The path toward quality lodge is a formidable one for many lodges. A classic obstacle is that elusive requirement known as the brotherhood conversion rate. Quality Lodge Recognition Petition item #3 requires, by the end of the year, that the lodge induct a minimum of 30% of its eligible ordeal members into the Brotherhood. Chiefs and advisers lament this restriction when December rolls around if their lodges have stalled around the 20%, 25%, or even 29% mark. Yet there is a solution, and your lodge can successfully achieve numbers above 30%, 40%, or 50% with the proper determination and devotion to the goal. It will take hard work, but it will be worth it!
The system suggested here is based on the chapter system, but can work equally well in smaller lodges that might only have one or two Brotherhood teams. The system consists of four parts:
Knowledge. The first part consists of making the goals and the status of Brotherhood conversion completely transparent. At each lodge executive committee meeting (“LECM”), the lodge chief or his designee should provide each chapter chief with a printed-out report with his chapter’s current conversion status. This should list every ordeal member eligible for Brotherhood, their contact information, the chapter’s conversion status, and the lodge’s conversion status. Sort the lists by troop for easy identification of the troops that might benefit from a phone call or visit at the next district roundtable. LECMs should include each chapter chief reporting on his chapter’s status, the chapter’s progress from the previous meeting, and scheduled Brotherhood conversions. The information can be posted on the lodge’s website and communicated at district roundtables, chapter meetings, and in the lodge’s newsletter.
Competition. What’s a better way to raise the bar than by pitting the chapter against the lodge? A friendly competition called “Beat the Lodge” will encourage chapter chiefs to continue promoting the importance of Brotherhood conversion. Chapter chiefs put their numbers up against the numbers of the lodge. The chapter chiefs whose chapters have a higher Brotherhood conversion percentage than the aggregate of the other chapters thus “Beat the Lodge!”
Recognition. If achieving a high Brotherhood conversion rate is important to the lodge—and it should be—then the lodge can invest in promoting successful conversion efforts. At each LECM, chapter chiefs who “Beat the Lodge” should receive some sort of prize. Perhaps it’s a small gift certificate, a patch, a candy bar of his choice, or just bragging rights, but by recognizing the chapter chiefs who are doing better than the lodge shows them that their efforts are not going unnoticed. Finally, at the end-of-the-year banquet, give an award to the chapter chief (or the whole chapter!) who achieves the highest Brotherhood conversion rate. In short time, the conversion rates will become the focus of each active member, driving those numbers even higher.
Persistence. Dedication is positively correlated to Brotherhood conversion percentages: High dedication means high conversion rates. Sub-par efforts will result in an end-of-year struggle and ultimately no quality lodge pin. It’s hard work, but when the whole lodge is involved, it gets easier. First and foremost, the lodge or chapter should conduct Brotherhood ceremonies at every available opportunity. Lodges with the highest conversion rates don’t conduct ceremonies only twice a year at ordeal weekends. They seize every opportunity, including each week of summer camp, district camporees, ordeal weekends, and even NOAC and National Jamborees! They collect dues at these events and use the lists provided at each LECM to maintain constant communication with members. Most importantly, they don’t give up. Persistence is really a culmination of the other three parts of this system. It takes some organization to print chapter and lodge reports each month. It requires some dedication to the lodge’s goal to continue the inter-chapter competitions and recognizing those who succeed. High brotherhood conversion rates demand numerous ceremonies and a commitment to not letting any Arrowman “slip through the cracks.”
Achieving a thirty percent conversion rate is not about receiving the quality lodge pin at the end of the year.
It is about the recognition that strong lodges have high conversion rates. This is because brotherhood members stick around longer than ordeal members and are more active. Members who seal their membership understand why leadership, brotherhood, and cheerful service are so important to the organization. Indeed, lodges who slack on this part of the lodge program do a disservice not only to the lodge, but also to their members.
The above resource was submitted by Mikanakawa Lodge in Dallas, Texas, whose current membership is 2,827. The lodge set goals for 50% brotherhood conversion and in 2009 reached 60.05% brotherhood conversion rate for their lodge. Chapters report their conversion status each month and a Beat the Lodge competition is held at each LECM. The lodge and chapters conduct brotherhood ceremonies at every event and have an Annual Chapter Brotherhood Conversion award they present at the annual banquet. The 2009 Chapter Brotherhood Conversion Award winner had a conversion rate of 88.46% with 176 members. The lodge boasts four chapters achieving above an 80% conversion rate and all but one of these had over 100 members. As you can see, achieving that 30% mark is possible in both small and large organizations with just knowledge, competition, recognition, and persistence!