Time to Walk Our Talk… Especially this Summer
We all know what tremendous contributions fraternals make to individuals and organizations in communities across the country every day. We improve our society by building homes, feeding the hungry, supporting the military, offering scholarships, helping the less fortunate. And the impact of our efforts goes well beyond the people and charities we support directly. By organizing and implementing a variety of seemingly small fraternal initiatives, our combined efforts result in a healthier social fabric for all those in a community. In this way, the value of the good works of one lodge or society is multiplied. And the more good works we do, the greater the value – and growth – of our fraternal system.
We fill the gaps in local, state, and federal governments’ safety nets – safety nets that are becoming increasingly difficult for public entities to afford. Our financial support and volunteerism free people from reliance on such programs and allow them – with the help of their neighbors – to stand on their own. Moreover, our local lodge network comprises one of the most cost-effective community service delivery mechanisms in the nation. The plain fact of the matter is that we provide these services at a fraction of the cost of a government program.
Our more-than-a-century-old tax exemption is the mechanism that allows us to carry out this unique mission – to bring people who share a common bond together for the express purpose of helping one another and their neighbors. Life insurance and financial services are an important part of the benefits we provide members. Not only do they help secure the financial future of individuals and families who purchase such products (another way we keep people out of government safety nets), but they also supply the financial fuel that allows us to increase the value of our lodges’ charitable and volunteerism activities by matching financial contributions and establishing an organizational structure that makes those local lodge activities more effective.
We engage in these activities not to be “good corporate citizens” or to enhance awareness of our own societies’ brands or image, but because it’s our mission. Community service isn’t an afterthought to us, it’s part of our genetic code. This does not diminish the important financial contributions that our commercial peers make to charities, it simply demonstrates the major difference between fraternals and other financial services providers – a difference that your members, prospective members, and public policymakers need to understand.
This summer, lawmakers will return to their districts to campaign and connect with constituents. We must take advantage of this opportunity to showcase fraternalism and let lawmakers personally experience how fraternalism enhances their communities.
Summertime Show and Tell
So how can we effectively communicate this to our most important audiences? You remember the old game of “show and tell,” right? Well, let’s forget the “tell” part of that game and start demonstrating the “fraternal multiplier” by showing folks what we’re capable of. By now you’ve received the NFCA’s “Membership Call to Action” asking you to help us identify and plan fraternal events in your communities in which a member of Congress or an in-district congressional staff representative might be interested in attending. We want to use these events as fraternal “showcases” – real live demonstrations of the ways we help individuals and enrich communities across the country on a daily basis.
We’ve already heard from more than four members and want to hear from all 68 member societies before the end of June. Last year, state legislators introduced over 50 bills that would have impacted the fraternal tax exemption. We did a great job defending the fraternal tax exemption in the states, and now it’s time to focus on building champions at the federal level. YOU can help us build the relationships we need to successfully defend the fraternal tax exemption from future challenges.
Here’s a way to “walk our talk,” folks. Let’s not hide our light under a bushel basket any longer.
Demonstrate the fraternal “multiplier”…