Last week the board held a heat session about the question: how do we remain relevant as an association? During this driving session we were guided by board coach Joger de Jong of PEP, who has supported us on many occasions with his sharp questions.
Just a few numbers. As COC, we serve the entire Haaglanden region. An estimated one million people live here. If 6% of the population is queer, we could count about 60.000 people in our target audience. Nearly 500 people are members of COC Haaglanden. The unique visitor numbers are even lower. So there is a world to be won there, to put it positively.
In my previous blog I wrote about the working groups. One of the things that strikes me about the working groups is that the composition is very one-sided, especially when you consider that more than 160 different nationalities live in The Hague. The fact that working groups focus on a specific target group is only a partial explanation. For example, it strikes me that both the zilveruitjes if the students are mainly male. It makes sense that Dare are exclusively made up of women. But they are mostly white forty-plus women.
My appeal in my previous blog to remove the walls between the working groups is a plea for many more cross connections. More women at the zilveruitjes and the students, more young people at Dare, just to name a few. But also: bringing in groups and people within the association that we do not or hardly reach at the moment. If we allow the COC to get stuck in the situation we are currently in, we will soon no longer be relevant and our beautiful building will be empty.
How can we tackle that? As a board, we cannot do this alone and for that we need your input. Your input as coordinators, as volunteers, but also as visitors. Because as an association we are of course a bit different. We have members, but non-members are just as welcome. How can we keep what is worth while without turning it into an impregnable fortress for newcomers? COC Haaglanden is not just a club for people who have already found their way in. We also want to be accessible to new people. Young people, people who are older but want to explore new sides of themselves, but also just people who spend a weekend in The Hague and want to come and have a drink.