Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Using On The Level to attract new members

HOW-TO: Host On The Level

Discussing Masonry with non-Masons

Coming Home: Your success stories

Question of the month

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BEST PRACTICE: Using On The Level to attract new members

At Oceanside-San Dieguito Lodge No. 381, On The Level runs like clockwork. Roy Youngblood, secretary, reports.

Background: Oceanside-San Dieguito Lodge is a large lodge of 252 members. We have a regular influx of prospects through the lodge Web site, freemason.org, and member connections. On The Level is a great way to give them the information they need. We have hosted an On The Level event every month since July 2008.

How we plan

It only takes a few people.

  • I have been the organizer and presenter at all events. My wife and a few brothers help by preparing dinner and cleaning up.
  • I use the On The Level template invitation as the base for my own invitation.
  • We focus on publicizing within our membership, so members invite their non-Mason friends. We also hear from interested men over the phone and through the Web site and freemason.org, and invite them. One man recently requested an application after attending a Masonic funeral service.
  • Lodge brothers are encouraged to attend, so they can meet the prospects and possibly be recommenders.

How we adapt the program

A monthly program works better for us than an annual or semi-annual program.

  • We hold the event on the fourth Wednesday of every month.
  • We start with dinner at 6 p.m., followed by the PowerPoint presentation and a question-and-answer period. The whole thing lasts about 90 minutes.
  • For food, we usually order pizza. Once everyone�s arrived and we have a head count, a brother runs over to pick it up. In the meantime, we serve salad.
  • We use the On The Level PowerPoint to explain about Masonry. We follow the script and customize history and community information for our lodge, as recommended.
  • We have had as many as nine prospects attend an event, and as few as one. The age range has been about 18 to 70. A few have brought family members.

The Q&A

Some of the questions we�ve heard over the years:

  • What do Freemasons do?
  • Is there such a thing as a “calling” to be a Mason?
  • What can I get out of it, and what does it entail?
  • What are Masonry’s traditions? Where to do they stem from?
  • Do Masons discriminate against Catholics?
  • What happens in the lodge?
  • What are the objectives of the lodge?

The results 

  • Some applications have been returned the same week, others took as long as a year. Most are returned within two to three months.
  • We just elected one candidate who attended the program in February, and have read two applications from men who attended in March.
  • Since July 2008, we have initiated 20 members as a result of On The Level.

Order an On The Level kit from lodgesupplies@freemason.org or download the On The Level guide, PowerPoint, and script.

These materials are also available for download from freemason.org by selecting the Member Center drop-down menu, then Membership Development.

 

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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HOW-TO: Host On The Level

On The Level is a tool kit for staging a successful Masonic information event, which focuses on attracting prospective candidates. Here’s a look at the contents:

On The Level guide
Techniques and tips for hosting a Masonic information program, 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 and script (on CD)
This professionally designed presentation – script included – provides a positive, succinct overview of who Masons are and what we value. In 20 to 25 minutes, it addresses many of the common questions about the fraternity. Lodges may customize it with information about their community programs and lodge history.

Promotional templates (on CD)

  • Postcard invitation
    Just fill in the details of the event, and e-mail or print and mail to invitees.
  • Flyer/advertisement
    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
    Community newspapers will often publicize these events. This news release template is the standard format accepted by newspapers and other media. Simply complete it with your event details.

Order an On The Level kit from lodgesupplies@freemason.org, or download the On The Level guide, PowerPoint, and script.

These materials are also available for download from freemason.org by selecting the Member Center drop-down menu, then Membership Development.

 

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Discussing Masonry with non-Masons

It’s common knowledge in Masonry: Prospective members must seek membership of their own free will, without solicitation by Masons.

But there’s a difference between soliciting and providing information.

It’s important to be open to a dialogue about Masonry with non-members. Here are a few ideas for how to approach this discussion:

Invite a prospective member’s consideration.
This can be as simple as a casual conversation, letting friends and family know what you do in your free time.

  • Talk about your involvement in a Masonic activity that you enjoy, such as a community service project or widow outreach program.
  • Talk about the fraternity, its purpose and principles.
  • Talk about why you became and remain a Mason.
  • Talk about the benefits and rewards of being a Mason, such as personal growth, friendship, and being part of a fraternity committed to making the world a better place.
  • Invite questions, and let prospective members know you’re glad to provide an application. Tell a prospective member why he would make a good Mason.
  • Talk about membership requirements, financial obligations, and expectations of members.
  • Encourage prospective members to visit your lodge Web site and freemason.org.

Be prepared to answer the question “What do Masons do?”
Cite your lodge’s specific programs, and talk about your favorites. Some general responses include:

  • Charity is at the heart of Masonic activities. We make the world a better place through volunteerism and community service.
  • Each year California Masons donate millions of dollars and thousands of hours to charitable causes.
  • One of our greatest priorities is to give back to our communities. We seek meaningful ways to get involved.
  • Masons opened some of the first public schools in America and have an ongoing commitment to public education.
  • Freemasonry provides leadership opportunities at the lodge, district, and Grand Lodge levels. By developing our skills as leaders, we strive to become better men.
  • We strive for personal growth by focusing on lifelong education, and by devoting ourselves to family, faith, country, and fraternity.

Tools to help the discussion: The Masons of California wallet brochure provides an overview of the fraternity. Order wallet brochures from lodgesupplies@freemason.org and pass them out to prospective members, or anyone curious about Masonry.

 

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Coming Home: Your success stories

Coming Home reunited long-lost brothers at celebrations throughout the state. At Orinda Lodge No. 122 planning began in December. The lodge learned a powerful lesson about bringing members back: All it takes is a phone call.

Larry Becker, past master, reports.

The stats

  • Attendance: 92 total

The preparation

  • Telephone tree: We didn’t have a functioning Telephone Committee, so for most events like a Sweethearts’ Dinner, one person would be swamped with 30 or 40 calls. But we had well over 230 people to contact for Coming Home. We had to rekindle the telephone tree.
  • Advance planning: We started planning Coming Home as soon as the new officers were installed in December.

The telephone team

  • Divide and conquer: It was a team effort between 19 callers. We divided our members list by zip code and area code. Each caller was assigned 8-15 brothers.
  • Script: I set up a telephone script for callers, including questions about if they had an e-mail address, what would get them to attend lodge more regularly, and if they were WWII veterans. We had the Masonic Senior Outreach phone number handy, too.
  • Provide ID: We didn’t check anyone off the list until we actually talked to him. We knew that many would screen calls with caller ID, so for those that we couldn’t reach, we mailed a letter explaining Coming Home and asking them to allow our calls.
  • Make new friends; keep the old: Of the telephone team, half had been in the lodge less than 10 years. The other half had been to lodge events every year since the 1970s. Bill Adams, our past master and past inspector, reached a couple people he hadn’t seen in 10 years. They got a kick out of hearing from him and being able to catch up.
  • Connecting with the Greatest Generation: By talking about Operation Greatest Gift, callers had a chance to thank veterans for their service and say, Hey, I don’t know you but I’d love to meet you.

EA phone home

  • Never too late: A few years ago I started a list of Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts that had dropped off the radar, as far back as 1996. We included them on our call list, and it was a good thing: Many had thought it was too late to come back. Others thought that because they didn’t become a Master Mason, they couldn’t come to stated meeting dinners or other lodge functions. The phone call showed them that they were still welcome and in fact, that we missed seeing them in lodge.
  • Welcome back: Coming Home was a reason to reach out and find out why some never progressed past their first degree, and remind them why they joined in the first place. A few people have since contacted their candidate coach and gone on to their next degree. One member that I called received his first degree more than three years ago. After our phone call, he and I began meeting to work towards his second degree.

Takeaways

  • Telephone tree: Everyone saw the benefit of the telephone tree, including the current master and the incoming senior warden. To keep in contact with lost brethren, we are discussing calls to the entire membership on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.
  • Transportation: We heard the need for rides to lodge. Brothers have volunteered to drive, and we included a message in our Trestleboard offering transportation.

Some of our brothers thought that we would have to include a free meal or have a special drawing to get a high turnout at the Coming Home event. But the greatest factor was a simple phone call. It showed that we care about them. It reminded our members why they became Masons in the first place.

Kind of like the movie “Field of Dreams,” where they say, “Build it and they will come.” Call them, and they will return.

 

Have a success story of your own? E-mail communications@freemason.org with Coming Home success story in the Subject line.

 

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if your lodge has ever held an On The Level event. Of the 111 that responded:

18% - Yes
52% - No
30% - Didn't know

 

Of those that answered yes, 94 percent said they think their lodge should present another On The Level event.

Here’s your next question.

 

 

 

 

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

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