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Success after consolidation

Welcome, prospects!

Your November checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on

Question of the month


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Success after consolidation

From the Mother Lode region of Northern California comes an inspiring story about embracing change. In 2014, Volcano Lodge No. 56 and Amador Lodge No. 65 made the difficult but unanimous decision to merge, deeming it the best option for the health of both lodges. The following year, the newly formed lodge navigated consolidation once again, this time with Henry Clay Lodge No. 95. Volcano Consolidated Lodge No. 56 was created.

Today Volcano Consolidated Lodge has its sights set firmly on the future. It is focused on growth – from the inside, by engaging existing members; and from the outside, by nurturing community and prospect relations. It’s working. After years of change and compromise, the lodge is experiencing a period of revitalization.

“We are more active and enthusiastic,” says Junior Warden Gregory Niskanen. “Folks see that we are really enjoying the experience, and they’re attracted to it.”

Fellowship in the lodge

A major goal is to promote brotherly love and relations between lodge members. We’ve created a phone tree for inactive members, calling to ask how they’re doing and invite them to lodge events. The thought is that since they’re still paying dues, they still have a desire to reconnect with Masonry. We also started a letter campaign to engage the many sojourners in our part of the state, inviting them to our stated meetings and dinners.

Presence in the community

Since consolidating, we have made community relations a priority. It attracts prospects and sojourners, it’s a meaningful way to get members involved in the work of the lodge, and it helps our community.

  • We host an informational booth at Jackson’s annual Dandelion Days, a popular community fundraiser.
  • The lodge hosts regular social events like crab feeds and Cioppino (seafood stew) feeds, urging members to bring families and non-Masonic friends.
  • We throw a Christmas party for underprivileged children in the area.
  • We run and fund a “Bikes for Books” program, which motivates and rewards elementary school students for improved reading skills. The most improved readers are entered in a drawing. One student per grade wins the choice of a new bicycle or a family pack of movie tickets.
  • We started a golf tournament fundraiser to benefit teachers in local elementary schools, paying them back for the out-of-pocket money they’ve used to purchase classroom items.

Nurturing prospects and new members

We take a great deal of care in the prospect process. We form a relationship with each prospect, making sure he has the opportunity to get to know us and vice versa. This begins with welcoming each prospect into lodge events with genuine warmth and fellowship. All our brothers extend a handshake and smile. We’ve designated a few lodge ambassadors to sit with and engage prospects at stated meeting dinners and invite them to casual social events, such as cigar nights. When a prospect applies and take his first degree, we immediately try to find a meaningful role for him at lodge – such as a place on one of our many committees.


By stepping outside the lodge to work with the community, we are attracting new members and re-engaging existing brothers. Through making a deeper commitment to fellowship, we are creating a positive atmosphere at lodge, which reinforces everyone’s desire to be there (including prospects).

We’ve learned a lot from these past years of extraordinary change: Create a strategic plan for immediate, short-term, and long-term goals. Work with all your officers to set these goals, and get everyone’s commitment to fulfilling them. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Stay focused on the future, have patience, and be persistent.

Contact: Greg Niskanen

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Welcome, prospects!

A prospect’s first interactions with your lodge can determine not only whether he’ll ask for an application, but what his expectations of the lodge and level of commitment will be for years to come. Here are tips for making a good impression, and ensuring that both prospects and existing members get the information, support, and connection they need.

  • Be attentive. Respond to every prospect inquiry with a phone call or email within 48 hours. Consider delegating this task to one member or an entire Reception Committee.
  • Make it personal. Arrange 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.
  • Open up the lodge. Encourage prospects to come for a tour of the building or to your next stated meeting dinner.
  • Provide more information. Point prospects to, particularly the Discover Masonry section.
  • Put prospects at the top of the guest list. Community events are a great way for prospects to see the lodge in action, and even to help out. Invite them to Public Schools Night, an annual picnic, a service event, or something else.
  • Host social gatherings. Create casual, comfortable settings for prospects to meet current brothers and their families.
  • Use social media. Invite prospects to follow and participate in your lodge and Grand Lodge social media.
  • Share the lodge calendar. Make sure prospects know where to find your calendar. Label events clearly as open to the public or for Masons only.
  • Form the habit. Ask each prospect to attend several lodge events before providing a petition.

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Your November checklist

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

Executive Committee

Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

  • Urge presumptive 2017 master, wardens, and senior deacon to perform their Master Mason’s proficiency soon, if not already completed
  • Urge presumptive master, wardens, and senior deacon to qualify early with the inspector in their office’s ritual
  • Urge respective officers to answer the master, senior warden, and junior warden questions early
  • Identify and approach members for the 2017 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees
  • Set calendar for 2017 and identify event leaders
  • Present 2017 calendar and program plan to the lodge
  • Continue preparing 2017 budget, referring to the grand treasurer’s memo for help
  • Finalize installation date/venue and prepare installing team
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement


  • Transmit certificates of election in iMember
  • Continue sending out dues notices and collecting member dues

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 ad is an overview of the support services available to California Masons—and in some cases, non-Masons, too. Use it to inform longtime members as well as prospects.

This month: Support from the Masonic Homes of California
Provide as a handout to prospects, publish in your Trestleboard, or print out and post at the lodge.

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Find it on

If you want to improve your lodge’s engagement, a member survey can help point the way. Individual responses reveal how to get brothers more involved. Accumulated responses provide insight on your membership’s overall priorities.

For help building a member survey, use these resources on

Once you’ve customized the template survey (or created your own), copy and paste questions into an online tool such as SurveyMonkey or SurveyGizmo and email it to your entire membership.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if your lodge has a recorded lodge history. Of those that responded:

60% - Yes
23% - No
17% - Don't know

Of those that said yes, 19 percent said their lodge history is filed with a local historical society, museum, or public library.

Here's your next question.



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Contact Us

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

p: (415) 776-7000