This year, Most Worshipful Brother Paul Weglage is asking that Ohio Masonic lodges open their doors to interested Masons and their communities for the month of April. As part of this state-wide open house event, local lodges will invite the public inside to take a tour, ask questions, discuss the history of our fraternity, and gain an understanding of the tremendous impact of Freemasonry in Ohio. To help you and your lodge plan, the Grand Lodge of Ohio has compiled a list of tips on how to successfully host an Open House event.
Keep in mind, more resources for the promotion of your event will come in March.
- Spread the word.
There are a number of ways to spread the word around town. Ask the men in your lodge if they can help get the details of the event in the local newspaper, radio station, Church announcements, or online, if your lodge has social media.
Tell your spouses to share the word with their coworkers and friends – this event isn’t just for prospective Masons. The more people that are talking about the event, the more likely there will be a high turnout. Check with your lodge secretary if you need specifics about event details.
- Combine pre-scheduled events with an Open House evening.
If your lodge has a monthly community breakfast, spaghetti dinner, or other event during the month of April, we recommend combining it with your Open House. This is a great way to get community members already involved with the event to learn more about your Lodge.
Please don’t combine with a personal lodge fundraising event. Make sure to focus on building fellowship, showing off the impact your lodge has on the community, and your dedication to Brotherly Love.
- Offer light refreshments.
To create a warm and welcoming event, consider including light refreshments at your Open House event. A small selection of snacks and beverages not only adds a touch of hospitality but also provides attendees with an opportunity to mingle and discuss the lodge and other Masonic inquiries. Whether it’s a simple coffee station or an assortment of finger foods, these light refreshments can not only enhance the overall experience and foster a sense of camaraderie among the participants, but act as a strong incentive for individuals to attend.
- Be prepared with resources.
The main point of these Open House events is to engage your lodge with prospective Masons, as well as your local community. We recommend being ready to discuss the process for joining Freemasonry, your lodge’s charitable and fellowship initiatives, and appendant bodies associated with the craft.
Linked below is the Grand Lodge of Ohio’s “Frequently Asked Questions” page of our website. Here you can find information and answers to any questions a prospective man or visitor may have. Feel free to direct men to this page if they have further questions.
- Create an Open House planning committee.
We know that planning an event can be hard but find the strength in numbers by forming a planning committee. Enlisting dedicated Masons with diverse skills can improve the planning process. Assign specific roles and responsibilities to each committee member, such as logistics, refreshments, and communication. This approach will not only lighten the workload but will also ensure that the event is done well. By fostering teamwork within the committee, you’ll create a well-organized event and also strengthen the sense of fellowship within the lodge.
By forming a committee you’ll also be able to ensure all points of views are considered, especially when it comes to the day and time of your event. Many members of your community may be busy during the work hours so hosting an event on a weekend or a weekday evening may be more suitable. Even consider hosting multiple Open House events, if possible.
Finally, this committee can also be responsible for following up with interested men who attend the Open House. We recommend creating a sign-in sheet for visitors to fill out with their contact information. Members of the committee can reach out to these men following the event to gauge their interest in a Prospect form, if deemed a good fit for Lodge.
- Discuss plans with other local lodges.
Enhance the impact of your Open House event by fostering connections with neighboring lodges. We encourage you to reach out to a lodge or lodges nearby to collaborate and explore the possibility of combining events. This can be especially helpful to lodges with smaller numbers, but we see a benefit for lodges of all sizes! This approach can strengthen regional lodge relationships as well as maximize resources. By working together, you can create a more significant and memorable event for your community and men interested in the craft. It’s a wonderful way to promote fellowship, share ideas, and collectively contribute to the success of Ohio Freemasonry across the state.
Reach out to MemberResources@Freemason.com with any additional questions on the April Open House events.