Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Happy anniversary, DMC. DMC was founded in December 2010. So, December 2018 marks the Eighth Anniversary of the start of “Dedicated Members for Change” and the eighth year for this DMC Newsletter. We are dedicated members who support a progressive, inclusive and modern vision for IOOF.
As regular readers of this newsletter know, the main purpose of DMC is to re-focus Odd Fellowship on the critical need for new members. A continuous flow of new members is the existential requirement of a fraternal order. With a steady influx of new members, a fraternal Lodge has the potential to continuous “life” for hundreds of years. On the other hand, if a generation of new members is skipped, the Lodge will find itself in trouble; and if two generations of new members are skipped, the Lodge will have essentially written out its death warrant.
So, “membership, membership, membership”, has been the refrain and rallying cry by DMC since its inception. And, we don’t just sound the alarm and blow the horn. We try to provide practical and proven methodologies to achieve membership growth. It doesn’t do much good to just talk the talk; we have to walk the walk. The constant drumbeat has worked in California and in a few other jurisdictions. These jurisdictions have reversed the trend of declines in membership, and they are showing growth. The fact that there are Lodges that are growing belies the notion that fraternal orders are no longer relevant in the 21st Century. Unfortunately, most Lodges in our Order have grown complacent and “satisfied” with the status quo. Those Lodges like things just the way they are. That attitude may be just dandy for the current members, but it is a mind-set that is fatal to the future of that Lodge. Well, DMC doesn’t give up.
In this week’s DMC Newsletter, I’m going to let you in on a little “secret”. I’m going to discuss one of the single best methods to bring new members into a Lodge.
We have used this method in my own Lodge – Davis #169 – and it works. I guarantee that, in some form, it will work for your Lodge. We call it “Club Night at the Lodge” and here’s how it works: Once a week, every week, we schedule “Club Night at the Lodge” at our Lodge Hall. We have chosen Thursdays. These gatherings are not Lodge meetings (we have two Lodge meetings each month, one formal and one social, which are separate and apart from our “Club Nights at the Lodge.” We start Club Night at 5:30 p.m. and we wrap it up at 8:00 p.m. Members are welcome to drop in and to bring family and friends, and potential new members. One of our members plays the piano to provide some background music, the bar is open (no host) with special reduced prices for participants, we have 100-piece jigsaw puzzles on the tables, and dinner is available after 6 p.m. for those who want it for $7 per person. Around 6:30 p.m. one of our members takes on the role of “trivia master” and we play 3 quick rounds of trivia (with prizes like cookies). Thursday nights are very well attended and very popular.
Club Night at the Lodge accomplishes the following purposes:
1. It is a great social event for the members and their families. Members often bring their spouses, and even children. There is plenty of time socialize and catch up with one another. A fraternal order, after all, should include a social element. Members really look forward to this event every week. Even trivia has a social element because we play by table and so the folks sitting around a table confer with each other in the game. From time to time, we will even celebrate a member’s birthday or anniversary.
2. There is essentially no cost to the Lodge for hosting this event because the attendees pay for the drinks and the dinner.
3. However, the most important element of this event is that it opens the Lodge up to potential new members. Members of the Lodge feel free to bring potential new members to “Club Night at the Lodge”. These potential applicants can meet Lodge members, tour the Lodge Hall, and speak to a member of the Membership Committee about Odd Fellowship and about what the Lodge does for the members and for the community. And it works. In our Lodge, literally dozens of applicants have come to us through the doorway of “Club Night at the Lodge.”
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California