5 Ideas to keep Brothers Motivated
In any fraternity, finding ways to keep brothers motivated is tough and this is true for Freemasonry as well. But remember that every brother is a volunteer and you can not stop the heart of a volunteer. So, finding a good volunteer is really important because once a brother finds his passion project(s) in the fraternity – he can be stopped!
Growing the Lodge Brothers to want to be engaged and to volunteer is so valuable to the health of the lodge as well as to in themselves. The degrees teach so much, but keep in mind that a committed brother is a volunteer which means he is a committed donor to worthy causes, too! Either way, their commitment to your local Blue Lodge is really the key. To keep that commitment alive after a brother completes his degrees, maybe after he has completed serving the lodge as an officer, or maybe once he has been a brother for a few years, the Freemasonry Report has created some tips for keeping your brethren motivated and coming back time after time.
Idea #1 – Say Thanks
Whenever you thank your brothers for any task big or small you are showing honest and genuine appreciation. By showing them how much their work means to you, you are literally cementing a long-term relationship.
As you may already know, there are many different ways to say thank you.
I always recommend to acknowledge them when you see them in person and do it privately. No need to thank them in front of the lodge. It is better to thank them and have a genuine conversation afterward about Freemasonry, the lodge or whatever feels right. Next, take time to write a handwritten thank-you note to the brother(s) that helped with achieving a major or minor project. Whatever you do, make sure to follow up their volunteerism with some words of gratitude, we all have very busy lives and to have brothers stop them to give their valuable time to the fraternity needs to be appreciated.
Retention of Brothers starts with simple acts of gratitude. Retaining a brother over the long term is a good way to build him up to maybe make an impact on the fraternity you never dreamed of. By saying thank you, you’ll gain loyal supporters if you have intentions of sitting in the East or not, it makes a difference in your Blue Lodge over the long run.
Idea #2 – Build a Community
Invite your brothers to join your lodge’s online community! Over the years, Yahoo Groups, Facebook Groups, and numerous others are ways to get information out and keep the conversation going. So, set up a Facebook Group – it’s free! Invite them to join the group and get to know them better. Make them feel welcome and yes, I did this during my year in the East by sharing pictures and gif files to make them feel welcome. Remember, not every brother is computer savvy, so reach out to him and chat about the importance of the group. A neglected brother won’t come back, but today’s online social connections will keep brothers tied to your Blue Lodge and your local goals.
Maybe, the online avenue is not for your lodge. Okay, what about ‘Food’? Did you know, food is always a great option for getting your lodge brothers together? It is true! So, organize a fellowship social time for your brothers. And no, the lodge’s monthly dinner does not count.
Seriously, how hard is it to go to a coffee shop or restaurant and just hang out together? Have a bite to eat before everyone gets to talking or working on any Blue Lodge business. While you’re sharing a meal, you can get to know one another and ask for feedback in person from a brother. Did, you know, when I was Worshipful Master, I would invite brothers to eat pizza with me. We would talk and they ask me questions about the fraternity. These pizza conversations set up a future line of leaders and it went a long way to share the importance of reading the Grand Lodge’s Digest. If you’re looking for a new way to feed a big crowd, well reserve a 20 or 30 person table and eat a lot of pizza. Maybe, if you want, build a dinner night out into the lodge’s budget and give everyone a free dinner.
It is important to build a community of brothers in your lodge. A good community of brothers that fellowship often keeps the spirit of the fraternity alive after the lodge meeting ends. So, encourage brothers to hang out and explore places to grab a bite to eat. Last thought on this idea, my brothers help the VFW raise money by going out together and eating steak once a month. We have a few brothers that are veterans and numerous more that love steak. By eating together for this important cause, we are engaging with each and growing friendships within the lodge’s brotherhood. Thus, we are establishing a new community of brothers to spend time with. Having numerous communities of brothers to eat with will certainly increase retention.
Idea #3 – Open Door Policy
Open Door Policies are not only for the Human Resources Department, but it also needs to be part of the lodge officer’s ethos. We all know that communication is key, especially with new brothers. Having an open-door policy helps your brothers potentially be able to do their best work and feel comfortable asking questions. When a brother asked me a question as an officer of the lodge, it was a great moment because I could build a trusting relationship that could withstand the test of time. I know, I know it’s not often. But anytime you want to just tell the lodge anyone is welcome to ask any lodge officer a question at any time about anything.
This type of open-door communication allows brothers to get the conversation started. By allowing them to chance to speak whenever they wish about anything they wish creates trust and bonds. I tried to remember that my time in the chairs was so limited. It was critical for me to help establish communication channels wherever possible.
Did I have control over every conversation? No, yet in a matter of time my control would be gone anyways but the brothers who had the conversations would not be. I wanted them to communicate with each other before and after they did something together. I just openly allowed them to do so. It was such a quick statement in the first lodge meeting and officer meeting not many probably even recall it being said. It did add a few extra emails, text messages, phone calls, and online chat to my plate, but it did help things run smoothly once the door was open. Unfortunately, I did have surprises in my years of being a lodge leader. So, no idea is perfect but when you combine some of these together maybe you can get close.
This is useful for recruiting brothers to help at special events. You can introduce the new brothers to the lodge committee chairs for the special events. Openly state, “Anyone at any time can ask questions about anything pertaining to the committee work.” When you’re ready to get started, explain their task of each committee in detail, and times /dates they are meeting plus any other useful information that is necessary. Then, ask the new brothers to volunteer for something. Stick around for the entire meeting to be present for questions that might come up, and make yourself available if any other issues arise, but also invite the committee chair to take over the question/conversation for you. Don’t be afraid to give your brothers a challenging job either! It might take some extra time on the front end, but giving them significant work will make them want to come back again.
Idea #4 – Respect Their Time
A brother’s time is so valuable. The cable-tow is a great example of that truth. I recommend that you don’t invite a brother to do something until you have something for them to do. Just asking a brother to help out is cool, but if there is nothing to do, they will it is the case and they will move on to something with substance. Never ask for a brother to volunteer and then just let them sit around. It is a total waste of the brother’s time. It shows you don’t have a plan and their time is worthless to you. Lastly, it shows the brother that maybe they should spend their time with someone who actually values it. Remember, they’re making themselves available, so take full advantage of their help while they’re available but be certain you have something for them to do.
For ten years, I have been a business owner and time is money to me. How I use my time equates to how much money I can bring home to support my family. Any volunteer effort that I want to be a part of is my time. I am clearly aware of this, that I am making a clear decision to not make money but to help someone. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that many brothers are employed full time or part-time, so getting time off from their job is something they need to plan way ahead of time for. Understand and respect this reality as truth.
Well, you might be thinking – “What about retired brothers?”. First, they are not your full-time employees and have worked hard to enjoy their senior years. Vacations and family activities play a big role in their lives. Be considerate and accommodating of their schedules because they might be making up for the lost time during their working years. Always, be upfront and honest about communicating your needs and more importantly what is required if they wish to volunteer to help you out too. Share how long a task will take when it’ll be available to do and not to do. Most importantly, if there is a deadline for when it needs to be done. Providing alternate opportunities is also a great option—it includes your brothers that have tight schedules but still want to give their time.
Idea #5 – Show the Impact
Brothers love to hear and see the impact they made. From making a new Mason to the amount money donated to a worthy cause – this matters! From collecting money at each lodge meeting for a local charitable cause to the efforts of brothers at a special event. We need to share this as often as possible.
Remember, every brother (myself included) loves seeing the impact their work has made. You can easily do that by giving them a shout-out on social media, acknowledge them in a newsletter, or ask them to stand up in a lodge meeting. After the meeting, snap a few photos to be shared on the lodge’s website or social media page too. Try to brainstorm some other ways to spread the brotherly love in your local lodge with the other lodge leaders! Fill the brothers in on your lodge’s goals and let them know how they helped in a personal email, thank you note, or phone call.
You can also recognize the volunteer efforts of your brothers by rewarding them for their effort. You can encourage your brothers by tracking their volunteer hours on a picture set up in the lodge for their faithful service.
Okay, I hope these ideas help you and your lodge in the coming year. So I have put a lot of hours into this website and the Freemasonry Report Youtube Channel as well. I hope you explore the Freemasonry Report further to get more ideas and questions answered.
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