Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Blake Bowden, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    Why are we so cheap? For example, I pay much more to be a member of the Elks than my Masonic Lodge. Nothing against the Elks, but my heart lies with Masonry. Seriously, I spend more going out to eat in one week than I do with Blue Lodge for a year.
  2. eagle1966

    eagle1966 Guest

    Dues cheap? our ladge just raised our dues to $75
    if you spend this much in a week to eat out you must eat a lot LOL huh?
  3. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    Ours are $30
  4. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

    Ours are $100 and the other $85
  5. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

    Im the choir your preaching too! I make the same arguments. Our dues are $50 a year. I easily spend that going out to eat in a week, shoot sometimes at one sitting for the wife and I.

    If we dont have any real investment in Masonry its no wonder people dont take it serious. Seems the lodges with the highest dues are also the most active and enjoyable lodges. Just an observation your mileage may vary.
  6. GMO

    GMO Guest

    Hang in there - there is a good chance the Grand Lodge dues will go up, forcing the local Lodge to also increase dues. Could this be a hardship on brothers on a fixed income? Could be. I do argree our dues are too low. Most Lodges are just getting by or less. Current costs of operation are just too great to not raise our dues to a reality level. in 1955 dues were $30 what would that be equal to today?

    Glen A. Sachtleben,
    Tres. Gonzales #30
    DDGM 35a
  7. Joey

    Joey Co-Founder Staff Member

    Ours are actually $30 ;)
  8. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

    I believe that we have touched on this in another forum, but I believe, as do many from my Lodge, that the Lodge should be able to survive on the money made by dues and degree fees. I know that where we are looking at adjusting if it is necessary is in degree fees.

    We feel that we are putting on some really excellent degrees and these degrees are really a life changing event (or should be). Why are we charging very little for this? We as a Lodge have asked several new EA's just how much they think it is worth and they stated much more than the $70 we charge. We I know will be looking at raising this fee and possibly with others.

    I guess what I am getting at is why not charge a little extra if you can to pay for some niceties to help bring some people in. We have had unbelievable success with our website (http://www.fortworth148.org) and it only cost $2000. It has almost paid for itself. Let’s get new aprons when needed and maybe a projector for the Lecture slides. I am not saying dump the old but let’s take a look at how we present ourselves when a candidate wants to look at the lodge room or after they are initiated. I am a big believer in spending a little to make a lot and if our lodges are never able to afford new when something becomes outdated or they run out of books then why do we do it to ourselves.

    (Note: I know this is hard to see the other side because at 148 we are very blessed to have a good amount in our endowment fund but we are trying to become where we can run without ever having to rely on it. As some of you know as well we are in the Masonic Temple in Downtown Fort Worth and it can be pricey so we do have a little higher costs but I believe that once a person is initiated and if it is done like it should be they would really pay just about anything. I realize some may not be able to afford it but I am willing to bet that the Lodge could work out a very affordable payment plan if needed and the candidate truly wants to join. Again this is all my opinion and a little of what we are looking at, nothing in stone, at 148)
  9. jwardl

    jwardl Guest

    Very nice site...
  10. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

    Financial investment will lead someone to give something more than one go at it if they get frustrated as we all do. I was reminded that dues in 1870's were $25 which is about $700 now. My humble opinion we are way behind the curve on dues and fees in Masonry.
  11. ravickery03

    ravickery03 Guest

    Dues were/are so cheap because of the over inflation of membership after WWII, these large numbers caused dues to go from a substantial investment to almost an insignificant amount. Because of the current age demographics in Freemasonry (especially Texas) the majority of membership has grown use to the artificially low numbers and are resistant to change.

    Generally I try to break the numbers out month by month, i.e. $4.17 a month when I get the "Fixed Income" argument. :)
  12. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

    Lodge Member Count
    How to Correctly Count Lodge Members

    Is your lodge member count correct?
    Why is your lodge member count of a high importance to your lodge? Because, without an up-to-date headcount, your lodge financials will be incorrect and your lodge may be in great danger of having serious (and possibly irreversible) money troubles.
    So, what's the big deal? You simply multiply the number of lodge members times our regular dues amount, right? Wrong.

    Let's shed a little more light on this.
    While most Masonic Lodge Secretaries are aware of this, many newly elected Worshipful Masters (and many of the Brethren) are unaware that lodge dues are not the same amount for every single member, nor how to perform a correct lodge member count.
    While the majority of the members pay regular dues, there are other members who hold endowed memberships for which they purchased an endowed membership to the lodge and therefore, they do not pay any dues money for the rest of their lives.
    Other members (especially Past Masters) may have the option to only pay 1/2 price dues after their term. See your lodge's Bylaws for more details as to special rates which apply.
    Without an Accurate Lodge Member Count:
    1. Your Masonic lodge's Budget Committee cannot, in good
    faith, put together a correct budget for the Master's
    elected year.
    2. If your Worshipful Master is given a budget that, in reality,
    has been overstated (contains less money than he is told
    by the Budget Committee that he may utilize), it is difficult
    to plan his yearly expenditures for the Masonic Lodge.
    3. Lodge members cannot, in good conscience, vote on the
    purchase of any item, as your lodge member count is the
    number one revenue (income) source that most lodges
    rely upon throughout the year to host events, provide
    charitable efforts and pay the lodge's bills.
    4. You may be paying dues to your Masonic Grand Lodge
    that are not due or, at best, are incorrect.
    5. A lodge which is currently struggling to pay its bills, may,
    by necessity, have to merge with another lodge.
    How to Obtain a Correct Lodge Member Count:
    First, you must find the most up-to-date member directory available. If the Secretary does not have this information, then the Master should immediately assign a committee to this task with progress reports due at each subsequent meeting. Your Secretary should immediately request an up-to-date member roster from your state's Grand Lodge.
    Once the Grand Lodge membership roster is received, this list will contain both the names of each member whom the lodge paid dues for, as well as the specific amount of each member's dues.
    This information should be placed onto an Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is easy to use because it will automatically total each separate member's dues without the Secretary having to write all this by hand. It is also easy to e-mail to other lodge members or to a new Secretary when he takes office for quick updating and totaling.

    Create an Excel Spreadsheet
    Simply open Excel. Click File/Open/New.
    When the spreadsheet loads, in cell A1, type: Lodge Member Count.
    In cell A3 type: Member Name and in cell B3, type: Dues Paid-2008 (or whatever the current year is)
    In cells A3, A4, A5, etc. type all your specific member names, (Last Name, First Name), e.g. (Jones, John)
    In cells B3, B4, B5, etc., type the amount of each member's dues which they paid to the lodge.
    When you finish, you will have 2 columns (Member Name) and (Dues Paid-2008).
    To total the sum of all dues paid, simply click on the cell directly beneath your last Dues Paid amount.
    Highlight the Dues Paid column from B3, downward to include all your number amounts, then go up to toolbar at the top of the page and right under where it says "Window", click on what looks like a funky "E". This is the Auto Sum.
    Click the "E" and all the amounts which you highlighted will be added together and a total provided for you in the cell which you clicked that is directly beneath your last Dues Paid amount.
    Voila! No more adding machine tape!
    Go back to the top toolbar and click File / SaveAs and fill in the name and the location of where you want to keep this Lodge Member Count on your computer. My Documents is a standard place in which to file it. ...And you're done, until you have any changes to make.
    As a conscientious Secretary, you should also back up this file onto a floppy or CD (in case of a hard drive crash) and immediately e-mail this file to your lodge's e-mail. That way, if your machine crashes (and you forgot to make a back up copy)... you still have a copy which resides on your lodge's e-mail address server. (if no one deletes it).
    You can even e-mail your copy back to yourself so that if your computer crashes, your Lodge Member Count file will still be held on your Internet Service Provider's server. Then, once you get your computer fixed, you can go out to your e-mail account and open the Lodge member Count Excel file and save it back onto your computer.

    Cross-Check Your Roster Against the Grand Lodge Roster
    Next, your Masonic Grand Lodge membership roster must be checked against theSecretary's list of actual member dues received and, subsequently the portion paid to your Grand Lodge.
    Why is it so important to cross reference these 2 lists each year?
    Many lodges have a large number of elderly members who do not always attend regularly. You may be amazed to find out how far off your lodge member count actually is.
    You may also find that some of the long-term members from the lodge who have not paid their dues and for which, as a courtesy, the lodge may have been paying their dues for them, may, in fact, have been deceased for several years! This means that, unknowingly, the lodge has been paying these dues out of the General Fund and paying Grand Lodge for their portion, in error.
    Therefore, special attention should be paid toward keeping an accurate lodge membership roster and updating it in an ongoing manner.
    Create an E-Mail Account
    Help Keep Your Lodge Member Count Accurate
    One excellent way to help keep your lodge member count accurate is to create a free lodge e-mail address at Yahoo.com, Hotmail, etc.. Place the lodge's e-mail address into each and every newsletter so that when a member becomes aware of the passing of a brother, he can simply e-mail this information to the lodge's e-mail address.
    This becomes a huge timesaver because if your Lodge Directory is not up-to-date, this is a repository for information. Your Lodge's Master, Secretary (and other officers...at the Master's discretion) should be given the e-mail address and password to be able to monitor its postings.
    Due to the fact that there is no one in the lodge during the week to call, as well as the fact that elderly members who do not attend lodge, often, may not know the phone number of the new Master or Secretary to advise of the passing of a Brother, a lodge e-mail address can be a wonderful link for lodge news, updates and to make it easier to keep your lodge member count, accurate.
    While not all Masonic lodge members have e-mail capabilities, its establishment and ongoing use to help provide a correct lodge member count, can be an enormous time saver for the Master, the Secretary and the officers as well as giving them the ability to quickly stay in touch with the various lodge committee members and the brethren, in general.
  13. scottmh59

    scottmh59 Registered User

    very true:17:

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