Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Using technology to keep members connected

HOW-TO: Finalize your installation plans

Save the date 2009

Leading by example

Rewarding academic excellence, promoting education

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BEST PRACTICE: Using technology to keep members connected

Stephen Galop, treasurer and Web master, reports how embracing technology has proven to be a cost-effective way to improve lodge management and communications. Here’s a summary:

Background: Acalanes Fellowship Lodge No. 480 in Lafayette is a small lodge that accommodates the needs of a widely dispersed membership, 40 percent of which live outside the area. With members scattered across the United States, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, China, Hawaii, and Canada, maintaining contact is crucial. By using time- and cost-saving technology, we’re able to do that while taking some of the "administrative strain" off lodge officers and committee members. 

How we use technology

  • Web site: It started out as a place to post our calendar and is now more than  50 pages, including our online Trestleboard, online reservations for stated meeting dinners, and online dues payment. The candidates that it attracts come to lodge for the first time well-informed about our fraternity, and as a result, a high percentage advance through the degrees.
  •  Admin Web site: Our password-protected admin site is a repository for reports and other important information, but also a “how-to” on lodge management. When we have a really successful event, notes on how we did it are saved here so next time we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
  • Click2Mail: One of the complaints we used to receive was that the Trestleboard arrived after the featured event or degree had occurred. With Click2Mail, an authorized partner of the United States Postal Service, I upload our Trestleboard and mailing list and it is off immediately.  Since the service pre-sorts for us, the pre-sort first class discount helps off-set the cost of production.
  • RingCentral: When we discovered a few messages on the lodge answering machine had gone unanswered for weeks, we switched to this service. For $120 a year, Acalanes Fellowship has a full service switchboard and voicemail service. If a caller selects my extension, he’ll reach me at my office in Duluth, Georgia.
  • E-mail blast: E-mail distribution is free and fast. Our e-mail database contains the e-mail addresses of about 50% of our members.
  • Conference calling: Conference calls have become cheap, especially with the current cost of gasoline, and are accommodating to everyone’s busy schedules. They also enable members who live far away to participate in lodge leadership. Conference calls have become the norm for our committee meetings, and especially for those ad hoc meetings that come up from time to time.

 

The benefits

  • Officers and committee members are able to use their time more effectively.
  • Frequent communications via Trestleboard, e-blast, and up-to-date Web site keep members informed.
  • Younger candidates are attracted to features like online dues payment and easy, immediate access to the lodge via email or phone call.
  • Time is money, and conference calls, Click2Mail, RingCentral, and “how-to” admin site all save precious hours.

In sum, by staying open to new technology and integrating it into our lodge communications, we’re attracting new candidates and keeping our current members connected.

Contact: sgalop@acalanes.org
Go to: acalanes.org

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HOW-TO: Finalize your installation plans

This how-to article outlines the basics for presenting a successful ceremony, whether it’s your lodge’s first or hundredth. For more details on planning your lodge’s installation, consult the Lodge Manual, found in the Member Center (admin site) of freemason.org under Publications/Leadership Manuals.

By now, you should have

  • Selected the date and reserved the lodge building
  • Selected the installing team
  • Created an installation plan, including: theme, reception/dinner arrangements, entertainment/music, special presentations, youth group involvement, etc.
  • Created a budget

TIP: Review details from prior installations to make sure you’ve covered everything.

Eight to ten weeks before the event

  • Set deadlines for design and printing of materials.
  • Delegate or request volunteers for the following roles:
    • guest book and program attendants
    • flag bearers
    • photographer
    • musician/vocalist/sound technician

Four to six weeks before the event

  • Mail invitations with date, time, location, dinner/reception details, whether reservations are required, and suggested attire.
  • Invite past masters and officers and their ladies, your inspector, neighboring lodges, Grand Lodge officers in the area, Masonic youth groups, and community organizations.

One to three weeks before the event

  • Print installation programs with date, time, location, list of officers to be installed, members of the installing team, agenda for the program, and list of assistants and individuals who helped with the preparation and ceremony. Include your lodge strategic plan and calendar for the upcoming year. Note on the calendar the social and special activities to which ladies and families are invited.
  • Publicize via press release to local media.

The week before

  • Rehearse with the installing team and officers (your inspector will require this), including musicians or sound technician.
  • Finalize script for the program, including introductions, presentations, and remarks. To prompt yourself, write everything you wish to say after the formal ceremony and the names of all those you want to introduce so you don’t forget anyone.
  • Consult with your inspector to get approval or assistance.

Have a great installation!

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Save the date 2009

 

Secretaries' Retreats
February 20-22, Southern California
March 20-22, Northern California

 

Wardens' Retreats

Junior Wardens
April 3-5, Northern California
April 24-26, Southern California

Senior Wardens
May 15-17, Northern California
May 29-31, Southern California

 

Lodge Management Certification Program
June 6, Pasadena Area
June 13, San Diego Area
June 20, Visalia/Fresno Area
June 27, Sacramento Area
July 11, San Francisco Area
July 18, Chico Area

 

Ninth Annual California Masonic Symposium
August 21-22, Los Angeles

 

160th Annual Communication
October 2-4, San Francisco

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Leading by example

We applaud the following lodges for setting a fine example in charitable giving and promoting Masonic philanthropy through their leadership. All achieved 100 percent officer participation in the 2007/2008 Annual Fund.

  • Bicentennial Daylight No. 830 Peter N. Kerhoulas, Master
  • California No. 1 John A. Bermudez, Master
  • Ionic Composite No. 520 Don S. Wijesinghe, Master
  • Volcano No. 56 Christopher P. Sienes, Master

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Scholarship application deadline

Each year, the California Masonic Foundation awards more than $1 million in four-year college scholarships to high school students throughout the state. Since 1970, more than 2,000 students have been assisted with scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 per student over four years.

Please remind your lodge members that the application period is open and continues through February 15. Now is the time for them to urge high school students in their families, neighborhoods, and Masonic youth orders to submit the online application, found in the Scholarship Center at freemason.org/scholarship_center. Applications must be fully completed and submitted online.

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