Episode 043 - Happy Holidays and Farewell 2017

The crew wraps up 2017 at the Goose and Gridiron Breakfast. Special appearance by Jeff Moyer and others.


Episode 042 - Holiday Happenings at the Valley of Reading AASR

We were invited to attend the Holiday Happenings event at the Valley of Reading. This is a great public event that the Valley has been hosting for years. The Valley officers gave us a great tour and a primo table next to Santa Claus. Anyway, hear us ramble.


Episode 041 - SGC AASR NMJ Ill. David A. Glattly 33 (whew)

Episode 41 is finally on the air after weeks of recording, rerecording, a spontaneous run-in with the Supreme Grand Commander and about 6 hours of Jason editing this down to (hopefully) a listenable episode. The SGC talks about The Path Forward and where he'd like to see us going as a craft.

Little back story. Larry and Pete did a spontaneous recording on their own which we'll call 40.5. Then Pete, Larry, Jason & Jack recorded an episode that was even more grumpy than our normal grumpy, to the point we didn't want to use it. We'll call that 40.75. Then magically.... we read The Northern Light where SGC Glattly discussed 'The Path Forward' and we were "O M G. HE GETS IT." That led to us doing another recording, this time at our Goose & Gridiron Breakfast. We'll call that 40.89. As we're thinking we finally have a show our friend Tom puts us in touch with the SGC in person and we interview him. W H E W. So... Jason was tasked with editing about 5 hours of junk into 1 episode.


Episode 040 - Open Mic Night: Beating the Dead Horse of Fundraising

Both Jason and the show hit 40. Coincidence? Not sure, it could just be the cough syrup, but we've hit the big FOUR-OH and now that all four of us are Grumpy Old Men, we're ranting about Fundraising again. Also our regular segments. 



Episode 038 - Mark Tabbert

We're excited that Mark Tabbert of tge George Wasington Masonic memorial in Arlington joins us.


Episode 037 - Masonic Scholar and Archivist Dr. Heather Calloway

We have a great discussion with Dr. Heather Calloway, formerly of The House of the Temple. We talk about saving masonic 'treasures', great finds and history in general.


Episode 036 - Arts and the Craft with Ryan J Flynn

Join your hosts as they talk to artist Ryan J. Flynn who has found a niche with Masonic Art. Great guy and he tolerates Pete getting his name wrong. SMH. enjoy.


Episode 035 - Oscar Alleyne

Bro. Oscar joins us for the whole episode, blowing up our tiny brains with intelligence.


Episode 034 - Put the "fun" in fundraising

Episode 34 is here. Don't pay for the whole seat - you'll only need the edge. Ok, it's not that great but here'tis.


Episode 033 - Nicholas Laine WM of a Virtual Lodge

In this episode we interview Bro. Nicholas Laine, WM of a virtual lodge in Manitoba Canada. Being the grumpy Past Master I am, I went into the interview skeptical but left thinking "Hey, this is really cool". So, even old past masters learn new tricks. Due to a faulty mixer channel we used a sensitive omnidirectional microphone for the phone call and ---- well, you hear a lot of doberman stomping. Sorry.. But if you wish to donate us $5000 we'll go to a local studio instead. :)

Google Play link: https://play.google.com/music/m/Dd2m2vpramy7t4b5kwbsn7is4fa?t=Episode_033_-_Virtually_Speaking_with_Nicholas_Laine-Masonic_Lite_Podcast


Episode 031 - Conspiracies, Seth, and blah blah blah

In Studio: Pete, Larry, Jason & Jack discuss conspiracies in Freemasonry and other topics. We have our Fraternal Expert Seth Anthony on the phone for input. Lots of other nonsense, including a new game: Love, Hate, or Meh!


Episode 030 - Introducing Crib Notes

Episode 30. Three Zero. Trenta. Etc. We can't believe it either but we're still going and growing. On this episode we introduce a new segment called Crib Notes. We have Larry and Jack read a Masonic themed book and then give their opinions and review. Well, it should be as easy as Thumbs Up/Down, but somehow they screw it up, which actually makes the segment tolerable. Oh, the SantaFe 30 in the image has to do with impromptu guests from New Mexico and Episode 30. We aren't subtle with our hidden messages.


Episode 029 - Masonic Con and other Shenanigans

Hear about Pete's visit to Masonic Con. The boys ramble as usual on Masonic topics, Seth Anthony's award winning segment on Fraternal organizations, Brother on the street and more.


Time To Implement Plan B

Ever since I knocked at the portal of Freemasonry way back in 1997 I've been hearing the same thing echoed by Grand Lodges, appendant bodies and members alike: Our numbers are dwindling. You can't swing a dead cat without hearing a DDGM stating passing along a verbal distress sign that we urgently need new members. This issue is happening in every Masonic body and if properly known all organizations nationwide from churches, fire companies, VFWs, Rotary, Elks, etc. 

We've all heard the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and looking for a different result. Well I see Freemasonry continuing to focus on how to get new members but spend very little effort of getting existing members more involved.

Compounding our declining membership issue, we are also seeing less participation from the members of Masonic organizations. Just sit in lodge and count heads, then look and see how many dues paying members you have. The average is about 10% participation.  That is, if a lodge has 300 members you'll usually get 10% at a meeting or 30 men. If there is some charity work to be done you'll get 10% of them or 3 men that'll show up. I call this Hiram's Principal or the 90/10 rule instead of the better known Pareto's Principal aka the 80/20 rule. 

I propose an alternative method, Plan B, that will help increase participation and will later lead to more new members. Let's step outside of our Masonic bubble and visit the real world. 

I was a salesman for years. The more I sold, the more money I had and vice-versa. One of the lessons you learn as a salesman is the "Sales Funnel". Think of a funnel, wide at the top, small at the bottom. The idea is to throw as many cold calls, leads, advertising etc. into the top and magically sales ($$$) would pour out of the bottom. The only problem is - the funnel is defective. It has holes in it so not everything that goes in, comes out as a sale. Unfortunately the majority of leads you cram into the top escapes and isn't converted to sales. So in order to make more sales come out of the bottom of the funnel you have two options. Option A is increase how many leads you put in the hopper and hope for the best or Option B which is to patch up holes in the funnel so a higher percentage of your leads are converted to sales.  

If we think of Freemasonry as a funnel, we've been focusing mainly on option A - putting more crap into the funnel.

Masonic Sales Funnel - Option A: Doing the same thing over and over, Get New Members!

  • Marketing. Sure, back in the "old days" of 20 years ago you had to seek out membership yourself. ASK12B1 style. Now most jurisdictions have dropped that, and we can talk to people about Freemasonry. Heck, some jurisdictions even run commercials. Now we've gone from only those men who inquire, to all adult men as potential members. We've opened up an exponentially larger group of potential members and yet... still we decline. 
  • One-day classes is a recurring effort to throw more men into the Masonic Sales Funnel. Bringing in large numbers of men does show a nice little spike for a day, but do they stick around after? Do they become active brothers? Do they ever feel like they are part of the lodge since they maybe only met 3 men from their home lodge at the ceremony.
  • Lowering Standards. Another common technique employed by some bodies has been to lower standards. When I joined the Shrine there was a rule that you needed to be a 32nd Scottish Rite Mason or a Knight Templar to join. This requirement was lifted so now all Master Masons can join the Shrine, opening up many more prospective members to target. (BTW, this was a kick in the jimmies for the AASR and Commandery. But don't fret, those members were just check-writers and you'd never see them at meetings again anyway). 
Well, how'd that work out for us? We've expanded our potential membership roles exponentially and it's done nothing to help. So, what's the alternative?

I've always stated that I'd rather be in a small organization where most people participate than in a giant organization that's horribly inefficient. Kind of like shopping local as opposed to going to Walmart. So here's my option B:

Masonic Sales Funnel - Option B - Plug the holes!

  • Talk to the check-writing, no-show brothers. Why are brothers uninterested or quitting? Is there anything we can do to help fix that? As an account manager with a telephone company I was required to contact each of my clients once per quarter, just to check in, make sure they are happy and keep them as clients. Back to Freemasonry, what's the deal with that 90% that you never see? Well, pick up a damn phone and ask. Many might not really know anyone or ever made a connection with anyone in the lodge. They might feel embarrassed that they don't remember the word, or proper procedures to enter a lodge building. They might be having financial or family issues that we could help with. 
    • Recently while visiting a lodge in Gettysburg, PA I was told of a method they use. At each meeting attending brothers reach into a fish bowl and extract one 3x5 card. That card has the name and contact information of a brother who hasn't been to lodge in 6+ months. Their task is to make contact with that brother and find out why they've been absent. The brother will see what he can do to assist that inactive member.
    • What does your lodge do that works? Please share! 
  • Don't shortcut the experience. One day classes are nice for pictures but it really takes something out of the experience for the new member. The members don't get the individualized attention, nor do they get to interact and get to know the brothers of the lodge. It is well documented that men from the 1-day classes have lower participation rates than those who travel the same path that many good and worthy fellows have.
    • Hats off to the officers and mentors in my lodge for really doing a bang up job over the past 10 years. When men want to join our lodge they meet regularly with mentors at our lodge building between degrees. The Apprentices and Fellowcrafts also come to our lodge on meeting nights to enjoy the pre-meeting meal and to socialize and meet the brethren. When I as made a Mason in 1997 I only knew my guide, and if he didn't insist in dragging me to future meetings I might never have gone and gotten hooked. Now in my lodge when a man is raised he knows everyone in the room already. That makes it a less intimidating environment to walk into as a new Mason. 
  • Let local lodges/chapters have some individuality. I'm not talking ritual, I think keeping ritual intact is important in building that common bond across the organization. I'm talking let a local lodge be able to express their local flair. 
    • I've seen German and Italian speaking lodges, a Civil War themed lodge is being proposed, etc. all of these are things that are going to interest brothers to visit. If you look around you'll see new Traditional Observant lodges having to cap membership because it's different and interesting. 
    • What kind of unique lodges are in your area?
  • Trim the dead wood. Sometimes you need to prune some branches and Freemasonry has tons of branches. Some of these organizations need to be combined, not only to save money on real estate but to put more butts in seats and to conserve nights of the month. 
    • I live in the center of my County and within 30 minutes I can be at maybe 12 Blue Lodges. Back in the era of horse-and-buggies you needed a lodge in your local just because of logistics. But we have cars now. We don't need a handful of struggling lodges and a handful of strong ones. 
  • Reorganize the structure of the Shrine, Grotto, Tall Cedars, Sciots, etc.  Ok, I know this idea is far-out and because of the different legal entitities, charities, plus the egos of many it could never work. As the saying goes, we have lots of Chiefs and not enough Indians, and nobody wants to become subservient to another. But, make smaller organizations like Grotto, Tall Cedars, and Sciots roll into the Shrine and become units. I know this can't happen, too many pieces in place, but... sigh. 
    • In Harrisburg PA there is a ginormous Shrine building right next to a humongous Scottish Rite building - both sit empty most nights. The Tall Cedars national office did own a building but to cut costs they sold it and they now rent a building in Harrisburg Pa, but not from the Shrine or AASR building. Um...
In conclusion, I'm not dismissing Option A: Putting More Crap Into The Funnel. This is great, we need to keep trying but it is pointless if we can't figure out a way to become interesting, relevant and keeping these members actively involved. If we really work on Option B: we'll find that more of our members are staying active, staying involved. 

As a measure of success I'd hope to get back to the Pareto's Principal of 80/20. If we could go from 10% active members to 20% active members we'll see huge dividends. More people participating and having fun just starts building more interest and therefore feeds more people into the funnel. By focusing on ourselves, getting our house in order we will rebuild, better, stronger, faster. 


Episode 028 - Grotto Grotto Grotto

Episode 028 - We cover the Pennsylvania Grotto Association, Colonial Grotto Association and Empire State Grotto Association meeting in Gettysburg. Pete and Larry record while sitting in his car in a library parking lot. We managed to leave before the authorities were alerted. Bonus noisy interview with Dominic Falcone, SC Grotto District Deputy. The interview is good but it was recorded on my deck and the neighbor decided to mow the lawn. I'd be angry but my 2 dobermans bark at him all day so I guess I deserve it.


Episode 027 - The Templar Myth

Jack's back in the studio this week and he and Larry discuss the origin of the Templars while Pete and Jason wonder what's going on.


Episode 25 - The Mason's Lady

We're back for episode 25. On this episode Pete, Larry and Jason ramble about Freemasonry in general and in particular we interview the blogger who is "The Mason's Lady". Interesting perspective and a great guest. Well, once we got Larry to shut up and let the guest speak.

The episode was rated: "It's not terrible" by Jason.

Enjoy. Pete


Episode 024 - Say it ain't so

Better late than pregnant, as they say. Episode 24 is a little late as we totally redid the show but the revised edition is much more listenable. Thanks for your patience.


Episode 022 - Let's Talk About Mentors

Episode 022 - Let's Talk About Mentors! Your hosts are visiting Larry once again because he's on the Disabled List.


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