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Two December Developments Point to a Bright 2017 for Fraternals…

I received two early Christmas presents this year, both of which signal a very positive future for the Alliance and its member societies.  Here’s a look at each:


Board takes next steps on fraternal branding campaign

mustacheOn December 7, 2016, after a thorough discussion, the Alliance Board of Directors authorized staff to take the “next step” in the fraternal branding campaign by invoicing the 40 member societies who voted to support the project.  Invoices for $9,500 will be sent to the CEOs of these 40 societies in early January 2017 and the Alliance hopes to have all the funds for the projects collected by March 1.

All the fees collected by the Alliance will be held in escrow until the Board meets in early March 2017.  If sufficient funds are collected to pay for the project, the Board will give the green light to Maddock-Douglas, our branding consultant, to begin work on the consumer research that will result in delivering the brand strategies, campaign creative designs, and demographic data that individual members can use to effectively market their society to the most receptive prospective members – an absolutely incredible value for less than $10,000.  If the Alliance cannot collect sufficient funds to pay for the project, the fees paid by members will be returned to them.

We’re also hoping that member societies that are still on the fence about funding the project will decide to participate.  If all Alliance members joined in, the cost per member would drop to $7,500 per society, which makes accessing the deliverables an even greater value.  For those of you who are not familiar with this project, please email me at jannotti@fraternalalliance.org for a refresher on what’s included in this branding initiative.

If the Board gives the final go ahead in March 2017, the deliverables will be provided to participating members in the fall of 2017.  This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Alliance members to obtain consumer-tested marketing materials and demographic information that can help create a relevant brand for their societies and the fraternal system.  I hope every member will be a part of this effort.

Catholic Financial Life and Degree of Honor announce plans to merge

catholic-financial-lifeOn Monday, December 12, 2016, the presidents of Catholic Financial Life and Degree of Honor announced that the boards of both societies have approved a merger agreement. The effective date of the proposed merger will be April 1, 2017, after the merger has been ratified by the members of both societies and state regulators in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Click here to see the announcement.

Mergers such as these bode well for both Catholic Financial Life and Degree of Honor, and the entire fraternal sector. The members of both societies will be better served by an organization with greater financial and fraternal scale and scope, which will result in operational efficiencies, greater membership benefits, and opportunities to expand into new market segments.

doh_logo_horizontalheader-2-300x109From the Alliance’s perspective, the most important feature of the merger is that it was done for strategic purposes designed to serve the long-term best interests of the members. It was a merger completed while the smaller society – in this case, Degree of Honor – was financially sound and able to negotiate an agreement that preserves the integrity of the organization, as opposed to having the terms of a merger being dictated by another society or, worse yet, a regulator.

The leadership of Degree of Honor took a hard look at the future of the society and determined that while it could remain independent indefinitely, it did not have the financial strength to invest in the initiatives that held the promise of being able to generate growth by making the society attractive and relevant to the next generation of members. As such, they decided that the best way to reach its goals was to join forces with a larger society that shared its core values and a commitment to innovation. Catholic Financial Life proved to be the ideal partner.

Please join me in congratulating Bill O’Toole, president and CEO of Catholic Financial Life, and Lisa Flanary, president and CEO of Degree of Honor, as well as the boards of each society, for negotiating this agreement.

Got a comment on either of these developments?  Post it here…

4 Responses

  1. Exciting news on the fraternal branding project! I have no doubt that MD will provide the highest quality research and creative for fraternals to use in marketing. We look forward to a 2018 annual meeting update to highlight all the growth and progress.

  2. Congrats to CFL and DOH! And Bill and Lisa!

    Some important steps are not easy to take. I pray that this helps encourage other Societies to make bold moves for the benefit of their Membership, and the future of Fraternalism.

  3. I like the collaborative approach to the branding program and I love the early creative work! Good luck, Joe, and let us know if we can help or learn from the experience.

  4. Nice to see you comments concerning the CFL & DOH. Well positioned for others to reflect upon.

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