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Membership is simply salesmanship

by Frank Kinard



Membership is simply salesmanship! We treat potential members as customers!  We have to sell what we are doing to potential members to get their interest and we must keep them sold within our lodges.  We do this through a well-planed Orientation program.  This program should tell all new members what they are buying --- it should tell them about the Principles of the Order, the activities and facilities we have to offer, our programs and objectives, and especially, our many benevolences.  It must tell them about the opportunities for fellowship, but more important, must impress upon them the opportunity to help others through the Order of Elks.

Your Lodge Activities, its fraternal, patriotic, youth, civic and charitable programs -- are the means of keeping the customer sold.

For you new Exalted Rulers and Secretaries, the Lapsation Manual is a very important part of the Membership Program. It should be made available to all Lodge Officers as well as the Membership Manual. Never, never let the collection of dues go until the end of the year!  It just does not work!  The collection goal of dues is to end the lodge year with not more than 2 percent of the Members delinquent, and to drop not more than 2 percent of the membership for nonpayment of dues. Dues notice should go out every month!!!!  I cannot over emphasize the importance of collecting dues right now!  Make it known to all members using the Lodge during the month of March that dues are due.

The Exalted Ruler and Lodge Secretary must study the entire Membership Program and Planning Manual.  In addition,  the Chairpersons of the Membership, Lodge Activities, Orientation and Lapsation Committees must each study at least the portion of the manual that affects their role in the membership Management Process.

The suggested goal for Membership Recruitment is to initiate at least 10 percent of the years’ beginning membership. The goal for Lapsation is to close the Lodge year with not more then 2 percent of the ending membership delinquent.

Exalted Rulers cannot do everything in their lodge.  It takes help from all Committees Chairpersons and lodge members.  But it is the Exalted Rulers responsibility to appoint good reliable people to each and every committee in their respective lodge.  If for any reason these people are not doing their job, replace them and find one that will!

In order to maintain membership, the Secretary and Exalted Ruler must have a close working relationship; because retention of membership is more their responsibility than anyone else in the lodge.  Some secretaries may disagree with me on that statement.

Stray Elks.  Lodge secretaries should be looking hard at the possibility of recruiting these people into their lodge.  If stray Elks do not wish to change their membership, you can look at the alternative to membership by providing “Associate Membership” for those Elks.  To do so, you must amend your By-Laws and have the amendment approved by the Grand Lodge Committee on Judiciary.  These members have all the rights of membership but cannot vote on issues presented at a lodge meeting.

Why do members drop out of the Order?  I think I’ve heard it all.  But the biggest reason is they feel neglected.  And that pertains to new members more than others.  You must have a procedure on hand to make them feel welcome and to be introduced around your lodge!  The most likely person for this is the proposer!  If we could just keep our old member, we would only have  to replace those who pass away.

Re-instatements.  I know that some of the lodges used the letters I gave them and had success.  I’m glad they helped.  Keep them, make changes and starting sending out no later than the first of May.  Make sure you inform each member on the delinquent list that you have already paid their Grand Lodge, Elks Magazine and State Assessment dues.

Lapsation. As I stated, send letter, make phone calls, do visits, get the  original proposer to help. Have a free dinner to help pull these people back into the Order.  Please remember, you can pay the dues of any member because of illness or financial distress.

Orientation of New Members:  Folks, a lot of people don’t understand just how important this is too new members.  If you don’t tell them what to expect and just how your lodge runs, you are setting them up for an unexpected fall!  Don’t put a new member in a position of being embarrassed. If you do so, you will lose that member!

At Orientations we need to show what it means to be an Elk.  We need to expose them to the camaraderie found at Elk Lodges, ways to participate in lodge activities,  and make them proud to be a part of our Order.

The member who develops a friendship with other Elks will stay an Elk.  The member who uses the Lodge as an outlet for helping others, will remain an Elk.  And the ones who realize that their annual dues help support and perpetuate worthwhile charitable activities even if they do not participate in these activities will remain an Elk.

Constant complaints in the club room or cutting people down! How do you expect to keep new members when they hear all this going on.  Problems need to be brought to the House Committee, Exalted Ruler, Trustee’s and on the Lodge Floor.  Let’s keep them out of our social quarters and we will maintain a few more members, new and old!

We need to re-establish the fact that we are an Elks Lodge and not a local Bar!  Being known as a local bar sends a bad message through out the community and you lose good potential members.  I have a lot of members of the church to include ministers and priest in my lodge.  The day it becomes know as a rowdy place to be in, I’m sure we will lose them, and when they go, so will a lot of other members.  Ladies and gentlemen, I’m from the old school and so are a lot of you.  I can get out and curse with the best of you.  But when it comes to my Lodge, and the presence of my wife and other ladies in my Lodge, filthy language stays out side.  Again we are not one of the local bars where anything goes.   It’s nothing more then showing the same respect to your members that you would show to your Mother or Father.  Trash talking can and will lead to trouble and how do you impress new members with that attitude.

We can and should be providing an atmosphere in witch a member can bring their spouse, mother or children and not encounter the vulgar or “Red Neck” attitude in most civilian bars.  If we are not doing this now, then we should not be a member of the BPOE!

We can show a potential member that they can save money by becoming a member of our order and that they really do not pay dues.

We can show that our social events cost less in our order than anywhere else and that we do more for their children than anybody else does!

Every one of us should have a Formal plan in our lodge to make visitors or new members feel welcome?

Policy in my lodge.  I try to have all guest introduced to me. You should have the same type of program in your Lodge.  Members will never line up at your door looking for applications!  If that ever happens please let know how it’s done. You must ask potential members why they are not Elks.  When they cannot give you an answer, you have a sale!  Any visitor, or guest should be introduced to one of the Lodge officers.  That Officer should take the time to show these people around to make them feel welcome.  In doing so, you have the opportunity to speak to the guest about Elkdom.

Renting of your ballroom.  Ask for permission to speak to them about your facility and explain what we as Elks do! Show them around.  You will get members 90 percent of the time.

You can obtain members through friends, relatives, and neighbors.

Mail out a “Prospective Card” to all your members in your newsletter.  There’s an example in the Membership Manual.

Now, do you want to know what you are selling?  Let me sum it up for you as simple as I can.

“What is Elkdom?”  I think Ken Curto, a member of the Grand Lodge Public Relation Committee said it best.  He stated, “We ask that you look at us and simply ask what is Elkdom!  The answer is not just what we give; it’s the significance of our giving!  Elkdom is not just what we accomplish; it’s the pride and purpose behind it!  Elkdom is not what we say; it’s the message we project!  Elkdom is not just the sociability we enjoy; IT’S THE BROTHERHOOD WE BELIEVE IN!!     Elks Care and Elks Share!”  Now ask yourself; How can I make a difference?

When talking to potential members, let me give you some statistics so maybe you can have a better understanding of why we do thing that we do.

11.3 million teens in grades seven through 12 have tried an illegal drug at some point in their lives!

5.9 million teens in grades seven through 12 have used a drug in the past 30 days!

400,000 college-qualified students will be unable to attend four-year colleges this year because of inability to pay!

170,000 college-qualified students will not attend college at all because of inability to pay!

8 million “Latchkey Children” on any given day go home to an empty house after school!

So you see, there’s 25.8 million children in America that need our help.  Now that’s pure and simple what Elkdom is all about!

Now let me give you some statistics on what we have done to reduce some of these problems.

From April 1, 2002 until March 31, 2003,-- Elks and their helpers contributed a combined total of 1,437,044 hours in charitable work.  The Federal Government has determined that the cost of work would average out to $16.05 per hour for a total of $116,138,378.00

The travel involved in doing this work averaged out to 14,244,055 miles.   At a cost of $.34 cents a mile for a total of $4,842,979.00.

Contributions in cash were $48,996,086.00.  Non-cash contributions were $24,257,680.00.

Contributions from the BPOE for charitable work came to:

Cash                             $48,996,086.00

Non-Cash                     $24,257,680.00

Hours worked            $116,138,378.00

Mileage Traveled           $4,842,979.00

Total                          $194,235,123.00

Our Elks National Foundation annually awards over $3million in college scholarships.  Each lodge across the United States also awards local scholarships.

We have a Hoop Shoot program that has touched over 93 million boys and girls in the age group 8-9; 10-11; and 12-13.  We also have a Soccer program for children U-8, U-10, U12, and U-14 that has touched 1million children to date.

We work with nearly ever Youth Group in the country from Boys and Girl Scouts, Tee ball to Little League and girl softball teams and everything in between.  We make it a priority to see that no child is ignored or forgotten.

Our Americanism Program is simply to keep the spirit of patriotism and stimulate awareness in our citizens and youth with programs like our Americanism Essay Contest for students in the 5th through 8th grade.  We stay out of politics!  But we do have the right to promote the “Get out to Vote” program.  Salute Flag at ball Games!!!!  Patriotism seems to be lost in our middle ages adults.

During the last ten years the Elks have donated over $2,000,000,000.00 in time and money and in-kind gifts to our Nation by making our community a better place to live.

We support our troops over seas; each lodge in it’s own way.

Veterans We established the first Veterans Hospital overseas!

The first Veterans Medical Center;  Originated the G.I. Bill.

We provide Special events at Veteran Hospitals, Medical Centers, Outpatient Clinics and State Veterans Homes consist of......

Bingo, BBQ’s, Fishing Trips, Dances, Ball games, Day Trips --Such as Malls, movies restaurants, est..

Everyday of the year there is some Lodge assisting with this type of event at one of the Nation’s VA Hospitals.

The Elks last year alone adopted and befriend more than 168,000 veterans who were far from home or without family.

Last year’s veterans contribution exceeded over $18 million dollars!

The Elks contributed over $1,000,000 to the W.W.II Memorial.....

And, The Elks started Flag Day!!!!

Special Children: I think this is where we excel!!!!!  And this is because Our Organization believes that just because a child has a difference --- it should not make a difference.  I think I will stop there because I could spend another hour on telling you everything we do here.

These are just a few of your selling points use them and you will gain member.  I’ve stated before, that if you will generate a program within your Lodge for the gathering of potential members, I will be glad to come and make a speech that will knock your socks off and get your new members.  Now the ball is in your park.  What are you going to do about it?

Plus one Club.  We still have the “Plus One Club” and I would love to see each Exalted Ruler standing in front of the Head Table at the Summer Convention receiving their Plus One Medallion.


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