A Six Step Program - WA, USA
The following is from the Grand Lodge of Washington for consideration by our committee. The original is available at:
The Importance of Membership Development
Membership development is critical to the future of your lodge and the Masons of Washington. In order to maintain a sufficient membership level.
New members are important for lodge growth and prosperity because they:
• Provide a range of personal resources and knowledge that can strengthen the lodge
• Provide a succession of leaders for officer and committee roles
• Provide the financial means to continue lodge operations and add new programs
• Replace members the lodge loses each year
Membership development has two components: Attract new members and Retain members and motivate involvement
The best way for your lodge to be successful at both attracting and retaining members is to offer a comprehensive and diverse program of activities that have broad member appeal. The program selection should include personal growth and leadership, socialization with family members, community service, support of public education, and other programs that clearly and publicly demonstrate Masonic values and dedication to the community. Knowing and meeting member needs will develop and retain members, encourage their involvement, and motivate them to refer potential new members.
Step 1 – A favorable community impression of the lodge leads to an ongoing interest in Masonry.
Get Ready for Prospective Members
SITUATION: Positive first impressions are crucial for success.
Masons lead by example. You make an impression and set an example each time the public sees you, whether it’s your booth at a street fair, your lodge building, your Web site, or other ways in which your lodge and its members are visible to the public.
ACTION: Get the lodge ready to attract prospective members.
Make sure the following are making favorable first impressions:
• Lodge Web site: It needs to be informative, current, attractive, easy to navigate, and linked to www.freemason-wa.org
• Presence at public events (booth at fairs, Kids ID events, etc.): Ask Masons who are enthusiastic, informed, and articulate about Masonry to staff the booth; tell them what the appropriate dress is for the event; and distribute current information pieces, such as the Web site information card, brochure.
• Outgoing message on lodge voice mail: Be sure the message is current, informative, and recorded by a member who speaks clearly and whose voice is enthusiastic, positive, and welcoming.
• Appearance of lodge: Building must be kept clean and well-maintained, be well-lit, and have good signage.
• Knowledgeable members: Every member should be knowledgeable about Masonry in order to answer questions and invite membership consideration.
SITUATION: Prospective members have certain needs.
You must know your prospective members’ needs in order to be successful with membership development. Recent research identified the following things men want in their lives:
• Meet new friends
• Quality time with their families
• Play an important role in the community
• Opportunities to lead
ACTION: Determine how your lodge can meet the needs and expectations of prospective members.
• Does the lodge need to make changes to be more appealing to prospective members?
• What could be improved?
• Does the lodge offer the benefits men are looking for?
• Are there opportunities for family involvement in lodge activities?
• Does the lodge need to be more active in the community?
SITUATION: Lack of time is an issue.
Most prospective members say they have only a limited amount of time, generally about five hours per month, to give to any organization.
ACTION: Determine how your lodge addresses this issue.
• Identify the number of hours a typical active lodge member gives each week.
• Identify ways the lodge may waste a member’s time.
• Identify and implement changes that save time.
In order to attract men with limited time, consider making these changes:
• Increase the level of fellowship and fun before and after the meeting.
• Handle the business portion of the meeting in a more efficient manner.
• Have at least one member-centered event/activity each meeting.
• Limit each meeting to 1½ hours.
Step 2 – In order to appeal to prospective as well as present members, we
must be relevant to the type of man we want as a member.
Identify Quality Candidates
SITUATION: It takes a certain type of man to be a Mason.
A prospective Mason is a man who is involved in the community, service-oriented, interested in self-improvement, and someone you trust and would want to spend time with you and your family.
Men with whom you have established relationships are your best member prospects, including friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers.
Relatives of present or past members, such as sons, sons-in-law, nephews, grandsons, and uncles are good prospects.
Other prospects include fathers of young men and women who are members of DeMolay, Job’s Daughters, and Rainbow Girls in your community.
ACTION: Make a list of prospective members.
• Develop a list of prospective members known to lodge members. Request all lodge members submit names of qualified prospective members.
• List prospective members by name.
• Pair each prospective member with one or more members who know him.
• Identify the aspects and benefits of being a Mason that will appeal specifically to each prospective member and record on the worksheet.
Step 3 – In order to grow the membership, we must make Masonry known to
eligible men in our communities, giving them the opportunity to ask that
Approach Prospective Members
SITUATION: Masons do not solicit members.
Informing a man about Masonry is not solicitation. Many men don’t know anything about Masonry and will not join an organization which they know little about. We do talk to men, invite consideration, answer questions, and provide information.
ACTION: Invite a prospective member’s consideration.
Begin a dialogue with the prospective member about aspects of the fraternity that would be attractive to him. Do this in a personal, caring way, paying attention to his interests and needs.
Following are suggestions for this dialogue:
• Tell him about the fraternity.
• Tell him why you became and remain a Mason.
• Tell him why he would make a good Mason.
• Tell him what benefits Masonry will bring to his life.
• Ask him to consider what you tell him and invite his questions and interest.
• Tell him you will be glad to provide an application should he desire to join. Talk freely about the purposes and principles of the fraternity, membership requirements, financial obligations, expectations of members, opportunities for personal development, Masonic charities, community service, family activities, and many other subjects.
Tell others about the rewards of being a Mason: personal growth; friendships with men and their families who share your beliefs and values; associating with other men of honor and integrity who believe there’s more to life than pleasure and money; participating in community service; being part of an organization committed to making a difference.
SITUATION: Most prospective members are not familiar with Masonry.
ACTION: Stay informed and be comfortable talking about the fraternity.
Be prepared to answer the question, “What do Masons do?” Some suggested responses include:
• Charity is at the heart of Masonic activities.
• We help make the world a better place through philanthropy, volunteerism, and community service.
• Each year Freemasons donate millions of dollars and thousands of hours to philanthropic causes.
• Masonic charities receive no public funding and are supported entirely by member contributions.
• The vast majority of Masonic philanthropies benefit non-Masons.
• Cite your lodge’s specific philanthropic programs.
SITUATION: Most prospective members will need time to consider submitting an application.
ACTION: Follow up with each man you approached about consideration.
• Ask if you can answer any questions or clarify something in your previous conversation.
• Ask him specific questions about his needs and expectations. Discuss how membership will meet his needs and expectations.
• Ask if he has any concerns that you can address.
• Invite him to an open events so he can meet other members.
• Be prepared to give him the membership information/application packet (see package 1).
• Write your lodge name and number at the top of the application.
• On the reverse, write the fees for degrees and the total payment required with submission of the application.
SITUATION: A prospective member says he wants to join.
ACTION: Complete the application process.
• Make sure the prospective member has an application and completes it.
• Explain each step of the application process.
• Explain the fees for degrees and be sure the total is written on the application.
SITUATION: The application was submitted.
ACTION: Confirm that the lodge has received the application and it is being reviewed.
• Mail the confirmation letter from the lodge master with the applicant information packet to the candidate as soon as his application is received.
N Confirmation letter from lodge master to candidate
N Applicant information packet (see package 2)
• The first interviewer should confirm that the interview information packet was received at the home and offer to answer questions regarding the content.
SITUATION: If an applicant is married, the support of his spouse has an impact on his decision to join and his level of participation.
ACTION: Include the applicant’s wife when the home visit is scheduled.
• When scheduling the home interview, invite the applicant’s wife to be present.
Step 4 – In order to become involved, a candidate must feel part of the lodge
from the beginning. Caring for candidates and their needs creates
participation and loyalty, which are real assets to the lodge.
Integrate the Candidate into the Lodge
SITUATION: A candidate must feel part of the lodge from the beginning in order to become involved.
ACTION: Use the Candidate Mentor Program.
Assign a mentor who is about the same age as the candidate and shares similar interests.
At meeting No.1 (in the candidate’s home)
• Discuss the initiation process with the candidate so he is fully prepared and knows what to expect.
• If the candidate is married, include his wife in the conversation and answer her questions.
ACTION: Involve a candidate in the lodge from the outset. Inform the candidate of his opportunities to become involved and make contributions.
Provide information about the plans and goals of the lodge; ask for feedback and interest in participation.
ACTION: Focus on fellowship.
Make sure current members understand the needs of the candidate and tell them how they are all expected to help meet those needs. Personally greet each candidate the first night. Make each candidate feel important by celebrating each progression through the degrees.
Step 5 – Programs that address member needs are the first step in member
satisfaction and retention.
SITUATION: Master Masons say they become inactive for the following reasons:
• I don’t have the time
• It’s not what I expected
• No one contacted me after the degree
• Lodge was unfriendly
ACTION: Focus on meeting member expectations.
• Take an interest in the new member and involve him immediately in lodge activities
• Respect the member’s time
• Offer programs and events for the entire family
• Contribute to the community in meaningful ways
ACTION: Determine if the lodge is meeting member expectations.
Appoint a member relations team to determine if member needs and expectations are being met by conducting two types of surveys: the Candidate Satisfaction Survey immediately following completion of the first degree and the Member Satisfaction Survey with new Master Masons. Maintain a database of the responses.
The membership development committee is to use the information to make adjustments and improvements. To maintain this focus on member satisfaction, repeat the Member Satisfaction survey every two or three years.
Candidate Satisfaction Survey (See attachment 3A)
• Immediately following his completion of the first degree, interview or call the candidate and complete the Candidate Satisfaction Survey with his responses.
• Create and maintain a data base of the responses.
Member Satisfaction Survey (See attachment 3B)
• Call 10 to 12 recent Master Masons and conduct the survey.
• Create and maintain a data base of the responses.
Step 6 – Last But Certainly Not Least — RITUAL
Good Ritual shows pride in our Craft, pride in your Lodge and good leadership.
Ritual is one of the many items that makes our Craft unique.
Make sure your lodge can and does provide topnotch ritual in your degrees and meetings.
. . . (Masonic ritual) since its content was and is a living, breathing, sentient truth, conveyed in words,
actions and symbols which by their very antiquity prove that they are “best” . . . — Pocket Encyclopedia of Masonic
Symbols, Masonic Service Association, 1979
Truth may be taught without ritual, but truth taught by ritual is always taught as the original teachers
desired and makes a lasting impression upon the mind of the learner.
. . . ritual which becomes sacrosanct in human belief tends to stabilize truth and to keep it
uncontaminated by “modern” ideas. — One Hundred One Questions About Freemasonry, The Masonic Service Association, 1981
“Ritual is the dramatization of belief, hope and spiritual dream. It assists imagination by giving form
to what otherwise would remain formless, presenting vivid mental images which lend a reality-feeling
to what is often abstract and unreal. It is picture philosophy, truth visualized, at once expressing and
confirming the faiths and visions of the mind.” — Dr. Joseph Fort Newton
Finally, Brethren, please understand that you and your lodge are not in this thing alone. It is a team effort!
If you have any questions, or would like guidance and / or assistance in any of the steps along the way to Lodge
Renewal, contact the Membership Development Committeeman near you. If in doubt, contact V.W. Daniel J. Moss, Chairman, Membership 32 Development Committee: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, who can refer you to a Membership Development Committee Representative in your area.
The information provided herein, is an extremely edited and modified vision of the Grand Lodge of California’s program “Pass It On.” A full vision of this program (PDF file, 3.24 Mb) is available at: www.freemason.org/members_develop.php