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Strong leadership

Tips for your Executive Committee

Your January checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on

Question of the month


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Strong leadership

In recent years, Solomon’s Staircase Lodge No. 357 has turned lessons from leadership retreats into real-world successes. At the last Annual Communication, this Orange County lodge received the fraternity’s Communications Award for Best Social Media, an honorable mention for Best Trestleboard, and recognition for 100 percent officer giving. In addition, member attendance is consistently high, ritual is a point of pride, and the brethren – who range from 20 to 94 years old – are closely bonded.

Carlos M. Diez Jr., the lodge’s past master and current junior warden, says that the Master & Wardens Retreats and Secretary & Treasurer Retreats have played an important role. He explains:

Why attend the retreats?
The retreats are about sharing ideas. For example, if a lodge is weak in member retention, you have the opportunity to learn tips and techniques from a lodge that’s strong in that area. By sharing knowledge with other lodges and Grand Lodge, we all benefit from a collective pool of experience.

Hall management
Thanks to the retreats, our lodge began considering how to use our hall as a source of income. We now contract with a caterer who pays us monthly for the event space, and manages event rentals. With the extra income, we’ve been able to purchase new regalia, repair lights, and tend to other expenses.

Community awareness
The retreats help lodges hone their public image. We’re now doing a good job sharing Masonry via social media, and building relationships with prospects before we provide an application. We’re also able to share our own tactics. At last year’s retreat, a brother mentioned to me that his lodge was struggling to get prospects in the door. I told him our approach: A few times a year, we host an open house for the public, including a tour, Q&A, and examples of our activities within the past few months. We started doing open houses two years ago, and five or so members have joined as a result of these alone.

Member experience
We’ve been motivated to hold more fellowship activities. A recent golf day included prospects and brothers from other lodges. We’re also starting to do field trips to area lodges to meet more local Masons.

Masonic education
The retreats provide excellent advice for Masonic education: How to begin a program; how to fuel interest; what to talk about. When I became master, I sent a Google survey to the lodge, and learned that our brothers were hungry for more Masonic education. We held four programs throughout the year, including discussions on each of the three degrees and an introduction to Kaballah. These programs were very positively received, and we plan to continue offering more.

The retreats teach you how to be a better Mason and a better leader – and no matter how strong your lodge is, they can teach you how to make it even stronger. It’s an opportunity that every brother and lodge should embrace.

Contact: Carlos M. Diez Jr.

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Tips for your Executive Committee

A cohesive Executive Committee (master, secretary, treasurer, and wardens) is key to a successful lodge. Here are tips for fostering productive and collaborative relationships.

Establish a monthly meeting

  • Schedule a standing monthly meeting for the Executive Committee (one or two weeks before stated meetings is a good rule of thumb)
  • Use phone or video chat services like Skype, Google Hangout, or FaceTime to include anyone who can’t be physically present
  • Set a regular agenda, including topics such as:
    • The Leader’s monthly checklist article
    • Finances
    • Committee and hall association reports
    • Membership updates
    • Budget and calendar review
    • Strategic goals and progress
    • Other action items and follow-up
  • Before the meeting, distribute a printed or electronic agenda, including start and end times for each topic, and designated leads
  • During the meeting, use the 2020 Fraternity Plan to frame conversations. When discussing a proposed initiative, ask: Does this support our four statewide priorities?

Record and share

  • Appoint someone to take meeting minutes, focusing on actions and decisions
  • Share minutes among the committee within 48 hours
  • Sign minutes at the next stated meeting, file, and make accessible online

Invite others as needed, such as

  • Representatives from your hall association
  • Leaders from other Masonic bodies with whom you are cosponsoring an event
  • Lodge brothers who have stepped up to lead an initiative

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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

Master, along with Executive Committee

  • Submit 2017 budget for approval at stated meeting
  • Present 2017 calendar and program plan at stated meeting
  • Confirm Audit, Charity, and Membership Retention Committee appointments and review responsibilities with each
  • 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 2018 program plan
  • Begin preparing 2018 budget
  • Begin preparing 2018 officer appointments
  • Begin preparing 2018 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 and state payroll taxes
    • IRS form 941, due in January (unless IRS has approved an annual filing of Form 944, due January 31)
    • State form DE9/DE9C and DE88 (deposit form), due in January
    • IRS form 940 (federal unemployment), due in January
    • W2, due to employee in January
    • W3 and copy of W2, due to IRS on or before January 31
  • If your lodge employs independent contractors,
    • distribute 1099s to contractors by January 31
    • file Form 1096 with Forms 1099 and send these returns to the IRS on or before January 31
  • If you are using the Grand Lodge payroll system, please contact the Financial Services team for assistance at or (415) 292-9170
  • 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

The 2020 Fraternity Plan is a blueprint for building our fraternity over the next five years. Use this ad to unite your members in the plan’s four priorities.

For additional information and resources, download the 2020 Fraternity Plan brochure and refer to

This month:
2020 Fraternity Plan ad

Support from the Masonic Homes of California

Share in your Trestleboard and post at lodge.

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Find it on

Your lodge website is often the first place the public looks for information, so it should be professional, welcoming, and current. Grand Lodge offers simple website templates that lodges can set up and manage with minimal technical skills. Check out this example.

The customizable template includes such features as an events calendar, social media and news feeds, PayPal payments, hosting, support, and more.

To learn more, visit

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how many Masonic education events your lodge hosts per year. Of those that responded:

41% - One to five
10% - Five to 10
26% - More than 10
15% - None
8% - Don’t know

The most popular format was a presentation and/or discussion on a set topic (74 percent), followed by guest speakers (63 percent) and open discussions (59 percent).

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