Recruitment, Retention and Education Working Group–Interim Report
The RWPGM hasset up a Working Group to consider Recruitment, Retention and Education in the Province of Stirlingshire. His action is prompted in part by the fact that the average attendance in the Lodges of the Province has fallen to 52 members and visitors and part by the fact that the number of initiates has fallen from over 90 to 77 in the past five years. He is also aware that it is becoming more difficult for Lodges to recruit and retain both Members and Office-bearers.
All Lodges were sent an exploratory communication on 15 November 2017 explaining the remit of the Group and the views of the Lodges were sought in respect of the many facets of Recruitment, Retention and Education. The thoughts of new members were sought and research into what happens in other Provinces and Countries was also carried out.
A number of Lodges responded in a positive manner and came forward with opinions and suggestions as appended below.
It is recognised that all Lodges will have differing views on what best works for them and therefore the Group seeks only to stimulate debate and thought and not to dictate what action might be taken by any one Lodge.
The RWPGM simply asks that Lodges consider the findings of the Group with an open mind.
What makes for a vibrant and forward looking Lodge?
THE LODGE MANAGEMENT
01Having an inspiring Master and team of Office-bearers.
02Maintaining well-kept premises.
03Exhibiting a harmonious relationship between Office-bearers, Past Masters and Brethren.
04Holding instruction/rehearsal classes and inviting members to it,using the opportunity to explainthe fuller meaning of the Lodge Ritual and why things are done in certain ways.
Provincial Grand Lodge intends to run a seminar in this regard in the near future.
05Arranging the occasional open meeting and inviting members of the public to attend.
06Simplifying the Lodge ritual or breaking it down into smaller manageable pieces to encourage members to take Office. The Reigning Masters Degree is an example of this technique.
07Rotating the degrees worked in the Lodge to avoid boring repetitive cycles.
08Adopting a more relaxed dress code as young men do not tend to own a suit.
09Reducing the lengths of meetings by omitting unnecessary business such as circulating Minutes of Meetings to members prior to a meeting through email. Some Lodges have already implemented this practice.
10Adopting closer links with Other Orders that meet in the Lodge premises.
11Encouraging Office-bearers and members to socialise and interact with visiting brethren and newer members of the Lodge before and after meetings thus creating a welcoming atmosphere.
12Tentatively setting Lodge targets regarding recruitment and attracting visitors.
13Creating an environment for change in the Lodge.
14Holding workshops involving members and explaining how the Lodge business functions.
15Keeping an up to date and current notice board and perhaps using a TV display.
16The issuing of an explanatory Booklet to Candidates and Office-bearers at each stage of their development. This is a current practice in Lodge Polmont No. 793 and the Lodge has kindly offered to make the booklets available to those interested.
17Explaining the business side of the operation of a Lodge to Office-bearers.
18Holding meetings providing alternatives to degrees including lectures and guest speakers to
promote and furthereducation.
19Establishing a Mentoring Programme and providing training. Provincial Grand Lodge intends to run a seminar on the topic of mentoring and training later in the year.
20Encouraging groups of brethren of mixed age groups (sometimes called a “buddy system”) to band together to visit Sister Lodges so promoting comradeship while educating and perhaps re- engaging brethren. The pursuit of the ‘travelling gavel’ can be an incentive in this regard.
21Changing Lodge meeting nights and installation dates so as not to clash with Sister Lodges.
22Carrying out regular interchanges of visits between Sister Lodges, particularly those who operate to a different Ritual so providing added interest and education.
23Exploiting the Travelling Gavel arrangement to increase Lodge attendances.
ADVERTISING AND MARKETING
24Carrying out a good advertising strategy using a Lodge website, Face book page, press, text messaging and other media platforms within the limits set by Grand Lodge.
25Having a good marketing strategy to improve Lodge income through premises lettings.
26The appointment of a designated education/advertising Officer to disseminate information and news while assisting the Lodge Secretary.
27The publication of a meetings Syllabus and issuing it to visiting members.
28Providing a good and varied range of social functions to allow members and friends to interact.
29Organising family days/sports days away to encourage member interaction.
30Ensuring that the Lodge website explains how one can join freemasonry and that it is easily navigable.
31Creating a designated Club across the Province to allow younger masons to interact and including a dedicated Facebook page.
LOCAL COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
32Getting involved in the activities of the local community such as fetes, gala days, boy scouts, youth football Clubs and perhaps providing sponsorship.
RECOVERING LOST MEMBERS AND TENDING TO SICK AND INFIRM MEMBERS
33Following up on known lost members including their Proposer and Seconder through the
email and mail system to establish why they no longer attend and encouraging them to
return to the Lodge.
34Following up on sick and ailing members using the Lodge Almoner and establishing if they need transport to attend the Lodge or require assistance from the Lodge.