For Elks lodges, the toughest leadership test is now upon us — how do we bring members back in an environment where a COVID-19 vaccine is still under development and our economy is still reeling? The turnaround will require innovation. It will require building a cohesive team, and it will require leadership both in the management of our lodges and among our members. Recovery is NOT just reopening and doing things the way we have always done them; it is the reimagining of everything we do and how we embrace our changing member expectations that will determine if our lodges will come back strong!
The events of the last few months have indeed been challenging as we have endured prolonged closures of our lodges and our club operations. Fortunately, the good deeds we do for others were not as affected and we were able to continue them albeit with some minor content and delivery adjustments. Through it all, our Elks lodges hung on to hope and are now beginning to reemerge. We used the downtime to revisit our operations, create new business plans, and strengthen our own sense of community within our lodge and among our members. This internal strengthening was especially important since through it, we improve our effectiveness at serving the greater community of others. We have grown together, and we will now heal together, and together we will be a force in the healing for our communities.
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?
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?
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.