Together we make a profound difference

Grand Master's Message

Best Practices: Using On The Level to attract potential new members

Use On The Level to build awareness and candidates

Protecting our most vulnerable

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New resource will inform, connect lodge leaders

It is my pleasure to introduce an important new information source for our lodge leaders. Each month The Leader will deliver useful and timely information directly applicable to your important role as a Masonic leader.

As a way for lodge officers to share successes and solutions, each issue will include a lodge Best Practice, which will be announced in advance with a request for submissions.  An online archive of Best Practices – both published and unpublished – will be established for your future reference. We congratulate San Jacinto Lodge, featured in the Best Practice article of this first issue, for their successful use of the On The Level tool kit for their annual Masonic information event.

In addition to sharing Best Practices, future issues will include information and ideas for member development and retention, leadership development, development of a lodge plan, Masonic education, and Hall Association management, to name just a few.

I encourage you to participate in this publication. Use the ideas and information to enhance the prosperity of your lodge and respond to the requests for sharing Best Practices with others. By supporting each other, California Freemasonry will continue to Stand Strong.

Fraternally,

Richard Wakefield Hopper
Grand Master

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BEST PRACTICE: Using On The Level to attract potential new members

San Jacinto Lodge No. 338 ran with it in March and is still reaping the benefits.

Les Geiger, past master and secretary, reports how using the On The Level tool kit resulted in success beyond the lodge’s expectations. Here’s a summary:

Background: San Jacinto, a small lodge started in 1899, has a little more than 100 members, 25 to 30 sideliners at each stated meeting, and a reputation as a friendly lodge. We have held a Masonic information night every year. This year, we used the On The Level program for the first time.

How we implemented a successful On The Level event

  • The committee, which included our District Inspector, began planning in January.
  • The event was held on a regular lodge night so it wouldn’t conflict with members’ other activities.
  • As an incentive, spaghetti dinner, prepared by members and served by our Rainbow Assembly, was free to all except Masons who did not bring a prospective member.
  • Promotion was primarily word of mouth and at OSI; we stressed the importance of bringing wives. Ads were placed in local papers and in shopper publications.
  • Our lodge has sent over 200 boxes to our troops in Iraq. Many who attended were active or recently active military who remembered receiving those packages.
  • After dinner, we used the On The Level PowerPoint presentation and guide to explain about Masonry.

How we personalized the presentation for our lodge 

  • We followed the On The Level script and added information specific for our lodge, such as our history and our local community involvement.
  • We stressed the inclusion of families in our lodge, to which we attribute much of our success. All members of the family are invited to attend three monthly events – dinner prior to the stated meeting, scholarship pot luck, and friendship breakfast – which appealed to the ladies.
  • Four past masters gave the presentation and one served as projectionist.

Tip: Prior to the event, the presenters had a dress rehearsal to assure we weren’t going too long or omitting any of the important parts.

The results 

  • Eighty people attended. Fourteen were non-Masons estimated to be between the ages of 23 and 40.
  • Nine men requested an application and five were returned right away; three more closely followed.
  • We are still reaping the benefits as these new Masons are telling their friends, who are turning in applications. Most are young men.

By following the On The Level guide and using the tools, we were able to have a successful event that accomplished all of the goals of the program and exceeded our own expectations. The response was much better than in the past. We had to get them to the event to hear our story, then convince them that we had the right opportunity for them. On The Level gets the credit. We’ll do it again every year!

 

If your lodge has held a successful On The Level event, send your tips to communications@freemason.org. Put Best Practice On The Level in the Subject line. We’ll share as many as possible.

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Use On The Level to build awareness and candidates

On The Level is a valuable resource for staging a successful Masonic information event (see Best Practice article). Attracting prospective candidates is the focus of the ready-to-use tools packaged in the On The Level kit. Here’s a look at the contents:

On The Level guide
Techniques and tips for planning and staging a Masonic information program are spelled out in this easy-to-use guide, including:

  • planning and managing a successful event
  • achieving a great turnout
  • publicity options and samples
  • how to adapt the program to fit your guests
  • sample schedules
  • checklist of material, equipment, and logistical needs
  • tips for giving the On The Level presentation

On The Level PowerPoint presentation (on CD)
Professionally designed, this PowerPoint presentation provides those not familiar with Masonry a positive yet succinct overview of who we are and what we value. It is an interesting visual presentation of the real story of Masonry and addresses many of the common questions about the fraternity. Lodges may customize two of the slides with information about community programs and lodge history. The presentation will take between 20 and 25 minutes.

On The Level presentation script (on CD)
The script is synchronized with the PowerPoint slides so it’s easy for the narrator to read and follow.

Easy-to-adapt promotion templates (on CD)

  • Postcard invitation template
    Just fill in the details of the event and have printed to send as an invitation.
  • Flyer/advertisement template
    Fill in the event details and send to a newspaper as an advertisement, use as an email invitation or flyer, or post on the lodge Web site.
  • Press release template
    Community newspapers usually will publicize events such as a Masonic information program. This news release template is the standard format accepted by newspapers and other media. Simply complete it with the details of the lodge event.

 

Complete On The Level kits (guide and CD) may be ordered from lodgesupplies@freemason.org.

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Protecting our most vulnerable

A member who is suspended or seeks to demit after years of commitment to Masonry may need our help now or in the near future. The average age of a suspended member is 62, after an average of 27 years in the fraternity. The average age of a Mason seeking to demit is 67, after an average of 30 years membership. Such members have shown a high degree of loyalty and interest in Masonry. However, at these ages, many of our brothers tend to have health concerns, lose long-established friendships, lose their sense of purpose, or lose their spouse.

It is our fraternal obligation to reach out to these members to offer support, assistance, and relief. If a member has not paid his dues or has not been to lodge for awhile, personally contact him or his family to determine the reason. It is important that this contact be made prior to a vote to suspend the member. Assess the situation and determine if he needs assistance from Masonic Outreach Services or the Masonic Homes and initiate contact (888/466-3642 or intake@mhcuc.org). If the member lives in a different part of California or a different state, contact the Grand Lodge office and request a health and welfare check. 

It is important that the member remain in good standing in order to be eligible for care management and financial support provided by Masonic Outreach Services and for admission to the Masonic Homes of California. For a member and his wife or widow to be eligible, the member must be 60 years or older and a California Master Mason in good standing for five consecutive years. By maintaining his membership, a brother may be assured that he and his wife or widow will be provided fraternal care, if needed, for the rest of their lives.

Some lodges offer a life membership plan which forever exempts a participating member from paying annual dues and prevents suspension for non-payment of dues. The member leaves an ongoing financial legacy to support lodge activities in perpetuity and he, his wife or widow, and/or orphans will be eligible for relief. A discussion of the benefits of life membership will be helpful to members as they approach retirement and consider their financial affairs.

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