By Daryl Conley, Administrator -
The Moose International Convention was filled with great news and one sad one - we did not make the list of Premier Lodge Award winners for 2015-2016. The only reason for this was a drastic decline in membership, with a loss of 54 members for the year. This is only the second time in my memory since joining this lodge in 1992 that we showed a loss of membership, and the other time it was a bookkeeping error that showed us as having a loss of 1. This is the first time since I took over as Administrator that we have not received the Premier Lodge Award. I took over as Acting Administrator in August of 2010 and was elected to the position by the membership in December 2010. We did miss out on the Premier Lodge Award that year also, because I did not realize that the Heart of the Community report that was due August 15, had not been sent.
I am hoping for a much better year this year, especially in membership. Folks, we have got to get out there and convince our members to stay with us. Despite taking in 124 new members last year, we still showed an overall loss of 54. That's a loss of 179 current members!! Of those, just 25 passed away, meaning we are losing members faster than we can get them. Our lodge, board of officers, and Governor Mark Theall are already instituting new ideas to try to get members to remain; not the least of which is getting the word out.
We have started "Red Ticket Thursday" where our LOOM members can win a chance for a free year's dues just by coming to the lodge on Thursday. We have a new calendar which will be on display in the entryway with all the upcoming events - take a photo with your phone and you will always have it with you!! I have signed up with an e-mail provider so that we can again send weekly e-mails to notify members of upcoming events. But we - each one of us - must also get the word out. Remind your member-friends of upcoming activities; invite them to join you. Inform your new candidate of all the lodge and the Moose has available, even before they are enrolled. After that, visit with them some more and invite them to the next event, AND attend their enrollment whenever possible. Make them feel as though you care enough to take time out of your schedule to be there for them when they proclaim their oath of membership.
If you know someone who has not paid their dues or is thinking of not paying; go visit them or call them up. Statistics show that the best persuasive advice is a face to face visit, the second most effective method is a phone call, especially from a friend or acquaintance whom they feel comfortable talking to. I also invite any member to come see me and I will print you a list of expired members or those about to expire and you can call or visit each one of them. We have got to focus on retaining our current members or we will continue to see our membership drop year after year. Let's all get busy - I know we can do it!!
On the much more positive side, our lodge was the ONLY lodge in AZ/NM who received the Gold Level, the highest level possible for our Heart of the Community reports for 2015-2016. There were only 4 out of 33 lodges who qualified for either of the three levels. Las Cruces received the Silver Level, and Silver City and Bullhead City, AZ received the bronze level. In order to be considered, a lodge must receive a Superior rating for all four reports submitted during the year. They are then judged by a panel of Heart of the Community committee members at Moose International.
After we left St. Louis, we took a tour of Mooseheart, then the next day, Camp Ross. I have posted a plethora of photos under the photo tab. Photos alone do not do these places justice; seeing the beautiful homes and landscapes, and the smiles on the faces of our kids really brings home the message why we are members and why we should always renew our memberships. It is our dues that pays for all of this - $34.00 of your dues is used exclusively for the operation of Mooseheart and Moosehaven. Moose Legion dues pay for the upkeep and maintenance of Camp Ross as well as Mooseheart and Moosehaven. IF FOR NO OTHER REASON, it is important to retain your membership in the Loyal Order of Moose so that our children and seniors will always have a safe and happy home.
I also brought back several POUNDS of informational flyers which will be available to you. Once our new addition is complete, we are going to set up a table in the entryway with all kinds of information, including flyers on Mooseheart, Moosehaven, special member incentive programs, discount insurance programs for members, Moose Rewards brochures, discount coupons on shopping, golf, and entertainment, and other information you can use to persuade that new or former member to join with us. Be sure to stop by on your way in or out and help yourself to this valuable information.
Moose International has introduced two new programs and encouraging lodges, chapter, and units to participate. One is EZ Child/Elder ID - medical and contact information can be put on a flash drive for caregivers to have access to the child's or elder's medical and contact information in case the person is unconscious or unable to speak.
Another program they are recommending is "Valued Veteran." Special recognition should be given to our Moose members who are veterans of the military. This could include certificate, pins, dinners in their honor, etc. A special recognition is also recommended for veteran/members who are active in their lodges and/or the lodge's community service program. Governor Mark Theall is already working on a program for veterans in our lodge. Watch this newsletter for details.
Two years ago, we went "Back to Basics," and re-established the reasons for being a Moose member, supporting our children and our seniors. Last year we "Built our Foundation," attempting to strengthen our order and providing a good foundation from new and current members to build on. This year the campaign is "Raise the Roof." Moose International's goal is to raise the roof on membership, and provide more benefits that will appeal to all member types, both current and new. What happened to the 'walls' you might ask. WE, the members, are the walls that provide stability between the foundation and the roof. When one of us leaves the Order, another piece of the wall falls to the wayside and the walls become weaker. BE THAT WALL and continue to support our Order and your lodge by remaining a true and loyal member.
Don't forge to keep track of your Members Rewards Points, You can earn points by sponsoring new or former members, they earn additional points when their sponsored member renews their dues after their first year. We can earm points by attending training sessions and conventions, being elected into office, joining the Moose Legion and/or earning higher degrees of the order, and the list goes on. Once earned, these points can be redeemed for gift cards, credit at the Moose Store, payment of dues, or cash. Hopefully, this new program will provide incentive for our current members to go out and sign up new or former members while earning credits for themselves. To check on your points, go to www.mooseintl.org and click on My Member Benefits. Here you will find all your membership statistics, including number of members sponsored, last time you attended and officer's training, date you were enrolled, your original sponsor, etc. If you have never logged in before, follow the instructions and enter your Moose ID number as your log-in name then create your own personal password. Pamphlets are available that show how you can redeem you points or you can find the information on the Moose International website.
MI has also introduced several new ways and new programs where you can donate to Moose Charities. Remember that any donation to Moose Charities is tax-deductible. Check out the Documents section of this newsletter for downloadable applications and information.
Remember, if you need to pay your dues, you can pay them at the lodge. If I am in my office, I will be glad to pay them on-line for you, either with cash, check or your own personal credit card. If you don't catch me at the lodge, simply pay the Social Quarters Attendant on duty (cash or check) - they will give you a receipt and I will pay it on-line as soon as I get back. I am normally in my office from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, except for lunch which I usually take from around 1:00pm - 2:00 pm.
Another issue that prevents people from joining or keeps them from renewing is second-hand smoke. Over the years we have addressed this issue numerous times by installing more smoke eaters, adding a fresh-air ventilation system and repairing non-functioning systems. We are furthering that mission by adding a new section to our building so that we can move the small meeting room and expand the Social Quarters. This new area will be non-smoking and will have a positive-air ventilation system to keep second hand smoke from entering the area. So please, if you've quit us or plan on quitting us, give us a second chance and continue to help us support our community, our children at Mooseheart, and seniors at Moosehaven.
Sponsors, once the application is filled out, your job is far from over. You should try to get them to attend an enrollment. After they are enrolled, you should call them periodically and invite them to join you at the lodge for dinner or drinks, and while you are here, introduce them to the officers and to other members so that they feel welcomed and not left out. Hopefully, this feeling of belonging will also prevent them from dropping out in the years that follow.
Have a great month!
Daryl Conley - Administrator