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    Selling the fraternal difference – I’ve got questions; you’ve got answers…

    We talk a lot about the “fraternal difference” – the unique factors that distinguish us from any other entity, be it a commercial life insurer or a charitable organization.  Fraternals are a breed apart – from our common bonds, to our governance structure, to our incredible ability to enhance the quality of life for our members, our communities, and our nation’s social fabric and economic health. 

    This blog posting highlights the impact of those activities by a handful of fraternals.  I’ve listed them here because the societies told us about these events or sent us clips from local and national news broadcasts that featured society spokespersons describing these activities.  I know that there are many more societies out there engaged in activities that are equally worthwhile as those listed below.  And I welcome the opportunity to shout about them from the highest mountaintop (or at least this blog and the association’s Web site; which, by the way, we’ll be revamping to better promote those outstanding “stories of service” you send us). 

    But one characteristic that many fraternals share is modesty.  Hey, it’s OK to toot your own horn.  And we’ve got to figure out a better way to accomplish that – individually and collectively.  Which brings me to the point of this posting: I want to learn more about how your society is selling the fraternal difference.  Below are a few questions that I’d like you to consider.  You can post your answers right here on the blog so that everyone can learn from your experience, or send them to me privately at jannotti@nfcanet.org.  I really want to hear from you because growing our societies by bringing in new members is the only way we can ensure a healthy future for the fraternal system. 

    1. Do fraternal activities fuel financial success?  How so?  If not, why not?
    2. Do you view your society’s fraternal/community service activities as an effective way to bring in new social and/or benefits members?
    3. Do you organize your fraternal/community service activities with this goal in mind, or are the fraternal aspects of your society different that the financial services aspects?
    4. Are your agents – captive and/or independent – actively engaged in fraternal/community service activities within their communities?
    5. Do your agents perceive such activities to be an effective way to generate new members?
    6. Do your fraternal/community service activities involve individuals and/or groups outside your membership to promote awareness of your society to prospective members?

    And now let’s showcase some recent fraternal activity success stories:

    The SPJST Ft. Hood memorial was unveiled earlier this week.  Check out these links to some of the news stories picked up by media outlets throughout Texas…  Thanks to Brian Vanicek for spearheading this initiative and for keeping us apprised of the developments from germination of the idea to completion of the memorial.

    http://www.news8austin.com/content/headlines/274581/victims-of-fort-hood-shooting-remembered

    http://www.kdhnews.com/news/story.aspx?s=46095 
     
    http://www.kwtx.com/home/headlines/Post_Remembers_The_Dead_Honors_The_Living_On_Shooting_Anniversary_106733968.html
     
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/110510dntexforthood.3f43bf0.html

     The Knights of Columbus conducted a successful media event in Washington, D.C., in late October, highlighting the organization’s efforts to restore the JFK grave site at Arlington National Cemetery.  Check out the various links to local and national news coverage…  Thanks to Patrick Korten for sharing this information with us.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/28/AR2010102804551.html

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39902676/ns/local_news-washington_dc/

    http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=117607

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/10/28/national/main6999782.shtml

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/10/28/virginia.kennedy.grave/?hpt=C2

    • Click on this link to Woodmen of the World/Denver’s blog to learn more about what this small society is doing to rally its members to support specific causes: Feeding America and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  Thanks to Gary Wheeler for leading fraternals into the blogosphere and for showing us that every society can make a difference.
    • The Nebraska Fraternal Congress conducted a “speed dating” session that not only provided attendees the opportunity to meet new people, but also generated some great ideas for ways to reinvent the fraternal system.  Here’s a link to the composite results of the session…  Thanks to Sharon Warga for organizing the session and sharing the results.
    • And congratulations to Western Fraternal Life Association (WFLA) for initiating fraternal training sessions for their lodges and for involving their agents in the effort.  Most recently, Fraternal Manager Kitty Chadima arranged for one of the society’s new agents to participate in a training session at a lodge meeting.  The agent works with youth in the inner city, and WFLA is excited that there is a potential exchange and interaction among the more mature members of their lodges and these needy kids.  She also works with a youth shelter, so the lodge will help the shelter at Christmas and may also get the kids to help with a fundraiser for a member who is ill. It sounds like the start of a long-term partnership.

    OK, I’m ready to hear your answers to my questions and receive more information about the great things you’re doing in communities across the country…

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