Together we make a profound difference

Halfway There: Strategic Plan Update

BEST PRACTICE: Enhancing the membership experience

HOW-TO: Use new strategic plan resources

There's no place like home

Resources

Question of the month

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Halfway there: strategic plan update

It's been two and half years since the fraternity announced objectives for the 2010-15 strategic plan, which means we're already halfway through our implementation timeline.

Guided by five priority areas, we've made significant progress toward the
main goal:

Working together we will increase the relevance of our fraternity and enhance the member experience.

Here's a summary of our achievements so far.

PRIORITY: Enhance the overall quality of the membership experience

Achieved:

  • Added new Discover Masonry prospect and applicant information sections to freemason.org
  • Rolled out a new application
  • Previewed a new applicant investigation process at leadership retreats; to be introduced to the fraternity this fall

Under development:

  • Planning improvements for ritual instruction
  • Planning carryover legislation at the 2012 Annual Communication to involve Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts in stated meetings

PRIORITY: Develop more and improved Masonic education programs

Achieved:

  • Previewed interactive, web-based candidate education at leadership retreats; to be introduced to the fraternity this fall
  • 2012 California Masonic Symposium is planned for two cities - Pasadena and San Francisco
  • Held first International Conference in 2011; planned again for 2012
  • Redesigned Lodge Management Certification Program courses; now presented as interactive webinars led by teams of subject matter experts

Under development:

  • Developing Masonic education modules for delivery on Web and mobile apps

PRIORITY: Improve leadership and management throughout the fraternity

Achieved:

  • Redesigned all leadership retreats with a focus on leadership development and building a vibrant lodge culture
  • Masters joined Wardens Retreats for the first time, focusing on leadership team development and redefining leadership in a fraternal environment
  • Developed a new LMCP course to specifically address improving the member experience
  • Developed a new event management system, improving registration and communication for member trainings and events

Under development:

  • Designing a Web-based accounting and reporting system resource to reduce lodge and hall association administrative work

PRIORITY: Improve philanthropy programs

Achieved:

  • Launched a partnership with Raising A Reader, supporting the early literacy needs of thousands of the state's most vulnerable kindergarteners
  • Launched the Investment in Success scholarship program, which recognizes students who have successfully juggled school with immense challenges at home
  • The Masonic Center for Youth and Families opened as the nation's first comprehensive, single-point-of-service center for youth who need psychological and behavioral support

Under development:

  • Exploring research and innovative solutions to position California Masons as leaders in the field of memory care
  • Developing more care options for members who choose to age at home
  • Expanding tools and processes for lodges to connect fraternal family members with Masonic Outreach and other resources

PRIORITY: Deepen the connection between members and the worldwide body of Freemasonry

Achieved:

  • Developed adult leader training to be offered annually at youth conferences
  • Redesigned adult leader information

From improving the membership experience to turning the page for early literacy, the fraternity is on track to educate, engage, and excel.

Be sure that your lodge is aligned with our goals: Download the strategic plan to share with your leadership team.

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BEST PRACTICE: Enhancing the membership experience

If you asked members to rate their satisfaction with the lodge on a scale of 1 to 10, how do you think you'd score? If the results were poor, what would you do?

One of the fraternity's major strategic priorities is to improve the membership experience - and that begins at the lodge. But each lodge has its own culture, which means that each lodge's leaders must customize their strategy.

Coronado Lodge No. 441 figured out its formula, set specific goals, and stuck to them in what became a banner year.

Past Master Edgar Faralan explains:

Background
Like many lodges, one of our greatest challenges has been to encourage new members to return and attend lodge regularly. It comes down to the membership experience: If members are proud of the lodge and feel like they're contributing, they'll come back.

With that in mind, we set three main goals: To increase attendance at stated meetings; to get involved in the community; and to support the Grand Master's Project.

Many valuable programs spun off from those goals. We exceeded our expectations for last year, and are continuing that trend this year.

Increase community involvement: Masonry In Action
Masonry In Action is our monthly volunteer program with the community.

  • San Diego charities call the lodge for help. We provide the manpower to support their events.
  • The program is run by a member who is a retired Navy commander. He remains very active in the community and is a great point of contact for the lodge.
  • On average, about 12 members volunteer every month. A core group always participates, and new members and friends join all the time.
  • The program has produced a number of prospective candidates. Members bring their friends, who start asking questions about Masonry.
  • We encourage our new members to volunteer with us. They feel good knowing that the lodge is active in the community, and they develop a fellowship with the other volunteers.

Focus on fraternal obligations: Masonry In Action: Home Base
Masonry In Action: Home Base is our service program in support of
fraternal family.

  • We visit our widows and shut-in brethren, and respond to any requests for help around the homes of our elder fraternal family.
  • We do an annual backyard cleanup for a past master who's confined to a wheelchair.
  • About 10 members volunteer each month. It's a half-day event, and we're usually done by noon.

Foster lodge pride: All-Coronado conferral team
For decades, we needed brethren from other lodges to help us confer degrees. Last year, we set a goal to develop a complete conferral team.

  • We worked very hard with our officers' coaches. We started doing a regular Monday practice for ritual, mandatory for all officers.
  • To encourage new members to participate, we started giving them more parts in the ritual.
  • Midway through the year, we were able to conduct the first and second degrees with all Coronado Lodge members. By the third quarter, we were able to do our own third degree.
  • Now, many of our members are often invited to help at other lodges.
  • Many of our newest brethren can do ritual far beyond their years of experience, which is indicative of how dedicated the coaches are.

Engage new members: New member assignments
We have a lodge rule: Prospective candidates, Entered Apprentices, and Fellow Crafts are assigned responsibilities in the kitchen, in the hall, and at social events.

  • When we interview a prospective candidate, we always mention that they will have some duties in the lodge, so that there are no surprises.
  • New members enjoy the gratification of helping out and the recognition from lodge brothers.
  • Family-focused: We also encourage members to bring their families to events. We have a family dinner before the stated meeting and three or four social events in the year geared towards families.

Align with the fraternity: Grand Master's Project
One of our goals last year was to support By Your Side.

  • We held a golf tournament fundraiser. Thanks to member and community participation, we far exceeded our goal.
  • We gave $1,000 to By Your Side and used the surplus for a building fund.

Call upon role models: Bring back the past masters
During my installation speech, I challenged our past masters to come back to the lodge.

  • As motivation, I designated a month for every past master, and asked each of them to come do the opening ritual at his month's stated meeting.
  • The program has been a great success. Past masters are now regularly involved in the lodge, and look forward to their month all year.

Benefits

  • We increased stated meeting attendance by 20 percent.
  • The Masonry In Action activities are a major attraction for prospective members.
  • We were able to make a significant contribution to the Grand Master's Project.
  • Our past masters participate in the lodge and are being recognized as role models.
  • We are now proficient in ritual, which gives us a great sense of pride and identity.

Magazine milestone
In December 2011, we were recognized in California Freemason magazine for being a leading lodge in California for both the number of Master Masons raised and our overall increase in degrees from the year before. That's the first time our lodge has ever appeared in the magazine. It was a huge honor and signaled a major achievement for all of us.

For more information, contact:

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HOW-TO: Use new strategic plan resources

Since announcing the 2010-15 strategic plan, Grand Lodge committees and staff have been churning out resources to meet the fraternity's objectives.

From applications to leadership webinars, there are new tools at your fingertips to enhance every level of membership - and more resources are on the way.

Here are reminders for implementing them.

Prospects and candidates

  • Direct prospective and new members - or anyone looking for basic information about the fraternity - to the new Discover Masonry section of freemason.org.
  • Provide applicants with the new application, distributed in December 2011. To enhance the applicant experience, please use only original copies of the application (no photocopies). When needed, order additional forms from Terrie Strokos at 415/292-9132 or tstrokos@freemason.org.
  • Point applicants to the new Applicant Information page of freemason.org, which will give them detailed information about what to expect and how to fill out the application.

All members

  • Organize a lodge trip to the 2012 California Masonic Symposium nearest you. The Emergence of Speculative Masonry will be held in two cities this year: June 30 in San Francisco and July 1 in Pasadena. Register online. There is no cost to attend.
  • Remind brethren that members of all levels and their families are eligible for support from the new Masonic Center for Youth and Families. The center serves youth ages 4 to 17 with learning, behavioral, and psychological disorders.
  • Download, print, and distribute Resources to educate your members about all Masonic Assistance services.

Leaders

  • You've already attended this year's all-new Masters and Wardens Retreats and the retooled Secretaries Retreats, Inspectors Retreat, and Inspectors Development Academy. Meet as a leadership team to discuss what you learned, how to apply it in the lodge's day-to-day operations, and how you can work together to serve your members.
  • Encourage leaders and members who are interested in the line to sign up for the redesigned Lodge Management Certification Program this spring and summer. The new webinar format is interactive and accessible from home. Look for the Member Experience course, the latest addition to the LMCP courses.
  • Secretaries: Look for a web-based accounting and reporting system soon, which will significantly reduce lodge and hall association administrative work.

 

Have we forgotten something? E-mail suggestions to communications@freemason.org with How-To: Use new strategic plan resources in the subject line.

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There's no place like home

It's a strategic priority to improve leadership and management throughout the fraternity, and one tactic is to use technology to expand access to training.

That's where webinars come in - interactive, real-time courses offered from the comfort of home.

New LMCP webinars
The Lodge Management Certification Program has been redesigned and is now offered in webinar format, which means members can attend from anywhere in the world. Each course is presented virtually by a team of subject matter experts. To maximize learning and interaction, class size is limited to 25 participants.

Introducing: Member Experience
The newest course in the LMCP program will train you to engage current members and attract prospective ones, develop original Masonic education programming, and rally your lodge around philanthropic initiatives.

Sign up now
LMCP webinars are filling up for the summer. Register now!

Courses are held during two 90-minute sessions; each session is $15. Questions? Contact Kim Hegg, program services manager, at 415/292-9111.

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Resources

By partnering with Masonic Assistance, you can make sure that your fraternal family knows where to turn when they need support. In May 2011, this section was introduced to help.

This month, we bring you a year in review: a link to every Masonic Assistance resource since the section launched.

Use these resources to educate fraternal family about the support services available to them, and to help you identify members and widows who are in need of Masonic relief. Your efforts may make a profound difference for a struggling widow, elder member, or family when they need support the most.

Resource roundup

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if your lodge is involved with local youth orders. Of the 121 who responded:

84% - Yes
14% - No
2% - Don't know

Of those who said yes, 24 percent said their lodge is involved with all three Masonic youth orders.

Here’s your next question.

 

 

 

 

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Please email questions to communications@freemason.org.

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Grand Lodge of California
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San Francisco, CA 94108

p: (415) 776-7000

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