Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
From time to time, we endeavor to suggest practical ways that you can enrich and enliven your Lodge meetings. Boring Lodge meetings are one sure way to ensure that a Lodge will not grow. Let’s make sure to find ways to eliminate the boring meeting.
Here is a submission from Deputy Grand Master Peter Sellars who also chairs the Sovereign Grand Lodge’s Revitalization Committee. Below you will find more than 25 ideas from the SGL Revitalization Committee to make your meetings more enjoyable and fun for the membership. I am confident that at least some of them will work for your Lodge.
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California
25+ IDEAS TO IMPROVE A LODGE MEETING – Ideas to make meetings more enjoyable and fun for the membership
1. Place all correspondence (extra copies for announcements of events or sign-ups) on a table 1 hour prior to a meeting, so that all members can have an opportunity to read or review if desired. (This shall eliminate a great deal of time for Secretaries to read all the correspondences during the meeting)
2. Provide refreshments (beverages and food) prior to each meeting. This creates a wonderful social setting where all members can interact and find common ground and/or interests.
3. Read the minutes (under Good of the Order) from one of your Lodge’s meetings held 100 years ago.
4. Try having a meeting backwards! (The Ritual allows the agenda to be moved around for the convenience of the Lodge or Noble Grand).
5. Have a drawing for an attendance prize! Under Good of the Order draw for attendance prizes; i.e. lottery ticket(s), bottle of wine, or any prizes.
6. Prior to each meeting, place brochures and other I.O.O.F. items on table for members and prospective applicants to take and/or read.
7. Place vintage and historical I.O.O.F. items and photographs out (in display cases, if possible) prior to each meeting for members to enjoy and discuss.
8. Share an “on-line” experience with older members, who are not connected or are familiar with the internet. (Set up a computer and do an internet search for an older member who may be interested in something; hobby, etc. or look on EBAY at all of the I.O.O.F. items listed for sale, etc.)
9. Bring items no longer wanted (clothes, stationary, tools, books, kitchen items, etc.) to Lodge meetings so members can enjoy picking through items for their own use and enjoyment).
10. Send out Birthday cards to members! (Everyone at the meeting sign cards.)
11. Send Get-Well cards to members! (Everyone at the meeting sign cards.)
12. Send occasion cards to members and non-members to show the Friendship, Love, & Truth of the Lodge members.
13. Have a fun meeting that is based on a theme, dressed in character (i. e. clowns, retro clothes).
14. Challenge each member to bring in an applicant each meeting. Make it a contest. Buy a member a dinner-for-two at a restaurant for bringing in a new member. (This would be a promotional for membership growth).
15. Have a meeting where everyone greets one another (This is a brotherly and sisterly gesture that we do not do enough of; and a good way to learn everyone’s names).
16. Get involved in the community and invite those organizations to a Lodge social or an “open meeting.”
17. Fill all of the chairs of the appointed officers, including Scene Supporters, Inside and Outside Guardians, Left and Right Supporters of the Vice Grand and Noble Grand, Color Bearer, Conductor, and Musician. (The Chaplain and Past Grand should already be filled.)
18. Have different members fill the position of Musician. Play a variety of music. In addition to having a pianist, have a guitarist, drummer, and other types of musicians.
19. Involve all of the membership by appointing the members to committees. Have an “Event” Committee!
20. Have a discussion period, where new members and applicants can and may ask questions about the and the functions of the Lodge (Too many of the members, who have not been in a Lodge very long feel they are kept in the dark and not privileged to make inquiries of the business of the Lodge, etc.)
21. Have the entire Lodge visit other Lodges. (This introduces members of one Lodge to other members of other Lodges; it is an example of fraternalism. Don’t wait to do a visit in conjunction with an event; make the visit your Lodge’s event!)
22. Update the Lodge’s By-laws. Work toward being less restrictive.
23. Create an email list for the Lodge members to share and communicate.
24. Send out a paper newsletter!!!! This is probably the most important indicator to a successful Lodge. A Lodge should have a newsletter even if it only mentions the current officers and the times and dates of each meeting. It is ALL about COMMUNICATION!
25. Clean out your attics and closets and create a display of I.O.O.F. historical items. There are historians within the Order, who could enlighten a Lodge as to the current value of the items, the significance of items, and how to best preserve items. Allow your membership to read and review old minute books. (Solidify your current membership with the Lodge and allow everyone to know the history of the Lodge.)
26. Laminate your dues cards before sending them to members
27. Pass around a “donation can” where all members in the meeting can place a piece of paper with a local charity of their choice in the can. The one drawn, is the one who received financial donation. (This small feat involves the entire lodge).