Together we make a profound difference

Maintaining a healthy hall

Tips for preserving Masonic records

Your March checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on

Question of the month


Printable Version


Maintaining a healthy hall

Like many lodges, Coastside Lodge No. 762 owns several properties – in their case, the lodge hall, an attached apartment, and a rental home. Also like many lodges, they had been fortunate with those properties for many years, despite some deferred maintenance. Then last year, Pacific Gas & Electric discovered a collapsed gas line in one of the properties. The brothers took it as a call to action.

The lodge reconstituted its hall association, then set out to complete a thorough assessment and maintenance strategy for all of its real estate assets. A year later, the properties are safe, appealing, and comfortable, and Coastside Lodge has a plan to keep them that way long-term.

Past Master Dennis Mahoney shares some of their best practices.

Outside experts

  • We hired an established and certified professional property manager, who is also a licensed real estate broker.
  • Our new property manager referred us to a licensed building inspection firm, which we hired to complete a foundation-to-roof inspection of our properties. They provided more than 200 pages of information and recommendations.

Support from Grand Lodge

  • We contacted our inspector as well as Grand Lodge real estate services. They rolled up their sleeves and helped us review, decide, prioritize, and manage our remediation efforts.
  • Grand Lodge staff and the Grand Lodge Properties Committee helped us make sense of information ranging from construction, electrical, and plumbing issues to legal matters.
  • They collaborated with us to identify all our possible courses of action. We felt supported every step of the way.

Rental income

  • Our property manager conducted a market survey for rents, and found that we were asking half or less of market. We increased rents accordingly.
  • Our tenants paid the increased rates without hesitation when they saw how we were improving their safety and comfort. Our property manager was also extremely effective in tenant relations, and all of our tenants stayed with us.
  • The additional income is replenishing our reserve funds, which will go toward future maintenance and repairs.

Lessons learned

  • The key to a secure financial future and wealth is not having a large income, but having a lot of assets. It’s human nature and an economic reality to spend your income. Assets, however, produce future income streams, and if the assets are well managed, the income stream will grow. Know your lodge assets, hold onto them, and take proper care of them.
  • The most essential step in protecting and preserving a lodge’s real estate is to elect a properly constituted hall association. Ideally, the association includes brothers with professional experience in real estate, finance and accounting, law, construction, or general business. All members should complete the Lodge Management Certification Program, and turn to the Lodge Manual and CMC for legal and operating guidelines.
  • The hall association has a fiduciary duty to the lodge to charge appropriate rents. The best way to stay on top of this is with a professional property manager and market survey. A good property manager more than pays for his or her own cost.
  • Every lodge should establish a “sinking fund,” or segregated cash reserves account, based on a well thought-out, comprehensive building maintenance schedule. Keep up on building maintenance. A small leak unattended can lead quickly to major costs.
  • Grand Lodge and its staff are there to help us. Take advantage of their real estate services.

A well-maintained facility helps with income, and is welcoming to families and new members. It is also a community landmark, and a silent witness to our craft. So don’t kick the can down the road. Take advantage of the resources available to help build the financial security and comfort of your lodge.

Contact: Dennis Mahoney

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Tips for preserving Masonic records

Lodges accumulate a mountain of records over the years, in the form of papers, books, artifacts, and photos. The sheer volume can get overwhelming.

Use these guidelines and tools to get rid of the clutter, and to take proper care of your lodge’s important records.

Permanent records
Keep these five essential records permanently:

  • By-laws and amendments
  • Charter or dispensation
  • Membership records, including applications for degrees and affiliations
  • Meeting minutes
  • Tiler’s register
Consult the Retention Schedule (Member Center > Resources and Publications > Manuals and Guides) for a comprehensive list of what to keep, what to toss, and when
  • Includes helpful reminders, such as when items should be added to an individual membership record
  • Notes when to discard common records – for example, financial statements, paid bills, invoices, and vouchers should all be discarded after 7 years

Historical records
These include:
  • Ledgers
  • Photos
  • Working tools
  • Regalia
  • Aprons

Create an inventory with the Member Center’s Lodge Inventory Tool (Member Center > Resources and Publications > Manuals and Guides)
  • Simple way to keep track of items
  • Lists all items with a brief description
  • Notes the location of the item and who made the inventory
Store items properly
  • Keep objects out of direct sunlight
  • Control for pests such as insects and rodents
  • Store ledgers, scrapbooks, and paper in cardboard boxes or bins free of dust and dirt. Avoid plastic containers: They don’t allow air circulation, which can lead to mold
  • Label the boxes with the contents and date of material
  • Store in a clean, dark place like a closet. Avoid basements, garages, attics, and storage sheds, which are susceptible to moisture and large fluctuations in heat and humidity
  • Record the contents of the boxes and their location on your inventory
  • Struggling to find space or the right storage materials? Consider Iron Mountain storage

Contact: Joe Evans, collections manager, Henry W. Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry.

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Your March checklist

Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your March checklist.

Executive Committee

Senior Warden

  • Begin preparing 2019 program plan
  • Begin preparing 2019 budget, remembering to set aside funds for retreat attendance
  • Begin preparing 2019 officer appointments
  • Begin preparing 2019 installation of officers
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement

Junior Warden

  • Begin tracking 100% officer giving to the Annual Fund, with officers setting an example through gifts that represent their capability as well as their commitment to our charitable programs


  • Continue to collect delinquent dues from members (were due by January 1)
  • Send list of members with late dues to the master for the Retention Committee
  • Send any suspension notices
  • Charity Committee considers remissions
  • File financial reports with Grand Lodge (unless your lodge uses Intacct, in which case you do not need to submit anything)


  • If your lodge has employees, file W-3 with IRS along with copies of all W-2 forms
  • File financial reports with Grand Lodge (unless your lodge uses Intacct, in which case you do not need to submit anything)

Audit Committee

  • Audit lodge books, to be completed by end of April

Questions? Contact Member Services at or (415) 776-7000

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For your Trestleboard

It happens all too often: Brothers who have spent a lifetime devoted to Masonic relief resist reaching out when they are the ones in need. Here’s a story of one Mason who finally summoned the courage to ask for help, and the difference that it made. Use it to inspire your lodge’s outreach efforts, and to remind members that Masonic Assistance is there for them.

This month:
Beyond Obligation: The Courage to Ask for Help
Age Successfully at Acacia Creek

Share in your Trestleboard.

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Find it on

If your lodge has been considering making the switch to Intacct – Grand Lodge’s accounting and reporting system – this is a great time to get started. Intacct features include:

  • Cash management
  • Accounts payable and receivable
  • Financial reports
  • Budgets
  • Payroll

It is easy to set up and use Intacct! Grand Lodge's Financial Services team provides free training for your lodge treasurer to implement Intacct and is available to provide ongoing telephone and email support. There are many resources available on the Member Center to help.

Go to to check out:

  • Training manuals – Get step-by-step instructions on cash management, financial reporting, budgeting, and six additional topics.
  • Video library – Helpful training videos cover basics (like how to sign in) and more complicated topics like voiding checks and reconciling bank accounts.
  • Frequently asked question documents – Whether you’re struggling with general questions or specific ones, these helpful documents provide the answers you need, fast.

Ready to get started? Contact Financial Services at or (415) 292-9170.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how your lodge stores its historical artifacts, like photographs, bound books, awards, and memorabilia. Of those that responded, the most popular techniques were at the lodge hall without archival techniques (63%) and at the lodge hall using special archival techniques and supplies (13%).

Here's your next question.



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p: (415) 776-7000