Together we make a profound difference

Leading our lodges in 2011

BEST PRACTICE: Beyond the lodge

HOW-TO: Raise community awareness

A month to make a difference

Prepare to excel

Question of the month

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Leading our lodges in 2011

Congratulations on your recent or upcoming installation for 2011, and welcome to those who are stepping into officer roles for the first time. If you are new to the line, this is your first issue of The Leader, a monthly e-newsletter for California lodge officers.

The Leader delivers useful and timely information directly applicable to your role as a Masonic leader. Each issue shares lodge successes, resources, how-to information, and reminders to keep you informed and involved. You'll also find tips on implementing the Masons of California 2010-2015 strategic plan. (View the plan in the Member Center, in the Reports & Features section.)

Please send us feedback, share your lodge's best practices, and take advantage of our question of the month to share your experiences with other California officers. The Leader is your publication, and your participation will develop it into a stronger and more relevant voice for California lodge leaders.

 

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BEST PRACTICE: Beyond the lodge

Rim of the World Lodge No. 711 believes in group projects. By leveraging relationships, this small lodge has been able to pull off large-scale events and bring the community of Twin Peaks even closer.

STRATEGIC PRIORITY: Rim of the World Lodge is an example of the “Beyond the lodge” priority of the Masons of California 2010-2015 strategic plan. The lodge’s approach to community outreach has instilled a wider Masonic perspective in their mountaintop town, and deepened the connection between members and their non-Masonic neighbors.

Aaron Creighton, 2010 senior deacon, reports.

Background: Twin Peaks is a very small town in the unincorporated San Bernardino Mountains. We are an isolated, economically challenged, working-class area. Free or low-cost events are central to the health of our community.

In 2010, then-master Ben Boswell tasked Rim of the World Lodge with increasing community outreach. Here’s how.

Get out there

  • Go outside the lodge: We’re focused on representing Masonry at all community activities, not just the ones sponsored by the lodge. A core group of about 20 members does most of this volunteering, but it’s catching on. We’re starting to have a Mason at every event.
  • Ask around: In order to show up at every community event, we need to know about them. We turn to families, friends, and colleagues to gather event info.
  • Take a seat: Our lodge joined the two local chambers of commerce. Representatives attend every meeting, both to increase lodge visibility and to find out about upcoming local events.
  • Fill your calendar: In this town, there’s a community activity nearly every day. We urge members and families to fit in as many as they can.

Relationship-building

  • Approach other groups: Many of our members have cross memberships with local groups, like Rotary and the VFW. We’re trying to leverage those relationships. By uniting, we can create large-scale events.
  • (Net)work for change: By networking, our lodge becomes informed about what’s going on in the community and can participate in it. When we’re involved, people gain respect for the organization. We can overcome the lack of knowledge about Masonry.
  • Meet the press: We know the editors of the two local newspapers. To increase lodge visibility, we request news coverage for every event.

A few of the events

  • Thanksgiving Community Feast: The feast, which is hosted at the lodge hall, is made possible by the donations and volunteerism of residents, local businesses, public figures, and civic organizations. In 2010, more than 200 members of the lodge and community volunteered. They served dinner for 200, and delivered another 200 meals and more than 600 articles of winter clothing to shut-ins and homeless shelters.
  • Fourth of July picnic: About 3,000 turn up to this community favorite, started eight years ago by a local couple. This year, they’re handing over the reins. We’re co-managing the event with a local non profit.
  • Barbecue fundraiser: We don’t have extra money in the budget to throw large-scale events, so we create revenue with our annual barbecue fundraiser.
  • Backpack giveaway: Our lodge participates in this event every year. Civic organizations set up booths with school supplies for 400 backpacks. Kids line up down the street to pick out a backpack, and we fill them with supplies.

The benefits

  • Culture shift: Some of our members didn’t like the new focus on community because they felt that Masons should be a bit more insular. However, the new emphasis on community involvement has given our lodge a sense of identity and purpose. Any skeptics are starting to get onboard.
  • New members: The only way we can recruit is by setting a good example - and it’s working. After almost every event, five or six guys approach the lodge. Those that go on to apply are men of great character, who also believe in the importance of community.
  • Member involvement: Members who are otherwise inactive come out to volunteer at our barbecue fundraiser and other annual events. Entered Apprentices, Fellow Crafts, and families get involved, too. These events are a powerful connection to Masonry.

We believe it’s our duty to help our community not only survive, but thrive. By networking and creating local partnerships, we bind our community closer and can create large-scale change.

For more information, contact: Aaron Creighton, acreighton@yahoo.com.

 

 

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HOW-TO: Raise community awareness

One of the Masons of California 2010-2015 strategic priorities is to go “beyond the lodge.” This means instilling a wider Masonic perspective inside and outside the fraternity, by deepening the connection to members, lodges, and the worldwide body of Freemasonry.

A strong relationship with the community is essential. After all, it’s where your members live and much of your hard work is dedicated. Community outreach can unite members and connect them with Masonry’s tenet of relief. So get to know your neighbors, and help them get to know you. Here are tips.

Websites

  • Your lodge site
    • Post photos and videos of recent activities.
    • Include a calendar of upcoming events and highlight those open to the public.
    • Include contact information and appoint someone to check regularly for messages (e-mail or voice mail).
    • Upload a history of your lodge that includes interesting historic facts about the lodge in your town.
    • Link to freemason.org, the Masons of California Facebook page, and the Masons of California YouTube channel.
    • TIP: Keep it current! Out-dated calendars or articles give the impression that your lodge is no longer active.
  • freemason.org
    • Point public to Current News, About Us, and California Freemason magazine online.
    • TIP: Refer interested individuals to the Press Kit on freemason.org (found in News & Events/Press Information) even if they are not members of the media. They’ll find articles about our history, charitable services, and FAQs.
  • Facebook
    • Become a fan of the Masons of California Facebook page, and join in the conversations. Encourage your non-Masonic Facebook friends to check it out, too.
    • Start a lodge Facebook page, and keep it active with plenty of posts about community events.
  • Youtube
    • Link to the Masons of California YouTube channel on your lodge website, and be sure to contribute your own lodge videos. It’s a great way to educate the public about what Masonry really is.
  • masonicheritage.org
    • Virtually browse the Henry W. Coil Library & Museum of Freemasonry.
    • Add as a Favorite link on your lodge site and share it with the public.

Media coverage

  • Media alerts
    • What it is: Requests a newspaper writer, photographer, or both to attend your event.
    • How to create one: Do research about which newspaper, section, and writer is best for the story. E-mail a brief description of the upcoming event (include a photo, if possible), and follow up with a phone call.
    • TIP: Newspapers are flooded by story ideas, so keep your description short and to the point. Start with a catchy subject line, then put major points in the first paragraph and background information in the second paragraph. Use bullets to highlight important information.
  • Press releases
    • What it is: Notifies newspapers about an event that has already happened.
    • How to create one: Download the template and do your research about which newspaper and section is appropriate. E-mail the press release (include a photo, if possible), and follow up with a phone call.
    • TIP: Include two to three quotes from event organizers or attendees.
  • Ads
    • What it is: Purchases space in a newspaper or other local publication to advertise a lodge event, celebrate an accomplishment, or show support for the community.
    • How to create one: Contact the publication’s advertising department.
    • TIP: Good public relations can be as simple as buying ad space in the local high school’s yearbook.

Events

  • On The Level: Introduce your lodge to the community and attract prospective candidates. Read how Oceanside-San Dieguito Lodge No. 381 gained 20 members using On The Level in the June 2010 issue of The Leader. Download the guide, presentation, and script on freemason.org by selecting the Member Center pull-down menu, then Membership Development.
  • Public awards: Bring the community to you by sponsoring annual awards for outstanding students, teachers, police officers, firefighters, or others dedicated to community service.
  • Support local groups: Join the chamber of commerce. Drop by the meeting of another local group. Introduce your lodge, and ask how you can help at their events. Work together to start a new tradition in the community.
  • Community service: Adopt a service project that can include the community, such as a park clean-up, a coat drive, or a breakfast fundraiser for a good cause. Advertise it through word of mouth, e-mail, fliers, and your local newspaper, radio station, and/or TV channel.

Handouts
If your lodge hosts a community event, display a limited number of brochures, available from your lodge secretary.

  • Masons of California brochure
  • Pass It On wallet brochure

Have we forgotten something? E-mail suggestions to communications@freemason.org with How-To: Raise community awareness in the subject line.

 

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February is National Cancer Prevention Month

By Your Side, the Grand Master's Project for 2010-11, is a fraternity-wide effort to put more certified nurse oncologists in California's hospitals, clinics, and medical care facilities. It also aims to educate members and communities about healthy lifestyle choices and cancer prevention.

As part of this effort, California lodges are being asked to plan special programming at the February stated meeting in honor of National Cancer Prevention Month.

Here this month's reminders and resources:

Already completed

  • Read the program guide (available online in the Member Center under Lodge Support)
  • Form a National Cancer Prevention Month committee
  • Assign event responsibilities (healthy meal, presentations, etc.)

In January

  • Program finalized (including dinner/refreshments and presentations)
  • Article about National Cancer Prevention Month in Trestleboard
  • Prepare Trestleboard article for February

For more information, contact the Office of Philanthropy at 415/292-9139 or jhahn@freemason.org.

 

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Prepare to excel

Secretaries' and Treasurers' Retreats
February 25-27, Irvine
March 18-20, San Ramon

Separate and joint sessions strengthen attendees' knowledge of lodge administration. Sample topics: The Masons of California 2010-2015 strategic plan; Compliance with state, federal, and Grand Lodge filing requirements; The fraternity's commitment to public schools.

 

Wardens' Leadership Retreats
Junior Wardens
April 8-10, San Ramon
April 29-May 1, Newport Beach

Senior Wardens
May 13-15, San Ramon
May 20-22, Newport Beach

Attendees develop fraternal management skills through intensive programming in a team setting. Sample topic: How to plan a year as master that will create positive interest and participation by all lodge officers and members.

 

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how often you check the Masons of California Facebook page. Of the 117 that responded:

4% - daily
13% - multiple times per week
32% - less than once a week
51% - Never

 

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being excellent, 71 percent of those that visit the Facebook page rate it as a 7 or above.

Here’s your next question.

 

 

 

 

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Please e-mail questions to communications@freemason.org.

Contact Us

Grand Lodge of California
1111 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

p: (415) 776-7000

e: memberservices@freemason.org