One of the big reasons someone leaves a guild is that they feel no connection to the people they are guilded with. One of the big reasons someone stays with a guild that may otherwise not be happy with are the people who are also in that guild with them.
Your personal connections to the guild isn't with the GUILD. It's with the people who are in that guild. A guild is just a name and a tabard. Sometimes an ugly tabard. Sometimes a stupid name. ("the knights of assassination" spring to mind... no, I am not kidding. There is a guild on my server named "the knights of assassination".)
With Knights of Utopia having the issues and troubles it has had recently, the guild leader looked at Boon and myself for some suggestions. Boon and myself had a small, family guild that we 1: never had anyone leave to go to a different guild (one exception and that was because he wanted to raid and we didn't raid.) and 2: people who were apart of it still refer to themselves as GK's (Guardian Knights) and still keep in touch with Boon and myself when they see us.
The reason it disbanded was that it was very small and that most of our members fell off the game and into real life, or during the Alleria queue-hell, went to different servers to play while Boon and I sat through 45 minute to an hour queue lines to get onto our server.
But the Guardian Knights was a quasi-Roleplaying guild and we did guild events. We held celebrations. We did games. We did events. And we were a close bunch of friends.
Now, it's something of a fact that the bigger the guild, the more you'll have people who aren't part of the leadership-clique. There are only so many instances that my character can be in, for example. And chances are, several of those spots will be taken up by the people who are already my friends (or my husband). This leaves very little chance for some new people or even some veterans that I don't get to play with... to get to know me. To get to hang out with me and do stuff with me.
And that destroys guild bonds. If you're in a guild and you want to instance with me, but I'm always in an instance with someone else... well, you get tired of waiting to instance with me and you do it with a PuG. And if you're instancing with a PuG... why are you even in a guild? And people leave.
There's no way around it. I can't be in ten instances at once. I just don't have the time! (And in this instance, I'm not being ... me. That 'I' is a symbolic 'I' to represent all the guild leaders and 'in' people in a guild. The awesome healer. The kickass tank. The funny guy that makes any run a lesson in hilarity.)
One of the things that the GK did that we're moving to KoU are things I call Guild Event Days. There are others, but I'm going to talk about Guild Event Days now.
It's a day when everyone gets together at some predetermined spot to do some predetermined thing. It can be anything your little imagination comes up with! The goal is to have fun and get people talking and doing things with guild members.
There are two types of Guild Events.
1. Benefit the Guild
2. Just for Fun
Type 1 is what I call Bank Events. You do still try to make it fun and exciting and rewarding for your guild members, but the primary goal is to fill your guild bank with gold, items, etc. It can be a competition. The rationale behind this is that unless you're the type of person who is just really generous or whom hates doing any sort of Auction Housing and so gives the guild bank any item that isn't crap... most people don't donate to the guild bank. They don't give it money (why should you give the guild money... when you need it!), or items or mats.
But the guild bank is there for them too. We offer people 1/2 price AH on all items, crafting materials, gems, primals, etc. But we can't do that if we don't have the items or the recipes or the whatever!
So, our first bank day was a killing spree in Blades Edge Mountains. EVERYTHING gets turned in. Scraps of leather, potions, scrolls, herbs, nodes, gold, cloth, items. Everything. The person who turned in the most cloth got 10% of the gold intake.
(And so you guys know the scope of what I'm talking about... we had 10 people. 1 hour. 300g in just gold turned in. That is not counting cloth, items, etc. Just gold. The winner, for an hour of work, got 30g. And while, yes... you can spend that hour and get much more doing dailies and the like... this method helps out the guild, too. And doesn't that feel good?)
The officer in charge of the bank then takes those items and decides: what the item is, is it worth keeping or selling? Is it a crafting material? Is it a blue BoE item? Is it a disenchantable green or an AHing green? And ALL that money that he makes from those items goes into the guild bank as well.
And don't you feel good?
(Our next bank event is going to involve two teams. Team Netherstorm and Team Shadowmoon Valley. Keep in mind if you have a lot of lowbies in you guild, you may need to make this event in a location that they can handle. Turn-ins don't always have to be cloth. It can be the number of Squashed Rabbit Carcasses you turn in!)
Guild Event type 2 is a for fun, shits, giggles, you don't donate anything other than the time for the event. We recently (as of yesterday) had one of these.
It was Hide and Seek-Tag in Darnassus. If you were on Alleria and noticed a whole bunch of naked-except-for-guild-tabard people running around... in bright orange tabards. That was us.
The rules? Hide and Seek. Stay within the boundaries of Darnassus. One person started out as the tagger. If you got tagged, you had to go tag someone else. (No tag-backs!) (We played with 3 tags and you're out, but we're going to lower that number... waaaaay too many people were waaaay too good at hiding! That or start out with a hunter as the primary tagger. A paladin just can't find people well enough!) The last person standing, so to speak, won. We had THREE winners. We could NOT find them. (They cheated, that's the only possible explanation!) Eventually we had everyone EXCEPT the three of them looking for them. We just could not find them!)
Lots of trash talk happened on ventrilo and in guild chat. But no one would take my bet about the first person to be tagged out. Which is sad, because I would have lost and someone could have made an easy 5g.
The winners got pets. Nothing fancy or special. A Great Horned Owl, a Hawk Owl and a Siamese Cat were the winning pets.
But it was fun. We had 11 or 12 people playing. General chat was full of: WTB Location of Teppou. PST. and other such things. (By the way, ratting out your fellow guildy if you spotted them ... perfectly acceptable!!)
It needs a little tweaking. But it was great anyway. 12 or so people in ventrilo, doing something that doesn't involve dying (unless you fell off the waterfall...) or stress or anything other than going 'Damnit! You found me!'
By the way, Darnassus is probably the best city for hide'n'seek. The other cities are too crowded, too laggy, too many people and places to hide. Darnassus is nice and open, with plenty of hiding places, but not so many as to make it impossible.
Anyway... guild bonds. Create them!