By Peter V. Sellars, PGM
One of the most important factors of making people aware of an organization, is publicity. The Odd Fellows need publicity. Every lodge needs publicity. How does an Odd Fellows Lodge gain publicity?
There are many promotional ideas to gain publicity. Some take very little money. Other ideas require more money. Some ideas only take action, as simple as writing an article and sending it to a local newspaper or the posting of an article or idea on social media. It comes down to simply sharing what the Order has to offer.
This article could take off in so many directions, as I think of all the ways Odd Fellows Lodges have sought publicity and the numerous promotions lodges have done, and there have been many ideas tried.
Does promoting an Odd Fellows Lodge work? Yes! Will many ideas work for one lodge? Sometimes, it takes many different ways to promote a lodge. Sometimes, it may take only one great idea. Sometimes, ideas must be repeated. Some become regular occurrences. Ideas that promote the lodge should become publicity for the lodge.
So far, you should know promotion of a lodge is important and that publicity may be gained through the fruits of that promotional event or idea. Now, let’s look at some examples of ideas:
1. Submit an article (or multiple articles) detailing the success of a recent event to a local publication.
2. Placing an advertisement in the newspaper or on social media of an upcoming event – or that membership is open to all those interested (included benefits and activities of the lodge)
3. Have patches, hats, t-shirts, polo shirts, made for members and non-members to wear (either give away as a promotional or sell for a fundraiser; newer members appreciate and like our symbols of the skull & cross bones, hourglass, all-seeing eye, etc.
4. Take the Odd Fellow members on outings (at least once a month). Members enjoy activities. Go to local arcades, ballgames, museums, theatres, theme parks, boat/ferry trips, etc. The lodge can subsidize to reduce the costs for such outings; this would be considered a promotional to gain and retain members.
5. Adopt-A-Highway, Clean-up-a-Street, Clean-up-a-park, Clean-up-a-Creek, and other related great opportunities where the Odd Fellows Lodge name is posted for its good works.
6. Billboards work, if an Odd Fellows Lodge (or collective lodges) can afford. Simply place the Three-Links or another cool symbol to get the attention of the public.
7. Pay for uniforms of a little league baseball team, soccer team, basketball team, or any other type sports team where the participants wear clothing with the logo of “Odd Fellows” or the three-links, etc. This is advertisement. There are adult leagues as well. You may even pull in some new members as a result of support.
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All of these ideas have been employed at one time or another by various Odd Fellow Lodges. All are very good promotional ideas. It is not a question of what is good or not; the main concern is getting every lodge participating in advertising and promoting the Order to the public.
There actually are lodges that do none of the above. There are lodges that only meet and go home and wait until the next meeting. They do not promote the Order. They do not share anything with the public. These are the lodges that won’t grow or attract new members or gain support or positive attention of the public.
Paying for the promotion of a lodge or organization is the same as promoting a business. The expense of advertising and promoting of such entities is allowable by the Internal Revenue Service, as long as your idea conforms to local law and our own Order’s code.
Every Odd Fellows lodge should join in on creating ideas to promote the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Let’s join this effort and continue being a presence in our communities.