To begin the year, the Maine Elks Association started with 10,472 members, and as of November 28, 2022, the Association boasts a total of 11,040 members. A gain of 568 members so far this year. In addition, at the beginning of the year Bangor Lodge #244 was the only Lodge with over 1,000 members. The state now has a total of four Lodges that are now part of the 1K club. Joining the Bangor Lodge are the Waterville, Augusta, and Sanford Elk Lodges. Congratulations to all of these Lodges for reaching this milestone.
Every Lodge in Maine has posted a gain since April 1st. The Lodge that has posted the largest percentage gain of membership is Ellsworth Lodge #2743 at 14.8%, followed by Wells Lodge #2738 at 12.5%, and Old Town Lodge #1287 at 8.1% gain. To put this in perspective, the state average is 5.4% gain. Currently, the Association has 152 candidates awaiting initiation, which shows that the interest in the Elks is as strong as ever.
Of course, bringing in new members is important, but retaining our existing members is also equally as important. Lodges that have the lowest delinquency rate in Maine are Wells Lodge #2738 with zero percent delinquency; meaning every member in the Lodge has paid their dues this year. This has been a big year for the Wells Lodge, as the State President Al Ingraham is a member of that Lodge, but also the Lodge is currently in second place in the nation in giving to the Elks National Foundation. their current per-capita is a whopping $194.80 per-capita in giving to the “Great Heart of Elkdom.” Other Lodges with a low delinquency rate include Biddeford-Saco Lodge #1597 at 3.3%, and Farmington Lodge #2430 at 5.1%. The State Delinquency Average is 7.9%.
It is important to note that while the State Association has a current gain of 568 members, the state total number of members who have not paid their dues is currently at 817 members. If the year were to end today, the Association would experience a loss of 249 members, so it is important that Elk Lodges in Maine reach out to those who have yet to pay their dues to talk with them and encourage them to pay their dues before April 1st.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to use direct billing of delinquent members. Placing a reminder in the Lodge’s newsletter is often not enough. If members see the reminder in every newsletter, they will tend to ignore it, thinking that they had already paid their dues for the year. To help with the work of direct billing, the Grand Lodge Membership & Marketing Committee has developed a modern method of sending members bills for dues owed. The cost is only $.34 cents per renewal invoice. This includes postage, paper, envelope and return envelope, ink, and credit card fees. All postage, printing, and bindery. This will reduce the time-consuming labor of stuffing the envelopes, stamping the envelopes, and bringing to the Post Office. This rate could increase in the future based on USPS rate increases. The 34-cents does not cover the credit card fees; the members pay that. On average, a typical Lodge spends approximately $0.90 cents per invoice. By joining the program, the savings for each Lodge would be around $0.56 cents per invoice mailed. If the Lodge has optional dues, fees, and donations, they can be added to the billing statements. More information on the Lodge Direct Billing handled by the Grand Lodge can be found here: Lodge Billing (elks.org)