Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Prospect experience

HOW-TO: Improve the prospect experience

Discussing Masonry with prospects

Relief for the Philippines

Resources

Question of the month

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BEST PRACTICE: Prospect experience

Every prospect has the potential to change a lodge. With only 25 Master Masons on its membership roll, this is especially true for Prometheus Lodge No. 851.

Chartered just four years ago, this downtown San Francisco lodge gets an exceptionally large number of inquiries—recently, their tally of prospects reached 90. So the lodge created a formal process for getting to know prospects.

Master Christopher Trueblood explains:

Background

We are a young, small, enthusiastic lodge. We pride ourselves on the strength of our fraternal spirit and camaraderie. As a parallel, bringing in candidates is expensive, from real dollar costs to the time that we take. The last thing we want is for a candidate to go through the three degrees, then decide that Masonry isn’t for him. We want to get to know the prospect really well, and for him to get to know us. Our philosophy is “first a friend, then a brother.”

First contact

Our biggest challenge is making sure no prospect falls through the cracks.

  • Reception Committee: Addressing prospect inquiries used to fall to just one brother. This year we expanded it to a Reception Committee, which currently has three members.
  • First contact: Once a prospect makes contact, one of our reception committee members emails or calls him. They thank him for his interest and ask what sparked it.
  • One-on-one: The committee connects the prospect with a Master Mason for a casual meeting, often over coffee. The prospect can ask questions, and the member is set up to introduce the prospect to the rest of the lodge. Of our 20 Master Masons who live locally, all help with these one-on-ones.

Monthly meet-and-greet

Even before our lodge was formally chartered, we had a tradition of social events. Such events became a logical place to meet prospects.

  • Reception: Every month, members, spouses, and partners get together. It gives us a chance to socialize with each other, any visiting Masons—and prospects.
  • Low pressure: These events are informal. Masonry may be the jumping-off point for conversations, but the focus is on getting to know the person as a person. Our prospects like this, because they don’t feel like they’re at a job interview or being pressured to submit an application.
  • Lodge representatives: About 10 members and anywhere from 3 to 10 prospects usually attend any given meet-and-greet.
  • Research and repeat: We invite a prospect back month after month, for several months, before we discuss among ourselves if he’s a good fit. During this time, we encourage him to visit other lodges. (There are nine lodges in San Francisco.)

Tips

  • Lodge identity: A lodge should be able to clearly communicate what it stands for, and what it’s trying to accomplish. Every lodge is unique, and the prospect may be looking for something different.
  • Don’t jump right in: Take your time getting to know a prospect before you provide an application. Make it a social process before it becomes a fraternal process.
  • The prospect experience: Be deliberate about how you get to know prospects. Run the process by your members, and test it on them first.

Benefits

  • Our prospects make an informed decision about whether or not to submit an application. They can see if Masonry is really for them, and if our lodge, or another, is the best fit.
  • By the time they submit applications, prospects have met everyone in the lodge.
  • The real benefit is in attendance, engagement, and retention of our members. Since 2010, 100% of applicants have completed the three degrees or are in progress. 100% have remained active in the lodge.

For more information, contact Christopher Trueblood.

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HOW-TO: Improve the prospect experience

How do you give a prospect the information he needs, determine if he’s a good fit for your lodge, and whether or not he will serve as a good representative of Masonry?

Modesto Lodge No. 206 and Prometheus Lodge No. 851, this month’s Best Practice, share seven suggestions.

  • Be attentive. Respond to every inquiry with a phone call or email within 48 hours. This could be the responsibility of one member or an entire committee. Have an invitation ready for a lodge tour, event, or one-on-one meeting.
  • Use social media. Invite prospects to participate on the lodge and Grand Lodge Facebook pages.
  • Provide more information. Point prospects to Discover Masonry and California Freemason magazine online, both on freemason.org.
  • Open up the lodge. Dispel the myths about Masonry. Encourage prospects to come for a tour of the lodge or to the next stated meeting dinner. Be prepared to provide history and information about the fraternity.
  • Put prospects at the top of the guest list. Community events are a great way for prospects to see the lodge in action, and they may even help out. Modesto Lodge invites prospects to Public Schools Night, Constitution Night, its annual pool tournament, and Oktoberfest, to name a few.
  • Host standing social gatherings. One of Modesto Lodge’s most successful events is its monthly Cigar Night, which regularly attracts 30-plus Masons, family members, and prospects.
  • Make it personal. Prometheus Lodge arranges for each prospect to meet a Master Mason over coffee or lunch. It’s a chance to discuss initial questions, and gives the prospect a familiar face at lodge events.

Have we forgotten something? E-mail suggestions to communications@freemason.org with How-To: Improve the prospect experience in the subject line.

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Discussing Masonry with prospects

It’s important to be open to a dialogue about Masonry with non-members, and it’s absolutely essential when it comes to prospects.

Here are a few topics you’re encouraged to discuss:

  • The fraternity’s history, purpose, and principles. (Visit Discover Masonry on freemason.org as a resource.)
  • Why you became and remain a Mason.
  • The benefits and rewards of becoming a Mason, such as personal growth, friendship, and helping to make a profound difference in your community and world.
  • Membership requirements, financial obligations, and expectations.
  • Encourage prospects to visit your lodge website and freemason.org.

Be prepared to answer the question “What do Masons do?”

Start with specific examples:

  • Talk about your lodge and its goals. Describe lodge programs and community events, and talk about your favorites.
  • Talk about Masonic Assistance, and how it fulfills a promise by every Mason to care for brothers and their families.
  • Talk about the Masonic Center for Youth and Families, and how it is helping families—Masonic and non-Masonic—throughout the state.
  • Talk about Public Schools Month, how it started, and what your lodge does today to make a difference.
  • Share information on fraternity-wide projects such as Raising A Reader and the Investment in Success college scholarship.

Here are a few ways to sum it up:

  • Freemasonry is about self-improvement. We believe that by improving ourselves we can improve the world around us.
  • We strive for personal growth by focusing on lifelong education, and by devoting ourselves to family, faith, country, and fraternity.
  • Charity is at the heart of Masonic activities. We make the world a better place through volunteerism and community service.
  • Each year California Masons donate millions of dollars and thousands of hours to charitable causes.
  • Masons opened some of the first public schools in America and have an ongoing commitment to public education.
  • Freemasonry provides leadership opportunities at the lodge, district, and Grand Lodge levels. By developing our skills as leaders, we strive to become better men.

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Relief for the Philippines

Many areas of the Philippine Islands, including several grand jurisdictions, have suffered devastating damages and loss of life from Typhoon Haiyan. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families who have lost a loved one and we pray for good health and a speedy recovery to those who have been injured.

Please read the Grand Master’s November 12 letter.

You can provide relief to those in need through the Masonic Service Association of North America (MSANA).

Make a donation by check, made payable to the MSA Disaster Relief Fund and marked clearly for the Philippines Appeal. Mail to:

Grand Lodge of California
Office of Philanthropy
Attn: Denise Avila
1111 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94108

Contact Denise Avila with any questions.

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Resources

By partnering with Masonic Assistance, you can help ensure our fraternal family knows where to turn when they need support. This section is designed to help.

Use this ad in your Trestleboard to remind your brothers about the good they do with every charitable gift to the Masonic Homes.

We count on the leaders in the fraternity to make a gift to the Annual Fund. We each give according to our own ability. To make a contribution now, visit freemason.org/contribute/index.htm.

This month: Contribute to MHC ad

Please print in your lodge's Trestleboard and download/print to use as a poster.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if you attended Annual Communication Of the 109 who responded:

47% - Yes
53% - No

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being excellent, 78 percent of those who attended gave their experience an average rating of 8 or above.

Here’s your next question.

 

 

 

 

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