MODERN WOODMEN OF AMERICA is a community-minded financial services company in the US. Founded in 1883, they are structured as a 501(c)(8) “Fraternal Beneficiary Society,” a category I’d never heard of. This is a designation for organizations which are primarily intended to provide insurance-type benefits to their members.
Modern Woodmen has a rich legacy of service, including widows and orphans, those suffering from the Tuberculosis outbreak a century ago, education, and eye care.
I had a chance this week to talk with John Weidenfeller, the local Regional Director in Northern Colorado. He’s been with the organization for ten years now, opening up the Fort Collins office a few years ago. He’s a strong supporter of the values of this company, and has committed himself to leading a group which is aligned around those principles.
As John explained it, fraternalism is explained by the company Creed: “There is a destiny that makes us all brothers, none goes his way alone. All that we send into the lives of others, comes back into our own.” John is excited to be in Fort Collins:
- It’s most important for us to produce real, tangible benefits for the community.
- If people believe in our cause, they will most likely want to become members.
- Our community contributions will increase as our membership grows.
There are many impacts that this company is making:
- Youth educational programs
- Youth service clubs
- Make a difference day
- Join hands day (with Girl & Boy Scouts)
- Tree planting
- Helping the elderly and disabled
- Good neighbors program
They also did a large benefit after the 2012 High Park fire, and were supported by extra contributions from Modern Woodmen corporate headquarters for both fire and flood victims.
And there is the business side as well. Modern Woodmen has always helped families and small business owners plan for their financial security. Their “Planning For Life” process helps clients assess their current financial condition, develop and implement personalized solutions to fit the client need, and adjust over time as necessary. Modern Woodmen of America is a member owned company that offers Life Insurance, Annuities, Investments and Banking solutions.
One of John’s biggest challenges is to hire people who have an alignment of values and culture. I imagine that many could be attracted to a company which is very giving and supportive. But it’s not that simple. Every employee needs to recognize their personal role in delivering that – to customers and to the community.
It’s not easy to find people with that kind of nature. But John strives to always hire first for culture fit: “If people believe in our cause, they will most likely want to help us in Fort Collins.”
I was wondering how attractive these values are for bringing in clients. As you’d expect, most people love the story. Business grows steadily and it’s primarily based on word-of-mouth referrals. Additionally, client and employee turnover are quite low, which makes for a wonderful long term business.
Modern Woodmen has been the fastest growing Fraternal Society in the US for the last ten years, and has been rated A+ (AM Best) for the past 37 years. It’s a solid company that’s survived all the turmoil over the last 130 years. It’s a strong contributor in Fort Collins and other communities across the country.