Does your Lodge have a Membership Committee and a Membership Chair?
I’m going to answer that with an emphatic YES! Having a Membership Committee, or at least a Membership Chair, should be a requirement for every Odd Fellows Lodge.
Letter from the Grand Master
The current Grand Master of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Jurisdiction of California, Redgie Fleeman has recently sent a letter to every Odd Fellows Lodge in California, encouraging each Noble Grand to designate a Membership Chair. Brother Redgie is right on the money with this effort, and I hope he will be successful. Every jurisdiction ought to undertake similar efforts. The future of our Order depends on it.
Odd Fellows Membership Committee Requirement
The Codes currently require Lodges to have a Finance Committee, a Bylaws Committee, and a Visiting Committee. Without question, each of those committees is important in its own right. But I suggest that of equal importance is a Membership Committee. It should, in my opinion, be a requirement of our Codes.
Why do I say that?
Simple. In my opinion, bringing new members to a fraternal order is the equivalent of eating food for a human body. If we don’t eat, the body will get sick and will die. If a Lodge fails to bring in new members, it will deteriorate and it will die. Of course, failing to bring in new members is a process that takes years before a Lodge succumbs. But it will happen. And the historical record of hundreds of Odd Fellows Lodges which have disappeared over the past Century proves it.
A Lodge must keep its focus on the need to bring in new members. Of course, membership recruitment and sponsorship is a responsibility of EVERY member of the Lodge. That said, it is important for a Membership Committee and a Membership Chair to keep the members focused on this critical task.
In addition to reporting the status of membership and membership development at every meeting of the Lodge, the Membership Chair and Committee can encourage members who have sponsored new members, can help in the task of getting new members integrated into the life of the Lodge, and can highlight membership development opportunities. Importantly, the Membership Chair and Committee can spearhead and coordinate membership development activities.
Importance of an Odd Fellows Membership Committee
You want proof of the importance of having a Membership Chair and a Membership Committee?
My own Lodge (Davis #169 in California) has had a Membership Chair and a Membership Committee for the past 15 years. During these 15 years, it’s been my honor to serve as Membership Chair of the Membership Committee. And for those past 15 years my Lodge has experienced a net gain in members every single year, and our membership has skyrocketed from under 50 to over 350.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)
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