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BEST PRACTICE: Engaging new members

HOW-TO: Engage new members

Meeting on the Entered Apprentice degree

Welcome, brother

Resources

Question of the month

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BEST PRACTICE: Engaging new members

One of the fraternity’s strategic priorities is to enhance the membership experience, which includes a focus on engaging new members.

As Home Lodge No. 721 puts it, new members “want to experience the network of Masonry.” In this Van Nuys lodge, stated meeting dinners are packed and boisterous, and every Wednesday night, the lodge is open to members of all degrees.

Senior Warden Michael David explains:

Background
Three years ago, our then-master (and current secretary) started a new lodge motto. It evolved into a call-and-response cheer: One person says, "Every Wednesday night is..." and everyone yells back, "Lodge night!"

It can be intimidating for a new member to walk into lodge. He’s not sure what to do, or how he’s expected to act. We demystify the lodge by organizing an activity every Wednesday evening. New initiates establish the habit of coming to lodge, and they feel comfortable and involved early on. They get more out of Masonry.

Introductions

  • Designated mentors: We assign a point-person to meet and show around each new member at his first few lodge events. Coaches also play a big role in keeping in touch with new initiates and reminding them about lodge events.
  • Meet the regulars: Right away, we introduce new members to our officers, past masters, and others who are at the lodge every week. That way, the new member has a handful of brothers that he feels comfortable going to, whether to ask questions or sit next to at dinner.
  • Social network: We encourage new members to introduce themselves to different brothers every time they come to lodge. As we reassure them, everyone will be more than happy to talk to them about Masonry.
  • Bridging generations: Our long-time brothers have been instrumental in engaging new members. It makes a big impact when someone who’s just walked in the door is introduced to a 50-year Mason. Instead of searching the Internet, new members can ask questions and get answers from real people.

Week-to-week

  • Something for everybody: As our motto goes, every Wednesday night is lodge night. It’s like business hours: The lodge is open and there’s something for everybody. If a third degree is happening, Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts break into groups with their coaches. Applicants have an opportunity to ask as many questions as they’d like.
  • Friendly reminders: We text new members before a lodge night to remind them, and we let them know what the etiquette will be, how to dress, and what kind of activity to expect. We prep them as much as possible.

Stated meeting

  • Family dinner: Before stated meetings we have an open dinner with family, sweethearts, and guests. Because they can bring their family, members of all degrees are more likely to come. We average about 120 attendees.
  • Open session: After dinner, everyone comes into the lodge room for public reminders and announcements. We ask applicants, Entered Apprentices, and Fellow Crafts to stand up and introduce themselves. We have a lot of new faces, and this helps us get to know everyone.
  • Meeting on the Entered Apprentice degree: Now that initiates can attend stated meetings, they feel more invested in the lodge. We liken Masonry to a gym; you have to show up to get results. When new members feel included, they’re motivated to show up.

Future

  • District activities: We’re working with other lodges in our district to host joint activities.
  • Casual events: We already have a number of lodge traditions, including a picnic and a Dodgers game, which are major events. We’re going to add more casual social encounters, such as hanging out in a coffee shop or going to the movies. We want to create more opportunities for fun on the weekends.

At Home Lodge, we don’t shake hands anymore; we hug. That’s what our new members are looking for - closeness and camaraderie. They find it here, right from the start.

For more information, contact Michael David.

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HOW-TO: Engage new members

It’s a strategic priority to enhance the membership experience at all levels. To better engage new members, the fraternity even passed legislation to open the stated meeting to Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts. (Read more here.)

Here are 25 more tips for engaging new members.

Assign
Designate one brother to

  • Meet the new member at his first lodge event
  • Initiate introductions (see below)
  • Remind him about upcoming activities
  • Check in after his first lodge event, and as he proceeds through the degrees

Introduce
Help the new member form bonds across the lodge family. Introduce him to

  • Lodge officers and key active members
  • Elder members, who can offer perspective on a life of Masonry
  • Sweethearts, ladies, and other lodge family members
  • Other new initiates
  • TIP: If you have several new initiates at the same time, host a mixer for them and their families to get to know each other.

Connect

  • Provide every new member with officer phone numbers and emails, and encourage him to get in touch with any questions, concerns, or ideas
  • Distribute a New Member Survey with questions about members’ extracurricular hobbies and how they might like to be involved in the lodge

Explain
Make sure the new member can find answers to his questions. In addition to his coach, direct him to

Welcome
Use these forums to welcome the new member and his family

  • Meal and family activities at the lodge
  • The member’s first stated meeting
  • Lodge social media, such as Facebook
  • Trestleboard

Involve
Thanks to new legislation, Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts can now join stated meetings. Plan plenty of other activities to reinforce their involvement, such as

  • Family meals or social nights
  • Community service projects
  • Member outreach
  • Lodge projects, i.e. renovations; archiving lodge artifacts; etc.
  • Group coaching sessions
  • Masonic education events
  • TIP: If the member is interested in Masonic research, invite him to present his findings to the lodge at a Masonic education event or stated meeting
Have we forgotten something? Email suggestions to communications@freemason.org with How-To: Engage new members in the subject line.

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Meeting on the Entered Apprentice degree

The delegates of the 163rd Annual Communication passed landmark legislation requiring all lodges to conduct the stated meeting on the Entered Apprentice degree. Here, we’ve summarized what that means for your lodge.

We’ve also noted RESOURCES, which you should refer to for details and specific updates to the monitor and officers’ manual. These resources are located in the secure Member Center at freemason.org, under Forms > 163rd Annual Communication. (You will need to log into the Member Center with your username and password to access them.)

Rights of Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft Masons*

  • May attend the stated meeting
  • May speak on any matter coming before the lodge. Ex. He may speak on any motion before the lodge; offer corrections to the minutes; and speak on any application.
  • May not ballot on applications
  • May not vote on any matter coming before the lodge
  • May not vote in the election of any lodge officer
  • May not propose or second motions
  • RESOURCE: Memo from the Grand Master regarding the implementation of 11-06 and 11-07

Changes to the stated meeting

  • When opening the lodge, remember to state the purpose as “for the transaction of business”
  • Take care when reading the minutes of meetings opened in the Fellow Craft or Master Mason degrees
  • Before opening the meeting to balloting, instruct all present that only Master Masons in good standing of the involved lodge may participate
  • Before the annual election of officers, instruct all present that only Master Masons who are members in good standing may vote and participate in the election
  • Observe recent changes to the procedure for receiving a Grand Lodge officer
  • RESOURCE: New instructions for the Monitor and Officers' Manual and the Installation Ceremony issued by the Grand Lecturer

Changes to installations

  • Lodges must be called to refreshment prior to the installation of officers
  • Until other action by Grand Lodge, there may be no private grand honors at closed installations
  • RESOURCE: New instructions for the Monitor and Officers' Manual and the Installation Ceremony issued by the Grand Lecturer

Examination of the Fellow Craft and Master Mason degrees

  • You must hold a special meeting of an appropriate degree on a separate day from the stated meeting (but never on Sunday)
  • WHY: Per the CMC, you may not hold a stated meeting and a special meeting on the same day; call up from the first degree to another; or call a lodge of Master Masons down to a lodge of Entered Apprentices for the transaction of business
  • RESOURCE: Memo from the Grand Master regarding the implementation of 11-06 and 11-07

Make sure your Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft Masons are aware of their opportunity and responsibility for further engagement in the lodge. Grand Lodge has also communicated these changes directly with them.

 

*Note: Although Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft Masons are now required to pay dues, they currently do not need to be in good standing to advance or attend the stated meeting - only to request a demit and move to another lodge. (An Entered Apprentice or Fellow Craft Mason may only be suspended for non-payment of dues over a period of 12 months. The first time this could occur is after October 1, 2013.)

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Welcome, brother

One way to engage new members is to make sure they’re aware of the benefits they’re already entitled to.

Here’s a summary of the benefits and rights of Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft Masons.

Support services by Masonic Assistance

  • Masonic Family Outreach: Help dealing with family issues, such as the impact of divorce, the stresses of a special needs child, and other challenges
  • Masonic Senior Outreach, for those age 60 or older: Information and referrals for senior care providers and case management
  • Contact 888/466-3642 or intake@mhcuc.org

Lodge events

  • Attend all stated meetings
  • At stated meetings, speak on all matters that come before the lodge
  • Be invited to present on Masonic education topics
  • Be appointed by a lodge officer to serve the lodge in other capacities, such as leading a community service project
  • Attend candidate coaching sessions and degree ceremonies up to the degree held
  • Invite family and friends to public programs

Visiting or receiving degrees in other lodges

  • Visit another lodge working in the degree held, with the consent of both masters, and when accompanied by a Master Mason from the home lodge
  • Request a demit or transfer to another lodge, with the approval of the home lodge
  • Receive degrees in another California lodge, under certain circumstances
  • Receive the second or third degree in a lodge outside California, under certain circumstances

Other benefits

  • Monthly lodge Trestleboard
  • Bimonthly California Freemason magazine
  • Access to the Member Center on freemason.org
  • Burial with Masonic honors

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Resources

By partnering with Masonic Assistance, you can make sure your fraternal family knows where to turn when they need support. This section is designed to help.

Protect elder members of your lodge family by spreading the word about support services, and giving them someone to call when they have questions or need help. All it takes is a phone call.

This month: Phone script for senior outreach

Make a list of elder brothers and widows who haven’t been to lodge recently, and assemble a task force to call them. If you suspect that a brother or widow needs help, call more frequently, drop by for a visit, or contact Masonic Assistance.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how your lodge engages new members. Of the 88 who responded:

57% - Host family-friendly events
47% - Introduce new Masons in the Trestleboard
45% - Provide new Masons with contact info for officers or other brothers

Other popular tatics were to assign someone to meet and introduce each new Mason at his first lodge event, give new Masons jobs at stated meetings or events, and to regularly host lodge fellowship nights.

Here’s your next question.

 

 

 

 

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Please email questions to communications@freemason.org.

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