Jon Shennett cannot remember a time when the Elks were not a part of his life. A third generation Elk, Shennet’s grandfather was a founding member of their Lodge in 1944 and his father was an active member throughout Shennett’s childhood. And to the Shennett family, the BPOE and the Elks National Foundation have always gone hand in hand.
“Supporting the ENF is just a part of life that’s always existed in our family for as long as I can remember,” Shennett says. When Shennett was a young boy, his father made a gift to Foundation in his name, starting an early habit of supporting the good deeds of the Elks.
Since he’s a life-long ENF supporter, Shennett now volunteers at his Lodge to spread his knowledge and enthusiasm for the Foundation. In his third year as ENF Chair, Shennett offers the following tips for success in the position:
• Talk to the former Lodge ENF Chair if you can, and communicate with your State Chair if you need assistance or have questions.
• Check the ENF website at least weekly, and read the News section to stay current.
• Speak well and often about the ENF. Bring up the Foundation at meetings and distribute brochures and materials around the Lodge.
• Do your best to have the facts on hand. If you don’t have answers to ENF questions, you can lose credibility with the members.
Shennett holds dinner fundraisers at the Lodge to help increase his Lodge per capita. He also uses the online History of Donations report to identify donors who haven’t made a gift in the last year or two. He calls these lapsed donors on the phone to check in and suggest a gift to the ENF.
“It can be difficult to get people to donate – everyone is short on time and money these days,” Shennett admits. “But if you can sit down and talk to them about the Foundation and get them to really understand the importance of it, they’ll realize there’s no reason not to donate.”