It is April 21 and I must admit that I have never felt as challenged to write my quarterly column as I do this time! I have taken the liberty to be the last column submitted in hopes that we might by now have a little more direction on when our lives can return to a sort of normalcy. The planner in me is completely disrupted by all the uncertainty!
A lot has happened in such a short amount of time. As business owners (yes, our lodges are small businesses), the outlook is challenging since there are no deadlines. How long must we wait? Do we dare gather again soon or are we better off remaining virtually together for the time being?
In my last article, I proposed a case for the badly needed support of our lodges and their financial stability, a case designed to achieve profitability and one that required the inclusion of every member of the lodge. Here are the highlights:
Involve all members in the solutions to the challenges of the lodge.
Gather the business-minded members of your lodge and immerse them in the understanding of all operations.
Gain member buy-in for operating the lodge and club as a business and profitably.
Begin a maintenance fund for lodge repairs and beautification.
Understand the bar and restaurant are not THE “lodge” but rather it is the members and their well-being.
Grow membership based on a financial commitment to the upkeep and support of the lodge.
We are now preparing for the election of new leaders in our lodges and what better time than now to ask those declaring an interest in joining or extending their tenure on the leadership team their positions on the above ideas. For sure, if your current leadership team is not addressing these concepts or have not attempted to involve the membership in a lodge sustainability program, I ask, should they be continued on the leadership team? Is the status quo a sustainable strategy for your lodge?
Money is at the root of almost every challenge we face in our lodges today – how to make it, how we spend it and how to save some of it. Much is said about what we are doing wrong and little is said about how to fix it. Here’s my attempt at changing that!
I recently did a deep dive into the numbers of a random group of lodges. Here’s what I found.
One of my responsibilities as secretary of the Florida State Elks Association is to always be on the lookout for ways to improve our lodges, our committee work and our major projects. In this endeavor, I am constantly talking with our members to understand what makes them tick, why they give what they give, and what works and what doesn’t. There is one thing, however, that I cannot quite figure out, so I am going to use this article to see if I can get a conversation started through which I hope to obtain a better understanding of the issue. Please read through to the end and if inclined to comment, I will provide options for doing so!
Four years ago, in the Spring 2015 edition of the Florida Elks News, the title of my article was “Are We Finally Starting to Turn the Corner?” In that article I championed how close we had come to a statewide membership gain (195 members) and noted that we had started the year 55,851 members strong! I also wrote about my observation of the new officers for 2015-2016 from the officer training seminar and remarked that the year’s crop was “one of if not the best” I had ever seen. I wrote about respecting members as volunteers and owners and reminded that a lodge is its members, not the lodge building. I wrote about inviting members who were not team players and who could not work with others or for the good of the lodge to find other pursuits where team is not important. I wrote that we should not give a forum to those who seek to do nothing but profess their knowledge of the statutes or who attempt to only enforce a statute or a rule when it favors them. And, I wrote about the time it takes for an organization to enact organizational change, at the time suggesting my perception was three years.