The Leader June 2021

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    Survey Says: Lodge Harmony a Few Clicks Away

    As California lodges return at long last to in-person meetings after more than a year away, many in the fraternity are setting their sights on not just getting back to the same-old same-old, but to rethinking how the lodge functions. From virtual fellowship events and prospecting nights to hosting a quarterly convenus, we’ve explored many of these proposed changes. Managing any kind of change can be hard. But lodge leaders have a powerful tool at their disposal, and one they may not have paid much attention to: surveys. Beyond just helping schedule ritual practice or organizing a lodge outing, online surveys can be an important way to take your lodge’s temperature on a wide range of issues, and ultimately to promote harmony among members. “There’s no knowledge without talking,” says Gary Silverman of Saddleback Laguna No. 672.

    Checking Your Lodge’s Pulse

    Silverman is a professional crisis management expert, working with businesses and large organizations to identify and resolve institutional problems. The most powerful tool in his arsenal? Asking the right questions. “You’d be amazed how much you can learn by engaging people in frank and open discussion,” he says. Like any other organizations, lodges sometimes face internal challenges—be it a change in leadership or the arrival of new members with new ideas. As a leader in his own lodge, Silverman is no stranger to these types of issues. And he solves them the same way he would for any organization: with conversation. “The new survey function in iMember is a great tool for lodges to engage their membership in open discussions about the lodge’s future.”

    So, how can lodge surveys improve harmony? Silverman lays out a few scenarios: Let’s say your lodge has recently excelled at recruiting new members and your meetings are now full of fresh blood. But some of the ideas these new members have for the future of the lodge don’t mesh with how other long-time members envision it. “Craft a survey with questions that probe the issue,” Silverman says. “And be sure to follow up the survey with conversation to flesh out the results.” Such a survey could ask what each member values most about the lodge experience, as well as other types of questions that approach the problem from a different angle.

    Even if your lodge isn’t facing a specific problem, surveys can be a great way to simply check the pulse of your membership. “The point of surveys is to gather data and to help an organization make data-driven decisions,” Silverman says.

    And don’t worry if at any point in this process you feel a little lost. As Albert Einstein once said, “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research.”

    Crafting a Great Survey

    The New survey function in iMember 2.0 makes it easy to get started:

    1. Log in to iMember 2.0
    2. Navigate to your Lodge Dashboard
    3. Click on “Surveys” on the left-hand side of the page.
    4. Click “Create Survey”
    5. Name your survey. For instance, “Returning to Lodge Survey”
    6. Provide a brief description to let your lodge members know why you are sending them a survey.
    7. For each question, you can select a “type” of response, from check boxes to radio buttons or an answer box.
    8. Indicate whether the answer is required or optional.
    9. When you’ve added all your questions, click the “Create” button.
    10. Return to the survey and click the “Copy Link to Take Survey”. Share this link with your lodge members via email or through the iMember 2.0 lodge app.
    11. To view the results, simply return to your surveys. Click on the survey you want to view and click “Results.”

    As you start thinking about what sort of questions you want to ask your members, keep in mind a few important points:

    • Ask questions in as neutral a way as possible. Don’t build bias into your questions by phrasing them in such a way that a respondent knows what answer you’re looking for.
    • Don’t make surveys too long. People only have so long an attention span, so strive for a simple survey to be no more than 10 questions.
    • Follow up your surveys with a discussion in lodge. At the end of the day, the surveys are only two-dimensional. In order to get context for the answers, an in-person discussion is usually necessary.

    Reminders and Masonic News

    Master and Wardens Leadership Retreats Coming Soon

    Are you planning to attend this year's in-person Master and Wardens Leadership Retreats in Irvine (June 11-13) or San Ramon (June 25-27)? Space at in-person retreats is limited, so secure your place now.  Both in-person retreats will include special events with Grand Master Arthur H. Weiss: In Irvine, a poolside Happy Hour; and in San Ramon, a top-floor reception hosted by members of the Shrine. Network with leaders to share lodge reopening tips and strategies, get answers to common questions about returning to in-person meetings, and learn how drive engagement in your community using the pillars of the 2025 Strategic Plan. Retreats include special breakout sessions dedicated to each officer’s position, including senior deacons. Register today!

    Virtual Masonic Symposium: Our Fraternal Family

    For more than a century, women’s Masonic organizations have played a key role in supporting the mission of the Masonic Family. At the free 2021 California Masonic Symposium on June 30, join Grand Master Arthur H. Weiss and others in a virtual roundtable on women’s Masonic groups including the Order of the Eastern Star, Job’s Daughters California, the Rainbow Assembly for Girls, and the Order of the Amaranth as they discuss the many ways they have and continue to promote the values of Freemasonry and foster leadership in their communities. 

    Traveling Masons: Join the Grand Master’s Liberty Tour to Philly

    Go behind the scenes at one of the great Masonic wonders of the world this summer on the Grand Master’s Liberty Tour to Philadelphia, home of the imposing, awe-inspiring, and ornate Philadelphia Masonic temple. It’s just one of the highlights of the five-day tour August 2–7, during which California Masons and their families will explore one of the richest cities in Masonic and American history. Register by July 12 to secure your place on this can’t-miss trip.

    Your June Checklist

    Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your June checklist.

    Executive Committee

    Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

    • Identify and approach members for 2022 open elected and appointed officer positions.
    • Identify and approach members for the 2022 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees.
    • Set calendar for 2022 and identify event leaders.
    • Continue preparing 2022 budget.
    • Set installation date and approach installing officer, master of ceremonies, and chaplain.
    • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement.

    Junior Warden

    • Continue tracking 100% officer giving to the Annual Fund, with officers setting an example through gifts that represent their capability as well as their commitment to our charitable programs.

    Secretary

    • Send list of members with late dues to the Retention Committee.
    • Send any suspension notices via certified mail.
    • Provide necessary information so Charity Committee can consider remissions.
    • Review roster for accuracy in preparation for the end of the Grand Lodge membership year, June 30.

    Questions? Contact Member Services at memberservices@freemason.org or (415) 776-7000.

    For Your Trestleboard

    Use this content to spread the word about joining the Cornerstone Society and to share resources provided by the Masonic Homes of California.

    Cornerstone Society

    Masonic Homes of California Resources

    Question of the Month

    Last month we asked when is your lodge planning to hold its first in-person event. Of those that responded:

    • No plan as of yet - 35%
    • June 2021 - 35%
    • July 2021 - 22%
    • May 2021 - 8%

    Here's your next survey question.