to the desk, be it expertise, belongings or another profit that the group could make use of when the chips are down.

Usually talking, when you simply let anyone in, together with individuals who can not contribute in any significant method irrespective of how “” they’re, you’ll be diluting your group, not strengthening it.

This isn’t to say that each particular person that’s allowed to hitch must be a snake-eating survivalist or bushy wildman pioneer kind.

Most individuals can contribute one thing, and relying on what expertise your group actually desires so as to add to its collective repertoire, somebody who seems to be an unlikely candidate might be a superb recruit.

As an example, in case your group wishes somebody with complete medical expertise, a physician who in any other case lacks bodily fortitude and different fascinating survival-centric belongings is likely to be a superb addition all the identical.

However this doesn’t essentially imply that this particular person with particular or uncommon expertise will get to experience the “gravy practice with biscuit wheels” all the best way to the apocalypse come nigh with out contributing.

Even when they can’t pitch in bodily, financially or in another method till their expertise are wanted, they’ll nonetheless earn their maintain by instructing others the fundamentals of their skill-set.

Within the case of our physician, they’ll train first-aid, CPR and primary trauma care to the group in a collection of courses, for example.

What’s most necessary is that any addition to the group both serves as a severe hedge in opposition to catastrophe ultimately or actively makes the group higher with their contributions.

No freeloaders, no mascots and no hangers-on: all people contributes or they’re out, interval.

5. At all times Think about Exterior Loyalties

This subsequent one could be tough to navigate for even essentially the most well-intentioned MAG.

It’s crucial that each, single member of the MAG be assessed in keeping with not solely their deserves and what they’ll carry to the group, but in addition what loyalties which are exterior to the group would possibly have an effect on their operation and contribution to the group.

Failing to account for this would possibly see your MAG disadvantaged of members simply when they’re wanted essentially the most, as the person in query rushes to deal with themselves and their dependents or different obligations.

As an example, virtually everybody has members of the family, at the very least a number of, that they’re prone to drop every little thing for when and if they’re imperiled.

If catastrophe strikes and you might be relying on someone to be there for the group, however they’re taking off throughout the wild blue yonder to go discover their dad and mom, uncle, sibling or whomever you may scratch them off the record for the length.

One other chance that would compromise a person within the MAG is job necessities. Particularly, the sort the place they’ve sworn an oath to do their responsibility or to push a publish when referred to as upon.

People who’re cops, firefighters, members of the standing navy or the Nationwide Guard, and different civil service associated professions are extremely prone to be referred to as in when catastrophe strikes.

This can be a disgrace, as a result of, in any other case, they sometimes carry expertise and connections which are of nice use to your MAG.

One doable method round this conundrum is to make membership contingent on bringing all dependents and members of the family with them for inclusion underneath the group’s umbrella of safety.

This will work, however sometimes solely works effectively on a small scale the place you have got complete households forming the entire of the MAG itself, not a scenario the place in instances of hassle the MAG is anticipated to deal with the memberships’ households who’re beforehand complete unknowns to the group.

This will flip right into a drastic, shocking drain on provides and manpower as is likely to be anticipated, however in long-term eventualities will even introduce method too many variables to deal with in relation to interpersonal dynamics and group battle. Not good.

In an ideal world, the members of the MAG would solely be accountable to and dependent upon different members of the MAG, however you and I each know it is a pipe dream besides within the rarest circumstances.

It is likely to be difficult and even not possible to fully ameliorate, however you might be setting your self up for failure if you don’t at the very least account for these exterior loyalties when admitting a brand new member.

6. Filtering: Strict, Average or Unfastened?

It additionally bears mentioning that it is best to get completely clear in your goal and your requirements from inside the MAG. What sort of group are you? What are you attempting to realize?

What are you attempting to guarantee for all members? How huge do you need to be, or how small? All of those questions and extra should be answered, and would be the prime components that steer your admissions.

In case you are a small, tight-knit clan of survivors, every a veritable one-man-army unto themselves with a long time of expertise cumulatively you’ll in all probability choose to to not let in each Tom, Dick and Harry with a BOB and a bucket; pretenders and laymen are solely going to hamper an elite band like yourselves.

Alternatively, if you’re a unfastened collective of households from a smaller metropolis or rural space already usually dependent upon one another’s kindness and courtesy anyway, you in all probability don’t should be screening everybody utilizing some hardcore entrance protocol; it’s higher simply to get everybody on the identical sheet of music and dedicated to the frequent good.

It’s best to resolve early on and, stay constant together with your entrance protocols. Will you admit solely one of the best of one of the best that may verify each field and exceed each customary at a excessive stage?

Or do you want folks, our bodies, greater than something, and permit in anybody who can at the very least carry one thing to the desk, even when it’s only that one factor?

Or will you be someplace in between, in search of folks with modest expertise and experience who’re dedicated and succesful, however not essentially frothing zealots or good folks?

Perceive that your filtering could change because the group dimension, goal and dynamics change. As soon as your group reaches a sure dimension, chances are you’ll shut admissions besides for under essentially the most needed or distinctive folks.

The alternative could happen after a handful of members depart. At all times make your admissions course of serve the group, not the opposite method round!

7. Construct Rapport to Construct a Workforce

Your MAG ought to at all times be engaged in one thing: Tasks that can serve the group curiosity, assist particular person members, present coaching, follow, or another optimistic final result.

Something that will get the group collectively, and dealing collectively for a typical aim is to be carried out as typically as practicable. You must also make it some extent to incorporate any potential or probational be a part of to the group in these actions and don’t delay.

Not solely is that this one of the simplest ways to see how the group will react to the new-join, and the new-join react to them, however it will provide you with maybe essentially the most insightful take a look at how this particular person adapts and works within the staff setting you have got already constructed.

Assuming that issues go effectively, they won’t really feel like they’re caught within the “ready room” of MAG membership; they are going to have seen, felt and contributed to what you might be already doing, and it additionally serves to present them a bit little bit of pores and skin within the sport like we mentioned above.

If the preliminary outing doesn’t go well- stuffed with friction, arguing and normal disagreeable feelings- it’s in all probability a superb indicator that the longer term can be equally rocky with this particular person. Now, that isn’t at all times the case, however it’s a sometimes dependable early warning.

Certain, you shouldn’t choose folks by their worst second on their worst day, however because it simply so occurs to fall on their first severe interplay with the remainder of the group, it’s a unhealthy omen.

8. Recognizing the Faker.

All of us discovered as a lot again in center faculty: No one likes a poser. It should not often fail that your MAG will entice the fallacious sort of folks finally, particularly whether it is publicly or semi-publicly marketed.

These folks sometimes need to placed on some sort of air that they’re in some way “extra” than what they are surely, which is merely a involved citizen attempting to look out for themselves and their fellow man when instances are robust.

You’re in search of folks that have character, not folks that act like characters.

Anyone who appears to have a gimmick, an overemphasis on a sure skillset or attribute, or somebody who’s laying it on just a bit bit too thick within the probationary part is probably going a faker, and somebody it is best to watch intently.

Now, it’s true that they could simply be socially awkward or nervous, and are compensating in one among a number of methods that may come off a bit awkwardly and cringey, however simply as typically as not they’re dwelling out some lesser fantasy with the members of your MAG because the viewers.

At all times be extraordinarily cautious of anybody who is simply too keen to inform tales that inflate their price, revolve round outdated “battle tales” (particularly these that can not be verified), or in any other case discuss of hard-to-believe accounts of issues they’ve finished or locations they’ve been.

One of the best members are at all times those that are quietly content material to contribute and profit from the group with little fanfare or grandiosity, those that banter and joke about such issues in a self-aware method excluded.

9. Group Politics are Downstream of Group Tradition

One sticking level that MAG personnel answerable for admitting new members may need in relation to screening is what, if any, bearing political and social orientation ought to have on the member in query.

On its floor, this will look like an actual briar patch, however in follow, if dealt with accurately, it’s virtually a non-issue.

First issues first, don’t make the first goal of the MAG something to do with politics, social points, or the rest except for members serving to to deal with members, and that broadly means serving to to deal with different folks from in and round your group.

That’s one thing that everybody ought to have the ability to get behind. In case your MAG doesn’t have a mission assertion written in stone, for anybody to learn, that’s certainly going to be an issue.

Expectations should be managed from the phrase go. Some MAGs will function extra charitably, others considerably extra ruthlessly with the well-being of the group and the group members’ households paramount above actually every little thing else.

I’m not judging; I’m solely advocating that you just make certain your MAG has related readability in relation to its mission and goal.

With that finished, politics ought to take a again seat. Everyone seems to be there to contribute and to profit from the group. The Finish.

In case your group is definitely behaving the best way it ought to be, and doing the issues that it must do, it’s going to begin to develop its personal inside tradition amongst members.

That’s the level! And with that finished the group’s politics will develop downstream from its personal inside tradition, besides this could have little or no and even no affect on the interactions of group members.

The one politics the group ought to care about are its personal. After getting labored, sweated and bled collectively for one another sufficient instances every little thing else will begin to turn out to be secondary.

Alternatively, if the group is totally homogeneous relating to its social and political opinions, admitting somebody who’s lukewarm towards these beliefs or, even worse, holds beliefs which are the polar reverse might do nothing however incite strife and division.

If that’s to occur you’d have been higher off passing on that new member completely!

Additionally, I might hope that every one preppers who’re severe in regards to the endeavor by now notice that no politician, from any celebration or any pole of the political spectrum, goes to be personally answerable for their security. It simply won’t occur.

The one particular person answerable for your security is you, and to a far lesser extent your fellow group members. In case your group internalizes this, discussing and bickering about big-picture politics ought to be the farthest factor from all people’s minds.

10. Assess in Totality

Lastly, barring somebody is exhibiting main purple flag conduct, don’t be too fast to eradicate them over one or two perceived shortcomings.

Most individuals have a wide range of strengths and simply as a lot selection of their weaknesses, strengths that may be a profit to your group and weaknesses that may be… Lined, by the group.

You may need a candidate who’s a bit bit lackluster within the physicality, expertise and belongings division however who has an enormous tract of land that he makes obtainable to the MAG for coaching, tenting or bug-out functions, and at all times places in 100% effort in any group endeavor and by no means quits.

That appears like a midway first rate member to me! Likewise, the member who’s sarcastic and pretty laborious to get together with however is at all times there when the chips are down and isn’t stingy with their provides, cash or time ought to have their lesser flaws ignored as long as this doesn’t sow severe discord inside the group.

Finally these are solely examples, and you’ll have to be the one to evaluate every little thing the potential member brings to the table- perks, quirks, flaws and all- in opposition to the opposite standing members of your MAG, the wants of the MAG and all the different intangibles.

This can be a resolution and an evaluation that nobody else can actually make for you. However I can inform you this: when you maintain out for “good”, you’ll in all probability be holding out for the remainder of your life. Finally you’ll have to roll the cube, and take your probabilities with any member.


A MAG is just pretty much as good as its members, and even essentially the most skilled and long-serving group could be thrown into disharmony or outright mutiny by including the fallacious particular person or folks to the in any other case practical and environment friendly combine.

You’ll be able to nip this within the bud early or probably earlier than it happens by using clever admission and probationary requirements for all incoming members. Use this text as a information and also you’ll be sifting the gems from the coal very quickly.

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Choosing Members for Your MAG (Mutual Assistance Group)

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Last modified: July 28, 2020