Volume LVSpecial Inaugural Edition January 2008Number 1

revitalize Your Lodge!
Broadcast Messages to Your Members in Minutes!

The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania has initiated a contract with an auto dialer service which will allow lodge leaders to easily record a message and automatically send it to every brother's phone number in their database within minutes! It is a quick and easy way to improve communication and participation within a lodge or district.

Grand Lodge will fund this program at no expense to the lodges throughout 2008 and 2009, providing a virtually unlimited number of prerecorded calls to the membership. There is no obligation on the part of any lodge to participate; however, the benefits will be lost on those who choose not to utilize it.

What the Technology Can Do:

Record a message in the sender's voice and send it en masse to a membership list to, for example:
  • Remind brethren to attend a lodge meeting, providing an preview of the program
  • Send out important/last-minute announcements, i.e. if a brother is in ill health or needs assistance
  • Report schedule changes
  • Announce upcoming events, i.e. banquets, picnics, fundraisers, etc.
  • Inform brethren and/or invite them to an upcoming funeral service
  • Remind members when dues are due
This technology can save the time and effort previously spent on phone trees/calling chains.

How it Works:

  • The lodge creates a list of the phone numbers of its members and logs them into a distribution list. An unlimited number of subgroups also can be created, for use with various committees within the lodge.
  • The auto dialer software calls everyone on the phone list at the time the caller designates. Calls can be made anywhere in the continental U.S., Canada and Hawaii without long distance charges.
  • Broadcasts can start seconds after the message is recorded, or the message can be recorded and scheduled for broadcast at a future date or time. All calls are placed and completed within five to 10 minutes from when the broadcast begins.
  • When a person answers the call, he/she is given the option to hear the message again at no additional cost.
  • If a brother wishes not to receive calls, he can indicate this while listening to the message. This simple action will remove him from the phone call list, or he can simply let the lodge know he wishes not to receive these calls.
  • When the call is answered by an answering machine, it leaves a message.
  • When the service gets a busy signal or no answer, it tries the number three more times after waiting a few minutes.
  • When the broadcast completes, the system sends a summary of the results, i.e. statistics regarding how many calls were picked up, how many were answered by a machine, how many went unanswered, etc. This helps the lodge determine its effectiveness.

Why Should Our Lodge Use It?

This program is being made available for all lodges to use based on the successful efforts of Salem Lodge No. 330, Hamlin, PA. Led by Bro. Andrew Crouthamel, W.M., these brethren have found it to be so effective, the officers have been privately funding the service out of their own pockets, not from lodge funds.

Bro. Alvin W. Hollister, District Deputy Grand Master of District 14 and member of Salem Lodge No. 330, is chairman of the lodge's committee dedicated to increasing communication flow and participation among members.

"The effect on meetings has been tremendous," he said. "During the earlier part of the year, we were seeing increased attendance in the range of 50 percent over previous years. Currently, as the 'snowbirds' begin to depart for warmer parts, we are still running around a 20 percent increase. A similar effect is apparent in the number of petitions, but something more interesting has surfaced. We are seeing petitions brought in by recommenders who normally don't take an active part in the lodge. I know many lodges have those members who will bring in petitions on a regular basis, and many members may never bring in a petition. I believe this program has helped us to break through that scenario in some way. Whether the member realizes that he is important to the lodge or whatever the change, it has driven them to take the initiative and recommend that family member, neighbor or whomever may have been on his mind for a while."

Overall, the rate of petitions is running at almost twice their historical rate. Attendance at Masonic funerals has more than doubled. New and increased interest in the officer line is also attributed to this outreach to the membership. The membership is more aware of, and participates in, lodge activities at levels clearly higher than in its past. Even those brethren who do not attend the 'advertised' functions, now feel a higher level of association with their lodge. They are also reaching the housebound brothers of their lodge, making them once again feel that fraternal connection to their lodge.

These results have been relatively easy to achieve through the lodge auto dialer program. The Worshipful Master of Salem Lodge, working from a script he prepares, simply calls a 1-800 phone number and records his message to be sent to the members of his lodge. He can review and re-record this message as many times as he wishes until he is satisfied with it and tells the system to use it. Once he approves it, the message is sent to the membership of Salem Lodge, or any specific distribution list designated at the time. Done!

First-line signers on a candidate's
petition for membership will receive
the Grand Master's Freemasonry
Earn it Again tie.

Bro. Alvin emphasizes the importance of collecting one's thoughts before sending the broadcast. "You can imagine the frustration of listening to a recorded message that is not well constructed," he advised. "Outline the important facts to be included in the message, write out your full dialogue and then call in and record the broadcast for distribution."

Because of their sustained efforts, Salem Lodge has 100 percent of their membership in their auto dialer program. They maintain two auto dialer distribution lists. In some instances, the call will be placed to the officers of the lodge as a reminder of their commitments to rehearsals and the like. In most instances, the call is made to all members of the lodge as a reminder about upcoming events or as a notification of unforeseen situations, such as funeral services. None of the brethren of Salem Lodge have asked to be removed from the phone call distribution list. In fact, Bro. Alvin has never had one single negative comment regarding the program. The brethren look forward to the calls from their lodge, and even their family members seem to think it's a good idea.

"Every man (and many of their wives) is very forthcoming in saying what a great program it is and how impressed they are that we've taken this step," Bro. Alvin said. "As an example, while sitting at a ham dinner one evening at our lodge, I saw a member and his wife come through the door who I had never seen at a lodge function. He is a good friend, and I know him well, but for one reason or another he never seemed to make it to lodge. As they came over and sat down next to us, the conversation went directly to the calling program. His wife started right off by saying how nice it was to receive the call reminding them of the ham dinner and the Stated Meeting coming up the next week. She told her husband right away that they'd have to make sure they make it to the dinner, and sure enough, they did. I know from my own standpoint, when I get home and there is a message on the answering machine from the lodge, my wife, one of my daughters or my son is anxious to give me the message. They feel as though they are a part of things, and I think that's great."

"One of the small, but I believe important, effects of the program is that it gives each of the members and their families a familiarity with the Worshipful Master," Bro. Alvin said. "When I see a member's wife in the local grocery store and she says, 'Drew called, I understand you guys have a meeting next Monday. Gee, I can't believe it's the beginning of November already,' I know that she feels a connection to the lodge. In many lodges, the family members probably have to think for a moment to come up with the Worshipful Master's name, but I would venture to guess that this year (2007), in Salem Lodge No. 330, the members and many of their wives have that name right on the tip of their tongue. For her to know Drew (Bro. Crouthamel), on a first name basis, is great."

So, considering the success
this lodge has experienced...
Why would your lodge
NOT want to use it?

The Lodge Challenge

Each and every lodge is challenged to double their lodge meeting attendance through the use of this powerful broadcast technology. But the technology can't do it all... Every brother in the lodge room knows at least one brother who hasn't been there in a while. Are there a number of Past Masters or new members who have lost interest recently, and if so, why? Make it your priority to find out and invite him to join you back at lodge. If each brother reaches out to one other brother, it wouldn't take long to revitalize an entire lodge!

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