A sore thorn

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by TheThumbPuppy, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. TheThumbPuppy

    TheThumbPuppy Registered User

    Many complain that the numbers of masons in their Lodge is declining. I've had some thoughts for a while on one specific area, that is replying to a candidate's initial email, message, or telephone call. I'm curious to hear your opinion and I would like to exclude other possible causes that may contribute to a diminishing number of masons for this one debate.

    I find that a candidate's initial email or message through a Lodge website's contact-us page seems to be habitually unanswered. At least that was my experience. Only 20% of my initial emails and messages got a reply. I got 2 replies, and even then I didn't get a follow up later through the process. I know my personal sample would make my statistics invalid, but I've read of other candidates on either side of the pond with a similar experience. Whatever the exact percentage may be, there seems to be a problem in answering a candidate's initial contact attempt.

    I've read that some Lodges employ this tactic to see if the person who's enquiring is serious enough to get in touch again, or it's only a passing fancy of his. Personally I think that other procedures should be in place to ascertain a candidate's seriousness. A serious candidate may also be put off by not receiving a reply, because he may get the impression that that organisation itself is not a serious one and not one that he'd want to be a member of. My personal opinion is that not answering emails or contact-us messages – whether intentionally or by negligence – is not fit for the purpose of sieving through serious candidates.

    It also gives the impression that that organisation has dropped the ball. The excuse that the organisation is run by volunteers and some of them may not know how to use a computer is also invalid or irrelevant, immo, as the damage is the same whether you do something on purpose or by accident:
    • If you don't know how to use a computer, you shouldn't be given the responsibility to answer emails and messages, or you shouldn't volunteer to do it.
    • If you're doing something as a volunteer, you're not doing it worse than if you were paid for. Actually I find that it's the other way round. You feel so strongly about an organisation that you're prepared to give up your personal time to be of service.
    • If you volunteer to answer emails and messages, you're the first person someone gets in touch with and you're representing the whole organisation. You better do it well, or the reputation of the whole organisation will suffer.
    Which brings me to my last point (on a post that is already longer than it meant to be):

    How many WM's (or Lodges in general) check how emails and messages are replied, or whether they are replied at all? From my past as an Army officer, I learned that checking if something had been done was just as important as giving the order.

    I don't know how many of you are familiar with marketing funnels to see at what point during your interaction with a customer you lose them (like in Google Analytics for example). Adopting a procedure like that would probably indicate that Lodges haemorrhage candidates at the very first steps of interaction with a potential candidate, by:
    • not replying to their first email or message
    • not following up later in the process
    I think that correcting this type of problems may make some difference to the dwindling number of masons.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  2. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

    For years our lodge secretary actively recruited candidates in a local sports club. We had a degree working at almost every meeting but the new brethren rarely stayed after being raised. After about a decade of this the secretary told me that he was giving up active recruitment as it did not seem to work.

    As well, we have trouble retaining JWs. They tend to leave after a couple of meetings. I rather think that they know they are not suited to being Master and know no other way of avoiding that fate.

    Some years ago I did an informal survey of very long term brethren across several orders. I asked: Is the ritual as powerful as when you were initiated?

    They all replied: No!

    In my view the tide is going out on the current form of Masonry (and current forms of society). When I look at the Light from On High it no longer floods into the temple, it dribbles.

    The cycle is turning. It is time for the human race to develop new patterns for living that will attract the Light.
  3. Pointwithinacircle3

    Pointwithinacircle3 Registered User

    It has been my experience that in the time it takes most Masons to complain about their Lodge they could write an entertaining piece of Masonic education, that they could then read in Lodge, that would make their Brothers want to attend Lodge more often. Perhaps if a Mason can’t or won’t do this they are the problem.
    Bill Lins likes this.
  4. WV719

    WV719 Registered User

    One problem that we are seeing is during the consolidation of lodges. A lot of brothers become disinfranchised that their lodge is gone and what to blame someone so they blame the lodge that they merger into. As to the original question at my lodge our sectary isn't exactly a spring chicken and has a lot of difficulty using a computer. We are facing some dark times and with out young men who are more aware of the times we will most likely continue to slowly bleed out members.
  5. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

    So, I've asked many that have been raised

    We're you satisfied with your degrees you received ? Most out of the last 10 had said no.
    Please explain
    Apon their initial contract with the lodge, dinner or visit before a business meeting, there was several brothers of that lodge attending. And eager to get new members.
    But at the time of the degree maybe 3 or 4 members of that lodge even attended.

    Have you attended any educational classes, been approached to be mentored or asked to learn ritual for a chair ? Again the answer being no.

    Have you been asked to participate in any charity work or anything for the community ? Again the answer being no

    A few said they didn't feel like what we preach. Especially brotherly love, or friendship. So, this question no longer has any value to it because we know the answers and we know why membership is heading the way of the dodo. And when we consolidate 6 lodges into one, we are dealing the fate of our fraternity. Raise dues, get new blood that we have no intentions of doing anything with and look around to find something to point our finger to.
    Bloke likes this.
  6. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

    >the time of the degree maybe 3 or 4 members of that lodge even attended

    Why would that be? Something better on Netflix?
    jermy Bell likes this.
  7. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

    As Lodge Secretary, I respond to almost 100% of emails (including those from women) asking to join. I skip the crazies, but often reply to them too. I've basically given up on Nigerians - I just tell them to use Google. I often worry that my reply ends up in Spam. I call them if they leave a number after emailing, in which I tell them I will call, and it is amazing how many of them never saw my email, even when I call a few days later. Asking the men across the State who do this, they all say the same. Initial inquiries are many, but actual response from them are few.. what do you think is going on with that ?
  8. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

    @TheThumbPuppy Could I ask.. are you a Freemason ?

    "Only 20% of my initial emails and messages got a reply"
    Do you know how many you sent ?

    For me, this is one role which should be centralised by Grand Lodge by trained volunteers or staff.
  9. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

    A far bigger problem is blaming messengers who deliver to deaf ears the results of a system that doesn't ...

    1) deliver,
    2) clearly explain to its members that they can offer exactly what they want, and
    3) offer anything other than a degree mill experience ...

    ...rather than to help train members to provide to the whole by providing for themselves.

    The behavior of the organization's existing members bring about these complainers. These existing members are their worst enemies when it comes to producing complainers.

    What to do:

    1) Listen
    2) Respond to create a system that minimizes the things complained about
    3) Be the solution
  10. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

    I know there's no such thing as innovation in Masonry (hahahahahaha), but it might be worthwhile to create a position (officer would be ideal, but even a committee of one would work) whose sole purpose is to manage communications (primarily external). Phone calls, emails, social media, lodge announcements, lodge website, you name it. Yes, I know this is technically under the purview of the secretary, but most secretaries have their hands full with all of the Grand Lodge required business. Even if the position was focused just on the technical side like posting a message from the Master, or updating the website's calendar, or forwarding emails of prospective candidates, whatever.

    The other option would be to cease trying to maintain these levels of communication. A static website that simply says "if you're interested in joining, come to our stated meeting at this time and place" is far better than a website that shows the details of every fish fry and pancake breakfast, but which was last updated 3 years ago; it leaves a man questioning if the lodge is even functioning anymore (and in today's age of constant consolidations, it's a legitimate concern).
    Ross Thompson and coachn like this.
  11. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

    I would just stop answering any email , etc that comes from Africa or the middle east. For the most part freemasonry isn't allowed in their countries.
  12. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

    Reminds me of our Lodge Engagement Officer
    hanzosbm and Ross Thompson like this.
  13. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

    We had, have, a Facebook page that may or may not have been or is being maintained by someone. I heard yesterday after this Facebook page has sat dormant for 3 years that a brother who should not even be anywhere near anything that has to do with promoting anything with our lodge, now is in charge of the page.
  14. bro.william

    bro.william Premium Member

    Social media pages require a certain amount of talent and commitment. If done well, they can be used to really astounding effect. If done half-ass, they really ought not to be done at all. I suppose that applies to many things in life, but it's all just so glaring on a FB page that was last posted upon in, say, 2015.

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