Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Lodge outreach

HOW-TO: Start an Outreach Committee

Find it on freemason.org

Your October checklist

Trestleboard and more

Question of the month

 

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BEST PRACTICE: Lodge outreach

In a part of the state already known for lodge outreach, San Diego’s Amity Lodge No. 442 has a new program in the works. It combines Grand Lodge’s fire safety initiative with the ongoing need for member outreach, and works closely with Masonic Outreach Services (MOS) for support.

Past Master John McQuown explains.

Background: Several years ago, two San Diego lodges consolidated to form Amity Lodge. We had a few goals for our new outreach program: to build trust and fellowship with elder brothers; to check on the safety our elder fraternal family; and to involve brothers of all ages and experience levels in outreach efforts. The program we’ve developed ties all of these things together. It’s set to launch in early November.

The program

  • We created a list of members and widows, age 80 and older.
  • Twice a year, teams of two brothers will visit each elder fraternal family in their home to change the batteries in their smoke detectors (or provide a new smoke detector, if needed).
  • Each outreach team will include an officer or experienced Mason and a brother who has received a degree in the last five years.
  • To introduce the program, two well-known past masters – one from each consolidated lodge – divided the outreach list by their respective former lodges. They are now calling each elder member to explain the visit and obtain consent. This way, the elder members learn about the program from someone they know and trust before the outreach team is at their door.

During home visits

  • In addition to replacing smoke detector batteries, our outreach teams will look for any warning signs that a member needs help. They’ll check for safety concerns, such as trip hazards and other factors from the MOS home visit checklist. And, they’ll ask if there are any home repair projects that the lodge can help with.
  • Outreach teams will take time to talk with elder members about their Masonic memories and life experiences. The teams will look for opportunities to reconnect elders with the lodge, such as offering transportation to events and/or degrees.
  • The outreach teams will leave a Masonic Homes flyer at each home. If there is a concern that a member may need extra support, they’ll contact MOS for advice, or get the member’s consent to call on his or her behalf.

Help from MOS

  • We worked with MOS from the beginning to plan the program and get their approval.
  • We invited an MOS representative to the lodge to give our members a presentation about outreach tactics and how to partner with MOS for support. Call (888) 466-3642 to schedule a presentation at your lodge.
  • MOS has enthusiastically green-lit our idea, and has been sharing it with other lodges in Division II.

Program benefits

  • Ensures that our elder fraternal family members are safe in their homes.
  • Reminds elder fraternal family that their lodge is here for them.
  • Builds bonds between younger members and elder members.
  • Gives younger members perspective on this great organization.
  • Shows our elder members Masonry’s modern face.
  • Engages our newest brothers in a meaningful way.
  • Creates an opportunity for new and long-time members to work together.

Through this program, those receiving and performing outreach both have a positive experience. We’re getting to know our elder fraternal family members in their own homes, where they’re comfortable. And, we’re fulfilling our Masonic obligation of relief.

Contact: John McQuown

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HOW-TO: Start an Outreach Committee

When it comes to member outreach, consistency and experience is key. Here are 16 tips for organizing an effective Outreach Committee.

Form the committee

  • Include a mix of seasoned and new Masons
  • Invite a Masonic Outreach Services (MOS) representative to your lodge to explain outreach tactics, and how to partner with MOS. Call (888) 466-3642 to schedule a presentation
  • Refer to Member Resources on freemason.org for tools such as this FAQ about Masonic Senior Outreach

Establish procedures

  • Make a master list of members and widows who don’t attend lodge regularly, especially those who are older or at risk due to isolation
  • Assign each committee member a number of members to call and visit on a monthly or quarterly basis. Refer to this phone script and outreach checklist
  • Keep a log of phone calls and visits for each member, including notes about follow-up tasks and any concerns
  • Update the secretary and master monthly on outreach efforts
  • If you suspect that a brother or widow needs help, call or drop by for a visit more frequently, or contact MOS
  • Run this out-of-state member benefits ad regularly in your Trestleboard
  • Make sure widows receive the Trestleboard, and once a year, personalize and send this template letter reminding them of their benefits
  • Send birthday and holiday cards annually to vulnerable members and widows. Be sure to include the phone numbers for both your lodge and Masonic Assistance, (888) 466-3642

Other tips

  • Organize transportation to lodge events for elder brothers and widows
  • Create a taskforce of lodge members to tackle handyman projects, and publicize the service to elder fraternal family
  • Work together with the Outreach Committees of neighboring lodges to create an outreach network
  • Build a relationship with MOS for help with outreach questions or when a member needs support from Masonic Assistance
  • Involve local youth orders in outreach

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Find it on freemason.org

The Member Resources page on freemason.org is filled with outreach tools for officers and lodges. Here’s a quick list of links.

For posting in lodge and Trestleboard

Template letters and surveys

For officers and the Outreach Committee

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Your October checklist

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

Executive Committee

  • Remind members to celebrate Masonic Family Make a Difference Month and, on Oct. 3, Make a Difference Day
  • Attend the 166th Annual Communication
  • Make plans to attend the XIV World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges
  • Urge respective officers to complete the senior deacon, wardens, and master proficiencies early
  • Urge respective officers to answer the junior warden, senior warden, and master questions early
  • Set calendar for 2016 and identify event leaders
  • Finalize installation date/venue and prepare installing team
  • Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement

Senior Warden

  • Continue preparing 2016 budget
  • Urge respective officers to complete the senior deacon, wardens, and master proficiencies early
  • Urge respective officers to answer the junior warden, senior warden, and master questions early
  • Set calendar for 2016 and identify event leaders
  • Finalize installation date/venue and prepare installing team
  • Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement

Secretary

  • Prepare to send out dues notices and begin collecting member dues, starting October 12
  • Notify all members of the election of officers at the November stated meeting

Treasurer

  • If your lodge has employees, file quarterly federal payroll tax form 941 (unless IRS has approved an annual filing of form 944, due in February)
  • If your lodge has employees, file quarterly state payroll tax form DE9/DE9C and deposit form DE88

Questions? Contact Member Services at memberservices@freemason.org or (415) 776-7000.

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Trestleboard and more

By partnering with Masonic Assistance, you can make sure your fraternal family knows where to turn when they need support.

Lodge outreach is crucial for keeping elder members and widows safe. It’s also a valuable way to teach new Masons about the obligation of relief. Here are ideas for engaging Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts in lodge outreach.

Download: Engaging Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts in Outreach
Distribute and discuss among lodge leadership and your Outreach Committee

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if your lodge conducts a new member skills and interest survey. Of those who responded:

16% - yes
75% - no
9% - don’t know

Those who replied yes said that survey results help them plan social activities and service projects for the lodge, and also inform their committee assignments.

Here's your next question.

 

 

 

 

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

p: (415) 776-7000

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