How to Join an Elks Club

by Mike Frees

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks began in 1867 as the Jolly Corks. The jovial group of entertainers focused on increasing bar hours in New York. In 1868, a more community-minded faction of the group split with the Jolly Corks, and the Elks continued as a more benevolent social group. In 1928, it established a charitable foundation. Membership opened to blacks in 1973 and to women in 1995. As of 2014, the Elks' programs support veterans, youth and communities. While it is one of the largest fraternal organizations in the United States, the Elks' membership is aging and recruitment of young members is not keeping pace with the members lost.

Meet the requirements for membership. The Elks Club website states that members must be a citizen of the United States over the age of 21 who believes in God.

Reside in the jurisdiction of a lodge as listed in an online directory at

Get acquainted with members of the lodge. Most lodges sponsor activities, such as bingo games, which are open to the public. Let the members you meet know that you are interested in joining and would like to be sponsored.

Complete an application from a sponsoring member. The sponsoring member will present the application to the Investigating Committee

Attend the interview with your sponsor and answer the questions honestly and completely. The committee will report to the membership and a vote will be taken on your admission. If accepted, you will be given the date of your indoctrination.

Attend the indoctrination to learn about the club's programs and charities and to learn about the date of your initiation. After your initiation, you may participate in all meetings and activities of the lodge.


  • If your application for membership is rejected, you may apply again in six months.


About the Author

Mike Frees is an I.T. professional who was first published in the Apollo Computer corporate journal in the 1980s. He has since seen print in fiction magazines, local newspapers and nonprofit newsletters, and has been writing online articles for the past year. He has a bachelor's degree from San Jose State University and a master's degree from the College of Notre Dame.

Photo Credits

  • beware of elk image by John Sfondilias from