The title, in part, comes from the comments about an article that ran in the USA Today – online edition, titled Masons, other service groups fight membership declines.
The article is the usual grouping of why the decline is happening, what groups are doing about it, and what the results are in the realities of the 21st century. The article included a quote from Richard Fletcher, the executive secretary of the Masonic Service Association of North America (MSANA) who said “There are fewer Masons today — by nearly a million — than there were in 1941 as the country came out of the Great Depression.” - something illustrated in a piece published in 2007 and again in 2010 titled So what? The Dynamic of Masonic Membership?.
Similar positions were repeated throughout the piece by the Rotary, Elks, but not the Lions.
Amos McCallum, of the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks, says that they are presently at 900,000 members, down from 1.6 million in 1980 (an almost half million member drop). And Elizabeth Minelli, a Rotary International spokeswoman, says that Rotary is down 42,000 since 1995 in the USA to 360,790 today.
The only silver lining in the story was the success of the Lions Club International who are seeing a rising trend, up by 20,000 new members as of 2010 following decades of decline, claiming more than a million worldwide. the reason for the success of the Lions Club? I’ll quote Lions Club spokesman Dane La Joye from the article:
Reaching out to women has been key, La Joye says. “Women are the fastest-growing segment of our membership today,”.
While, right below it quotes Fletcher as saying “Women are not allowed to join [Freemasonry], and the policy is not up for debate.”
Far be it any one Mason to say that the institution should at least self evaluate itself, but to NOT look at the growing trend of Feminine dominance in the marketplace as a potential source of new association, then it is truly mis-reading the heartbeat of society and perhaps then should relinquish the claim as being the builder of modern society.
Some statistics about Marketing to Women, from She-conomy.com
Senior women age 50 and older control net worth of $19 trillion and own more than three-fourths of the nation’s financial wealth.
Over the next decade, women will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history. Estimates range from $12 to $40 trillion.
Wealthy boomer women are the marquee players in our country’s culture and commerce. They are educated, have a high income, and make 95 percent of the purchase decisions for their households.
Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to health care.
- 76% want to be part of a special or select panel
- 70% of new businesses are started by women
- 79% would try your product or service
- 80% would solidify their brand loyalty
- 51% would give a company a second chance if a product or service missed the mark the first time
Women make more than 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions.
Even in a the male dominated world of professional sports women are:
- 47.2 % of major league soccer fans
- 46.5% of MLB fans
- 43.2% of NFL fans
- 40.8% of fans at NHL games
- 37% of NBA fans
- Purchase 46% of official NFL merchandise
- Spent 80% of all sport apparel dollars and controlled 60% of all money spent on men’s clothing
- Women comprise about one-third (34%) of the adult audience for ESPN sport event programs
With lots more data about modern women as consumers, that last bullet is a strong point – given that joining an organization that necessitates annual dues would fall into a consumer purchasing decision, if more men aren’t joining the ranks its probably because 80% of their wives are unwilling to allow men to commit to just such an expenditure.
So, do you change the tide of social evolution, or change your marketing?
If Masonry were operating as a Corporate business, as a shareholder, it would be safe to say that its missing the single largest opportunity to grow the business – opening it up to women, and as a share holding stake holder, does that make good business sense?