In this article we're going to start the conversation about how to re-engage inactive members. I think all lodges have them, members who attended for a while but then just stopped coming. Maybe they had kids and couldn't find time for meetings, or maybe they moved too far away to make the commute each month, or maybe they just lost interest, but today we're going to talk about how to start getting them involved in lodge again.
The reason we're only going to start the conversation is because I'm going to give you three ideas, one of which I know for sure works, but I have no idea about the other two because this a real situation for us. Wheaton Lodge is actually struggling right now, this isn't a fictional story we're writing about, and we really are trying to turn our lodge around to make things better and get more members involved. So the two other tactics I mention are just two things we are going to try to see if they work.
We will report back in a few weeks or maybe a couple of months to let you know what happened. With that in mind, if YOU have a great idea on how to re-engage your members, please share! Post your ideas in the comments below and we will try them! How great is that? You get an actual live test case of a lodge that will try your ideas out and see if they work! So please share some ideas in the comments for us to try. We'd love to hear from you. Now let's jump right into the three ideas...
I know that this one works because it's actually working for us already. If you read the blog on Preparations While the Lodge is Dark, you learned about our email communication plan and how we're expanding our email list and reaching out to our members. At a typical stated meeting over the last few years we would get 7 or 8, maybe even 10 guys to show up. We had one meeting where we couldn't even open because we didn't have enough guys show up to that particular meeting!
After starting the new email communication plan we outlined in that other blog, our first meeting back after our dark summer we had 18 guys show up! Eighteen guys! I was told that it was because of the quick emails telling them what's going on, and when the meeting was being held. They said the emails don't have to be this big, long trestle board of an email with extensive articles from every officer of the lodge with their wonderful thoughts about masonry in general. They like the quick emails with just, "Hey brothers, here's what's going on," and then acknowledging birthdays and anniversaries. That's all it really takes. So that's been working very well and we will keep sending those out.
The second idea is from our current Secretary, Brother Flores, who said he has tried this idea several times with success. He has kept track of the roles that guys have played in the different ceremonies and degrees over the years, and when we have a degree coming up he'll reach out to them and ask if they will help with a particular role they used to do regularly. We let them know it would be great to see them, plus we could really use their help that night. That way, they feel missed and needed, because they ARE missed and needed, and we get help with a degree! This will give us a chance to get to know them again and re-engage with them when they are here. So with Brother Flores' guidance, we are going to continue to do that even more intentionally going forward.
The third idea is a plan to reach those guys who have moved slightly out of the range of our lodge. Maybe they moved just a little bit too far, to another suburb that makes the commute farther than they want to go. So for them, our plan is to find a lodge in their area and try to schedule a lodge visit, and then let this brother know who lives out there that we're planning that visit and ask him to join us! That way he can get introduced to everybody at that lodge while he's with us, and if they want to get involved with that lodge and start attending because it's closer to him, that's great! It's for the good of Masonry, and he's still going to remember us as his Blue Lodge.
However, while we make the introductions we will still start talking to him about what he's up to these days and re-engage with him. Maybe we can discuss which roles he used to play in the different ceremonies and degrees so we can reach out to him if the need ever arises. We can also talk to him about making a visit to us. After all, we only meet once a month, so come on out! I know it's a little bit farther than it was, but one time a month you can take a drive out to meet with us. Maybe he can stop by a meeting once a quarter, or every other month, just to come out and visit with us. It's important they know there's a room full of brothers who would love to see and catch up with them, and if we can get enough of our inactive members visiting more often, then we have fuller meetings and can accomplish more for the community we serve.
So that's our 3 step plan to re-engage our members. We will report back on how it's going with these ideas, as well as the ideas people leave in the comments below this blog and below the video version of this blog on our YouTube Channel, www.YouTube.com/SuccessfulMasons.
Our Next Project
Our next project will focus on Lodge Visits. We put together a presentation on Lodge Visits that we would like to give at other lodges. How much intentional thought do you put into Lodge Visits? Every visit that I've been a part of, the visiting lodge walks in, they sit there, watch the meeting, maybe we go out socially afterwards, and that's pretty much it. Then they go home and can check the box to get credit towards an award for visiting another lodge.
What if you went into that meeting intentionally to add value to the lodge that you're visiting? There's definitely a way that you can do that. While you're there, what if you could ask the right questions so you can learn the best practices of that lodge that you're visiting? What are those questions? That's what we want to talk about.
If we can share some best practices on every visit, and create a follow up plan to continue to do so, their lodge will improve AND your lodge will improve on an ongoing basis. As more lodges start doing that, the best practices of everyone involved will improve exponentially. We've created an outline to help lodges accomplish this on every visit, and we would like to share it with you.
We would also like to record the presentation so all of our followers can see what your meeting room looks like and help all the lodges involved in this project to benefit from all the shared knowledge even faster. We will NOT record the discussions and sharing of ideas at these meetings, just the presentation. All the best practices we learn from the lodges will be available in our Private Blog for our subscribers to continue to learn from, however even then we'll keep any lodge names and brother names confidential in there if you would rather us not share names.
The goal is to create a resource for lodges to continuously get new ideas as we connect with more and more lodges. I hope you'll take part in this project with us. Please also consider subscribing to our Private Blog to get the updates. We have a few Best Practices there now, but the list will expand as we continue to visit more lodges. Our Private Blog is just $5 per month, and is a fundraiser for Wheaton Lodge 269. If you like what we're doing here with these blogs and videos, and you want the additional information and tools we're providing in the Private Blog, we hope you'll subscribe. In full disclosure, we need 30 subscribers to meet the monthly costs of hosting this site and producing these blogs and videos, and right now (as I write this) we have 2 subscribers. One brother from Minnesota who was a member of our lodge for many years before being transferred to MN, and another brother from Oklahoma, whom I had the chance to talk to on the phone and learn a great deal from. We sincerely appreciate their support, and would love if YOU could join our cause, especially our brothers from Illinois who know us personally and have been to our lodge who we know are following us. We could really use your help, and hope you'll subscribe so we can continue doing what we're doing in this journey.
If you would like to have us visit your lodge and you are somewhere in the Chicago area near our lodge, please reach out to me. To avoid the web crawlers who will start spamming my email, I listed my email address in the corresponding video to this blog, and you are welcome to connect with me on LinkedIn and my email address is there too. My LinkedIn address is www.LinkedIn.com/in/paulcameron. I hope we can meet soon and visit with you. It should be a good learning experience for everybody involved. Thanks for following us, and don't forget to post your ideas on how to re-engage with inactive members below. Thanks!