Even if you've only been in one guild, if you've been playing the game long enough, you are likely connected to multiple guilds through in game friends - people who have left your guild, or knowing others in your guild that know others, and so on and so forth. There is no excuse for someone who has been playing the game on one server long enough to routinely say they have no social resources. What does this say about you? That is your own failing.
There is great incentive to be proactive in maintaining your in-game relationships.
If you let your in-game relationships fall to the wayside, you lose critical resources. You'll find yourself sans healer in a 10 man raid, sitting there helplessly. When things start to get messy and political, it may be time to take a step back and get back to your roots. Don't abandon your guild mates and alliances just because times are tough. If you can't seem to dig up new people, maybe it's time to turn to those golden friends and strengthen those relationships.
If you are having trouble growing, consider this: Are your numbers staying the same, despite bringing in new people? That, my friend, means you are losing your older players. You are making the worst mistake a raid manager can make - Forgetting about the individuals you recruited previously because you are so caught up in trying to bring in new people.
Take some time to reassess and regroup. Turn around and strengthen those bonds again. If you keep moving forward without looking back, you'll find yourself all alone at the peak of the mountain, with no one to help you get down. You've had your head in the clouds, relishing your own glory and patting yourself on the back for being an awesome raid leader, and you forgot to look down to the people who were holding you up. Did you take away their voice, their power as individuals, with the excuse that it's all for the "greater good"? Did you ignore them, or worse, not even let them speak, because you didn't want to have to deal with what they might say?
Summer is a good time for this. Things get messy and unpredictable in the summer it seems. People suddenly want to do things non WoW related, and who am I to tell them that's unfair? Everyone has to prioritize their lives - and let's face it. WoW should never take priority over your family. Instead of flailing about helplessly, wringing our hands in frustration and begging our friends to level up their level 24 druid to heal, take a deep breath and count your blessings. As guild, alliance, and raid leaders, or at least those of us who focus on recruitment and raid organizing, it can be a very stressful time. We can get caught up in the pursuit of growth, and easily forget about those individuals we've pulled together in the past.
It needs to be said. I've been listening to people wail and moan over the past month about how times are tough for raid organization.
But I'm getting sick of hearing the complaining, because people are not looking at the problem with perspective. We get so caught up in issues of rules, and policies, and maybe if we vary things up a bit people will want to raid again - if we build it they will come! And then, lo and behold, no one comes.
We have lost sight of the individual. If an individual player does not feel needed, does not feel important, if we continue to solely enforce this idea that it's all about "the greater Good" (zomg Dumbledore love), we lose the individuals that make up the successful team. I'm all about pushing that philosophy when it comes to gear. But as leaders we get so distracted in thinking gear philosophies should be the precedent we use for other aspects of raid management, that we lose sight of what makes each individual player important to every single raid.
Why should Joe Warrior sign up for our raid to tank? It's thankless. He can sit in LFG for 5 minutes and get 10 tells from people desperate for a decent tank - desperate for HIS help. No one in our raid specifically asked him if he would join us. We just frown at him in disappointment when he fails to sign up. It's not about the gear - it's about feeling wanted and needed. It's a human desire, and we can't lose sight of human desires, even in an abstract world. You shouldn't have to beg someone to join you, but have you tried simply asking as an alternative to assuming?
We recruiters go after individuals and convince them to join us. We court them. Who doesn't like to be courted? We pursue them as individuals, and then ignore them when they join the group. We hand down laws and policies that directly affect them without asking them for their thoughts - because we don't want to deal with the messy disagreements that such endeavors inevitably entail. We know what's best for them, right? It's all for the greater good. If they have any thoughts for themselves, then they are selfish and we don't want them. We turned their head in the beginning with chocolates and flowers, and then left them sitting at home with the TV on Saturday night while we went out to the bar seeking a pretty new blonde.
We can go at it for days talking about how it's all about efficiency. You know what else is super efficient? You know how you can avoid any messy loot disagreements? A fool-proof way to lay down the law and ensure that no one will make it difficult for you to do exactly what you want to do?