The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) have been a part of the fabric of American culture since 1868. With more than 1 million members, it is a thriving fraternal organization, and building a new Elks Lodge location, or expanding an existing one, is a multifaceted venture that takes careful planning.

"With the right kind of planning, members can often get help from BPOE itself to revitalize an old space or make room for new members," said Joseph Ferriolo, who heads up Wise Business Plans, a planning industry leader that helps nonprofits around the world prepare for growth. "But, as with any other nonprofit, expansion means careful planning. Don't make the mistake of approaching BPOE leadership unprepared."

Ferriolo said nonprofits often overlook items that for-profit companies take for granted in their planning, like competition for membership or market demographics.

"As with any other venture, you'll need to show that support for a new or expanded location exists in the area you plan to target," he said. "But each nonprofit can fulfill a different kind of need."

Unlike a for-profit business, he said service organization can mold themselves to suit the needs of the community they hope to benefit by conducting careful research and applying that information to the way they plan initiatives.

"Luckily, it's impossible to corner the market on doing good," he said. "With careful planning, a new Elks lodge can position itself to do the most good possible.

And Wise is here to help, he said.

"We get the greatest satisfaction out or helping those who help others."