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Lodge visibility and revitalization

Increase your lodge's visibility

Your January checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on

Question of the month


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Lodge visibility and revitalization

Just a few years ago, the; future of Santa Lucia Lodge No. 302 was in doubt. At the time, it didn’t have enough active members to fill the officer line. The lodge charter was suspended until the lodge could operate properly.

After meeting with Grand Lodge and taking steps to fill its leadership positions, the lodge regained its charter in 2014 – and put a renewed focus on community visibility. Today, the lodge has a steady stream of applications and a crop of new members vying to become leaders.

Past Master Michael D. “Max” Schell explains.


Santa Lucia Lodge is a 125-year-old lodge in a very small town in Monterey County. Rather than lose this historic lodge, members have been working hard to revitalize it. A primary focus has been on reestablishing lodge visibility in the community. It’s resulted in more applications and more fully engaged members. Last year, we put on more degrees than the rest of the district combined.

Local media

  • We have been very proactive about reaching out to our local newspaper. I went in person to establish a journalist contact and invite her to the lodge, which resulted in an article about Santa Lucia Lodge.
  • I write a short article about almost every lodge event and submit it to the local news. These pieces will usually get published, especially if I include a photo or two.
  • For an annual fee, we run ads year-round in the newspaper’s nonprofit ad space. In the public eye, this puts our lodge on equal footing with other community organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce. We update ad information to promote upcoming lodge events.

Participating in the community

  • We joined the local Chamber of Commerce and send a lodge representative to every meeting.
  • This November, we made a special effort to publicize a lodge Thanksgiving dinner, which resulted in a higher turnout of family members as well as community guests. We took the opportunity to show everyone around the lodge room and explain what we do. We’re planning a similar “open lodge night” soon, where we’ll do this on a larger scale.
  • Twice a year, we hold a dinner for public safety officers: fire fighters one month, peace officers the other. We approach the departments in all the surrounding towns to select the officers to be recognized. Then we invite everyone to the dinner and submit event information to the newspaper. We always receive a lot of inquiries after these events.
  • We partnered with the Chamber of Commerce last year to run a booth at the local fair. They paid for the space and we manned it. Now, the city regularly calls the lodge and asks us to provide Child ID at community events. It's led a number of prospects to us.

Wear it on your sleeve

  • We had shirts custom-embroidered with our lodge name and logo. We encourage members to wear them around town, and to be prepared to talk about Masonry.
  • We created cards with our lodge info and a few brief statements about what Masonry is, and hand them out at Child ID events.
  • We hung banners for our 125-year anniversary on the lodge building.
  • We started keeping a spotlight on our building’s square and compass overnight. We’ve had people ask about it and say, “I thought you were secret.” It starts a conversation.

Santa Lucia Lodge’s comeback is directly linked to its increased visibility in the community. Because people know about it, we’ve garnered more public interest, a stream of applications, and more engaged members.

Lodges are already doing good work; we just need to make a bigger effort to share it with our communities. If we don’t talk about Masonry, no one will know to ask.

Contact: Max Schell.

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Increase your lodge's visibility

It’s important for your lodge to have an established presence in the community. When your neighbors understand and trust Freemasonry, you attract more prospects and have more opportunities to make difference. Here are 15 strategies.

Build relationships

  • Encourage brothers to talk about Masonry in their social circles and other membership groups
  • Drop by the open meetings of other community organizations – Rotary, the Elks, the historical society – and invite their leaders to speak at lodge stated dinners
  • Join the Chamber of Commerce and send a lodge representative to meetings
  • Establish a contact at the local newspaper, and invite him or her to the lodge


Get involved

  • Host a lodge open house or On The Level event
  • Ask the school board to help you identify schools and programs that could use lodge support
  • Sponsor annual awards for outstanding students, teachers, or civil servants
  • Sponsor or host a cultural or educational program for the community, such as a theater festival, senior classes, or a student science fair
  • Adopt a service project such as a park clean-up or coat drive, or throw a fundraiser for a community cause. Or check out this list of 31 ideas for community service

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Your January checklist

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

Executive Committee


  • Confirm Audit, Charity, and Membership Retention Committee appointments and review responsibilities with each
  • Submit 2016 budget for approval at stated meeting
  • Present 2016 calendar and program plan at stated meeting
  • Confirm other committee appointments and review responsibilities with each
  • Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement

Senior Warden

  • Confirm candidate coaches and review responsibilities
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement
  • Begin preparing 2017 program plan
  • Begin preparing 2017 budget
  • Begin preparing 2017 officer appointments
  • Begin preparing 2017 installation of officers

Junior Warden

  • Confirm with treasurer the policies and procedures of Refreshment Fund


  • Continue to collect delinquent dues from members (were due on January 1)
  • Begin preparing secretary’s annual report to present to the lodge in February


  • If your lodge has employees, file federal payroll tax form 941 (unless IRS has approved an annual filing of Form 944, due in February); state payroll tax form DE9/DE9C and DE88 (deposit form); and IRS form 940
  • If your lodge employs independent contractors, distribute 1099s to contractors
  • Begin preparing treasurer’s annual report to present to the lodge in February

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

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For your Trestleboard

By partnering with Masonic Assistance, you can make sure your fraternal family knows where to turn when they need support. This special installment is a roundup of outreach resources. These postings, guides, and stories will help you raise awareness, perform effective outreach, and protect your most vulnerable fraternal family members.

Download: Resource Roundup
Share this roundup with lodge leaders and discuss how to implement resources at your lodge.

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Find it on

Use the Masons of California Media Information kit to raise awareness about your lodge and Freemasonry. Link to the kit on your lodge website, email it to members of the media as part of press releases, and refer prospects and inquiring individuals to it.

The media kit includes information on

  • Discover Masonry, an introduction to the fraternity and its mission
  • History of Freemasonry globally and in California
  • Masons of California subsidiaries
  • Membership qualifications and policies

Visit, hover over the News & Events dropdown menu, and select "For the Media" to download the kit.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how your lodge creates a special year-end appeal for Annual Fund donations. The most popular tactics were:

• Stated meeting announcements
• Trestleboard announcements
• Emails or letters from the master

Here's your next question.



View past issues

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Contact Us

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

p: (415) 776-7000