By Paul R. Swanson, 32°
This year my lodge, Madison # 11, F&AM in Madison, Florida saw fit to allow me to venture into the realm of the Florida Grand Lodge visitation in Orlando over Memorial weekend as a proxy voter. In my wanderings over 32 years as a Mason, I had never attended this annual event in any jurisdiction, so it was a valuable experience for me this year.
I have this year intentionally traveled extensively between Masonic Lodges and other Masonic bodies for the purpose of evaluating and hopefully gaining insight into our fraternity’s membership needs and wants, with an eye toward future growth.
Here are my thoughts for what they are worth brothers.
- Nearly every Masonic lodge can benefit from a current survey of their entire membership. If there is resistance to this, try a secret survey by a third party. The idea is to find out why all lodges don’t have 100% participation from all members who are healthy enough to participate, no matter how often or when. The goal should be 100% participation over a year!
- From the survey, find out what the non-participating brothers want from our fraternity. Be specific and hopefully the answers are realistic.
- Masonry claims to provide opportunities for good men to become better. Are we meeting those expectations? If not, how can we improve specifically?
- From the survey, we need to learn which high-participation events are wanted and which events most of the members would support in person. Family events are mainly the goal here.
- We have more competition for a member’s time today than ever before. What drives a member to attend a stated communication? How about attending one of the many feasts which Freemasonry used to be known for if they were offered? Would that interest the membership?
- Social activity options are driving factors in most of the younger citizens surveyed today for why they join groups. Can our fraternity capitalize on this need?
Masonic Lodge survey of members 2022
- What would motivate you to willingly increase your participation in your current Masonic Lodge? What would help your enthusiasm?
- Do you want to see more family participation in events? If so, what kind and how many?
- Would you be interested in participating in traveling to other Lodges for inspiration and fellowship collectively? If not, why not.
- Do you have any advice for the current leadership to help build the Lodge membership and community?
- A best practices paper has been generated. Please list any or all of the practices you support for our lodge and would be willing to use personally for fundraising or membership building.
- How would you suggest your lodge bring in younger men? What do they want or need in an organization not found in the blue lodge?
- Besides the mandatory yearly events and fundraising, what else would you like to see out of your local lodge?
- If Lodge Officers positions were available in your local lodge, would you accept one and participate? If not, why not?
From the best practices survey we know that other Masonic groups emphasize fun, social events, and family. We know younger men are seeking community and comradery. How do you want to see these things incorporated into our lodge? List as many as you wish.
Note, the Best Practices paper was written by Brother Paul R. Swanson of Madison Lodge # 11 and is available from him electronically if you wish. It was created and presented to the Valley of Tallahassee, Scottish Rite. But the concepts apply to Blue Lodges as well as other Masonic bodies.