In addition to gaining a worldwide family of Brothers and Sisters and the many philosophical lessons of our Degrees dating back centuries, there are many benefits to being a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Members learn and use many valuable life skills that carry over into life outside the Lodge. These skills are useful to anyone trying to better their career and will be handy on any resumé or for anyone who is an entrepreneur trying to start their own business.
Schuyler Colfax, vice-president of the United States under President Ulysses S. Grant, became an Odd Fellow at the age of 21. From a bashful young man who feared being called upon to speak in front of a group, he was transformed into one of the greatest speakers of his time. He once remarked that his first speech was made in an Odd Fellows Lodge and had attributed the self-confidence he gained to participating in the business sessions of the Order.
As a member working your way through the different positions in the Lodge you learn:
- Responsibility to all of your Lodge Brothers and Sisters. To uphold the values of the IOOF and to make attending and helping at Lodge functions a personal goal.
- Taking part in Lodge ritual and learning different roles accurately.
- Speaking in front of or reading out loud in front of a group.
- Proper protocol on how to take part in a formal business meeting using Robert’s Rules of Order (Parliamentary Procedure).
- How to work with others on committee plans and successfully carry out a variety of Lodge related events and fundraisers.
- How to respectfully debate a topic in times of disagreement.
- Learn to put aside differences and work together for the good of the Lodge even if it doesn’t directly benefit you.
- The appropriate way to take minutes of a meeting and to keep important paperwork organized, filled out properly, and filed in a timely manner.
- How to keep proper financial records and to develop and maintain a budget for the Lodge.
- Marketing skills to promote the work of the Lodge using social media and traditional media like news papers, radio, and TV.
- Learn leadership skills to be empowered and confident.
- How to run a meeting and maintain control and decorum over the Lodge and how to mediate successfully when disagreements arise.
- Become a trustee charged with the care of the lodge property and any tenants it houses as well as managing any historical documents or artifacts.
- How to be an effective mentor for others who want to learn from you.
Once you move up to the Past Grand position you are eligible to:
- Gain a deeper knowledge of how a non-profit (501 c8) charitable organization works and how to make successful choices for it.
- Work on statewide/jurisdiction wide committees with greater responsibilities attached.
- Travel within the jurisdiction on official business when called upon, and conduct IOOF business with pride.
- Represent your lodge at Grand Lodge Session as their vote on legislation.
- Learn how to write Grand Lodge proposals and bills for debate and voting.
- Weigh out different investment options and manage a variety of properties without causing a loss to the Grand Lodge.
- Maintain large pools of membership information accurately.
- Act as a liaison between the Sovereign Grand Lodge and individual lodges.
- Acting as a coach and consultant to help individual lodges in need of assistance.