Ideas for Member Recruitment and Retention I think all of us are painfully aware, that our membership in general has been declining for many years. Most if not all of our lodges have about half as many members as we had 25 years ago. Our members are getting older and we are losing many to the Grand Architect of the Universe and many others to Non-Payment of dues. I believe that the time to act to save our fraternity is now. It is time to REACH out, shore up our ranks and rebuild our membership. Although we don’t actively recruit new members, I believe it is important for our lodges to have new membership and membership retention goals. You should consider announcing these goals to all of your members each year and then celebrate as a Lodge when you REACH your goals. Regularly report the status of your goals on the website, in your newsletter and in the lodge. Find the most capable, most enthusiastic and dynamic person you can for your Membership Chairman and treat him well. There are many things we can all do to obtain new members. Such as a Friends or Guests Night where we invite potential candidates to our lodge for an interesting and enjoyable program. We can make sure that all our members have access to a petition by mailing one out periodically and by putting a downloadable petition on your Lodge web site. REACH out to our community, become actively involved with a local charity and make it an annual event. Sponsor local youth sports teams and get more recognition in our communities. Appoint a communications committee and direct them to submit news releases to the local press with photographs immediately following installations, community projects, and unique lodge activities and have them submit articles concerning upcoming fund raisers. REACH out to members who signed petitions from the previous year. Thank them for bringing in the new candidate and ask them for their continued involvement with membership and to keep in contact with the new members to keep them involved. Once we have a new member it is very important to engage them with the Lodge immediately. Find what interests your new members have a why they joined. Then assign them to committees or ask them to help the lodge with duties that match their interests. Make sure that every new Brother has SOMETHING TO DO or SOMETHING TO LEARN. Give them worthwhile jobs and then let them do them and thank them for their efforts. REACH Out and involve lots of brothers to avoid burning out the ones who always volunteer to carry the load. Send hand-written notes to Committees of the lodge events thanking them for their service. Use different methods to stay in constant communication with your new members. Newsletters, focus groups, email and blogs may be preferred by your younger members. You might even create a new member section on your website with educational material. Send a “How Are We Doing?” survey to new members six months after they are raised. If they don’t return them, REACH out to them by a phone call or personal visit. Maybe you should get them name badges just like the officers have if your lodge can afford them. Make them feel like an important part of your Lodge! Not only do we need to engage our newest members, we should also make sure that we REACH out and engage all of our members and give them reasons to keep their memberships active. First of all, we should be committed to ritual excellence and keep your Lodge building clean, attractive and well maintained so that they can be proud to be a member of their lodge. Don’t have officers’ meetings before a regular meeting but, instead, ask your officers to socialize with all of the attendees. Hold a “town meeting” for the general membership to show that the leadership really cares about their concerns and ideas. Or do a member survey of your least active members. Let those who respond know that you are listening to them by giving them feedback that you are working on implementing ideas they had. Identify your most at-risk members and REACH out to them before you lose them. Designate a Brother or Committee to closely monitor brothers who are shut- ins or who are hospitalized, Reach out to those who have had a recent death in the family, or have something to celebrate, such as marriage, a new baby, or some other special occasion. Send a special communication to each brother who lives out of town thanking them for their continued participation and loyalty to your Lodge. Make a list of former active members who have not attended within the last year and develop a process to encourage them to attend in the future. REACH out to absent members, letting them know they’re missed without making them feel guilty and make a special effort to take turns picking up older members for Lodge meetings. Find unique ways to give more individual recognition to those brothers who deserve it. Encourage periodic spouse activities to help insure support at home. Enlist a Spouse to keep an active list of your Lodge’s Widows and have a Widows night for them every year. Invite the Widows to all open Lodge events. Make a file of those members who have dropped their membership in years past and send them a “We Want You Back” letter. Then create and send out a “Thanks for Renewing Your Membership” letter or card to each restored member when they are reinstated. I know that I have brought up a lot of ideas and it’s probably not realistic to implement all of them, but if we all just try to do a few more of these things that we think about doing and just don’t get around to, it might make a difference in all of our Lodges and Freemasonry might actually start growing again.
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