By Daryl Conley, Administrator -
I always approach our annual Moose International convention with nervous anticipation and I must admit, a bit of anxiety. It is a long way to travel, and a long time away from home and the lodge. But each year, I am never disappointed, and leave with a renewed energy for our lodge and fraternity.
This year was no exception. 2014-2015 was year of change and a little turmoil. A total of 16 positions were eliminated at Moose International, due to financial constraints, and the duties were split up among the other directors, who I am sure, already have a full plate of duties. The Grand Lodge of England is no more, due to strong declines in membership. The forty-some lodges in the UK are now part of the Loyal Order of Moose along will all the lodges in the United States and Canada.
Membership numbers were down across the board, but thankfully donations were up. But, with the positive attitude that has always emanated from Moose International, they are paving the way to move forward, rather than focusing on the past. Perhaps the most important part of this plan is an addition to the member benefits program. Many people complained about the discontinuation of the "Sponsor Two Earn Free Dues" program (especially those of us who got our dues paid for doing so) despite a lackluster participation in the program. During the four-year program there was a paltry increase of just 8% of additional members sponsoring two or more members into our fraternity.
But, MI has listened to our concerns about ending this program and has offered a new program. Members 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.
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 ifnromation.
Last year's campaign was Back to Basics. This year's campaign is Build our Foundation. It is time to start afresh, with the core values of our fraternity - an increase in membership and an increased knowledge and awareness of our two great humanitarian endeavors, Mooseheart and Moosehaven. MI has provided a new video that explains what the Moose is and how we support Mooseheart and Moosehaven and our communities. We show this during our orientation on the second Thursday of each month. You do not have to be a new member to see it; any and all members are invited to attend the orientation and view the video. It will give you insight and knowledge about our order. Knowledge is the key to selling a product. As members, we are selling the product of membership and fraternalism. You dan do this by passing on your knowledge to others and to prospective members.
It's never too early to start thinking about membership. We hit a lofty goal last year, finishing at plus-12 for an ending total of 763; but we have since slipped all the way back to 736. In a related article, you will read that we have 1,095 people who were once members of this lodge, and for whatever reason, failed to renew. If we could get even 10% of those back, it would be 100 members added to our rolls. We can all be a part of this. I have the list in my office and will be glad to share it with anyone who want to send some letters, make some calls or whatever. You can even pick out those that you sponsored. Let's start on membership and retention now, not during the last two months of the lodge year.
If you know someone who has not paid their dues recently, PLEASE try to convince them to pay up. Remind them of all the benefits of being a Moose member, even if they don't come to the lodge. Come and get one or more of our Member Benefits brochures to show them. If you yourself have not paid please reconsider, come see for yourself what the Moose and our lodge has to offer. Let's not wait until April 1, 2016 to try to reach our goal of 764 - my nerves can't take it!!!
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 also began a no-smoking policy years ago in the dining hall during meals, and have recently added a no smoking section to our Social Quarters, near the entrance to provide adequate ventilation. While we have received both positive and negative response to this, we feel it is our duty to provide a comfortable environment for all members, non-smokers and smokers alike. 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.
I am going to leave the remainder of this article as it was last month, as I feel there is some very important information and reminders here...
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