Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bring a Friend Night

I can’t remember which of my Lodge officers proposed that we host a Bring a Friend night, but we had one several nights ago and it was a HUGE success.

I put Bobby, our chaplain and Outreach Committee chairman, in charge of this event and he came through for us in flying colors.

The keys to our success were as follows:

Put a brother in charge of this event who is really passionate about sharing Masonry. He’s going to go the extra mile (or ten!!) and make sure it’s a success.

Advertise the event. To be successful, Bring a Friend night must be advertised both within your Lodge and outside, for best effect. This means repeatedly encouraging your Lodge members to invite their family and friends, as well as advertise this event to the media, if at all possible. Many local newspapers will run such notices for fraternal organizations for free or for a small fee. Put up a notice on your website, if your Lodge has one, and if you use a Masonic email listserve, put the word out there, too. Our chaplain emailed reminders to our Lodge members and those on a listserve probably four or five times over the course of a month.

I really liked how Bobby put into words the event:

Anonymous Lodge No. 001 will sponsor a special "Bring-a-Friend Night" program that will explain to members of the community and our families more about the world's oldest and largest fraternal organization. The program will begin at 7:30 P.M. with refreshments and dessert to follow.

The program will feature brief presentations on the origins of Freemasonry, its ritual and traditions and how we contribute to the world today. There will be several exhibits and a chance to ask the questions you have always wanted to ask.

All are invited: friends, wives, family, girlfriends, neighbors, dads, etc.

Please RSVP to me with the number of FRIENDS that you would like to bring.

The basic agenda was to make introductions and welcome friends, brothers, and Lodge officers. Next the organizer showed a video the Grand Lodge of Virginia put together, and then followed by a short talk by our Lodge Education Officer. Jon discussed Masonic History, to include development of the Craft in Europe and the influence on America; Masonic principles of friendship, morality, and brotherly love; Masonic organization today; charity work of all the Masonic organizations; famous Masons, both historical and living; and the basic requirements and how to join the fraternity, with emphasis that we are NOT allowed to recruit but one must ask to join. We then followed up with dessert and conversation in the friendship hall.

A dynamic speaker is critical for the main presentation. You don’t want someone droning on and on, putting everyone to sleep! He needs to be a skilled public speaker, interactive, and well versed in his presentation.

Keep it brief! Our total time in the meeting was approximately one hour, with more time in the friendship hall talking before we got started, and afterward, over dessert.

The result. We had a total of 25 to 30 people attending, including the members of the Lodge who were there with their friends. While our Bring a Friend Night was just four nights ago, already two have requested petitions and have started to fill them out, and two more have stated their intention to join the Fraternity and will get their petitions shortly, out of a total of nine possible candidates!!!

I think our Bring a Friend Night was a huge success because it gave us a chance to tell our friends and family about the Craft, it is an important information tool to the community, and it has allowed the brothers in attendance to feel excited about Masonry, to share something deep and meaningful to them with their friends. And that may be the most important reason of all to host such a program.

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