Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
I have visited some Lodges and have been amazed at how boring the meetings can be. Here is a revelation: There is nothing in our Ritual
or in our Codes that mandates we must have boring meetings. In fact, boring meetings are the surest way to discourage members – particularly new members – from sticking around. Does your Lodge have very low member turnout at your meetings? Does your Lodge have difficulty retaining members?
Well, perhaps it’s because your meetings have no substance to them. Or perhaps it’s because your meetings are uninteresting (e.g. boring).
To combat the boredom quotient, the SGL Revitalization Committee came up with a list of 27 ways to improve and lighten up your Lodge meetings. This active committee was chaired by California’s own Deputy Grand Master Peter Sellars – and he and the committee members should be commended for actually producing useful products and useful reports. I doubt that SGL will do much, if anything, with this committee’s products and reports. But that shouldn’t stop us, as progressive members and Lodges, in getting value from them. Try one or two or three of these ideas in the near future! What do you have to lose?
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California
TWENTY-SEVEN 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, 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. If the Code or the Ritual allows something or occur, be sure the By-Laws reflect those permissive items. (An example: The Ritual – in the fine print – permits Lodges to conduct “two or more degrees at the same meeting” provided this is legislated at the Grand Lodge of a given jurisdiction. A Lodge may admit 16-year olds, if codified by the Grand Lodge of a jurisdiction. The list goes on and on.)
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).