What can we do to grow our Odd Fellows Lodge?

What can we do to grow our Odd Fellows Lodge?

Updated: January 17, 2021

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of “Dedicated Members for Change” we are re-publishing some of our articles from past years. Today, we offer an article that was published in the DMC Newsletter on January 19, 2013 – eight years ago – targeted to Lodges struggling with declining membership, and offering a three-year plan to reverse the decline.

While a handful of Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) Lodges in California are growing, and another handful are maintaining a static membership, the vast majority of Lodges in this State are shrinking. The math is not complicated. Odd Fellows members move away, depart, stop coming to meetings, lose interest or pass away – and at the same time, the Lodge doesn’t add new members or, perhaps, adds one or two new members who might be close friends or relatives of existing members. And too, often, the new members added are of the same age as existing members. The result is inevitable: Lose three members and add one member and you have a Lodge in trouble. Clearly, we must do something to change this equation.

I am often asked: What can we do to grow our Odd Fellows Lodge?

Well, talk is cheap. Action is required. So, here, for those who are truly interested, is a three-year plan to re-charge, re-invigorate, and re-new your Lodge. (For those members of the Order who are satisfied with the status quo of your Lodge, and who are happy to maintain your Lodge just the way it is for the balance of your life, you can stop reading here.) For those members who wish to build for the future of your Lodge, and guarantee that the tenets and ideals of this great fraternity live on and flourish, please read on. The secret of success is not just to open our Lodges up, to increase our internal good fellowship activities and to increase our involvement and exposure in the community.

Year One

  1. Open your Odd Fellows Lodge to the public (and to potential members) by having open, social meetings – at least one such social meeting each month. Of course, no ritualistic work is conducted and no secrets are revealed at such meetings.
  2. Bring in one or two major community leaders into membership in your Lodge. This can be a local elected official, a recognized business leader, a leader in his or her profession (like a lawyer), a Judge, the County Sheriff, etc. These people will raise the community profile of your Lodge and can become “rainmakers” in bringing in new members.
  3. Plan and execute one major community event, to benefit a local charitable or community group, and make sure it is publicized.
  4. Plan for and put on one social event each month for the Lodge members and their guests. This can include themed potlucks (for example, Italian potluck), “Bunko” Night at the Lodge, Trivia Night, a talk and demonstration on beer brewing, etc.
  5. Target husbands and wives, both, to consider membership in your Lodge.

Year Two

  1. Hold a “retreat” of your active Odd Fellows members and lay out five goals for the year. These five goals should always include a goal identifying the number of Lodge applicants you intend to bring in during the year. Resolve at this retreat NOT to be negative. Positively listen to all ideas that are proposed and put on the table, and then decide which you will implement.
  2. Continue each of the Year One activities into Year Two.
  3. Develop a “signature event” that your Lodge will organize and put on for the community – which will become an annual event. For example: An “OddtoberFest”, a wine tasting event at the Lodge, Pasta Feed, etc.
  4. Organize a committee structure for the Lodge. These committees can include: A Good Fellowship Committee, a Community Support Committee, a Music Committee, a Photography Committee, etc. Give each committee an assignment and let them do their work.
  5. Target young potential members for your Lodge – from 30 to 40 years of age.

Year Three

  1. Continue each of the Year One and Year Two Odd Fellows activities into Year Three.
  2. Find out what member’s are interested in doing, and do it. If members wish to take a wine country trip, figure out a way to do it. If members want to put on a Bingo night for the community, find ways to do it. If members wish to go on a hike, let them organize to do it. Etc.
  3. Contact, personally, each of your “inactive” members and let them know about Lodge activities – see if you can bring them back into active membership in your Lodge.
  4. Connect with your members. Ideally, have all members connected through e-mail so that everyone can be kept posted and informed. For those who don’t have e-mail, set up a phone tree.
  5. Target even younger potential members for your Lodge – from 16- 29 years of age.

This Plan of Action can work for your Odd Fellows Lodge! It does not diminish, in any way, the principles of our Order. It seeks only to increase your membership, and in this way will benefit your Lodge as well as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master, Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows

What can we do to grow our Odd Fellows Lodge?

What can we do to grow our Odd Fellows Lodge?

Updated: January 17, 2021To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of "Dedicated Members for Change" we are re-publishing some of our articles from past years. Today, we offer an article that was published in the DMC Newsletter on January 19, 2013 - eight...

The Illustrated History of Odd Fellowship

The Illustrated History of Odd Fellowship

Updated: January 11, 2021 The Odd Fellows Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) celebrated its 10-year anniversary last month and we have been recognizing that milestone by re-publishing some articles from past DMC Newsletters. The following article was first published...

10 Helpful Hints to Bring New Members into the Odd Fellows

10 Helpful Hints to Bring New Members into the Odd Fellows

Updated: December 29, 2020Season's Greetings to all. We celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) by re-publishing some of our articles which appeared in this DMC Newsletter over the last...

The Illustrated History of Odd Fellowship

The Illustrated History of Odd Fellowship

Updated: January 11, 2021

The Odd Fellows Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) celebrated its 10-year anniversary last month and we have been recognizing that milestone by re-publishing some articles from past DMC Newsletters. The following article was first published on September 25, 2012. Hope you enjoy it!

Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

I recently came into possession of a rare volume, entitled The Illustrated History of Odd Fellowship, written by Theodore A. Ross, who at the time of its publication had served as Grand Secretary of the Sovereign Grand Lodge (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) for close to 20 years. It’s quite a tome, numbering well over 600 pages. I’d like to quote a couple of passages from this book which you may find interesting:

“The Order of Odd Fellows originated in England in the Eighteenth Century. In the early part of that century the celebrated Daniel De Foe mentions the Society of Odd Fellows, and in the Gentleman’s Magazine for 1745, the Odd Fellows Lodge is mentioned as ‘a place where very pleasant and recreative evenings are spent.’ The poet James Montgomery, in 1788, wrote a song for a Body of Odd Fellows. The Odd Fellows’ Keepsake states that the early English Lodges were supported and their members relieved by each member and visitor paying a penny to the Secretary on entering the Lodge. These allusions are sufficient proof of the existence of the Order at the time, but they tell us nothing of its aims, objects and characteristics.”

“From other sources it is known that the Lodges were originally formed by workingmen for social purposes, and for giving the brethren aid and assisting them to obtain employment when out of work. When a brother could not obtain work he was given a Card and funds enough to carry him to the next Lodge, and if unsuccessful there, that Lodge facilitated his farther progress in the same way.

“When he found employment, there he deposited his Card.”

“At first there was little or no Ritual, and no formal method of conducting the business of the Lodge. These were matters of gradual and slow growth.”

These excerpts reveal a great deal of the path taken by the Odd Fellows. What do we learn from the passages?

Well, to begin with, we learn that Odd Fellows is an evolving and changing Order. In the beginning, it appears that Odd Fellows were akin to a club – a place to spend “very pleasant and recreative evenings”. And we know that “Lodges were originally formed by workingmen for social purposes.” We can just imagine the early brothers drinking ale, throwing darts, and having an all-around enjoyable evening together in the social atmosphere of the local pub. And it appears that early Lodges were open to not only members, but visitors. Those early Lodges provided a measure of support for needy members by collecting a small tithe – “a penny” – from members and visitors. (Although I hasten to add that a penny in Eighteenth Century England was the equivalent of a dollar today. For a penny one could purchase a cup of coffee or a pint of ale. A penny wasn’t even the smallest denomination in Olde England – a penny could be divided in fourths called farthings or in half called ha-pennies.)

But early Odd Fellows Lodges kept evolving into places that supported members who had lost their jobs. Odd Fellowship became the social services provider. Remember, this was in a time well before governments provided any sort of social safety net. This was well before the time of government operated Employment Development Departments. When a member in Town A lost his job, he could depend on his Lodge to give him a Card, a little traveling money, and a good wish before his Lodge brothers sent him on his way to a Lodge in a neighboring town. Hopefully, at this new Lodge, a local Brother would help the traveling Brother find a job. If he did, the traveling Brother would deposit his card and stay.

Clearly, with Brothers traveling from town to town and Lodge to Lodge to find work, it was necessary to develop secret grips, passwords, and signs which would change from time to time. Only in this way could a traveling Brother be distinguished from a fraud or charlatan who just wanted money, or a place to sleep, or a job.

Indeed, Odd Fellowship evolved and changed from a social club, into a mutual benefit society, and ultimately into a true fraternal Order which admits men and women. And it is my belief that Odd Fellowship must continue to evolve today to meet the needs and attract new members. The world in the Twenty-First Century is quite a different world than the one that existed in the Eighteenth Century or even the Nineteenth or Twentieth Centuries. Yet we have today some members in our Order who view Odd Fellowship through lenses cut in prior centuries. But here’s the rub: unless we modernize and make our Order relevant to the men and women of the Twenty-First Century, we will continue the downward death spiral that we have seen take hold of our Order for the last sixty-plus years.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)

What can we do to grow our Odd Fellows Lodge?

What can we do to grow our Odd Fellows Lodge?

Updated: January 17, 2021To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of "Dedicated Members for Change" we are re-publishing some of our articles from past years. Today, we offer an article that was published in the DMC Newsletter on January 19, 2013 - eight...

The Illustrated History of Odd Fellowship

The Illustrated History of Odd Fellowship

Updated: January 11, 2021 The Odd Fellows Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) celebrated its 10-year anniversary last month and we have been recognizing that milestone by re-publishing some articles from past DMC Newsletters. The following article was first published...

10 Helpful Hints to Bring New Members into the Odd Fellows

10 Helpful Hints to Bring New Members into the Odd Fellows

Updated: December 29, 2020Season's Greetings to all. We celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) by re-publishing some of our articles which appeared in this DMC Newsletter over the last...

10 Helpful Hints to Bring New Members into the Odd Fellows

10 Helpful Hints to Bring New Members into the Odd Fellows

Updated: December 29, 2020

Season’s Greetings to all. We celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) by re-publishing some of our articles which appeared in this DMC Newsletter over the last decade. The following Odd Fellows article appeared on January 16, 2012 – some nine years ago.

Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

As you all know, the focus of DMC is increasing the membership of our Odd Fellow Lodges, no more and no less. All of us understand that business as usual isn’t working because our membership has steadily declined since World War II. And in many ways, IOOF is stuck in a WW II mentality. Heck, some Lodges only have members who were born before the end of WW II. So, DMC is all about encouraging our the Odd Fellows to bring new blood and new energy into our Lodges.

In this regard, I have gotten numerous requests from Odd Fellows in California and across the United States for an article I wrote late last year on some helpful hints to bring new members into Lodges. Because of the demand for this article, I am reprinting it here again for your information. Please feel free to disseminate it in your Lodge, and also to pass it on to brothers and sisters in other Lodges.

And, as always, if you have members of the Order who you believe would enjoy being included in the DMC e-mail matrix, please check with them, and if they agree, please send me their name(s) and e-mail address(es) and they will be added to our burgeoning list.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg

By Dave Rosenberg, Past Grand
Davis Lodge #169
Odd Fellows of California

Originally posted in December 2011

Most of you who read this article will have been Odd Fellows longer (perhaps far longer) than I have been. I’m a relatively new member of the Order, having been initiated in March of 2004. So, as I write this article, I’ve been an Odd Fellow in the Davis Lodge for about seven years. And yet, I am asked, again and again, for advice on how to bring new members into the Order. In response to these many requests, I’ve been urged to write this article. And, ladies and gentlemen, we absolutely have to recruit new members – Odd Fellowship in California has now dropped 90% in membership since WW II, and we have less than 5,000 dues-paying members. This situation is unsustainable, and – as Lodges diminish in membership – is causing innumerable problems throughout the state.

I suppose that I’m asked for advice because I have, personally, brought so many new members into Odd Fellowship. Specifically, I’ve sponsored about 100 new members. In 2009, the Sovereign Grand Lodge (SGL) recognized me as #2 in the SGL jurisdiction in bringing in new members; and in 2010, SGL recognized me as #1 in the jurisdiction. I am a member of the Odd Fellows of California Grand Lodge’s Membership Committee, and I’ve developed a “Membership Development Workshop” which, by the way, Grand Lodge has available to anyone who wants it, on a DVD. I serve as the Chair of my own Lodge’s Membership and Initiation Committee.

Yet, I do not profess to say how YOU or YOUR Odd Fellows Lodge should recruit new members. Frankly, that’s up to YOU to determine. What I can do is give you some helpful hints that have worked for me. If those hints happen to make sense to you, or fit your style, or you wish to try them out, then please do! So, without further ado, here’s Dave Rosenberg’s 10 Helpful Hints to Recruiting New Members into the Order:

1. Recruitment on the Brain

The single most effective tool in recruiting new members is to have “recruitment on the brain” at all times. Talking to potential new members is not an occasional thing – it has to be a constant thing. When I meet new folks, I size them up, assess them, get to know them, and often ask them to consider applying for membership to the Lodge. For example, we recently hired a contractor to do some work at our Lodge Hall. After getting to know him, I talked to him about Odd Fellowship, and invited him to apply. He did. And I never give up. I talked to one woman for over five years about joining the Lodge. Recently, she did. I constantly carry application forms in my pocket. You never know when you may need one.

2. Functions at the Lodge

One of the absolute best tools for recruitment is to have an active Odd Fellows Lodge. Most of the new members I have recruited have first come into contact with the Lodge through functions at the Lodge. They come to the function, have fun, meet members and are curious about Odd Fellowship. I have recruited dozens of new members who first came in contact with the Lodge through our community events such as “Breakfast with Santa” or who came to the Lodge as a guest of a member during our annual “OddtoberFest” or when we rented a bus to visit wineries in Amador County. Active Lodges create opportunities to recruit.

3. Husbands and Wives

I have found that one of the best draws for new members is to make it user-friendly for husbands and wives (or significant others), and also for young parents with children. Very few organizations offer couples the ability to work and play together. Odd Fellowship does. Those Odd Fellows Lodges that restrict membership, or discourage membership of women, have cut off 50% of the population. Those Lodges that fail to recruit young parents have cut themselves off from a large segment of the community.

4. Community Support

The regalia, ritual, grips, passwords, and symbols of Odd Fellowship make us unique and distinguish us as a fraternal order. They should and will always be with us. However, virtually no one joins because of that. A full appreciation of the ritual will develop over time. But, frankly, most folks are drawn to IOOF when the Lodge engages in local community support. New members want to be part of good works in the community – whether it’s feeding hungry people, or working with people with developmental disabilities, or planting trees. When a Lodge engages in active community support activities, that Lodge opens a gateway to recruitment.

5. Good Fellowship

The other draw for potential new members is good fellowship activities within the Lodge. People today seek a social network and a fun place to enjoy activities with others. When Lodges have a full slate of social activities, recruitment of new members is dramatically enhanced. My Lodge, for example, hosts music events, good fellowship “Lodge Nights”, an “OddtoberFest”, a Halloween Party, and numerous other social events for members and potential new members. Let’s not forget that Odd Fellowship was started in Old England in pubs.

6. Social Meetings

Social meetings are not prohibited by the Code of Odd Fellowship, and in fact, are encouraged by Grand Lodge. What’s a social meeting? It is simply a meeting of the Lodge where no regalia are worn, no ritual is employed, and no secret signs, grips or passwords are used. Lodges that engage in social meetings have another huge technique available to them for recruitment. Potential new members can attend, can see what the Lodge is up to, and can meet members.

7. Don’t Make it Easy

There are Lodges that are so desperate for new members that when they get one, they immediately rush into an initiation. And then, once initiated, that new member is plunged into a formal, ritual meeting, and often the Lodge never sees him/her again. In my Lodge, the process of joining (we call it the “pledge period”) takes at least 5-6 months, the applicants (we call them “pledges”) have a number of requirements to accomplish before the interviewing committee and membership even vote on them. This makes the goal of membership a valuable goal for them – plus it gives them a chance to meet the members and for the members to meet them – to determine if Odd Fellowship is the right fit.

8. Diversity

The strength of America is its diversity. That should be the strength of Odd Fellowship, as well. When I recruit new members, I am looking for diversity in age, ethnicity, employment, and gender. I want the Lodge to look like my community. It’s particularly important to bring in new members in their 20’s and 30’s. They are the next generation of Odd Fellowship. When a Lodge’s members are all in their 60’s and 70’s and older, it’s virtually impossible to attract the younger generation we need to grow.

9. Leadership

A critical factor to growth of a Lodge is the ability to attract community leaders. A century ago, everybody who was anybody in town was an Odd Fellow. We lost that edge over time. But, if you can attract one or two community leaders, those leaders will attract others. Members who are recognized leaders in the community will elevate the status of the Lodge and open the Lodge up to new memberships. In my Lodge, for example, we have elected city and county officials, school board members, the police chief, several judges, the district attorney and public defender, and so on. What a great recruitment tool you have when you can tell prospective members that your Lodge is the Who’s Who of the community.

10. Mentors

It’s important not only to attract new applicants, but to keep them in the process and to actually initiate them. In this regard, it’s useful to appoint a Mentor for each new pledge. The Mentor may be an experienced member, but often it’s better to have a relatively new member Mentor the pledge. The Mentor acts as a big brother or big sister, a buddy, available to answer questions and to introduce the applicant to other members. An effective Mentor system can really help move the applicant into membership.

Recruitment of new members is a job for each of us in this great and ancient Order – the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. We can’t just sit back and wait for the “other guy” to do it. YOU are the other guy.

 

What can we do to grow our Odd Fellows Lodge?

What can we do to grow our Odd Fellows Lodge?

Updated: January 17, 2021To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of "Dedicated Members for Change" we are re-publishing some of our articles from past years. Today, we offer an article that was published in the DMC Newsletter on January 19, 2013 - eight...

The Illustrated History of Odd Fellowship

The Illustrated History of Odd Fellowship

Updated: January 11, 2021 The Odd Fellows Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) celebrated its 10-year anniversary last month and we have been recognizing that milestone by re-publishing some articles from past DMC Newsletters. The following article was first published...

10 Helpful Hints to Bring New Members into the Odd Fellows

10 Helpful Hints to Bring New Members into the Odd Fellows

Updated: December 29, 2020Season's Greetings to all. We celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) by re-publishing some of our articles which appeared in this DMC Newsletter over the last...

Odd Fellows Must Evolve

Odd Fellows Must Evolve

Updated: December 29, 2020

This month we recognize the 10th Year Anniversary of “Dedicated Members for Change” by republishing some of our past DMC articles. Following is an article I wrote on March 4, 2012, over eight years ago. It seems to be as relevant today as it was then. Hope you enjoy it.

All living things evolve to some extent to fit their environment. If they don’t, they go the way of the dinosaur and the dodo bird, and eventually become extinct. Things change even in our modern society. The computers we used just 10 years ago are now viewed as outmoded clunkers. After World War II there were 12,000 bowling alleys in the United States – today there are only 3,000. Even organizations evolve – and if they fail to do so, they suffer the consequences. The landscape of America is littered with the corpses – hundreds of them – of dead and dying fraternal orders. It is the goal of DMC to work to avoid that fate for the Odd Fellows. Our concern is that our membership has declined steadily since World War II. Our membership numbers have declined 90% since the 1940’s and we now stand at less than 5,000 dues-paying members in California, with about one-third of our Odd Fellow Lodges having less than 15 members on the books. We have Lodges where the youngest member is approaching the age of 70. Those facts, to the Dedicated Members for Change (DMC), are big red flags.

The other day I ran across an interesting article on the Internet. Under the title of “Looking Under the Fez”, it was all about a fraternal order in distress. No, it wasn’t about the Odd Fellows or even our branch, the Encampment. It was all about the Shriners. But many of the thoughts conveyed in the article could be about any fraternal order, including the Odd Fellows. It was written in 1993 (when lodges generally were all-male), but in many respects the article is applicable today. I share excerpts of that article (with some minor editing) for your reading pleasure:

“Once they roamed the earth, proud and free. Mighty herds of Moose and Elk, great flocks of Eagles, pride and after pride of Lions. But the finest example of all were the Shriners. Romping and gamboling & driving miniature cars in precision formation, the gold-and-rhinestone trim on their bright red fezzes sparking in the sun; truly they were the most playful of all fraternal organizations.

Are Shriners Endangered

While they are not extinct, these days the Shriners could be called an endangered species. At the turn of the century, millions of men – possibly one out of every five adult males in the United States – belonged to one or more fraternal lodges. But as times and attitudes change, these all-male social organizations are literally dying out. ‘The Black Camel is advancing on us’ say the Shriners, who have lost over one-third of their membership since 1980. And it’s hard to see where they’ll find young replacements for the members who leave in a hearse. It never occurs to most of us nowadays to belong to a lodge. When was the last time one of your buddies turned to you and said, ‘Dude, next week I’m joining the Knights of Pythias’?

Are We Wanted

Apparently, fraternal organizations offer things that nobody wants any more: buddy-buddy fellowship, mumbo-jumbo rituals and frequent mandatory meetings. Even though we may not want to join them, it’s still possible to admire them from a certain (ironic) distance. It’s a bit like watching the last of the dinosaurs thunder off into the sunset, doomed but glorious. We know the world will never see their like again. The Shriners, the boldest and most in-your-face of all the fraternal organizations, hold a special fascination for me and many others.

Elk, Moose, Odd Fellow?

Most of us couldn’t tell an Elk from a Moose from an Odd Fellow, but we all know at least something about the Shriners: that they wear those funny hats, that they support a network of charity hospitals for children, that they’ve organized themselves around a hokey Arabian Nights theme. And most of all, we know them from their public appearances in parades and such, dressed as clowns, or teetering on tiny mini-bikes, or tooling around in go-karts. Though most of us have some idea what they look like, not many know what the Shriners actually are. Officially, they’re the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.) founded in 1872. A colorful Near East theme runs through everything they do. Their 191 chapters or “Temples” bear names like Sahara, Tangier, Damascus, Mecca, and Nile. They surround themselves with Ali Baba trappings of pyramids, camels, palm trees, and scimitars. Dressed in Bedouin robes, new Nobles are initiated in a symbolic journey across a desert’s burning sands to an oasis, where thirsts are quenched with free-flowing wine. But rearrange the letters A.A.O.N.M.S. and they spell ‘A Mason’ a not-so-subtle clue that one must first be ‘A Mason’ in order to become a Shriner. For centuries, outsiders have speculated about the Masons’ secret oaths, rituals and handshakes, all based on legendary stonemasons who supposedly built medieval cathedrals and Old Testament temples. (For this reason, Masonic symbols include builder’s tools like the compass, the square, and the trowel.)

Why has membership in the Shriners diminished?

A conflict that keeps modern men out of the fraternal life is society’s demands on our time. We’ve all heard that life was harder back in Great-Grandpa’s day, but he did seem to have plenty of leisure time to spend down at the lodge. Today we’re busy with our careers, busy with our families, and when we want entertainment, we’ve got TV and videos and the Internet right in our homes. After days of packed schedules and time conflicts, the last thing we want is the Lions’ Club or the Shriners making more irritating demands on our time.”

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows

What can we do to grow our Odd Fellows Lodge?

What can we do to grow our Odd Fellows Lodge?

Updated: January 17, 2021To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of "Dedicated Members for Change" we are re-publishing some of our articles from past years. Today, we offer an article that was published in the DMC Newsletter on January 19, 2013 - eight...

The Illustrated History of Odd Fellowship

The Illustrated History of Odd Fellowship

Updated: January 11, 2021 The Odd Fellows Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) celebrated its 10-year anniversary last month and we have been recognizing that milestone by re-publishing some articles from past DMC Newsletters. The following article was first published...

10 Helpful Hints to Bring New Members into the Odd Fellows

10 Helpful Hints to Bring New Members into the Odd Fellows

Updated: December 29, 2020Season's Greetings to all. We celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) by re-publishing some of our articles which appeared in this DMC Newsletter over the last...

Odd Fellows Dedicated Members Celebrate 10-year Anniversary

Odd Fellows Dedicated Members Celebrate 10-year Anniversary

Updated: December 11, 2020

By Dave Rosenberg, PGM, PGP

Precisely ten years ago today – on December 11, 2010 – The California Odd Fellows “Dedicated Members for Change” (DMC) was formed.

DMC was the brainchild of its three founding members: Don Smith who was an august Past Grand Master of California and a Past Sovereign Grand Master; Rick Boyles who served as a Past Grand Master of California; and yours truly, Dave Rosenberg, who is a Past Grand Master and a Past Grand Patriarch of California. Don Smith, a great Odd Fellow, has since passed away, but Rick and Dave are still around. A decade ago, several progressive, distinguished and leading Odd Fellows became charter “members” of DMC, including Peter Sellars, John Fraher, Brian Riehl, Don Lang, Randy Krassow, John Morgan, Julie Machado, and Frank Goulart. Over the years, our email matrix has grown into the hundreds and represents Odd Fellows in states across the country, Canada, Europe and other jurisdictions.

The Focus

The focus of DMC has been simple and straightforward: Membership. We wanted the Order to recognize that Odd Fellowship was shrinking, and we wanted to stop the decline. Our focus was about increasing our membership, and suggesting ways in which we could do so. The decline in membership was recognized as an existential issue for our Order. We focused on that issue like a laser. And we have made some progress. The Jurisdiction of California (the largest in North America) has recently halted the decline, and has been showing small net gains in membership. A remarkable achievement after some 70 years of steady net losses. We have shown how Odd Fellowship is still relevant in the 21st Century, and how our Order can appeal to the young men and women of the new century.

A Progressive Force

We were and are a progressive force in Odd Fellowship. A decade ago we were raising issues such as the need to combine our units. To us, it made little sense in the 21st Century to have “male-oriented” units and “female-oriented” units.   We also raised the issue relating to sexist passages as well as racially insensitive passages in our ritual. We also raised the flag of hypocrisy where SGL says we are non-denominational, yet the ritual is clearly Judeo-Christian. These issues are still before us, and are still to be resolved.

A Difficult Road

It hasn’t been easy.   In the beginning we were mocked and shunned.   I recall, just a few years ago, when DMC wanted to use a room for a meeting at the Grand Lodge hotel during a California Grand Lodge gathering, and the Grand Master at the time refused to allow us to use a room, and refused to put our gathering on the agenda.    We ultimately had our gathering, but had to move it to a Mexican restaurant two blocks from the hotel.   Times have changed, and in recent Grand Lodges we have hosted a Thursday evening reception and dinner which has become a regular and popular feature.   And we are listed on the agenda.

Over the last 10 years, we have published over 500 DMC Newsletters.   To honor our 10-year anniversary, we are going to republish some of the DMC Newsletter articles that appeared years ago, but are still relevant today.   Hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.   The first of our republished DMC Newsletters will appear next week.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)

What can we do to grow our Odd Fellows Lodge?

What can we do to grow our Odd Fellows Lodge?

Updated: January 17, 2021To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of "Dedicated Members for Change" we are re-publishing some of our articles from past years. Today, we offer an article that was published in the DMC Newsletter on January 19, 2013 - eight...

The Illustrated History of Odd Fellowship

The Illustrated History of Odd Fellowship

Updated: January 11, 2021 The Odd Fellows Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) celebrated its 10-year anniversary last month and we have been recognizing that milestone by re-publishing some articles from past DMC Newsletters. The following article was first published...

10 Helpful Hints to Bring New Members into the Odd Fellows

10 Helpful Hints to Bring New Members into the Odd Fellows

Updated: December 29, 2020Season's Greetings to all. We celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) by re-publishing some of our articles which appeared in this DMC Newsletter over the last...

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