Lodge Dues?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by mrpesas, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Our lodge received returns a few months ago for the first time in a few years. Unfortunately, the amount received was a little lower than we would have gotten if they had just paid their dues normally.

    It also hasn't and probably never will, make up for any amounts lost during the years we didn't get any return.
     
  2. sands67

    sands67 Premium Member

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    Dues at my Canadian Lodge

    At out Lodge our dues are 50 dollars a year and we do not have an endowment. We do fundraisers throughout the year and our Lodge is in good shape financially.
     
  3. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    I belong to a lodge in KY. The dues are $65, which I think is a bargain. I would not object to a reasonable dues increase, at least enough to keep up with the increased costs since our last increase.

    One example I want to relate:

    Mizpah Shrine (Fort Wayne IN), had a dues rate of $40 per year, for about seven years. The Shrine center had about 4800 members. They were experiencing increased costs, over the seven years they went without a dues increase, but were never willing to increase dues.

    When the situation reached critical, they finally voted to increase dues to $80 per year, which is a double. Problem is, half of their membership demitted, so now they have half the members, paying twice the old dues. So their income is the same, and their membership base is cut in half.

    If they had "nibbled up", the dues increase, instead of doubling it, I believe they would not have had half their membership drop out.
     
  4. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Actually, this year there was a disbursement of $25 per endowed member. Unfortunately the GL per capita this year is also $25. In my Lodge, out of a total of 68 members, only 31 pay dues- the rest are either endowed or 50-year+ members. Not only is it unfair to expect less than half of the membership to carry all of the expenses of the Lodge, but increasing the dues enough to cover all of the Lodge's expenses would most likely result in those members either demitting or becoming endowed themselves. We've already increased the dues 25% this year just to cover the increase in the per capita. Mebbe we should be buying lottery tickets. :grimace:
     
  5. Bro Mike

    Bro Mike Registered User

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    Bill,

    Thanks for clarifying that. I did know there was a disbursement this year, but I did not know how much it was. I assumed it was less than $25.


     
  6. chancerobinson

    chancerobinson Registered User

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    The disbursement was technically $5/$100 share. Since most endowed members have endowed at $500, the lodge received $25/member.

    Our lodge recently raised dues from $50 to $75. Endowment from $500 to $800 and degree fees from $120 to $180. No one could remember the last time that our dues were raised, but it had been some time in the 1980s.

    I agree with others in that Masonry is worth much more than we currently pay in dues and fees, but I also believe that increases must be done incrementally in order to prevent a mass of demits, suspended NPDs, etc.
     
  7. Preston DuBose

    Preston DuBose Registered User

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    We just recently voted our dues up to $80 from $65. I don't remember what our endowment is off-hand. We have a number of brothers on fixed incomes, so we try to be mindful of increases. The downside is that it puts a lot of pressure on us to have effective fundraisers and doesn't leave much for scholarships or charity.
     
  8. adam

    adam Registered User

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    Our dues are $120/year and endowment is $700
     
  9. Rick Clifton

    Rick Clifton Registered User

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    Reply to post #23.


    I guess half of your members didn't place much value on being a mason, $80/yr, $6.66/mo, $ 1.53/week, .22 cents a day.


    If you double your dues and lose half of the members, you bring in the same money and send half as much to the GL.

    Your ahead, WAY Ahead.

    Lookie there, first post and screwed it up.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
  10. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Brother Lins, couldn't the lodge vote to raise the endowment price along with yearly dues? I think it's believed among a lot of brothers that dues need to go up but I think endowments should appear less attractive as well.
     
  11. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Yes, they can, but that would only affect those who choose endowed memberships afterward. The true value of an endowed membership is that the Lodge will receive the interest earned on the endowment, if any, in perpetuity.
     
  12. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    And that seem to be the really interesting point. If financial market is good and the interest and payout is high, then the endowments work great. Believe they also carry on even after a brother is deceased (correct me if I'm wrong), so that's another plus for them.
    The challenges is that when they don't pay out, it makes current lodge economics hard. Most lodges have a lot of fixed expenses in their buildings, electricity, insurance etc that have to be paid each year, and if you only have half of your members pay them it get's tricky.

    Think the endowments might have been a good idea at some point, but not sure if it's a winner in the long run, but would love to hear what other people thing.
     
  13. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    That's the crux of the issue. Our economic model of Lodges owning buildings, in many cases, no longer works. Fewer & fewer Brethren are trying, and often failing, to cover ever-increasing expenses. If Lodges are going to own buildings, those buildings must be able to pay for themselves, generally by hosting enough different users- be they Masonic groups or otherwise.
     
  14. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    Very true. I like the model they have in Europe. There several lodges often shares one lodge building and the expenses. They then each either have their own big room in the building or they all just share.
    I'm certain there are drawbacks to that too, but from an economic perspective it's good.
     
  15. Observer

    Observer Registered User

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    You would hope those endowed brothers would recognize their endowment is a "gift" to their lodge and still be willing to contribute their "annual dues" to help cover operating expenses and per capita. Unfortunately, too many use it as a personal cost-savings measure.
     
  16. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Great take! I do ... but I'm the kind of guy who thinks it's also my duty to pay for the highways I use and public servants who protect and serve me.


    As far as Brother Bill_Lins77488's comments I can only say ...

    Bro Bill would be wiser than his years ... if he just hadn't been around so long.

    :001_cool:

    As in all life, a few carry the many.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
  17. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Bro. Hoff- I'm just glad that I'm OVER the hill rather than UNDER it! :lol:
     
  18. towerbuilder7

    towerbuilder7 Moderator Premium Member

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    In our PHA District 15-A in Houston, a few of the subordinate Lodges in the District share expenses for a building where our particular Lodge meets bi-monthly, which is owned by True Level Lodge #226, PHA, F&AM. We all share expenses on the building, by paying an agreed upon rental fee per meeting. (approx. $55/meeting, which can be paid semi annually or monthly). It works for US, and the monies are reinvested in monthly bills, savings, repairs and upgrades to the building. The Dues for each subordinate Lodge in our District vary. Our Lodge Dues are $175, and may increase $20, due to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas increasing Relief by $20. Brothers in general did not balk, since PHGLoTx Relief had NOT seen an increase in over FIFTEEN years.

    I will personally push for the $20 increase, which would push Dues to $195-200. The average age in OUR Lodge is 35 years of age; All but one are gainfully employed at this time, and THAT Brother is one of the hardest working members of our Lodge. My personal feeing on Dues is that everyone VALUES Masonry in their lives, so they should value the maintenance and upkeep of the Lodge where they practice Masonry. If they do, one can make the sacrifice if they are gainfully employed with no MAJOR financial issues or illnesses at home (and those of us with children know they WILL occur) For us, this averages out to a little under $20/month, and $10/meeting. That is LESS than a Meal at a restaurant, and a little more or less than the cost of some of the Vices which some choose to indulge, i.e., hunting/fishing licenses, deer lease fees, beer, dip, cigarettes, ball game tickets, etc.

    If your Lodge is feeding you with food as well as Esoteric teachings, this should be seen as a small but necessary sacrifice to maintain the business affairs of the Craft. Brothers in our Lodge who are having family and/or financial issues are simply encouraged to advise the Craft, work out a payment plan, and that Brother will STILL be welcome in meetings and activities. A Brother can also work a portion of his dues off, if there is a serious circumstance in this season of his life, and the Craft votes to allow that Brother to put in Lodge Work to offset his dues, which will be picked up by Brothers in the Lodge. There is, however, a difference between the Brother who CANNOT pay, and one who WILL NOT pay. THIS Brother is not considered Square, and will be removed from the Roster after the proper notices in accordance with the Lodge Const/ByLaws are issued to that Brother.

    We all place a sentimental value on the Bond of Brotherhood, and time spent teaching newly intiated, passed, and raised Brothers; There should be the same value placed on proper payment of dues, and votes on REASONABLE increases as expenses increase. For the majority of Brethren reading these posts, I am probably preaching to the choir, as most of pay the Dues, whatever the amount, in order to remain Square. For those who balk at increases, come up with a good idea for fundraisers in your Lodge, to circumvent the issue of dues increases ever coming to the meeting agenda. Just my ten cents............. Bro. Vincent C. Jones, Sr., Bayou City Lodge #228, PHA, F&AM, Houston, Texas.
     
  19. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    STILL ... not so sure hills are not all together muchly overrated.

    :beer:
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  20. SeeKer.mm

    SeeKer.mm Premium Member

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    Brother Jones:

    I completely agree that all brothers should do their fair share in regards to the upkeep of the lodge building. Once I am raised (June 23rd, very excited!) I plan to be as active as possible in our Temple Building Association (TBA). My wife and I helped to paint the outside of the lodge building and clean up the inside since we just moved in to our new lodge building not too long ago. I was so proud of my wife for showing her support. While she does not know much about the craft she supports me as her husband and trusts my judgement in who and what I bring into my family's life.

    Brother, I am very impressed and appreciative of your lodges differentiation between a brother who will not pay, and one who can not pay. The ability to work off ones dues during a time of need is, in my humble opinion, a tribute to what Masonry is about. While I have not known any brothers who couldn't pay in our lodge, I could only hope that our lodge would be so noble as to do the same for a deserving brother in his time of need. One thing I do promise to the Craft is that if a deserving brother were unable...I would do what I could to assist and keep that brother within our bounds of Masonry.
     

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