Together we make a profound difference

Engaging candidates

Tips for a close-knit lodge

Your January checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on freemason.org

Question of the month

 

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Lodge and hall financial health

Back in 2012, Morgan Hill Lodge and Keith Lodge merged to create South Valley Lodge No. 187. The brothers decided to use one building as their home and sell the other, which begged the question: What to do with the hall associations? They had two, but only needed one.

It was an important decision, with tax implications – and it was about to get even more complicated than they’d realized. The brothers turned to the Grand Lodge Financial Services team for help. These experienced professionals include:

  • Tom Boyer
  • Maribel Pasamic
  • Lauren Mandujano
  • Marlene Huang
  • Jun Apruebo
  • Linh Pham
  • Phil Pereira
  • Sarah Li
  • Jennufer Hua

Gregg Hall, who was then president of the hall association (now named Leverton Masonic Hall Association) and is currently treasurer of South Valley Lodge No. 187, explains.

 

Navigating the merge

  • Before talking to the Financial Services team, we assumed we would simply keep the hall association that owned the building we’d chosen. But the professional team at Grand Lodge looked at all of the numbers and determined it made much more financial sense for us to keep the other hall association and transfer ownership of the building to it. This helped us to avoid more than $100,000 in real estate taxes.
  • In the process of closing out the unwanted hall association, we discovered that the hall had mistakenly been using the same tax ID as the lodge, creating all sorts of tax issues. Financial Services helped us sort it out.

Reinstating tax-exempt status

  • Then we discovered that the hall association we were keeping had lost its tax-exempt status. Years ago, someone had the wrong idea about nonprofits and taxes, and didn’t pay the hall’s taxes for a handful of years. As a result, the IRS revoked the tax-exempt status, meaning that any income becomes taxable, including large gifts. This is a substantial expense, and a complicated issue to fix.
  • Financial Services filed taxes for the missing years, then walked us through the lengthy process of successfully getting our tax-exempt status reinstated by the IRS. They even got our penalties waived. Now whenever we receive a notice from the IRS, I forward it to our team at Grand Lodge and they take care of it.

Name change

  • We also wanted to change the name of our hall association, which requires submitting a change of our corporate bylaws to the secretary of state. Grand Lodge filled out the paperwork for us.

Everyday services

  • We use Intacct accounting and Grand Lodge tax preparation services. It’s great: I tell the Financial Services team what we need, and they already have the information to get started. I don’t even have to send copies of our financial info, because everything is uploaded to Intacct.
  • As part of using Intacct, we’re frequently in touch with Financial Services for accounting questions. For example, when we purchased kitchen equipment as a capital expenditure, they calculated the depreciation.

I have a background in business and accounting, and I still rely on the people on the Grand Lodge Financial Services team. They’re there to help. They provide expert knowledge and experience that the average member just doesn’t possess.

Contact: Gregg Hall

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Tips for a close-knit lodge

A close-knit culture begins when a prospect makes first contact, and is cemented when he’s a candidate. Here are tips from the 2018 leadership retreats to use at your lodge.

Help prospects build a network of friends in the lodge.

  • Support naturally developing relationships by asking different brothers to serve as hosts, recommenders, and eventually coaches and mentors.
  • Reinforce a high level of participation and attendance across all membership levels.

Give a thoughtful introduction.

  • Before a prospect receives an application, he should thoroughly understand the lodge’s unique culture. Much of this can’t be explained; it must be understood over time. So wait as long as needed – ideally, at least five months – between a prospect’s first contact and providing an application. Be upfront with the prospect about the length of this process.
  • Appoint brothers to introduce prospects and candidates around at lodge and help them integrate into lodge dynamics. Have these brothers follow up between activities to encourage attendance at the next lodge event.

Offer meaningful coaching.

  • Ensure every candidate has a qualified coach who has enough time to spend with him, and who will focus on the lessons and meaning of the ritual. Use the Candidate Learning Center to support this experience.
  • Ask coaches to report on candidates’ advancement at each stated meeting and praise their progress.
  • Promote each degree as “John Smith’s Degree” rather than as a generic “degree ceremony” to promote camaraderie and attendance.

Give candidates concrete ways to contribute.

  • Find out what candidates’ skills and interests are before they submit an application. Match their skills and interests to needed lodge roles or jobs.
  • Ask candidates to weigh in on prospects even though they can’t vote.
  • Ask candidates to deliver papers or other work as part of their degree progression to show how the degrees have impacted their lives.

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Your January checklist

Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your January checklist:

Executive Committee

  • Register for 2019 leadership retreats.
  • Share with your lodge the dates and topics for the 2019 California Masonic Symposium.
  • Schedule inspector’s official visit and examination of the books, due by end of March.
  • Consider holding an event in February to support Masonic widows. Read Grand Master Wright’s February proclamation, which contains several helpful ideas of how to recognize this important month. And, see “For Your Trestleboard” in this issue to learn how to create a Handyman Project
  • And, begin planning for Youth Orders Month, which will take place in March 2019. Check this helpful list of 10 Ways to Support Masonic Youth.

Master, along with Executive Committee

  • Submit 2019 budget for approval at stated meeting.
  • Present 2019 calendar and program plan at stated meeting.
  • Confirm Audit, Charity, and Membership Retention Committee appointments and review responsibilities with each.
  • Confirm other committee appointments and review responsibilities with each.
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement.

Senior Warden

  • Confirm candidate coaches and review responsibilities.
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement.
  • Begin preparing 2020 program plan.
  • Begin preparing 2020 budget.
  • Begin preparing 2020 officer appointments.
  • Begin preparing 2020 installation of officers.

Junior Warden

  • Confirm with treasurer the policies and procedures of Refreshment Fund, if applicable.

Secretary

  • Continue to collect delinquent dues from members (were due on January 1).
  • Continue preparing secretary’s annual report to present to the lodge in February.

Treasurer

  • Continue preparing treasurer’s annual report to present to the lodge in February.
  • If your lodge has employees, file federal and state payroll taxes.
    • IRS form 941, due in January (unless IRS has approved an annual filing of Form 944, due January 31)
    • State form DE9/DE9C and DE88 (deposit form), due in January, must be filed electronically
    • IRS form 940 (federal unemployment), due in January
    • W-2, due to employees in January
    • W-3 and copy of W2, due to IRS on or before January 31
    • Using Intacct or the Grand Lodge payroll system? Financial Services will complete your payroll forms 940, 944, W-2, and W-3
  • If your lodge or hall employs independent contractors:
    • Distribute 1099-MISC to contractors by January 31.
    • File Form 1096 with Forms 1099-MISC and send these returns to the IRS on or before January 31.
    • Using Intacct? Contact Financial Services at financialservices@freemason.org or (415) 292-9170 for assistance in generating the 1096 and 1099 reports from Intacct

Questions? Contact Member Services at memberservices@freemason.org or (415) 776-7000.

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For your Trestleboard

As you prepare your holiday and New Year’s greetings to members, include this reminder about Masonic support. Many members – especially those who live out-of-state – may not be aware of the benefits they’re entitled to, or may need extra encouragement to reach out. Your reminder could change, or even save, their lives.

This month:
Masonic Support Reminder
Age Successfully at Acacia Creek

Share in your Trestleboard.

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Find it on freemason.org

From Public Schools Month to Masonic Veterans Month, many months of the fraternal year are designated with a special Grand Master’s Proclamation, encouraging lodges to focus on a topic important to California Masonry.

Now, you can find all of them in one place: In the news section of freemason.org. View View 2019 proclamation s.

Download upcoming proclamations to read at stated meeting, include in your Trestleboard, announce in the lodge app, and share in any other way with fraternal family.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked you to share something new that your lodge tried in 2018. Of those that responded:

  • 43% - New technology, ex. lodge app or PayPal
  • 29% - New programming, ex. Masonic education series or fellowship activity
  • 29% - New degree tradition, ex. candidate gifts or special dinner
  • 21% - New charitable commitment, ex. 100% officer giving or Let’s Write the Future
  • 14% - New Grand Lodge service, ex. Intacct or tax preparation
  • 14% - New training, ex. Lodge Outreach Program or 2018 leadership retreat


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