Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Dedicated Members for Change (or DMC as it has come to be known) is into its fifth year – much to my pleasant surprise. DMC was conceived in December of 2010 as a response to the growing concern that many of us had regarding our shrinking membership numbers. At that time, three of us came together and suggested that we needed to create an entity that would focus on three topics: Membership, Membership, and Membership. We conceived of DMC as a vehicle to keep a laser focus on our declining numbers, and to serve as a think tank of ideas, methods and methodologies to help Lodges grow. The three founding members were the late Don Smith, who served us as Grand Master of California and as Sovereign Grand Master, Rick Boyles, who also served us as Grand Master of California, and myself (about to be installed as Grand Master of California in the next few days). The e-mail matrix of DMC started with about two dozen Odd Fellows and Rebekahs, and has since grown to hundreds, throughout the United States and Canada.
Since that time, DMC has done precisely what we set out to do. And we have published this DMC Newsletter, with hundreds of articles about our Order, about the declines in our membership, and about practical ways to reverse that trend. Many of the articles have focused on the history of evolution and change in Odd Fellowship, and the need for our Order to continue to evolve and change to become more relevant to men and women in the 21st Century. In fact, if you are curious, you can find virtually every DMC newsletter, preserved on the Davis Lodge website at www.davislodge.org.
We get a lot of response and input from our DMC newsletters, and from time to time we visit the “old mailbag” to publish some of the more interesting and informative response. So here is a quick visit to that mailbag with some submissions from our DMC readers. Some writers ask that we keep their name and Lodge anonymous (if we use any part of their e-mail) and we always respect those requests.
F – L – T
Deputy Grand Master
Thank you for article on the Odd Fellows Homes of California. Having spent two years on that board prior to accepting an appointive office under Glenn Bailey, I was proud of the work that we did as a board and really believed that we had a very competent board. The very fact that the board was able to see the light and realize what was needed, to place competent professionals in charge of the two campuses, says much about the management level of that board. I have been to the PRS Campus in Medford, Oregon, and have seen the skill with which that facility is managed and gained complete confidence that we did the right thing.
I have also seen the financial results over the years and I know full well had we continued to try to operate as we had in the past that we would not have the Saratoga Facility much less the Napa Facility today. In spite of the fact that we no longer have the old style facility where Odd Fellows and Rebekahs who had become indigent in their declining years could find a home; we have done a good thing in providing a stable environment for all seniors throughout the local communities and state. However, what our membership must understand is that the operation of these two homes is a business, and though we are not for profit we must function with profit in mind in order to keep operating. My hope is that we can once again find a way to better provide for our brothers and sisters in need.
Dave, once again thank you for the article. Keep up the good work.
Gene Breeland, PGM
I posted your email on some IOOF groups on Yahoo Groups. It is a great email and something that I have been thinking about for some time.
The IOOF expanded because it offered benefits to people that needed them and stopped expanding when people no longer needed them.
The SGL is adrift with a mishmash of charities that it supports without much thought being directed to the effectiveness of the charities or benefit to the IOOF. An example is we want to attract younger members, we donate to the arthritis foundation, which may not be an effective organization anyway.
I think that if we want to attract younger members we should offer something of benefit to those members. I think the education fund is the best place to start. The SGL could offer grants to children of Odd Fellows that go to college. The GL could add to the grant and so could the individual lodge. The children that benefit from the grant should be required to join and maintain membership while attending and be encouraged to continue beyond graduation.
I know that grants would be expensive but it could be offset by the dues paid by the student and their parent.
The SGL education fund currently offers loans and some scholarships and if I’m not mistaken costs a lot to administer. As a mere Odd Fellow I’m not allowed to inspect this secret information only available to my betters. The GL of WV gives $1,000/year grants to students and has very little in administrative costs. If little West Virginia can do it, why can’t the SGL?
Thanks again for the email.
Treasurer Kanawha #25 IOOF
Thank you for your DMC newsletter. To tell you the truth, it is the one of the few things that keeps me around in this order. I am a new member, less than 5 years, and going to meetings of my lodge is a chore for me. I am in a small lodge and we get maybe a dozen members to attend. Our meetings are really boring. We don’t do anything except read the minutes, pay a few bills, talk about who is sick, and then we get to the “business” of the lodge – which is really nothing more than members complaining about bathroom tiles or the roof. If I bring up an idea to do something in town, it’s pretty much shot down or no one wants to volunteer to help. The members of my lodge don’t seem to want to do anything outside the lodge. I would like to bring in some new people, but I don’t know why they would want to join.
I guess, some day I am just going to have to bite the bullet in bring in those new people and maybe we can slowly change the outlook of this lodge. Otherwise, its really just a matter of time before we all age out and all this will have been for nothing. Keep the light burning, Dave.