Dwindling membership, no support from district.

Discussion in 'Prince Hall Freemasonry' started by dizlwizl, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. dizlwizl

    dizlwizl Premium Member

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    How do you keep things afloat when your membership is dwindling? The other 'financial' members don't come and other lodges don't support your when everyone knows that you need help.

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  2. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Optimism and a plan. My mother lodge got down to 14 members - visitors would could and they'd be pressed into service and say how we were doomed.. but then they'd come to our dinner, and when leaving say we were a great lodge with a great future... Figure our your strengths and play to them.. don't look for help from other lodges, look for help from friends... why should another lodge help you ? They've probably got their own problems.. until we got back on our feet be "brought" help with free dinners, accolades and being the best hosts in the world... ya gotta make them want to come, but step 1 is the leadership team leading the whole lodge to acknowledge they have a problem and that all agreeing on a way to fixing it, and if that fails, finding another way...

    It's old school, but a SWOT is a good start to analyse your situation..
     
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  3. dizlwizl

    dizlwizl Premium Member

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    Please define SWOT. I'm still learning. Also, we have about 4 members actually showing up (myself included).
    I do appreciate the information given. I'm going to bring any and all ideas to get them going. I've only been a mason for 3 years now and don't want my mother lodge to die out.

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  4. SimonM

    SimonM Registered User

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    SWOT analysis - a structured way of looking at Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWOT_analysis
     
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  5. dizlwizl

    dizlwizl Premium Member

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  6. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    SWOT...Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and Weaknesses are internal things that the organization can have direct impact on. opportunities and Threats are external and things you wont have direct control over but can use to your advantage. You can Google SWOT analysis.

    here's a quick example:

    S: Ritual-lodge Ritual is on point, all active members take it seriously and are motivated to get better.
    (If this is the case put together a degree team and get word perfect and then get word out to the rest of the district and then GL and start traveling to put on the degree even as a mock degree, just to get people coming to your lodge.)

    W: Masonic Education-Meetings are just business and there is never any Masonic education or anything other then what is required by the GL and Bylaws.
    (If you see this then when the WM asks if anyone has anything for the good of the group stand and read a poem or get with the WM a week or so before the meeting and let him know of your desire to give a presentation during lodge. Put together a presentation and present it to the Lodge)

    O: Street Fairs coming up. (any public event really. Get with the organizer and set up a table and get your Lodge out there. Let the community know who yall are and what you are about. Do a pancake breakfast splitting the proceeds with a local charity)

    T: Elks lodge building a new Lodge (turn this in to an opportunity by getting with them and see if they would let you do cornerstone laying ceremony. This will get you in front of a lot of like minded people and the media.)

    When doing a SWOT analysis once you ID the S,W,O,Ts you have to have a plan to address them.
     
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  7. dizlwizl

    dizlwizl Premium Member

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    I've done some work I all of these and brought up education, doing a presentation, events to get our name out there amongst the community . It seems that there is such a slow response to get things going when I and the brothers requesting to come have been more than patient and accommodating towards me.

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    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
  8. dizlwizl

    dizlwizl Premium Member

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    I've addressed issues and given plans for restructuring and rebuilding , but many are fast to talk (give excuses) even more do nothing. It's disheartening but I'm going to give it til the end of the year to see any improvement, if not then I feel it will be better to leave.

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  9. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    The obvious question is "Why?" "Why" aren't your members attending any longer? "Why" don't other Lodges help? Until you can honestly answer those questions, you will never be able to correct what is wrong.
     
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  10. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Just remember a SWOT is only an analysis tool, and not a plan in itself. Then you need strategies to mitigate or overcome Threats and Weaknesses and ways to capitalize on the Strengths and Opportunities.... and you do not need to capitalize on all your S & O - only try to do so on the achievable ones which will have the biggest effects... then use SMART goals - these are

    Specific
    Measurable
    Attainable
    Realistic
    Timely

    A SWOT followed by SMART goals are two basic management tools you can use to start addressing problems. You might come up with three or four SMART goals - but apply the question "If we achieve this - will it really help the lodge" and think in terms of time - what would be good to achieve in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years and 10 years... get some intelligence folk involved - we had a three year plan over 3 masterships, the WME, SW and JW.. I was JW but ended up taking the SW's place and was in the chair of 2 years.

    Here is another thing - choose which goals you want, then choose which ones you want to communicate and make sure you keep control of the most critical thing of all - organizational morale.. I choose to work on some goals quietly without communicating them because they were potentially un-achievable and I made sure every goals I widely communicated would be achieved..

    Three people saved our lodge - by bringing almost the whole membership along.. you might have or might not have many helpers.. but among the three - there was one motto and many years on, one of the programs and goals is still underway... and being revised up annually.. the motto ? " Failure is not an option"

    Another matrix to use is a risk analysis - what are the consequence of events ? In such a matrix, loosing some more members might actually be a good thing - clearing dead wood. 10 committed guys will get more than than 50 guys who do not care and are not willing to work. There's lots of ways to evaluate risk, but they all are basically.
    Name the risk
    Impact of risk
    Likelihood of risk.

    Risk which are very likely and are catastrophic and imminent (1-12 months) are what you should consider first.. the SWOT and SMART goals are easy, the RISK MATRIX can be the hardest - because you often get evaluation of risk incorrect. You might put numbers of members first - but if the likelihood of any of the current members leaving or dying in the next 12 months is low (and you could loose 2-3 and still keep going), then the impact of the risk is low. Change it to 10 years, and likelihood becoming almost certain, then the IMPACT might change to catastrophic. I suggest you do a bit of reading - even if just https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_matrix

    I suggest you
    1 - Get the core membership to agree change is needed or you will die. Contextualize the problems in terms of survival - even if the threat is a decade away.. Identify some problems then contextualize it in terms of "Do nothing means death - but we have the time, expertise and will to change it" BE POSITIVE
    2 - Do a SWOT
    3 - Do a RISK ANALYSIS, then RISK MITIGATION PLAN - how you address the identified risks
    4 - Create some SMART goals to save the lodge.. and built it into the future.

    The above should be under constant review... my company does a strategic review every 2-3 years, my lodge has not done one in about 8 years.

    I will write something in a masonic context when I get the time - the above is off the cuff, but it would make a good article...
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
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  11. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    All organizations are born and eventually die. It is perhaps better that brethren do not keep alive organizations that are ready to die, but rather put their energies into those with strong life force.
     
  12. MRichard

    MRichard Mark A. Ri'chard Premium Member

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    Consider a merger with another lodge.
     
  13. dizlwizl

    dizlwizl Premium Member

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    Merging isn't a consideration unfortunately. We can bring it back. I believe we can.

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  14. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    People often mistakenly think merging two weak lodges will create a strong one.. usually it just creates a larger lodge and no less secure lodge in the long term. unless you understand the underlying reasons behind your situation, merging is often a bad idea unless it really makes sense because two lodges are already acting as one.. It's window dressing on deeper problems... . That said, I've seen a fair bit of "twinning" where two weak lodges provide resources to each other - twinning either leads to a successful merge, or saves two warrants and the associated traditions and history with both..
     
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  15. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    Im not a fan of 2 weak lodges merging. I am a fan of a weak lodge merging with a strong lodge. This is because that strong lodge is already doing things right and now when the merger happens they now have more dues payers, and the members of the lodge that folded that were active about half will still be active.
     
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  16. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    A lodge is an interesting organization in that its officers consist of volunteers but it needs to be run like a business. Create an organizational goal or a mission statement and work towards that. Don't worry about membership and attendance, just make every meeting count towards bringing the lodge closer to the goal you set for it.
     

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