Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

The last two DMC Newsletters focused on the interesting and unique qualities of the Millennial Generation – those men and women born generally between 1980 and 2000. Many of these Millennials are in their 20’s and 30’s and should be prime prospects to become Odd Fellows and members of your Lodge. What have we learned about the characteristics of this upcoming generation?

Well, at the risk of generalizing too much, we know the following:

  • They are highly educated. The number of women receiving degrees exceeds the number of men. And more women are in the workforce than in prior generations.
  • They are less likely to be married than their counterparts in prior generations.
  • They are much more ethnically diverse than in prior generations, with an increasing number of Latino-Americans and Asian-Americans.
  • There are far fewer veterans of the military among Millennials.
  • The number of Millennials in urban areas far exceeds prior generations.
  • They face pressure in society and the workplace creating anxiety. The dream of owning their own home seems far away.
  • They feel disconnected and powerless in society today.
  • They do not accept the status quo. They are not afraid to try new ways to reach their goals.
  • They care less about money, and more about the planet and people. They want to make the world a better place.
  • They have access to information, and rapidly, like no other generation. They know technology. They dislike slowness.

This information provides a valuable roadmap to encouraging the members of this upcoming generation to consider joining your Lodge.

First, Lodges that continue to ignore women and ethnic minorities are turning their backs on both reality and history. Just focusing on white men as potential members is not only morally wrong, but it is illogical to disregard the majority of our population. It further violates the non-discrimination policy of our Order. The future of Odd Fellowship is diversity. Lodges ignore this at their own peril.

Second, Lodges should seek out the enthusiasm and energy of this new generation. They are educated and motivated. At the same time, Lodges that continue to simply hold meetings (and do little else) will turn off this generation. We cannot continue to painstakingly read every piece of correspondence word-by-word and read the minutes verbatim at every meeting. We cannot produce only hard copy newsletters. Lodges much become adept not just at email, but also Facebook and all forms of social media. If we fail to modernize and change, we become further disconnected with those who will soon be the majority in our population.

Third, Millennials should welcome the camaraderie, fellowship and fraternity of an Odd Fellows Lodge. In this huge and crazy society, the Lodge can be a home away from home for these younger members. That said, however, the Lodge must encourage these new members with activities that interest them. Potlucks won’t do it. It’s time for Lodges to try some new things. If, for example, some of the new members want to adopt a highway, or participate in a community collection of plastic bags, or help homeless or mentally ill folks, or sign the Lodge up for a community fun run, or organize a New Year’s dance or Halloween party, the Lodge must encourage them, not throw roadblocks in their way.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

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