Latest news

Grand Master Message August 2023

Grand Master Message August 2023

Bulletin GM Banner Blank

Dear Brethren – I hope this finds you well, despite the blustery winter weather over the last couple of weeks.

I’m not sure if it’s the time of year, but a few people have been asking me recently about our membership strategy. We all know this is an ongoing challenge, so I wanted to share an update with you about the excellent work being undertaken by the Membership and Communication Committee. 

No one will be surprised to hear membership is a challenge being faced by every Grand Lodge around the world, and along with making sure our own house is in order, we have been looking at activities in other jurisdictions that have been yielding tangible results. I assure you that this will remain my key area of focus for the remainder of my term.

The overwhelming message is that new or potential Freemasons want a quality experience and they know that comes at a cost.  

In blunt terms, this means we need lodges which conduct good ritual, put on a good Festive Board, and share happy company with like-minded brethren. When we get these things right, there is a quality experience we all enjoy. When we get it wrong, we lose members who drift away making their excuses.

Interviews with new and prospective members make it very clear; if they are to spend time on Freemasonry away from family or friends, it must be ‘worth it’

What then are we to conclude if we wish the Craft to flourish? We must strive to make Western Australia the envy of other Constitutions through our commitment to quality – I am pleased to say that the work has already started.

There is more to come, but I am proud of the following improvements which have quietly been gathering pace over the last year:

  1. Public Prospects – we now have a robust Grand Lodge process for public enquiries which qualifies, educates, and screens Prospects before they are introduced to a Lodge. Not only does this ensure Lodges don’t waste time and effort, but it also means that Prospects are well-versed in what to expect when they join. Initial feedback is that this is working well, and 45 Prospects have been introduced to their local Lodge since we instituted the new system in February.
  2. Social Media campaign – with a proven process now in place, we have just launched the first social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram. This is based on a similar successful campaign already underway in SA&NT (with one just about to launch in NSW). It is too early to share any definitive outcomes, but our ads have been shown over 55,000 times to men in WA, leading to 162 qualified enquiries – in 3 days! These leads will not all become Freemasons of course, but we hope this is the start of a new membership pipeline on which Lodges can build.
  3. Police Clearance certificates – along with encouraging new men to apply for consideration, we are also safeguarding our organisation by requiring new or affiliating members to pass a police check. Please note existing members, that is member of a WAC lodge, will not need to provide police certificates when joining another WAC lodge.
  4. iMIS – our new membership system will be ready to launch in September. W Bro Tim McDougall has been doing a stellar job getting us ready and Lodge Secretaries will be receiving more information over the next month. Rest assured, even if you are not ‘technologically inclined’, there is an easy way for you to be able to team up with another member of your lodge to assist if needed.
  5. Lodge health check– apart from the work being undertaken in Grand Lodge, a useful toolkit has been produced by the Education & Training Committee to help Lodges assess their situation and whether they have the right quality standards in place. Each Lodge is different and will want to operate in its own way, but if we are giving Candidates an experience that involves tatty yellow aprons and warm beer at the Festive Board, we can’t be surprised if they don’t stay! The Lodge health check is your opportunity to reflect on your current arrangements and make changes before we see the next wave of Candidates. More information will be available on this shortly.

There is some terrific momentum building here Brethren, but it doesn’t come for free. As some have noted, there has been a modest increase in the Initiation and Affiliation fees from 1 July. This decision was not taken lightly by the Board, but in doing so, we noted a) that these fees have barely risen over the last 10 years and b) the cost is not borne by existing members.

Nevertheless, we went further and tested whether these fees would dissuade a Prospective member from joining. I am pleased to report that we have not heard and are not aware of a single prospective member in the last year, who indicated the revised Initiation fee would be a barrier to joining – on the contrary, many are surprised we are so cheap. 

While this is food for further thought, we are satisfied that we are charting a prudent financial course for our organisation where new members make a contribution to Freemasonry in Western Australia as a whole, not just their own Lodge. 

I hope you will agree that there is some tangible progress starting to be made here, although there is much more work to do. There are also some exciting additional initiatives still in the works which I will share in the coming months, but in the meantime, please do reflect on the topic of quality in your own lodges and how you can drive quality in your Lodge – don’t be afraid to make any changes you know are overdue!

Warm fraternal regards

MWBro Daniel Ganon

Grand Master

Stay in the loop

Subscribe for the latest updates from The Grand Lodge of Western Australia. Be the first to know about our events, news, and more.