First year no subscription fee?

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First year no subscription fee?

Postby kimosabe » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:04 pm

Should newly admitted members of the Craft be excused from their subs for the first year?

I think the organisations (MMH, GQS/UGLE etc) are too expensive to run as they are and that newly admitted joining members should be given their first Lodge year free, regardless of the number of degrees they have taken during that Lodge's year. If it's not for them, they risk losing nothing but if it is for them, then their commitment would be much more reliable. They can pay for their GL cert but should not be permitted to join Chapter until they subscribe.

Just a thought.
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Re: First year no subscription fee?

Postby admin » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:57 pm

No, we will end up draging them in off the streets if we go that route, in my opinion.

To be a Freemason it should be a comitment and not an easy ride.

I started a monthly subscription scheme many years back, easy to set up and little work for the treasurer. A standing order. It has been very successful.

Dont you find in life people are always offering a free trial you give it a go then stop. Its not what we want to see.
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Re: First year no subscription fee?

Postby kimosabe » Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:37 pm

A tad melodramatic? It seems that you're saying that advertising and marketing incentives don't work and that you're conflating commitment with a choice to stay or leave. They are not the same thing.

How do you know (with any degree of certainty) that any of that would happen if this has never been tried before? I do not agree that 'free trials' ( I wouldn't use those words to describe it) always result in failure at all and if anything, businesses that offer such incentives are opening themselves to the possibility of more people finding out and joining them for longer. That's exactly what we need! The all pervading, 'find out about us first' attitude, clearly isn't nearly enough to fill the ever-growing hole in our numbers and it's evident that GL is trying to encourage new ideas to be trialled. This, to my knowledge has never been trialled, even on a sample of Provincial GLs.

What Freemasonry needs is a massive influx of members or else it's current rate of, partly natural, decline will eventually result in our numbers dwindling further and our subs increasing each year, as a direct result of such financial losses and in order to pay for the infrastructure etc. What does it cost to have people join on a 1 year short-term trial basis? More than to administer the University Scheme? What's the retention rate of that? I think my idea has legs and i'd suggest would be a far better thing to try than a short TV series which in not only my opinion, didn't really come across as a reality show of Freemasonry as we know it. How many enquiries did that translate into joining members? Certainly not (unfortunately) the expected tsunami. I say that in all sincerity.

I'm not suggesting having Masonic Chuggers patrolling the high streets asking passers by closed questions like "do you care about the community?", just to try something that has never been tried before. One of the biggest issues Freemasonry still has, is the 'we've never done that before and we're not doing it now' attitude. 'We don't do it that way'. It's old, unattractive and out-dated and that, ironically, is the very image we need to shake off! Times have evidently changed. Masonic websites and forums now exist. Freemasonry is once more becoming the open community it once was and I think that's a very good thing. People expect to have information and possibility provided to them with a minimum of effort. People like to try things out for minimal loss. Is this idea not better than new members paying and leaving after a year anyway, despite all efforts to prevent that?

Sometimes the carrot works more effectively than the stick. I think this needs a focussed debate. N'est pas?
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Re: First year no subscription fee?

Postby Trouillogan » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:00 pm

Freemasonry is not a numbers game and never has been. Neither is it a business. It is a fraternity with selective membership. The fraternity deals with the qualities of its members, not the quantity.

UGLE, some provincial GLs and many groups of lodges find it hard to maintain buildings. The fraternity is not into maintaining physical buildings. These large masonic centres have long outlived their usefulness which was a result of huge influxes following two world wars and a few other factors. Building maintenance is a business issue and nothing to do with the fraternity. I would leave building matters to the Hall Companies to sell, lease out or whatever, including GQS. The fraternal units can meet anywhere and provincial administration can be done in out of town business units.
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Re: First year no subscription fee?

Postby Mike Martin » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:31 am

I'm with Trou here, it was only during the 20th (our third) Century that Freemasonry started to be about enough numbers to financially support "other" stuff"! I personally see no problem with us dropping our numbers and trimming off some of the stuff which is not actually an original element of the Fraternity.

There are already Lodges that have gone back to using Pubs and other venues for meetings instead of large Masonic Halls. This of itself begins to re-establish us as a part of the wider community rather than a "group of dodgy old boys doing stuff in hiding in their buildings".
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Re: First year no subscription fee?

Postby JulesTheBit » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:57 pm

Mike Martin wrote:I'm with Trou here, it was only during the 20th (our third) Century that Freemasonry started to be about enough numbers to financially support "other" stuff"! I personally see no problem with us dropping our numbers and trimming off some of the stuff which is not actually an original element of the Fraternity.

Crikey! Carefully worded Mike, but close to heresy in some people's thoughts! I agree with you.
There are already Lodges that have gone back to using Pubs and other venues for meetings instead of large Masonic Halls. This of itself begins to re-establish us as a part of the wider community rather than a "group of dodgy old boys doing stuff in hiding in their buildings".

Yes. There was a comparatively short time when Freemasonry was able to raise very large sums of money to build and maintain buildings dedicated entirely to Masonic use. Those days are gone. The excellent newish Masonic centre in Southend (Saxon Hall) is increasingly used for non-Masonic purposes and is thus financially viable. Non-Masonic use of Gt Queen St (eg London Fashion Week, again) provides the funds to keep that beautiful building available to us. Cambridge set the standard for non-Masonic funding of our centres.

Dedicated centres such as Manchester and Oxford failed because they were unable or unwilling to do this.

For those of you who think Freemasonry is getting too expensive and hanker for the good old days, take a look at Lodge accounts, in particular fees, from the 1950s and adjust for inflation. You'll see how very cheap today's Freemasonry has become. The boom years of the 1950s and 1960s are not how we should measure or conduct ourselves.

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Re: First year no subscription fee?

Postby Richard George » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:17 pm

JulesTheBit wrote:Cambridge set the standard for non-Masonic funding of our centres.


I assume you're talking about Bateman Street here ..?
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Re: First year no subscription fee?

Postby JulesTheBit » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:17 pm

Richard George wrote:
JulesTheBit wrote:Cambridge set the standard for non-Masonic funding of our centres.


I assume you're talking about Bateman Street here ..?

Yes indeed.

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Re: First year no subscription fee?

Postby admin » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:32 am

I would rather sit in Lodge with ONE good Mason than 200 who have no idea what it is about. It is lifechanging if you wish it to be so.

If that is dramatic then so be it.

Ask yourself Bro. why is it your getting the same answer from different Masons ?
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Re: First year no subscription fee?

Postby Stevecoath » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:44 am

Freemasonry is actually relatively cheap compared to a few years ago.
When my Lodge was consecrated in the 1920s the Initiation fee and dues were the equivalent to 6 months wages.
Imagine joining masonry today and being asked to stump up £20,000.

Also look at comedians such as Arthur Askey. Many used to provide the entertainment at the Festive Board, that couldn't have been cheap.
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Re: First year no subscription fee?

Postby JulesTheBit » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:43 pm

Stevecoath wrote:Freemasonry is actually relatively cheap compared to a few years ago.
When my Lodge was consecrated in the 1920s the Initiation fee and dues were the equivalent to 6 months wages.
Imagine joining masonry today and being asked to stump up £20,000.

Also look at comedians such as Arthur Askey. Many used to provide the entertainment at the Festive Board, that couldn't have been cheap.

Agree Steve,
I got some old Lodge menu cards on ebay for a friend of mine. They were for a Lodge Festival. 7 course banquet, at the Hotel Cecil (now long gone), cabaret by Elsie & Doris Waters.

Also consider the massive amount of money contributed to fund the building of the Peace Memorial in Gt Queen St. I doubt very much if many of today's Freemasons could afford such sums, even if they wanted to.

Freemasonry has changed. Freemasonry has changed because society has changed.

Let's not get into the distribution of wealth, that cold get a bit political.

The work/life balance is different to what it was and people have a lot of calls on their limited spare time. We could compete with the gyms for the time and money people spend on gym memberships by putting exercise equipment in our buildings. Maybe having used our gym facilities they might join our Lodges. That suggestion is ridiculous, but I use it to illustrate the point that we should not be chasing after potential candidates who only have a partial interest. If they're interested they will come to us. If they're not interested we have to plan and organise accordingly.

In my personal opinion we still have too many Lodges. I helped resurrect a dying Lodge and took it into the University Scheme. It had an active membership of 4 and was about to surrender its Warrant. There are Lodges that have not had a candidate or joining member for 10 years or more. It's simply not possible to save them all, searching for candidates who might keep them going is not the answer.

As far as providing financial aid to younger members is concerned, UGLE and some Provinces reduce fees for under 25s. I think that's enough.

Older members on fixed incomes have financial issues too. I think it's tragic when a member with 40 years service considers resigning because he can't afford the fees.

The young members I meet in the University Lodges Scheme seem much more concerned about quality than cost.

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