Continuing with the personas of Freemasonry, we will look at the core of Freemasons by identifying the underlying aspects of who members are. The intent is to illustrate who, what, and why someone is a member to better enable communicating with them along an imagined marketing funnel.
As its own category and understanding of who a member is could likely be broken out into further sub-groups or personas for the different types of members (the joiner, the seeker, the soldier, the fraternity, the hobbyist, the bureaucrat, and the businessman).
For now we will stick with the overarching personas of who the broader membership represents. It may be fun to flesh out the categories above into some broad generalities for those who operate within the lodge halls.
Volume: low / risk: low
The occasional attendee is a member who may show up a few times a year, or just initiations, key votes, or even lodge installations. They darken the door less for monthly business meetings but like to come out for a special event on occasion. This is not a bad thing or a way to call out something to be corrected. Like all groups, this one belongs and engages on its own terms but is supportive overall.
- Age: 30s-70s
- Interests: Varied and range from family (kids, grandkids, extended), career, external associations of professional orgs, social engagements, sports, history, and academics. Because this is such a broadly encompassing persona, the interest demographics can vary widely.
- Income: Varies
- Location: Varies
- Job: white collar and blue color within the mix. May be in academics, management, gig economy, or consultant fields.
Affinity/Interest: This persona group is a mixed bag of interests. Because it accounts for most of this segment (assessed here at 73% of the mix) their affinity/interest range mirrors the community they come from.
Hobbies: As with interests, hobbies here also take on the complexity of the community they come from. Broadly, one could surmise by association that interests in history, civil society, fraternities, religion, and tradition span the cohort.
Wants/Desires: This is hard to assess. Because of the volume, the range of wants/desires is mixed. Pleasure by the association on their own terms seems to be the observable desire fulfillment, but just associating with others may be sufficient. This cohort has an independent streak that they march to.
Goals: Association at a distance, likely exemplified in other groups, too (church, work, friends, etc). This persona cohort is elusive in its goal desires. Ultimately, they like being recognized but not coerced into greater participation.
Psychographics: Underlying this persona is a strong independence streak. Girding that independence is the feeling they get by associating the way they want. Seen but not coerced into being noticed. They like the idea that something is accessible when and how they want it. They belong but at a distance. Not on the fence, but not on one side or the other.
Read: Three Types of Mason
Volume: medium-low / risk: low
This persona is a meat and potatoes member. By that, I mean they show up, engage, are present, and pitch in when asked. Most engage because they enjoy the activity and company of the lodge once a month or several times a month meeting. They have friends in the lodge and this is their time to reconnect in real life. We use the term sideliner, but this cohort is usually anything but. They are past masters, visitors, friends who have joined, new members getting a feel for the organization, ritualists, appendant body boosters, district inspectors, grand lodge dignitary, and a host of dignitaries and/or notables who appear and fill out the lodge rooms across the country. In most cases, the actual percentage of member attendance is low given most halls can only accommodate a percentage of the total membership anyway. The steady churn and cadence of new regular members keep the interest going.
This group makes the experience of the lodge what it is. It provides the color and context of the room and offers many hands of congratulations for the work done. All the many names that are misremembered, heard but not caught, are quick to be smoothed over with the warm handshake. I see this group as one of the greatest assets of the lodge, and one worth being celebrated (and cultivated).
- Age: 30s-60s
- Interests: Business association, leadership, management, family, and social life are entwined.
- Income: $40k-$100k
- Location: Suburbs and urban centers of small to large sites.
- Job: professional, middle to upper management
Affinity/Interest: work and professional life are a huge aspect of this persona as do family and social affairs. Unlike work life, social aspects are nurtured through associations outside work but still with family (dinners, outings, etc.).
Hobbies: Travel, social entertainment, dinners out, some sports, family activities, but likely empty nesters looking for things to do with others.
Wants/Desires: Community. The broad desire of this persona is an association of community with others. This can take a variety of forms but orbits social activities with others.
Goals: Building a community base of friends and associates to share in communal activities. A church “could” function in this capacity, but this persona group isn’t interested in religious activity but likes the idea of the “club” having a moral foundation.
Psychographics: In many respects, this persona wears their intentions on their sleeves. They are doing what their underlying psychology demands: participating with others in a hobby group that they find affinity with. The fact that they (and their family) have made friends within the club is a strong reason for not wanting to leave it or do something else. They feel at home like they have a stake in future growth.
Volume: low / risk: medium
This cohort is an interesting subset of super-member. I say super as they have spread out and paid dues into several (many) appendant bodies and “funny hat clubs” loving each and soaking in as much as they can out of each one. Was it any other organization than Freemasonry, I’d say they were true believers but, given all the additional clubs stem from the blue lodge, this is more than a true believer? These are super participators with many connections between all the groups and a keen ear to the ground for the goings-on in the institution.
Networked might be a good way to think of them.
Generally speaking, I don’t think there are many in this subset anymore. Many years ago, I have distinct recollections of who the York and Scottish Rite guys were. Or who was promoting Grotto, OES, or DeMolay. These days, I think just from attrition, their numbers have become reduced. And yes, any mason can belong to enough clubs to have dinner out nearly every night of the week which is a luxury few without families or professional lives can enjoy.
True believers, indeed. Multi-Members are a unique subset of influencers who can build, or bottleneck, a mason’s internal career and growth path, and for this reason, I’ve assessed them as a medium risk to the overall body.
- Age: 50s-70s+
- Interests: Management, association clubs, Board memberships, Financial management, governance, Secretaries, Treasurers, networking (both in and out of the fraternity).
- Income: Likely higher than $70k. They could be on post-retirement income or pension.
- Location: Likely suburbs from a 20+ mile radius. They are not commuters, per-se but travel within the local district footprint (and beyond).
- Job: Likely retired, could be in senior leadership or c-suite advisory position that gives them the time and space for extracurricular activities.
Affinity/Interest: From a professional standpoint, this group is corporate achievers. Sales, management, c-suite, and senior management activities which carry over to the organizations they belong to (religious, professional, leadership, etc.)
Hobbies: The multi-member is unique in that their hobby interest is their membership. Because of their age, they have a diverse assortment of hobbies and interests from over the years and span a gamut of interest areas.
Wants/Desires: These are as complex as interests and hobbies. Given this persona, their wants/desires are clearly the success and growth of the fraternity and its various bodies. These desires, however, can make opinions and decisions myopic in scope.
Goals: Growing memberships, building connections, and facilitating points of connection and entry for other members. It is a noble endeavor to want to belong and participate in many of the available organizations and this persona strives for that.
Psychographics: Intention is key here, and how that intention is expressed is evident, but the reasons behind it may be clouded or shaped by misconceptions, misunderstandings, or disliked opinions. This persona believes that they’re doing the right thing, and no one is going to convince them (easily) otherwise. They’re true believers, how could they be wrong? Wrong might not be in their vocabulary and changing their mind from a given opinion will be hard, even when their opinions or actions can have unintended consequences or outcomes.
Mainline Officers/Grand Lodge Officers
Volume: low / risk: low
This is a special subset. Committed. Dedicated. This cohort has moved through the literal and virtual ranks and in most cases served their time on the sidelines, at the special events, in the appendant bodies, and for some up the line to serve at the state level. And yet, this isn’t a broad cohort. With so many years in the service of the craft, this group is known to the degree that you could say they’re the glue of the institution. Many go on to fill lodge and regional roles or filter into the appendant bodies to take leadership roles and guide other bodies.
In some ways, the passage to these roles may seem like inheritances, but the time, work, or energy spent to even be considered for these roles is tremendous. Further, these are leadership positions, or at least they should be treated as such giving or requiring this persona the necessity to lead.
- Age: late 40s-70s
- Interests: Leading, managing, promotion, sense of purpose, and obligation
- Income: $40k-$150k+ depending on geography
- Location: Within a district, state, or region.
- Job: C-suite, semi-retired, high-level professional/business owner. Could be retired. In a position that allows the flexibility to travel and move around in a busy schedule.
Affinity/Interest: This category of member is unique in composition. They usually have a keen interest in civic life or leadership and have the means (connections, income, time) to make a big impact. You are likely to find this cohort sitting on small to mid-sized boards of non-profits, moonlighting as corporate consultants, and volunteering in other membership organizations (like Rotary, Kiwanis, or Scouting). They have a deep passion for doing good and are likely the result of positive outcomes earlier in their professional life.
Hobbies: Volunteering takes up most of their time, but affinity hobbies might include golfing, boating, church groups, and other ‘traditional values’ activities. Engagement in politics may play some role in their “free” time.
Wants/Desires: Specifically, community betterment. They see a need and are working to fill the gap using the thing they do best, motivating people.
Goals: Fraternity-wise, their goals are much the as members but at a more meta-level. Not wanting to be mired in petty politics, this cohort is looking out for the organization as a whole.
Psychographics: It is a rare individual that rises to this position (grand lodge officer), much the same as a CEO or national political figure. It takes drive and effort, both of which this persona has in abundance. The same is true for a lodge office but in a more local sense. Unfortunately, this drive gives them blind spots to the broader needs of the members, cultural changes, and societal shifts. These aren’t bad in and of themselves, but they make progress and change painful and slow. One of their strong suits is keeping the boat steady which, on the flip side, keeps novel adaptation out of arms reach.
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