Why do Lodges and fraternal Orders find themselves with declining
numbers? The primary reason, in my opinion, is that they have been
locked in a time warp, unwilling or unable to evolve to fit their time.
They continue to believe that men and women of the 21st Century have the
same needs and interests as men and women of the 20th Century, or even
the 19th Century. We may have the same values, but in the age of
television, the Internet, iPhones, etc. we certainly don’t have the same
needs and interests. These Lodges continue to believe that people want
to join a fraternal order because of nifty slogans, and ritual, regalia,
costumes, secret grips, signs and passwords. While those things are
historically important, are part of our rich past, and must always
remain as part of our heritage and unique character, they simply do not
attract new members. If anyone doubts that is true – just examine the
precipitous decline in our membership over the past three generations.
To attract the new members we need today, a Lodge must supplement the
ritual, and must offer community activities outside the Lodge and
vibrant good fellowship activities within the Lodge. This is not
rocket science. In fact, in 2010, at the 158th Annual Grand Lodge
Session, I proposed two resolutions which stressed those very two
things. Both resolutions were adopted at sessions, with overwhelming
“aye” votes. In short, we know what we need to do to turn the tide.
Now, let’s just do it.
Please click on the link below, which continues a series of articles
about the rapid decline in membership facing fraternal orders around the
country. This particular article comes from the state of Ohio – but the
stories and the issues are similar in every state, including California.