Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Community engagement

HOW-TO: Ramp up publicity and social media

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Your January checklist

Trestleboard and more

Question of the month


BEST PRACTICE: Community engagement

124 years ago, Tehachapi Lodge No. 313 became the city of Tehachapi’s first institution. These days, it’s still an important presence year-round.

Master Richard “Hap” Arnold and Senior Warden C. Don Stephens explain:


The city of Tehachapi is tucked in a little mountain valley about 4,000 feet high. The sense of community is strong here, and that extends to Tehachapi Lodge. We make it a priority to give back, and we’ve worked with every civic organization in town, from the Chamber of Commerce to the Lions Club. Here are just a few examples.

Local partnerships

  • Salvation Army: During the holiday season, we sign up to ring the bell outside local stores on behalf of the Salvation Army. Even if they’re not scheduled, brothers will stop by, put on an apron, and help out. The lodge also raises money for the shoe distribution and winter coat program, and each fall, members help stuff backpacks for students in need.
  • 4-H: We donate our hall for 4-H Club meetings. In exchange, the 4-H kids do light cleaning once a month.
  • Main Street: Every first Friday of the month, downtown businesses and galleries stay open late. Many are mom-and-pop shops with just a few employees. We send in as many brothers as they need to help man the stores.
  • Rotary Club: We provide manpower at Rotary Club events. At a recent senior holiday luncheon, we had Masons in the kitchen carving turkeys, Masons up front taking tickets, and a bunch helping in between.

Community events

  • Street cleanup: Every third Saturday, members clean up the highway.
  • Wine walks: The city holds several “wine walk” fundraisers. We help sell and distribute tickets, and welcome people at the event.
  • Safe Halloween: The city closes off downtown for a children’s trick-or-treat event. Our lodge partnered with the High Twelve Club last year: We covered a member’s truck in spiderwebs and distributed candy.
  • Festivals: Tehachapi sponsors festivals year-round, and our lodge always has a booth or a volunteer presence of some kind. We wear Masonic baseball caps and t-shirts everywhere – we’re like a walking billboard for Freemasonry, encouraging questions.
  • Child ID: Last year, at the urging of the master, we started a Child ID program for the first time. We asked the Bakersfield Scottish Rite to help us out at our inaugural event. We’ve held a booth at several festivals since, and our members really enjoy it: We never have a problem filling multiple shifts.

Lodge-sponsored events

  • Student holiday party: Every year, we host a holiday celebration at the lodge for students, parents, and teachers from the local elementary school’s special education program.
  • Rotary recognition: We honor the presidents of the Rotary Club with an informal dinner, thanking them for their participation in the community.
  • Food drive: Year-round, we collect canned goods and non-perishable food for the Salvation Army. We tell all of our members – whether you’re there for stated meeting, hall association, or ritual practice: Bring a couple cans of food.
  • Stated meetings: We have a social hour and dinner before stated meeting, and we encourage members to invite non-Masons from the community.

Benefits to the lodge

In a lodge of 83 members, about 20 members participate in just about all of our community events, and many more attend off and on throughout the year. Our family members are always with us – it’s a way to give back together and teach our children the importance of service.

Last year our lodge initiated six new members. Two more will be initiated this January, and we have a number of petitions out there. We think our presence in the community is one reason for this.

We want our neighbors to know our lodge, to know who the Masons are, and to know that we’re here to help. So far, we think we’ve been successful.

For more information, contact Hap Arnold.

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HOW-TO: Ramp up publicity and social media

Throughout history, Masonic lodges have been at the center of their communities. They still can be. But first, you have to make sure your neighbors know about you.

Here are five resources to help. Download them all from the Member Center: Log in, select Resources and Publications, then select Media Resources.

On social media

  • Social Media Basics, A How-To Guide: From developing your profile to establishing a posting schedule, this guide walks you through first steps for an effective social media presence.
  • Social Media Basics, Content Tips: Coming up with content doesn’t have to be difficult. With more than 20 suggestions, from trivia questions to travel photos to inspirational quotes, this resource helps you create a steady stream of engaging, entertaining content.

In the news

  • Press Release Basics: This two-pager introduces you to the basic purpose and best practices of a press release, and offers advice on where, when, and how to distribute yours.
  • Sample Press Releases: Drafting a press release is as easy as plugging in your lodge’s details. Choose from six professional templates, tailored for different types of announcements and events.


  • Lodge Information Sheet: Use this to create a concise, informative overview of your lodge – great for use in everything from press releases to your lodge’s Facebook profile.

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Find it on

If you’re new to the line, this is your first issue of The Leader, an award-winning monthly e-newsletter for California lodge officers.

The Leader delivers useful and timely information directly applicable to your role as a Masonic leader. Each issue shares lodge successes, resources, how-to information, and reminders to keep you informed and involved.

All issues of The Leader—including downloadable resources—are available on Click the News & Events dropdown menu, then select The Leader. Browse more than six years’ worth of advice, tips, and tools for leading your lodge.

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Your January checklist

This section is designed to help you stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Each month, visit here for timely to-dos.

In January:

Executive Committee

  • Schedule inspector’s official visit and examination of the books, due by end of March
  • Register for the 2015 ritual competition: Member Center > Forms > Inspector Forms
  • Attend, or make plans to attend, the Secretary & Treasurer Retreat 2015 leadership retreats
  • Make plans to attend the Master & Wardens Retreat 2015 leadership retreats


  • Confirm Audit, Charity, and Membership Retention Committee appointments and review responsibilities with each
  • Submit budget for approval to lodge at stated meeting
  • Present 2015 calendar of activities at stated meeting
  • Confirm other committee appointments and review responsibilities with each

Senior Warden

  • Confirm candidate coaches and review responsibilities
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement
  • Begin preparing 2016 program plan
  • Begin preparing 2016 budget
  • Begin preparing 2016 officer appointments
  • Begin preparing 2016 installation of officers

Junior Warden

  • Confirm with treasurer the policies and procedures of Refreshment Fund


  • Continue to collect delinquent dues from members (were due on January 1)
  • Begin preparing secretary’s annual report to lodge (presented at February stated meeting)


  • If your lodge has employees, file federal payroll tax form 941 (unless IRS has approved an annual filing of Form 944, due in February); state payroll tax form DE9/DE9C and DE88 (deposit form); and IRS form 940
  • If your lodge employs independent contractors, distribute 1099s to contractors
  • Begin preparing treasurer’s annual report to lodge (presented at February stated meeting)

Questions? Contact Member Services at or 415/776-7000.

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Trestleboard and more

By partnering with Masonic Assistance, you can make sure your fraternal family knows where to turn when they need support. This section is designed to help.

A special quarterly installment features stories about Masonic Outreach Services. Share these stories with the lodge to raise awareness of services that are available to brothers and their families.

This month, read how Consuelo Lodge No. 325 worked with Masonic Outreach Services to help a fraternal couple in their nineties.

Download: Beyond Obligation: Many Hands
Publish in your trestleboard, post at lodge, and include in a special email reminder.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how most of your prospects find your lodge. Of those who responded:

39% - Masonic relative or friend
21% - Grand Lodge or
13% - Lodge website
13% - Lodge presence at community events
3% - Public events hosted by the lodge
3% - Lodge Facebook page
1% - On The Level event
7% - Other

Here's your next question.





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Contact Us

Grand Lodge of California
1111 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

p: (415) 776-7000