Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Member engagement

HOW-TO: Keep members involved

Calendar checklist

Five weeks to pitch in

Trestleboard and more

Question of the month


BEST PRACTICE: Member engagement

The membership experience in general, and member engagement in particular, is a 2010-15 strategic priority for the fraternity. The more voices, ideas, and contributions, the more vibrant the lodge.

To create such an environment, lodges must first find ways to get members involved, and then keep them coming back.

From Los Angeles, Liberal Arts Lodge No. 677 shares one simple program.


Our lodge has just 108 members, and only half live within easy driving distance. So in 2012, when we received 20 applications in one year, it was a huge membership boom. To bring new brothers into the fold and give them what they’d come to Masonry looking for, we started a basic, no-frills social night earlier this year.

The format

  • Monthly meet-up: We meet from 7 to 10 p.m. in an old refurbished office that’s now a pool room in our lodge building.
  • Free-form: There is no format or talking points. We just sit and talk.
  • Small groups: We sit randomly around card tables, in groups of four. Small groups give people greater confidence to speak up, and lead to more involved conversations.
  • Keep it informal: There is no dress code. We provide easy, inexpensive food like pizza and chips and dip.
  • Open to everyone: Brothers can bring spouses, partners, and friends who aren’t Masons. Prospects can also attend.
  • Establishing attendance: For the earliest events, we texted and called brothers to personally invite them and “get the yes.” Now, that’s no longer necessary.


  • Attendance: About 20-25 brothers and guests regularly turn up, which is a significant portion of our local members.
  • Prospect program: We want a prospect to come to lodge for several months before we provide an application so we can be sure about his intentions and so he can get a good feel for us, too. Social nights are a great setting for this.

Why it works

  • Casual and comfortable: The setting, the small groups, the non-scripted nature of the gathering – these things create an environment where brothers feel comfortable sharing personal experiences and goals. They have the freedom to talk about the things that matter most to them.
  • Chance for camaraderie: Our lodge, and especially our younger members, value camaraderie most. Stated meetings are part of that, but social nights are key to keeping our younger members’ attention and interest.
  • Seeking “something more”: Many of our applicants say they hope to get something out of Masonry that they don’t find in their personal, social or work lives. By giving them another reason to come to lodge, and creating an opportunity for deep discussion, we help our applicants find a more meaningful connection with people.

California is a melting pot, which means that many of us do not have several generations of family nearby. If given the chance, Masonry can be a second family. Modern lodges must be willing to try new things to encourage this. At ours, social nights are one answer.

Want more member engagement tips from Liberal Arts Lodge? Check out this month’s How-To article.

To learn more, contact:
Sean Caster, master
Justin Daza-Ritchie, past master
Bob Ruvelson, Membership Committee chair

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HOW-TO: Keep members involved

Want your members to get the most out of Masonry? Here are 15 tactics, courtesy of Liberal Arts Lodge No. 677, who also provided this month’s Best Practice.

Prospects: Laying the foundation

  1. Set an expectation: In your very first conversation with a prospect, talk about the importance of involvement in the lodge. Ask what he hopes to get out of Masonry – and make a plan to follow up.
  2. Follow up face-to-face: Meet for coffee to establish a personal connection. Reiterate the importance of showing up to lodge, and ask if he’s willing to make the time.
  3. Form the habit: Ask him to attend several lodge events before providing a petition.

All members: Pathways to involvement

  1. Offer regular social events: Check out this simple (and fun) approach.
  2. Consider Masonic education: Masonic ed programs create opportunities for research and discussion, and events often draw a crowd.
  3. Solicit suggestions: Follow up with members to see if they’re getting what they want out of Masonry. Ask what kinds of activities would help deepen their involvement, and call for volunteers to lead planning.
  4. Assign jobs: Even if a member isn’t inclined to attend stated meetings, he may be willing to join a committee, or contribute from home on a project.
  5. Ritual responsibilities: Give new members, even Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts, the chance to learn and deliver ritual charges.
  6. Involve past masters: Their attendance sets an important precedent for the entire lodge, and is often a draw for long-time members in particular.
Member communication: Keys to keeping in touch

  1. Frequent email: Send brief, weekly updates. Members will get used to hearing from the lodge, and those who live far away will feel included.
    • Build the lodge email list: Call members whose email addresses you don’t have and update their records. The initial time investment will pay off quickly.
    • Timely topics: Celebrate successes. Set goals. Share a story from a recent event.
    • TIP: Keep emails short and punchy. If you’re not a strong writer, ask for help from a lodge member who is.
  2. Phone outreach: To connect with less active members, pick up the phone. Don’t just invite them to lodge; ask them to attend on a specific date.
  3. Text for turnout: A day or two before events, text members. Don’t just send a reminder; ask for a “yes” on attendance.
  4. Comprehensive calendar: Use this checklist to make sure your calendar is complete.
  5. Member engagement survey: Send it online or by mail to learn how members want to be involved. There are free or low-cost services to use, such as Survey Monkey.
  6. Social Media: Have members "Like" your lodge's Facebook page or the Masons of California Facebook page. If your lodge doesn't have one, let them know that brothers from throughout the state and beyond connect on the Masons of California page and content is updated daily.

Have something to add? Email suggestions to with How-To: Keep members involved in the subject line.

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Calendar checklist

One obvious key to engaging members is getting them in the habit of coming to lodge. But for that to happen, they need to know what's coming up.

Use this checklist to make sure your calendar is complete.

What events to include:

  • Common and recurring events
    • Stated meetings
    • Ritual practices
    • Degree conferrals
    • District officer meetings
    • Annual Communication
    • Masonic Symposium
    • Leadership trainings
    • Installation of officers
  • Special events
    • On the Level programs
    • Community events such as public school programs, community service projects and civil service recognition
    • Open events for families and widows, such as Hiram Awards and Sweetheart’s Night
    • Visits to other lodges
    • Masonic education nights
    • Academic conferences

What to include in each event:

  • What, when, where
  • To whom the event is open
  • If and how to RSVP, deadline
  • Cost (if any), how to purchase tickets, deadline
  • Dress code
  • Who to contact with questions
  • TIP: Include as many details as you can. If there will be a guest speaker, provide a short bio and describe the topic. If the event is a fundraiser, link to relevant websites.

When to update your calendar:

Pick a time each month to:

  • Review the past calendar month: Note event attendance for lodge records.
  • Check the next two calendar months: Ensure accuracy of event listings and add any new information.

Where to display your calendar:

  • Trestleboard
  • Lodge website
  • Lodge Facebook page (public events only)
  • TIP: Clearly indicate which events are for Masons only, which are family-friendly, and which are open to the public.

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Five weeks to pitch in

The Junior Giants uses baseball to keep at-risk youth safe and off the streets while building teamwork, confidence, and character.

During the Masons4Mitts campaign, Northern California Masons compete to donate mitts to youth in the program. Every year, Masons from elsewhere in the state have thrown in their support, too. Since 2009, we’ve raised more than $270,000 for the Junior Giants, providing more than 13,500 boys and girls with their very first baseball mitt.

The 2014 Masons4Mitts campaign ends September 5. No matter where you’re located in the state, you can make a donation.

Go to, and give the gift of baseball to the kids who need it most.

Masons Night at the Ballpark

On Wednesday, September 10 we will host Masons Night at AT&T Park, where the home crowd will witness Masonry’s commitment to kids firsthand.

And on September 22, for the first time ever, we’ will host Masons Night at Dodger’s Stadium. Tickets are extremely limited for this night, so please order your tickets soon.

Contact Joshua Castro at to buy your tickets.

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Trestleboard and more

Every lodge is different. So for this month’s “member engagement” issue, we’re providing a survey that you can use to discover new ways to keep your members involved.

First, customize the highlighted fields. Then copy and paste the survey into an online tool such as SurveyMonkey and email it to your entire membership. For members without email addresses or who haven’t been to lodge in a while, mail a hard copy along with a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Download: Member engagement survey
Convert into an online survey for emailing, or print and send by postal mail

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if your lodge has a widow outreach program. Of those who responded:

60% - Yes
40% - No

Among those lodges with a widow outreach program, more than half make outreach calls or visits two to four times a year.

Here's your next question.





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