Volume LIIIAugust 2006Number 3

Membership Services & Maintenance Reports

Membership Services Update
By Mark A. Haines, R.W. Grand Secretary

The restructuring of the staff within the Masonic Temple into two departments, Membership Services and The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania, has provided many opportunities to improve efficiencies and, therefore, provide enhanced services to members. Under the direction of the R.W. Grand Secretary, the Membership Services department is now responsible for Masonic Education, Academy of Masonic Knowledge, Masonic Blood and Organ Donor Club and correspondence for the Grand Master's Office, Grand Treasurer and Grand Secretary.

Membership Services Staff & their Responsibilities (215) 988-1901

Front row, l-r: Ronald A. Aungst, Sr., R.W. Grand Master; Marie Wambold, Senior Administrative Assistant, coordinates membership activities and works with lodge secretaries and other Grand Lodges; Sandi Saba, Administrative Assistant, plans events, such as anniversaries and Grand Lodge visits, and coordinates 50-year Emblems; and Mary Ann Austin, Administrative Assistant, coordinates educational activities and materials and prepares publications and documents. Back row, l-r: Russ Combs, Administrative Assistant, manages membership responsibilities and works with lodge secretaries on monthly returns, lodge notices and by-laws; Pat Descher, Administrative Assistant, maintains membership records, handles dispensation requests, processes license plate applications and assists with education questions and fulfillment; Bro. Danny Martin, assists with distribution, ordering and shipping; Olga Mecznik, Executive Assistant, coordinates the day-to-day correspondence and activities of the Grand Master and Grand Secretary; Bro. John Lawler, assists with distribution, ordering and shipping; Susan Rodriguez, Auditor, performs lodge audits and trustees reports and coordinates lodge charity requests; and Mark A. Haines, R.W. Grand Secretary.

Membership Maintenance Report
by Harvey F. Fishel, P.D.D.G.M., Chairman, and Committee members

The Membership Maintenance Committee was appointed by R.W. Grand Master Ronald A. Aungst Sr., for a two-fold purpose; first, to deal with the age-old problem of dues collection and specifically suspensions for non-paymemt of dues (NPD). The committee dealt with this issue by standardizing the criteria which must be satisfied before a lodge could suspend a brother. Previously, it was left to the individual lodges to determine what was considered a sufficient attempt to reach a non-paid brother; often the only and ultimate attempt was a registered letter and no personal contact was ever made. This committee feels strongly that personal contact is missing in the Craft today and before brethren could be suspended, the lodge must document at least two brethren having contacted the delinquent brother. Lodges were to appoint a committee of at least three members to assume the responsibility of dividing the delinquent brethren and making the contacts, relieving the lodge secretary of some of the burden. The type of contact was left to the individual brother making the contact, such as e-mail, phone calls, letters or personal visits. This information was easily recorded on the Tracker form, developed by the committee, and distributed to the lodges through their D.D.G.M. in January of this year.

Before any lodge could suspend a brother for NPD, the D.D.G.M. had to sign off the Tracker form, further documenting his satisfaction that the committee had truly done due diligence in its inquiries of the delinquent brother. Sometimes the D.D.G.M. sent the Tracker back to the lodge unsigned, requiring further action by the lodge. Currently, insufficient data is unavailable to statistically evaluate the success of this endeavor; however, that will be addressed in the future.

Secondly, the committee was charged with the responsibility of addressing the situation of inactivity within the membership. It seems every organization suffers this malady and only those who deal with the problem succeed. As previously mentioned, personal contact is down among the brethren and as a result members grow apart. On the heels of dues collection and in an attempt to deal with this the committee is proposing the following. The specific details will be coming through your D.D.G.M., but essentially, beginning immediately, the lodges will begin a phone contact program with ALL the members of the lodge in a structured program so every member will get a personal phone call from a brother. This is NOT to be a financial call regarding dues, but rather personal. Let the brother know he is being thought about and he has been missed. Concern about his situation and circumstance is paramount. Any upcoming lodge activity should be explained and he should be made to feel wanted, welcomed and as important as any other brother. When done properly, every member will be called every three months. Too often we hear that the only time a brother gets a phone call is when he owes money. This stigma is the target of this approach and will yield returns proportional to the time and energy spent.

The committee is very dedicated to our purpose and welcomes input from the brethren. Please take a moment and contact us with your experiences and suggestions.

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