Together we make a profound difference

Assimilating new members

Tips for engaging new members

Your November checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on

Question of the month


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Assimilating new members

In 2012, King Davidís Lodge No. 209 in San Luis Obispo welcomed a crop of new initiates. It included a particularly enterprising candidate named Eric Fisher.

Fisher, then 57 years old, had known little of Masonry before he left his first inquiring voicemail with the lodge. But his involvement took off quickly. He became close friends with the brother who first met him for coffee. He found his niche in the ritual, and his zeal to learn the long-form proficiencies earned the attention of the leadership line.

This past January, just shy of five years from his initiation, Fisher was installed as master. He offers his perspective on the important role of the fraternityís newest members, and the emphasis that all lodges must place on engaging them.

San Luis Obispo is a college town, so King Davidís Lodge is faced with a unique membership challenge: We have a core of engaged young men coming in, but many move away after they graduate. We also have a core of older guys, who are stalwarts of the lodge. But we donít have many active brothers in their middle years Ė the brothers who would naturally gravitate to leadership. We must help every new member achieve his potential.

Specific approaches

  • As a result of the Master and Wardens Retreats, we use the Take Five program: Prospects meet with the lodge five times before we provide an application. One brother tracks this in an Excel spreadsheet. The key is ensuring that interactions arenít merely superficial. We want the prospect to forge deep connections.
  • Rather than having one brother handle all candidatesí coaching, weíve started assigning a unique brother to each candidate (often, his first-line signer). That brother is the new candidateís mentor, as well as his coach. The coach helps bring the candidate into the fold, coaches him in the ritual, and then ideally goes on to be his mentor for life.
  • Every month we get together for dinner and ritual practice. This event is for everyone, not just officers. Itís quality social time, and an opportunity for new members to become part of the lodge culture.
  • I made a concerted effort to appoint brothers who are young in Masonic years to my officer line. This sends a message to every member, no matter how new to Masonry: Take your involvement seriously. Within a few years, you could be an officer, too.

Overarching goals

  • Provide many pathways for involvement and connection: Create plenty of opportunities for fellowship, one-on-one and in groups. Communicate effectively with young members in the instantaneous ways they expect.
  • Help new members connect immediately to brothers inside the lodge: Establish mentorships between members of different generations. Find ways to break up any divisions or cliques within the lodge.
  • Get new members interested in leadership, and empower them to pursue it: Appoint deserving members to projects, committees, and appropriate officer roles, and provide the support they need to succeed.

The lifeblood of any continuing civic institution is new members. In Masonry thatís especially important. We must continually ask ourselves: How can we bring in new members? How can we successfully integrate them into our culture? Thatís the only way weíll keep our traditions alive.

For more information, contact Eric Fisher.

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Tips for engaging new members

A priority of the 2020 Fraternity Plan is to provide a highly rewarding member experience. Involving new members from the start sets this precedent.

Here are tips.

Designate a brother to

  • Meet the new member at his first lodge event
  • Initiate introductions to other key brothers (see below)
  • Remind him about upcoming activities via the lodge app, phone call, and text
  • Check in after his first lodge event, and as he proceeds through the degrees
  • Be his contact for any questions, concerns, or ideas
  • Ideally, act as a Masonic mentor and lifelong friend

Publicly welcome the new member and his family via

  • His first stated meeting
  • Family-friendly event at the lodge
  • Lodge app
  • Social media
  • Trestleboard

Introduce the new member to

  • Lodge officers, coaches, and key active members
  • Elder members, who can offer perspective on a life of Masonry
  • Sweethearts, ladies, Masonic youth, and other lodge family members
  • Other new initiates and their families

In case of questions, direct him to these resources

Plan plenty of activities to reinforce involvement, such as

  • Family meals or social nights
  • Meet-and-greet for recent initiates and their families
  • Community service projects
  • Lodge project, ex. building repairs and renovations
  • Group coaching sessions
  • Masonic education events
  • If the member is interested in Masonic research, invite him to present his findings to the lodge at a Masonic education event or stated meeting

Keep him current

  • Use the lodge app to stay in touch between events
  • Use the Grand Lodge RSS feed to pull stories automatically into your website (contact with any questions)
  • Promote events on the lodge app, social media, text, etc., and clearly note whether they are open to family and non-Masonic friends

Get more advice
The November/December issue of California Freemason will cover even more on the topic of welcoming new brothers to the fraternity. Look out for it in your mailbox, or download the California Freemason app to read it on your phone as soon as itís available!

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Your November checklist

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

Executive Committee

  • Along with the lodge, elect officers
  • Meet with the inspector to review your plan for the year
  • Budget for, and prepare to attend, 2018 leadership retreats
  • Share with your lodge the dates and topics for the 2018 California Masonic Symposium and UCLA International Conference on Freemasonry

Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

  • Urge presumptive 2018 master, wardens, and senior deacon to perform their Master Masonís proficiency soon, if not already completed
  • Urge presumptive master, wardens, and senior deacon to qualify early with the inspector in their officeís ritual
  • Urge respective officers to answer the master, senior warden, and junior warden questions early
  • Identify and approach members for the 2018 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees
  • Set calendar for 2018 and identify event leaders
  • Present 2018 calendar and program plan to the lodge
  • Continue preparing 2018 budget
  • Finalize installation date/venue and prepare installing team
  • Review all candidatesí 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

The Masonic Assistance phone number is listed on the back of every California Masonís dues card and every widowís card. Hereís what to know before you call.

This month:
What to Expect When You Call Masonic Assistance
Age Successfully at Acacia Creek

Share in your Trestleboard.

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Find it on

Are Masonic education lectures part of your lodgeís 2018 program? Consult the Masonic Education Speaker List for contact information of more than 20 fraternal speakers, including notes on their availability and topics of interest.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how your lodge promotes itself to the community. Of those that responded:

58% - Facebook posts
55% - Lodge T-shirts, hats, or other apparel
39% - Outdoor signage
24% - Event invitations to community leaders
24% - Visible community sponsorship, i.e. Adopt-A-Highway
18% - Other social media channels
15% - Facebook ads for events
15% - Press release (notifying local media of news or events)
12% - Newspaper ads
9% - Instagram posts
6% - Twitter posts 6% - Facebook live-streaming for projects or events
6% - Instagram live-streaming for projects or events
3% - Radio or television ads

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

p: (415) 776-7000