By: Ed Mortensen, Secretary
Planning for the Lodge is an almost continuous process. It starts the year before, with the Senior Warden guiding the process. Since we assume that the Senior Warden will be the Worshipful Master for the next year (this is not guaranteed, but it provides us with a starting point), he is a critical figure in the planning for the following year.
Planning Next Year
We begin this process around October and use the typical calendar events for the Lodge that should happen throughout the year as a template for the next year. For example, the Lodge may have a guest lecturer sometime during the summer, a Burns Supper in the month of his birth, educational nights on the fifth Wednesday of the month, and the like.
This planning assumes a budget for the events, so the Senior Warden works with the budget committee to fund upcoming events based on expected income and expenses throughout that year.
Planning This Year
Using the previous year’s plan, the Worshipful Master meets a month or two in advance of the quarter with the Lodge officers to begin executing on the strategy for that upcoming quarter. The Lodge officers review the current status for big projects; for smaller projects, the details of the forthcoming events are nailed down: who is cooking the Steward’s dinners for each of the three months, who will be ready for degrees and when can they be scheduled, etc.
Planning The Current Month
By way of warning: if you are planning the current month, you are behind the eight ball. Unfortunately, this can be a pretty common occurrence in Masonry. The night before an event, for example, the Master may be trying to round up the members for an upcoming degree; this is bad.
Some things do happen just days before an event, like sending out texts to the members, reminding them of a meeting, or posting an event the week before a degree on Facebook. These are things that shouldn’t be done too far in advance to not overwhelm the Brothers or risk losing vital information in the clutter of daily posts and activities.
Planning for the next year’s events is a crucial part of running a Lodge. Planning for the next three to five years is essential as well: What major expenses will the Lodge be expecting and how will they be funded, for example.
Long-term goals are also crucial, like membership levels and Lodge activity in the local area, the District, and the Grand Lodge. Remember that while the Worshipful Master leads the Lodge, his term is not “his,” but he is to plan and execute the desires of the Lodge.
Lastly, it is not enough to plan and act on a plan; it is essential to review the execution of a plan. This review will assist in determining successes and failures. The things that need to be improved may then be addressed. In addition, our Lodge files quarterly budget reviews to maintain transparency and make mid-course corrections to our plans and spending. Reviews are growth opportunities for the Master and the officers of the Lodge.
Planning should happen years in advance of events within a Lodge. Plans for the upcoming year are finalized a year in advance, and are fleshed out the previous quarter and tweaked the month of the event. Scheduling happens, budgeting finalized, and progress tracked as the event approaches. Reviews happen after the events for the improvement of future events and the personal growth of Lodge members.