Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Let me be clear: Successful Odd Fellows Lodges in this 21st Century will be three dimensional Lodges. One dimensional Lodges will ultimately fail.
A three dimensional Lodge is a Lodge that focuses on three things: (1) The history and ritual that make us uniquely Odd Fellows; (2) Reaching out into our communities to do good charitable and community work; and (3) Having a strong and fun social life amongst the Lodge members. If we look around us, we see the three dimensional Lodges among us being visible in their communities and growing their memberships. They are the future of Odd Fellowship.
Any Lodge can be (and should be) a three dimensional Lodge. It doesn’t matter whether your membership is 150 or 15. Every Lodge can do good works in the community and can have some fun in the Lodge. And you know what’s interesting? You will find that opening your Lodge to the community will generate applications. In my own Lodge, I have found that virtually every time we host a community or a social event, we receive interest expressed by community members in joining our Lodge, and we often receive applications for membership.
No one “gets this” concept better than Deputy Grand Master Peter Sellars, who has seen his own Lodge grow and prosper over the years as a true three dimensional Lodge.
Here is a DMC article from Peter that you may find informative.
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California
Celebrate the Activities of Your Lodge
The mere fact that you belong to an Odd Fellows lodge and enjoy activities as a lodge is reason to celebrate. Believe it or not, most lodges do not hold events or participate in activities other than conduct one or two business meetings a month.
The Dedicated Members for Change is an organized group of dedicated members who wish to maintain strong lodges or strengthen their lodges. The information passed along by the members who write these kinds of articles and submit them, is mostly articles of our Order’s decline.
California does not own the market on declining. There are several states that are experiencing the loss of membership. For the past several decades, all jurisdictions have declined in membership. But, this writing is not about that of the downward spiral. It is about the celebration of your lodge’s activities.
What are your activities? How many activities are enough? Who do you invite? These questions are not for the choir, but for those of you who belong to lodges not holding activities. Forget about being a smaller lodge, in terms of membership. Forget about the decline in membership – in your lodge. A small lodge or declining lodge can hold an event.
Activities should include non-members, as well as members. Activities should not drain the treasury of the lodge. Activities do not have to be expensive or involve a great deal of work. Starting out slower is better. Starting out with a smaller and easier event is the perfect way to start.
I want to use this constructive piece to give you an idea. Most of these articles do not specifically spell out ideas, other than general terms. Let me tell you about a simple activity: Obtain a form from your state to hold a raffle. Pay the filing fee to the state. Following the rules and guidelines set by the state is important. Purchase an affordable prize. Select a prize that is attractive to everyone.
The prize could be just about anything. Set the price of the raffles tickets, the date of the raffle, and the description of the prize on each ticket. Sell tickets to everyone! Make the tickets inexpensive so everyone can purchase one. A simple raffle creates excitement. A simple raffle generates money for a lodge. A simple raffle gives attention to a lodge. This is an activity open to 501c(8) lodges, like yours.
This is one of 100 ideas on Community Involvement that I and others have developed. That list shall be available soon. This is the kind of information, which is specific, that your lodges need to know. I have given you one idea. Try it. If you are receiving these DMC messages, then your lodge is on the rebound, or at least have no excuse for being part of a dying lodge.
So, the number of activities depends on the amount of energy your lodge has to expend. It depends on the number of members in your lodge. Forget about “finding applicants”! Finding applicants along the way is beneficial and is the result of activities. The activities of the lodge is what makes your lodge attractive to everyone.
I say celebrate your activities by having another activity. Praise each other for the job well-done. Talk about your events. Write about the success of your events.
“I hope someday you’ll join us.” Smile, brothers and sisters.
Peter V. Sellars Deputy Grand Master