Page 13 - MFM August 2015 BCD X rev b
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Montana Freemason  August 2015                          Volume 91 Number 2

up for a degree, or coaching, but somehow he            For Tots drive for Christmas, Pancake feeds at
will magically then have the time to show up            their church, a Bake Sale at their local school.
for somebody else’s degrees? Its possible, but          Sometimes - we get lost in a sea of pleas for
not likely.                                             money.

             Throwing Money At It                       Do we spend the majority of our time working
   e other method for solving membership has            charity? No, we spend our time in meetings
its own set of problems. You know what works            of various kinds (investigating petitioners,
really well as a charity? An organized charity.         initiating them, coaching them, taking them to
You know what doesn’t? A fraternity that thinks         other lodges to see other degrees, getting them
it might be a charity when it needs members.            involved in the business of the lodge and active
An organized charity has dedicated members who          as o cers). Programs that say we aren’t out there
understand how to fund-drive, where to allocate         giving enough money to the community to buy
resources (including people), how best to market,       their love and goodwill (or membership) might
where to target, how to handle nancials, and so         well be awed from the outset.
on. Masonry is not an organized charity - though,
as my friend who shared the earlier anecdote has                       The Magic Number
also stated, “When you get a bunch of good men
together in a room, they will naturally associate       What number is the magic number that says, “Ok,
together for a charitable outgrowth.” What I think      we would be happy with this number of Masons,
he means in this statement - is that we are not         right here.” What is the bar to clear? How many
 rst a charity. We all agree that charity is “good.”    Masons does it take to make a Grand Lodge
   at’s a given. But, do we do charity well? I’m not    o cer happy? e answer is, its a trick question:
so sure.                                                nobody knows, they just know that they used to
Charity is a good motivator for some men, but is        have more members, and now they have less, so
it what every man wants to spend every moment           more is good.
of his Masonic experience involved with? I was          If you live in Ohio, the 5000 Masons that
having lunch at a Shrine Temple once, and a             Montana has would seem like a dire situation.
Shriner from Illinois was there. Our conversation       And yet, if you go to Idaho or Utah, with 3000
turned to a local Shrine unit with cars and buggies     and 1500 Masons respectively, our 5000 seems
driving around, and he brought up a Shrine Unit         like a great number to strive for! I suspect that
from his home town that he couldn’t get behind:         Idaho and Utah couldn’t be happy with 5000
pedalling around fake little airplanes in parades.      Masons, however, for the same reason that we
   is brother said that as an airline pilot, he ew      wouldn’t if we had 6000 or 7500: because we
families to Shriners hospitals all the time - the last  always want “more.” We HAD more. We need to
thing he wanted to do in his “o time” was play          get back there.
around at ying a little plane in a parade or trying     What if we were happy with the 5000 Masons that
to raise the funds for this. Frankly, I think he had    we had right now? What if those 5000 MASONS
a point.                                                were happy with what they had? Would that
Like my Shrine friend from Chicago, when                change anything?
many men get o “work,” or spending time as a
volunteer, they don’t feel inclined to dash o to                The Lodge With No Members
lodge to ip pancakes to raise a hundred bucks           Lets run at some numbers past you, and see if
for the same organization. at didn’t mean that          they make any sense to you. I assist the Grand
Masonic charity was worthless, or that it did not       Secretary in auditing the Annual Returns for each
do amazing things - we all have stories that prove      lodge. Every year a lodge is required (in every
the contrary - but it tells me that if men wanted       jurisdiction) to send in forms stating, the losses
to participate in an organized charity, they would      and gains made over the year: how many new EA’s,
go volunteer at one that is designed as a charity.      how many brothers passed away, became 50 Year
Many members can relate in other ways: they             Members exempt from paying per capita on and
frequently participate in a Policeman’s Ball, Toys      how many men a liated from out of state, etc.

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