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Want new members? Leave the lodge and look online…

In case you missed it, here’s a link to an article in last Sunday’s Parade magazine about a recent survey on the boom in volunteerism in the U.S.  My question to you, dear readers, is:  How is your society capitalizing on all this "latent fraternalism"?

Just a few highlights from the piece:

  • 94% of Americans think it’s “important to be personally involved in supporting a cause we believe in.” 78% think that the actions of one person can improve the world and an equal number believe that they’re more involved in making a difference than their parents were.
  • Most folks are motivated by simple altruism – they want to help other people and make the world a better place. Yet, despite this “global” view, a desire to improve things in the communities in which they live and work is what spurs people to action.
  • When it comes to what types of volunteer activities people do, the survey results read like a page out of the fraternal playbook: delivering food to the hungry, organizing a fundraising event, participating in a cleanup at a local park, and working at a soup kitchen or food bank top the list.
  • The survey identified three distinct types of volunteers:
    1) Young, Engaged Problem Solvers (YEPPIES) – These young people (the fraternalists of the future?) rely on social media and socializing to fuel their activism.

    2) Rapid Responders – Their civic engagement is focused on a specific problem in their community.

    3) The Mission-Minded – This group consists of older Americans largely motivated by their faith (sound familiar?).

  • The most important finding of the survey?  Try this on for size:  Americans are using technology to spread the word about issues and to connect with others. More than one quarter of respondents use e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter to communicate about a cause.

The bottom line is that there is a wealth of budding fraternalists out there, but tomorrow’s members are hard-wired to the Web.  We’re missing the boat if we are relying on bulletins and magazines to bring people in the door.  Societies should reach out to volunteers where they “live” online – sites like volunteermatch.org, allforgood.org, and a variety of local and state sites are great ways to target those who want to serve. 

What are you doing to tap this volunteer pool?  Are you e-mailing, blogging, or “tweeting” news about your society’s community service activities to your youth groups?  Are they, in turn, posting news about it to their Facebook friends?  Let others know how you’re maximizing your outreach efforts to this group by posting your comments here.

We also know that many of our societies either do not automatically collect, or do not have the database structure to support, the vast majority of current or new members' e-mail addresses.  Given the extreme importance of electronic marketing – in both volunteerism and in effective communications in general – what is your society doing about it?  Do you have creative ways to collect e-mails in order to avoid costly application form changes? 

Someone's going to capture the hearts and minds of these community-service individuals.  Might as well be us!  Share your ideas and thoughts here.

Diagnostic Services Available to NFCA Members

Wexford Partners, a consulting firm with a thorough knowledge of the life insurance business and fraternal operations, is offering NFCA member societies six different packages of diagnostic services to help executives identify realistic and achievable solutions to some of the most vexing problems facing fraternal insurers.  Moreover, Wexford is providing these services to members at a significant discount over what other consulting firms charge for similar services.  If you haven’t seen it, here is a link to the information that was sent to member societies.  I know most, if not all, of our members utilize a variety of consultants to assist them with different functions from accounting, to underwriting, to claims administration, to investments, to auditing, to actuarial services.  The Wexford program is not intended to replace or compete with any of your existing consultant relationships.  These diagnostic packages are designed to provide small- and medium-sized societies with the tools to take a very focused look at six specific operational areas and provide you with a definitive analysis and recommendation for action for presentation to your executive team and Board.  Worth a look…

CHFS and Royal Arcanum Expand Marketing Alliance

Who says fraternals can’t work together?  Take a look at this press release announcing the expansion of the marketing relationship between Catholic Holy Family Society (CHFS) and the Supreme Council of the Royal Arcanum.  Are you working successfully with another society in an innovative way?  Share your story right here by posting your comments below…

Allen Bailey & Associates to Host Benefit for Houston-Based Society

Allen Bailey, President of Allen Bailey & Associates, Inc., – an NFCA Associate Member and actuarial consulting firm with many fraternal clients – is hosting a fundraising golf outing to benefit the Grand Court Order of Calanthe, an NFCA member society, on May 12 in Austin, Texas.  Click here for more information on this event and how you can support this effort.

2 Responses

  1. Just wanted to say that we appreciate the valuable information you share with us each issue. I really enjoyed reading the Parade Magazine article about who, and what people volunteer for. Very exciting, keep it up. John

  2. Regarding online…
    Could another opportunity be to brainstorm about buildng online communities that center around some of the heritages and cultural interests/commonalities that were keys in the original formation of many fraternals? What might they look like and offer?
    When first generation immigrants came to the US, we had ethnic neighborhoods. My wife’s immigrant grandparents lived in Swedish neighborhoods and mine lived in Italian and German neighborhoods. We don’t live in those neighborhoods anymore, but that does not mean that we don’t identify with our heritages and might not connect if there were new and interesting ways to do so. Maybe things that focus on language, ancestry, food(especially!), history, culture, etc?
    Maybe fraternal virtual lodges could be viable in the future?

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