The Friendly Fifth

Leadership Workshop

District 5 Zone Training Seminar

From International Vice President Mark Agerter
District 5 Zone Training Seminar
January 23, 2021

2020 YE membership report
*Positive membership gains 22 out of last 26 months. April was only down month in 2020!
*As of December, 2020 -total membership 52,021. First time solidly over 50K in years – since July
*As recently as September 2018 was 47,975 a 4,046 member swing in just 2 years!
*Members owning financial products at YE2020 was 32.1% - also highest in years
*Kudos to D5 for substantial membership gains in 2020 – 523 net new members! A 12.1% gain.

2020 Recruitment Goals
Congratulations to these D5 lodges for achieving their recruitment goals for 2020:
5-168, Valhall in Rockford (IL)
5-378, Nordkap in Detroit (MI)
5-472, Polar Star in Aurora (IL)
5-490, Sonja Henie in Lansing (MI)
5-609, Myrmarken in Marshfield (WI)
5-610, Askeladden in Kalamazoo (MI)
5-662, Arctic Circle in Cleveland/Akron/Canton (OH)
5-677, Vikings of the Smokies in Knoxville (TN)
5-689, Shawnee Skogen in Carbondale (IL)

2020 Int Board Goals Results – All 2020 goals have been achieved, a first in a long time.
*1500 new insurance members – Actual – 3167
*$2.725M in new life premiums – Actual – $3.148M
*$10M in new annuity premiums – Actual – 10.301M
*6,300 new members – Actual – 7815
*$240K in new Foundation funds – Actual – 386,640 

Corporate Matters and Governance Committee
   *Several referenda have been advanced and passed to assist lodge operations during covid and any potential future disruptions to lodge business:
   1 - To allow local lodges to meet via electronic means and outlining a process with which to hold virtual elections.
   2 - To allow district boards to hold referenda via electronic means in order to transact business during times like we are going throughwhere in-person meetings are not possible.
   3 - To allow local lodge boards to hold referenda via electronic means and outlining uniform procedures to be used.
*Other key issues addressed by the board in the past year include:
   1 – An update to the Nominating Committee sections of the Constitution to conform with the guidelines and procedures that are already in place.
   2 – To establish youth protection measures for all youth-involved activities.
   3 – To define the process, whereby the International Board is able to appoint directors, in order to fill gaps in expertise as needed.
   4 – To update the bylaws template to include dissolution and distribution of assets and compliance clauses.  Special note – all lodges are asked to review their current bylaws to see if they include dissolution, distribution and compliance clauses and to revise as necessary, using the online template to make sure that they are in place. If the online template is not followed, any bylaw changes submitted will not be approved.

I want to share some notes from a SON leadership seminar I attended some 18 years ago!

Issues many of our lodges face:
   a) Lack of cooperation
   b) Lack of desire to change
   c) Tied to old meeting/governance culture
   d) Lack of visibility
   e) Lack of leadership
   f) Lack of growth
Sound familiar? Some things don’t change or if they do, they can change very slowly!!

And from that same seminar – Are there any differences from then to now?:

6 ideas for stronger lodges and increased membership
   a) Create an alternative order of ceremonies – less business, more social – board transacts business, membership approves. Actually implemented in many lodges today!
   b) Retain past due members – personal phone calls work well, much better than emails. Personal contact always the best way to keep in touch – many lodges using phone trees during Covid
   c) Leadership training to develop quality leaders – make sure prospective leaders know what is expected of them – keep surprises to a minimum. Convention leadership seminars and district  training, like today, are being done
   d) Create family membership and family-friendly programs. Done with ongoing updates!
   e) Provide financial incentive to purchase insurance. We now have dues imbedded in several financial products. Other incentives include excellent financial products at very competitive prices!
   f) Update website – include online dues renewal, chat rooms, adopt-a-school program. Online renewals, social media, and a very updated website all in play.

Harold Bohrmann, chair of Catholic Financial Life, made a wonderful presentation to the International Board a couple of years ago. Some of his main points were:
  1. Fraternals need to change what and how we do business and how we reach new members
  2. Co-ops are embraced by all – fraternal benefit companies, like SON, are insurance co-ops
  3. Millennials are our friends, they make us change and force us to modernize
  4. Volunteerism is big with millennials – plenty of opportunities for volunteerism in SON
  5. Fraternals bring integrity, connection, trust and value to our communities, but must get faster, better, stronger
  6. Fraternals must embrace the future
      a) Old can become new again i.e. virtual meetings
      b) Distrust of big Wall Street firms works to our advantage – we have a personal edge
      c) Millennials love us once they meet us – we do things they like
      d) In a divisive society people are looking for ways to connect – especially postpandemic as happened after the 1918 pandemic!
      e) Fraternals are well positioned but need to work together like never before His final point:

Scandinavian Hour – Just as a “good of the order” note, I would like to put in a plug for “The Scandinavian Hour” radio broadcast that comes out of Washington State. This program has been on the air since 1959, led by Doug Warne of Seattle and his late partner Ron Olsen. Doug is retiring and a young, but very capable member of Bothell Lodge in Bothell WA, Seth Tufteland, is taking over and hoping to continue the tradition. The show airs on 1150AM KKNW and can be streamed live online at The programs will also be available via podcast in the near future.

Parting thoughts
   *New building occupancy went well, no major disruptions – about 50% staff continue to work at home due to Covid concerns
   *David Crabbe’s special Leadership Resource video series have been very well received
   *Latest Leadership Resource just out Tuesday– be sure to check it out
   *Good things are happening at HQ. The mood is great and our dedicated staff and executives are doing a great job.

Sons of Norway- Fifth District Leadership Conference (D5LC)

October 18-20, 2019
Cedar Lake Ministries
13701 Lauerman St.
Cedar Lake IN 46303

Contact email:
  (Download registration, agenda and brochure on the right)

We hope your lodge will send one or more key lodge officers to the D5LC, because:
1.) you will get ideas to make your lodge better.
2.) you will learn about important issues of concern to lodges.
3.) this will be a forum for you to share your lodge's best practices and state your opinions and concerns.
4.) you will develop valuable contacts with other lodges for resource and idea sharing.

To make this the best possible conference, we:
1.) picked a non-profit venue as close to the geographical center of our district, to make the conference as assessable as possible for all.
2.) reached out to over 350 lodge officers to via survey pick session topics.
3.) received a SON Foundation grant and used District 5 funds to help keep lodge costs as low as possible.