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    Whole Foods to Become a Fraternal Benefit Society…

    That’s not exactly true. You won’t be able to pick up an annuity or whole life certificate along with your organic kale or free-range chicken anytime soon. But in a handful of Whole Foods stores, you will be able to become a member of “Wellness Clubs” where you can get lifestyle evaluations and access to classes in nutrition, cooking, and health, along with a significant discount on so-called “better-for-you” foods. The cost? A $199 one-time fee and monthly membership dues of $45. You can read more about this program in this USA TODAY article.  Frankly, I think the idea is brilliant – a little overpriced (but what isn’t at Whole Foods) – but brilliant nonetheless. People won’t be just customers anymore; they’ll be members with an investment in their club and an expectation to receive a return on that investment.

    I think we can learn a little from Whole Foods. We all know that fraternals are different than – and, in my opinion, more than – a traditional life insurance company. We’re membership organizations, and one of the benefits of membership is the opportunity to purchase financial services products from a provider that shares your values and supports the causes – through financial support and volunteerism directed by local networks of individual members – that are important to you.

    As providers of financial services products that secure the futures of our members and their families, don’t we also have a stake in the physical and financial health of our members? Shouldn’t fraternals – much more than Whole Foods – have even more reason to view themselves as “Wellness Clubs?” Doesn’t it enhance the financial strength of societies and the social strength of our communities to have members live long, happy, and healthy lives? Doesn’t it enhance the financial health of the nation when individuals participate in communities that secure the financial future of their members without the need for government safety nets?

    It sure does seem so to me.

    So what is your society doing to become a “Wellness Club?” And how are your members responding to the concept? Share your best ideas with the more than 1,300 readers of this blog by posting them here…

    Annual Meeting Sneak Preview…

    My last posting featured a clip of Frank Luntz, one of the nationally-known speakers on the program for the 2011 Annual Meeting. Now it’s time to get a sneak preview of Joseph Coughlin. After seeing this, you’ll know why we wanted him to address our audience – and you won’t want to miss his Friday morning presentation…

    What’s Up With the Deficit “Super Committee?”

    Check out this memo from the Alliance’s federal lobbying team at McBee Strategic for the latest information on the Deficit Reduction Super Committee. It’s easy to overlook that the bulk of your membership investment in the Alliance goes to fund state and federal advocacy initiatives. It’s a 24/7/365 job that only gets noticed in a time of crisis – like when a lawmaker gets the notion to repeal the fraternal exemption. But the McBee memo points out the value of having a team of advocates from both sides of the aisle walking the halls of the Capitol every day on our behalf. And we’re using this information to match our grassroots key contacts with the members of the Super Committee and other members of Congress to make sure they know who we are and what we do BEFORE the real debate on tax reform begins after the 2012 elections. You’ll get a chance to hear from Gabe Horwitz of McBee at the Alliance’s 2011 Annual Meeting next month in Denver.

    3 Responses

    1. I agree Joe, brilliant idea. People pay for good value and we have so much value to offer.

    2. Joe, I am a financial associate with a fraternal. I think I’ll approach our local Whole Foods and explore some joint ventures in the store where they “sign up” their members. Might be a different kind of prospecting tool!

    3. […] might remember a few postings back, I wrote about Whole Foods stores creating “wellness clubs” that customers could join (for an […]

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