Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

Brother Mel Astrahan has submitted the article, below, for publication in the DMC Newsletter. We have always viewed DMC and this Newsletter as a “think tank” for the percolation of ideas. Some ideas may be old, some may be bold; some may be new, some may askew; some may be great, some may just grate. But the point is, that we in Odd Fellowship should always be open to the free discussion of ideas. All ideas have their pros and cons, of course. But certainly, with diminishing membership in our Lodges, Encampments and Cantons, we cannot afford NOT to consider ideas that may help our revival.

Bottom line: Keep those ideas coming!

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Deputy Grand Master


Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

P.T. Barnum (1810-1891) was an Odd Fellow. He is considered by many as the world’s most famous marketing genius. A friend asked him one day – “What inducement had you for becoming an Odd Fellow! Certainly you never expect to need their assistance?”

“No,” was the reply. “but they need mine, and I want no greater pleasure than that which a man feels when he is bestowing his charity where he knows it is needed and deserved; and in these days of humbug it is quite a blessing to be able to expend money for charity, and to know that the recipients of your bounty are not a set of swindlers, who live by begging in the name of some charitable institution with a fine title.”

Mr. Barnum can still be of assistance to the Order.

P.T. Barnum wrote:

“Advertise your business. Do not hide your light under a bushel. Whatever your occupation or calling may be, if it needs support from the public, advertise it thoroughly and efficiently, in some shape or other, that will arrest public attention. I freely confess that what success I have had in my life may fairly be attributed more to the public press than to nearly all other causes combined. There may possibly be occupations that do not require advertising, but I cannot well conceive what they are.

“Men in business will sometimes tell you that they have tried advertising, and that it did not pay. This is only when advertising is done sparingly and grudgingly. Homeopathic doses of advertising will not pay perhaps – it is like half a potion of physic, making the patient sick, but effecting nothing. Administer liberally, and the cure will be sure and permanent.

Some say, ‘they cannot afford to advertise;’ they mistake – they cannot afford not to advertise. In this country, where everybody reads the newspapers, the man must have a thick skull who does not see that these are the cheapest and best medium through which he can speak to the public, where he is to find his customers. Put on the appearance of business, and generally the reality will follow. The farmer plants his seed, and while he is sleeping, his corn and potatoes are growing. So with advertising. While you are sleeping, or eating, or conversing with one set of customers, your advertisement is being read by hundreds and thousands of persons who never saw you, nor heard of your business, and never would, had it not been for your advertisement appearing in the newspapers.”

Electronic media such as television, radio and the internet are the modern equivalent of newspapers in Barnum’s day. We, as an Order, cannot afford NOT to advertise. If we fail to regularly remind the world of our existence and what we represent, then, surely, we will be relegated to insignificance, if not the dustbin of history. Our Rose Parade float is an example of sustained (since 1955) public relations and advertising on a grand scale that reaches hundreds of millions of viewers, but the float alone is not sufficient to publicize the Order. We should be routinely and liberally (as PT Barnum recommended) advertising for the Order and our lodges at both the national, jurisdictional and community levels.

I am certainly not the first to recognize this. The need for public relations at the community and national scales was mentioned in the 1972 DPR Associates findings that Dave Rosenberg summarized in his Jan 17th DMC newsletter. A few years back, as I recall, PGM Barry Prock developed an experimental semi-jurisdictional advertising program but it was done sparingly and not sustained by subsequent leadership.

I submit for your consideration and further discussion the concept that both printed and electronic media public relations and advertising should become a mandatory (and therefore sustained) budget item for every lodge, including our Grand Lodges and even the Sovereign Grand Lodge. I encourage all members of the Order to propose and/or report on sustainable ways to advertise our Order and our lodges and to discuss these ideas with me by email and in person at our next Grand lodge session.

Melvin Astrahan,
America Lodge #385, Laurel Encampment #81
Director of the Grand Lodge of CA
Grand Junior Warden of the Grand Encampment of CA

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