​A recent DMC Newsletter focused on the need for Odd Fellows Lodges to look not only inward, but also outward in order to increase membership and grow in the 21st Century. The “outward view” article generated a consider amount of feedback from Brothers and Sisters throughout North America and in other countries based on the number of emails I received. I’d like to share one of those emails from a long-time member in a jurisdiction outside of California. In the reprint below, I have intentionally not identified the member, nor the member’s Lodge or jurisdiction. This anonymity fosters further honest dialogue, and at DMC we welcome the input and dialogue.

Below are the member’s thoughts on the call for more attention to an outward view. And to respond to the member’s concern, I would say the following: Attention to the outward view works no matter the size of the Lodge. It works for a Lodge of 20 members or 200 members. When I started the process in my own Lodge in Davis (a relatively small town) we had less than 30 members. We now have over 350 members. It works.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

Dear DMC,

Another fine and relevant article. Pleased to see things are going so well at Davis, seeing the fruits of your labor and knowing that thoughtful persistence pays off. What an extraordinary example being set, charting a course for the members, community, indeed our organization.

While I’m in a very rural location now, my home Lodge prior to moving, is on the fringe of [a large metropolitan community.] Fortunately, we’ve been able to maintain a decent sized Lodge, on a main thoroughfare, in the midst of plenty of potential members. We really don’t have legacy monies which would be a plus, and the property tax base is relatively high, given that some lodges are able to get this waived, and it’s an appreciable cost to dig out from each year, but we/they manage.

It takes a lot of on-going attention to even maintain that number. Successful recruitment requires an ongoing process. Of course, we can do more, and the diversity and plethora of programs you offer is admirable, interests and provides satisfaction for your members, stimulates thought for us, as you folks are not just creative in your own skin, you have developed and honed a nice machine, aspects which can be individualized for each different setting.

The reason I lay this all out, is I’m wondering if possible, how Dedicated Members for Change, can continue to shine the light with the bulk and preponderance of lodges, whose present start point is something less than optimal. Don’t get me wrong, as a member I’m so proud of the work and accomplishments you folks have attained, for which you set an example to emulate, but still how can we effectively bridge the gap between something so successful, and perhaps a lodge based upon its current trajectory heading for failure or oblivion. Sure, some will fall by the wayside, as has been occurring, yet there could be a lot of potential for Lodges and places somewhere in between. How to provide “middle America“ the critical features to be mindful of and a path to follow and attend to, and every day examples of how to obtain more community inclusion to build upon and grow from, with a local homespun feel which fits their unique setting and needs.

I get it, having been born in a major city, what can be done to maximize opportunities, though many if not most of our lodges are in small towns, where growth may proceed at a slower pace, incrementally. In terms of crawling before you can walk, or sustaining satisfaction from something on a smaller scale because indeed it is smaller, and being a “bigger or smaller than a breadbox kind of person” in terms of operationalizing concepts, I best relate to specific instructive instances, as you have done and provided. Yet presently our overall successes in North America seem isolated and limited. I understand SGL has a central, structurally dominant and pivotal role; however, DMC also has broad outreach and communicates frequently to the base you have built, much to our benefit.

Thinking continuing to emphasize the perhaps smaller yet distinct steps to build upon, to get from here to there, lets people begin where they are at, doesn’t make the path seem too arduous if not impossible, and ultimately “shapes” needed behavior, “successive approximations” if you will, more in the direction of sustainability and longevity, one piece and building block at a time. Even if a situation is some depleted, and we need to bring along a set of tweezers and a magnifying glass to tease out progress in front of us, remaining instructive and encouraging are certainly underlying cornerstones in moving forward.

Thank you once more for “walking the walk”, and lending practicality to the intellectual stimulation you provide.

Most fraternally,

What is Dedicated Members for Change?

What is Dedicated Members for Change?

[The DMC Newsletter article published below first appeared ten years ago on June 10, 2014.  Hope you enjoy it!] Dear Dedicated Members for Change, This entity called "Dedicated Members for Change" (DMC) was started in 2010, but it's not understood by everyone in our...

Declining Membership in Fraternal Orders

Declining Membership in Fraternal Orders

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Declining membership is not a condition unique to Odd Fellowship.   All fraternal orders have witnessed a decline in members over the past decades.    Let's look at the Freemasons, the largest fraternal order in North America.  ...

Solution – Declining Membership

Solution – Declining Membership

Dear Dedicated Members for Change, Strap on your seat belts.   In this article, I will offer the solution to IOOF's declining membership problem.  In 2024, I believe everyone in Odd Fellows' leadership recognizes that the biggest single challenge facing our Order is...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This