Why is your lodge member count of a high importance to your lodge?
Because, without an up-to-date headcount, your lodge financials will be
incorrect and your lodge may be in great danger of having serious (and possibly
irreversible) money troubles.
So, what's the big deal? You simply multiply the number of lodge
members times our regular dues amount, right? Wrong.
Let's shed a little more light on this.
While most Masonic Lodge Secretaries are aware of this, many newly elected
Worshipful Masters (and many of the Brethren) are unaware that lodge dues
are not the same amount for every single member, nor how to perform a correct
lodge member count.
While the majority
of the members pay regular dues, there are other members who hold endowed
memberships for which they purchased an endowed membership to the lodge and
therefore, they do not pay any dues money for the rest of their lives.
Other members (especially Past Masters) may have the option to only pay 1/2
price dues after their term. See your lodge's Bylaws for more details
as to special rates which apply.
Without an Accurate Lodge Member
1. Your Masonic lodge's Budget Committee cannot, in good
together a correct budget for the Master's
2. If your Worshipful Master is given a budget that, in reality,
been overstated (contains less money than he is told
by the Budget Committee
that he may utilize), it is difficult
to plan his yearly expenditures for the
3. Lodge members cannot, in good conscience, vote on the
purchase of any
item, as your lodge member count is the
number one revenue (income) source that
rely upon throughout the year to host events, provide
efforts and pay the lodge's bills.
4. You may be paying dues to your Masonic Grand Lodge
that are not due
or, at best, are incorrect.
5. A lodge which is currently struggling to pay its bills, may,
necessity, have to merge with another lodge.
How to Obtain a Correct Lodge Member
First, you must find the most up-to-date member directory available.
If the Secretary does not have this information, then the Master should
immediately assign a committee to this task with progress reports due at each
subsequent meeting. Your Secretary should immediately request an
up-to-date member roster from your state's Grand Lodge.
Once the Grand Lodge membership roster is received, this list will
contain both the names of each member whom the lodge paid dues for, as well as
the specific amount of each member's dues.
This information should be
placed onto an Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is easy to use because
it will automatically total each separate member's dues without the Secretary
having to write all this by hand. It is also easy to e-mail to other lodge
members or to a new Secretary when he takes office for quick updating and
Create an Excel Spreadsheet
Simply open Excel. Click File/Open/New.
When the spreadsheet loads, in cell A1, type: Lodge Member Count.
In cell A3 type: Member Name and in cell B3, type: Dues
Paid-2008 (or whatever the current year is)
In cells A3, A4, A5, etc. type all your specific member names, (Last
Name, First Name), e.g. (Jones, John)
In cells B3, B4, B5, etc., type the amount of each member's dues which
they paid to the lodge.
When you finish, you will have 2 columns (Member Name) and (Dues Paid-2008).
To total the sum of all dues paid, simply click on the cell directly
beneath your last Dues Paid amount.
Highlight the Dues Paid column from B3, downward to include all your
number amounts, then go up to toolbar at the top of the page and right under
where it says "Window", click on what looks like a funky "E". This
is the Auto Sum.
Click the "E" and all the amounts which you highlighted will be added
together and a total provided for you in the cell which you clicked that is
directly beneath your last Dues Paid amount.
Voila! No more adding machine tape!
Go back to the top toolbar and click File / SaveAs and fill in the
name and the location of where you want to keep this Lodge Member Count on your
computer. My Documents is a standard place in which to file it.
...And you're done, until you have any changes to make.
As a conscientious
Secretary, you should also back up this file onto a floppy or CD (in case of
a hard drive crash) and immediately e-mail this file to your lodge's
That way, if your machine crashes (and you forgot to make a
back up copy)... you still have a copy which resides on your lodge's e-mail
address server. (if no one deletes it).
You can even e-mail your copy
back to yourself so that if your computer crashes, your Lodge Member Count
file will still be held on your Internet Service Provider's server.
once you get your computer fixed, you can go out to your e-mail account and open
the Lodge member Count Excel file and save it back onto your computer.
Cross-Check Your Roster Against
the Grand Lodge Roster
Next, your Masonic Grand Lodge membership roster must be checked against the
Secretary's list of actual member dues received and, subsequently the portion
paid to your Grand Lodge.
Why is it so important to cross reference these 2 lists each year?
Many lodges have a large number of elderly members who do not always attend
regularly. You may be amazed to find out how far off your lodge member
count actually is.
You may also find that some of the long-term members
from the lodge who have not paid their dues and for which, as a courtesy, the
lodge may have been paying their dues for them, may, in fact, have been deceased
for several years! This means that, unknowingly, the lodge has been paying
these dues out of the General Fund and paying Grand Lodge for their portion, in
Therefore, special attention should be paid toward keeping an accurate lodge
membership roster and updating it in an ongoing manner.
Create an E-Mail Account
Help Keep Your Lodge
Member Count Accurate
One excellent way to help keep your lodge member count accurate is to create
a free lodge e-mail address at Yahoo.com, Hotmail, etc..
Place the lodge's
e-mail address into each and every newsletter so that when a member becomes
aware of the passing of a brother, he can simply e-mail this information to the
lodge's e-mail address.
This becomes a huge timesaver because if your
Lodge Directory is not up-to-date, this is a repository for information.
Your Lodge's Master, Secretary (and other officers...at the Master's discretion)
should be given the e-mail address and password to be able to monitor its
Due to the fact that there is no one in the lodge during the
week to call, as well as the fact that elderly members who do not attend lodge,
often, may not know the phone number of the new Master or Secretary to advise of
the passing of a Brother, a lodge e-mail address can be a wonderful link for
lodge news, updates and to make it easier to keep your lodge member count,
While not all Masonic lodge members have e-mail capabilities, its
establishment and ongoing use to help provide a correct lodge member count, can
be an enormous time saver for the Master, the Secretary and the officers as well
as giving them the ability to quickly stay in touch with the various lodge
committee members and the brethren, in general.