A Lodge in my Jurisdiction does something that I think is rather unique with its dues. I’d like to share the idea with everyone, and discuss whether or not we think it is something that our specific Lodges should consider.
To survive and thrive, Lodges need income from dues. They also need active Masons. This idea seems to connect the two.
The Lodge has had numbered and stamped multi colored certificates created. Each of these certificates is for a set dollar amount. They are designed to be changed each year.
Each time a member attends one of the Lodge’s Stated Meetings, Degrees, or the Installation, he receives one of these certificates.
He then, if he desires, can pay part or all of his dues for the upcoming year with the certificates he received in the preceding year.
The certificates are not transferable from Mason to Mason, and their value does not carry over from year to year. Nor are they able to be used for any other purpose in the Lodge, only for payment or partial payment of dues.
Based on the dollar amount of the certificates, and what I believe the Lodge’s dues to be, I think that an active Mason would be able to collect enough certificates in any given year to completely discharge his dues if needed or desired.
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It seems to me that this could perhaps help address two problems Lodges face.
First of all, it could help to encourage participation. Serving as just one more little incentive for a man to attend Lodge.
Secondly, it could address fears around raising the costs of dues. Any member would be able to discharge his obligation to the Lodge through participation instead of money if needed, hence laying aside worries about those who would struggle to pay higher dues.
There could well be other advantages that I’m not thinking about.
Let’s chat about it…
Do you think it is a good idea? Do you think it is something that your Lodge should consider?
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For those Brothers who live near my little corner of the world, a special plea:
When I moved to Centralia WA, and affiliated with Centralia Lodge, I discovered something rather unique that this Lodge does. Unique and quite wonderful.
On Memorial weekend each year, the Lodge places grave markers on every grave of a Mason who is buried in one of the three cemeteries in our City. The markers are about a foot square, and it is an awe inspiring sight to look out over the sea of graves and see so many of them marked as Masonic.
The only problem with this project is that we are able to get less and less assistance with it each year. Younger Masons often have to work on Saturdays, or have family commitments, so the project is left largely to older Masons, for which it is quite burdensome.
I would ask, if you are local enough to Centralia to assist, and if you are free for a couple of hours on Saturday morning, if you would consider coming and lending us a hand.
We will meet, this Saturday, May 27 at 8:00 AM at Mountain View Cemetery in Centralia.
Centralia's Les Schwab Tires is located at: 1211 Harrison Ave., Centralia WA
Mountain View Cemetery is located directly behind it.
Unfortunately, Mountain View (Centralia's largest cemetery) was privately owned, and went bankrupt within the past year or two, so it has been very badly neglected. Hopefully as a part of this project we are honoring our Masonic forebears, despite the currently less than honorable condition of their final resting place.
In the spirit of today’s discussion topic, for any Mason who is able to come out and help Centralia Lodge with this project, I will have a tangible token of our appreciation, a little gift that was created as a part of my year as Grand Master.
Good morning, Broth.'. Cameron!
Since your post today broached two subjects, I'll comment on the second one! I am particularly fond of projects that honor our forebears, since I believe Freemasonry to be a tradition we pass along, connecting past, present and future through our lives and our works. My Lodge acquired a dedicated shrine in one of our city's cemeteries, but sadly we have not yet had opportunity to use it, haha. In my hometown, we have a centennial Lodge and they do have a cerimony every year honoring their past members, but it is done within the Lodge and does not include a visit to the cemetery. I'll visit them in a couple of weeks and I have a mind of suggesting this action of yours. Can you elaborate on the markers - what are they made of? Are they a Compass and a Square? Is there any difference between them?
Thank you for the great work you've been doing in Emeth!
I like that idea, MW, I just wonder about the particulars, especially dealing with brothers that have moved away but continue to pay dues to keep current. Although you didn't mention it, you sort of alluded to the lodge raising dues to a level where they can pay their bills and using the increase as a reason for me to come to lodge to get those certificates.
As it stands right now, lodges have kept their dues so low that there wouldn't be much incentive for brothers to get certificates because they don't mind paying $75 dollars a year to be a member. Right now it costs me that much to fill up my car with gas. But, if the lodge raised it's dues to $750 dollars a year, that might get some brother's attention.
But, what about those brothers who moved away, but still pay dues and can't attend?
And this would also impact the Life Memberships. As it stands, the most someone would ever pay for a Life Membership would be less than that yearly dues. The lodge would have to charge for Life Memberships in the thousands of dollars. And there is nothing to stop someone from joining a lodge with lower dues, get a life membership there, then demit and transfer their LM to their old lodge, circumventing the entire point.
When it comes to money, human nature means no matter the intentions, brothers will find a way to "cheat" the system.
I do like the idea as a concept though, anything to get more participation out of the members.
I like this idea! It could extend beyond just lodge attendance - participation in other lodge activities (such as Memorial Day recognition), committee participation, lodge building maintenance, essentially every area where participation is valued. The lodge dues could be adjusted slightly upward for those who are not as “active” in the lodge, without gouging those who are not physically capable.
As a young Mason I remember a building “clean-up” where the younger guys were busy, and the older guys were there to give moral support, offering encouragement or advice. It was more important to me to see those faces than to have them actually doing the work.
I think having a non forecastable budget is a bad Idea. Lodge operations take funds and strategic decisions around operations need to be made during the forecast phase of budgeting possibly 2 years out. This also means that capital expenses are not even factored in, which means you are living on borrowed time before one facility failure takes you out. NC has a Lodge dues calculator for its lodges. Ours requires about 18-20 K a year and rising due to inflation just to operate the building. https://bit.ly/3KfQNib In My humble opinion, the reality is cheap masonry results in more cheap masonry. If we don't have the numbers, to support a building, then we need to rent. There are costs to doing that as well but its a factor that must be considered, and to do so requires predictable revenue.