Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

A remarkable thing has occurred to Odd Fellowship here in California. Our membership rolls are growing! To appreciate the true significance of this statement, a bit of history is in order.

In the 1920’s, there were over 55,000 Odd Fellows in California. Today in the 2020’s, we show a tad over 4,700 members. And since 1929 our fraternal numbers had been declining. With rare exceptions over those three generations, our membership had shown net losses year after year after year. But here’s the remarkable thing: over the last three years, our numbers for each of those three years show a net gain in California. Now, one year of growth may be an aberration. Two years may be a sign. But three years is a trend.

And here at DMC we will allow ourselves permission to take a small bow in recognition of our contribution to the change in our membership trajectory. For when DMC was founded 10 years ago, we were in membership free fall. When DMC formed in December of 2010, we said that our goal was simply to halt the free-fall decline in our membership, and to help this Order increase membership. Over those 10 years we have focused like a laser on that one goal. We have kept up a constant drumbeat of membership development, and have provided information to members and Lodges with proven methods and techniques to achieve that goal. It has worked. After decades of membership losses the numbers for the last three years show the following: In 2017 the Order showed a net gain of 90 members over 2016; in 2018 the Order showed a net gain of 29 members over 2017; and in 2019 the Order showed a net gain of 85 members over 2018.

Our collective efforts to refocus our fraternity on membership development are beginning to bear fruit! Here are some statistics that may interest you.

We currently have 111 Odd Fellows Lodges in California. From 2018 to 2019, while we didn’t gain any new Lodges, significantly we did not lose any Lodges either. Statistics over the years have shown that the largest Lodges have the greatest impact on growth. The ten largest Lodges in this state comprise over 35% of the membership of the Order

I thought you might be interested in the latest stats on Lodge membership in California. As of December 31, 2019, the following are the 10 largest Lodges in California:

Davis #169 302 members
California #1 – 238
Yerba Buena #15 – 231
Apollo #123 – 217
Golden West #322 – 152
Franco-American #207 – 141
Lodi #259 – 124
Oceanview #143 – 97
Mt. Brow #82 – 83
Bay City #71 – 80

You can see that the vast bulk of our 111 Lodges have less than 80 members on their books. The 10 largest Lodges comprise just 35% of the membership of Odd Fellows in Caliornia. And the other 101 of our Lodges comprise 65% of our membership. So, future growth of California Odd Fellowship must necessarily focus on the medium and small Lodges as that’s where the numbers dwell.

And in 2019, the following 13 Lodges showed the largest number of initiations:

Golden West #322 – 27
Davis #169 – 26
Oceanside #346 – 21
Yerba Buena #15 – 20
Oceanview #143 – 14
Lodi #259 – 14
Euclid #68 – 13
Lafayette Hist #65 – 11
Mountain View #244 – 11
Memento #37 – 10
San Pablo #43 – 10
Cupertino #70 – 10
Saint Helena #167 – 10

These 13 Lodges added 197 new members in 2019. California as a whole added 455 new members in that year. Accordingly, these 13 Lodges added 43% of the new members who joined Odd Fellowship in 2019. Kudos to these 13 Lodges and all the other Lodges that added new members to their ranks. It is the new members who comprise the next generation of Odd Fellowship – and the future of our Order.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdication of California

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