Over the last decade here is what local Masonic Lodges should have been doing.
They should have increased their dues sufficiently to not only pay for the running of their Lodges but also have salted away some money in the bank account and investments. Instead of doing fund raisers they should have looked for additional income by renting out their Masonic Hall or any collateral property attached to the Hall owned by the Lodge.
They should have been seeking endowments from their members and instead of authorizing the Treasurer to take the extra income down to the bank and buying a CD, the Lodge should have hired a certified financial planner.
In urban and suburban situations Lodges in one area should have tried to operate all from one building. If you travel to England you can find as many as 20 Lodges meeting in one building, and Brothers paying $20 or more each meeting for a meal and the festive board. In our very mobile modern society where there was once a Lodge in every town, today it would be much more economical to have just one Hall per Masonic District.
These ideas have certainly been posted on this site before. So why repeat them now?
With Europe collapsing before our eyes; with the United States economy faltering, unemployment above 9% with no signs of abating, GDP growth in the neighborhood of an anemic 1%, the stock market tanking, one has to wonder about the financial stability of Masonic Lodges.
Those that have refused to run their Lodges like a business and have insisted on doing Masonry on the cheap may not be able to survive if the country’s economy continues to worsen. Especially vulnerable are rural Lodges and Lodges who cannot consolidate buildings. Those Lodges with a building all their own with no tenants, low dues and no money in the bank account or in investments probably will not survive.
We could be looking at the largest amount of Lodges disbanding and turning in their charters in the history of this nation. If we are it will be because many Lodges refused to take the necessary steps to put themselves on a sound financial footing when they had the opportunity. Any good businessman will tell you that you salt away some money in good times for a rainy day fund to tide you over in bad times. Lodges that failed to look ahead, failed to do any long term planning and operated by just squeaking by will suffer the consequences and pay the ultimate price.