Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Lodge outreach

HOW-TO: Improve lodge outreach

Keep lodge finances Intacct

Introducing Online Candidate Education

Resources

Question of the month

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BEST PRACTICE: Lodge outreach

One of the fraternity’s 2010-15 strategic priorities is to extend Masonic relief. Among the many ways that a lodge provides relief, the most important may be closest to home: member outreach.

In gold country, Placerville Lodge No. 26, Hiram Lodge No. 25, and Drytown Lodge No. 174 demonstrate one simple, low-maintenance system where family comes first, no matter what the lodge affiliation.

Brian Ludwig, past master of Placerville Lodge, explains:

Background

About five years ago, the three lodges in our region combined Trestleboards into one: the "Gold Country Mason." As a result, we’ve become closer with our neighboring lodges. When Placerville Lodge came up with an idea for a “Senior Support System” two years ago, we invited Hiram Lodge and Drytown Lodge to join us.

The need

  • There are probably 100-125 older members in the district that the program is intended for. And of course, although the support system was created for senior fraternal family, it’s available for any other member who needs help, no matter his age.
  • The program serves about 24 widows in the district. Previously, we hosted just one sweethearts dinner a year. We felt we needed to do more.

The system

  • The idea: We have a district-wide list of contacts. If members or widows need help with housework, a ride somewhere, to talk to someone about Masonic Assistance, or anything at all, they just call the contact who lives closest to them.
  • Beyond the lodge: I coordinated a core team of volunteers from Placerville Lodge and Hiram Lodge. Five of us, spread across the region, are the district’s go-to outreach contacts.
  • Informing the district: The month that the Senior Support System launched, we ran a big first-page article about it in the Trestleboard.
  • Monthly reminder: Our names, phone numbers, and location are listed in every Trestleboard, which goes out to all three lodges.
  • Redrawing borders: If members or widows need anything, they call the brother who is geographically closest, no matter what his lodge affiliation.
  • Keep it simple: The system is very informal. We don’t have monthly meetings. We just want members to know that we’re here for them.
  • Bring in Masonic Assistance: We’ve had Masonic Outreach Services present talks at the lodge a few times, and representatives specifically from the Masonic Homes come to educate us about California’s support services. We keep their pamphlets on hand.

The impact

  • In the program’s first six months, we had about a dozen calls.
  • We’ve trimmed trees, shoveled snow out of driveways, helped a widow get her house ready to sell, and provided rides to doctors appointments.
  • Most importantly, we provide peace of mind to our older members and widows. They know that we’re here to provide emotional and material and social support. Even if they live far away from their lodge, they know there’s always a Mason close by who will lend a hand.

Benefits

This is one example of a very simple, very informal relief program that any lodge can start. The important thing is that we’ve made ourselves available to our fraternal family, and they have a way to reach out for help. That’s a start. But we still need to do more.

For more information, contact Brian Ludwig.

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HOW-TO: Improve lodge outreach

Masonic Assistance impacts hundreds of lives each year in California. But if lodges don’t do their part, members who need help may never know about or be connected with support services.

It’s up to you to activate the fraternal safety net. Here are 12 ways, with helpful resource downloads.

  • Meet Masonic Outreach: Invite a Masonic Outreach Services representative to the lodge to give a Masonic Assistance presentation for members and their families. Contact 888/466-3642 or masonicassistance@mhcuc.org.
  • In your lodge: Print and hang these Q&As about Masonic Senior Outreach and Masonic Family Outreach.
  • In your personal library: Download the Guide to Masonic Senior Outreach and the Guide to Masonic Family Outreach. Share it with other officers in the lodge, and refer to it when you need answers on outreach services.
  • At lodge events: Set up a phone tree or automated-call system to invite older members and widows to special lodge events. Offer to help with rides, and to leave them with the Masonic Assistance phone number.
  • On the phone: Create a lodge outreach committee to personally call older members and widows who haven’t been to lodge recently. Follow this phone script.
  • TIP: Enlist the help of lodge sweethearts in filling an outreach committee.
  • In the Trestleboard: Run this template article regularly to remind and educate members about support services.
  • In the mail: Once a year, personalize this template letter to remind even out-of-state or inactive members that they are still eligible for Masonic Assistance. Send this template letter to lodge widows to remind them of their benefits.
  • In person: Assign brothers to visit elder members and widows. Bring this checklist along to help gauge their well-being.
  • As a team: Assemble a group of brothers to tackle handyman projects. Publicize the service to widows and elder members in the Trestleboard.
  • In your region: Follow the example of these three Gold Country lodges: Collaborate with area lodges to create a regional outreach team.
  • Between lodges: Keep the lines of communication open. If another lodge has members who live in your area, be ready to help any brothers or widows in need.
  • In this issue:Resource, “Beyond Obligation,” another true tale of Masonic outreach. Share it with the lodge to remind them of the good they do through their charitable giving.

Have we forgotten something? Email suggestions to communications@freemason.org with How-To: Improve lodge outreach in the subject line.

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Keep lodge finances Intacct

Last year Grand Lodge rolled out Intacct, an accounting and reporting solution that simplifies processes for lodges and hall associations.

If you haven’t explored Intacct yet, do so now, while there’s still time to attend an end-of-year training.

Log into the Member Center at freemason.org, then go to Resources and Publications>Intacct Resources.

View the eight training videos in the Member Center.

Attend a training session.Choose at least one of the options listed below, and email intacct@freemason.org or call 415/292-9170 to register.

  1. Two-hour live webinar on Oct. 21
  2. One-to-one training call with one of the Grand Lodge Intacct Team members
  3. In-person training:
    • Oct. 19 at the Masonic Home at Covina
    • Oct. 26 at the Masonic Home at Union City
    • Nov. 9 in the Eureka area
    • Nov. 16 in the Sacramento area
    • Dec. 7 in the San Diego area

Ready to enroll? Contact the Grand Lodge Intacct team at intacct@freemason.org or 415/292-9170.

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Introducing Online Candidate Education

Online Candidate Education is an online, interactive learning program developed by and for California Masons. It’s designed to complement coaching, and it will be an essential resource for the candidate’s individual course of study.

The program organizes each degree in its own learning module, using a multimedia curriculum to explain Masonic symbols and lessons in a meaningful, lasting way. Specially developed readings and videos feature subject matter experts; quizzes and games test the candidate’s knowledge and engage him in the learning process; and assignments challenge him to think more deeply about Masonic lessons. The program even provides links to additional resources, for those candidates who choose to explore beyond the course library.

This innovative learning system will enrich the member experience and improve Masonic education throughout the fraternity. Look for an email announcement and details this month from Grand Lodge.

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Resources: Beyond Obligation

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.

Share this special quarterly installment, “Beyond Obligation,” in your Trestleboard to feature true tales of Masonic outreach in California.

These stories represent just a fraction of the lives touched each year by Masonic Assistance – and are only possible thanks to generous support by California Masons.

Share these stories in your Trestleboard to raise awareness of outreach services, and to reflect on the good you do by supporting Masonic Assistance. To make a contribution, visit freemason.org/contribute/annualGiving.htm.

This month: The Woodcarver

Print in the lodge Trestleboard, and share with family and friends.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how your lodge gets to know prospects. Of the 110 who responded:

78% - Invite them to the lodge for a tour
78% - Encourage them to attend lodge dinners and community activities
73% - Invite their families to lodge dinners and family activities

Other popular tactics are to provide reading materials such as the Who We Are and What We Do brochure, and to designate a member to answer the prospect’s questions.

Here’s your next question.

 

 

 

 

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Please email questions to communications@freemason.org.

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