Scriveners Lodge No. 9588 is the Middlesex Lodge for Secretaries, present and past, and they invited two members of the Provincial Communications Committee (PCC) to attend their meeting on Saturday 29 September to discuss the subject of communications in the Province.
This was their ‘breakfast meeting’ with a hearty breakfast being served at 9.30am before the Lodge tyled at 10.30am.
After the usual Lodge business, Nigel Codron, Assistant Provincial Grand Master and Chairman of the PCC addressed those present. He began with some comments on the role and current strength of the Lodge.
This was relevant because whilst there were a good number present, the Temple was not full, and they may want to try a different approach to reach out to the large number of Secretaries in the Province, who might join.
He went on to explain how the PCC had been reorganised, after taking advice on best practise from colleagues in other Provinces.
It was an unfortunate fact that Middlesex had consistently been at the bottom of the UGLE Media table of coverage, with all other Provinces gaining more coverage for several years. He set out to assemble a team with media, journalism and marketing experience, starting with appointing Omaid Hiwaizi, a digital marketing expert, as Secretary and he temporarily took over the role of Provincial Communications Officer.
Nigel and Omaid progressed a plan to deliver against three objectives:
1) Make our members feel more engaged, active and positive about their Masonry,
2) Attract new members from our catchment area
3) Position Freemasonry in a positive light to family, friends and the media.
The team was expanded with members with journalism, digital skills, photographers and representatives of various Provincial clubs, and now numbers over 20.
The team rebuilt the Provincial website to make it clearer, more functional, easier to update and work well on mobile phones. They also developed a monthly newsletter sent by email, the Mercury Lite, and the reviewed the tone of voice and frequency of updates on social media accounts.
Key to delivering the objectives is developing content; news and updates from around the Province.
Nigel explained that there had been several different approaches tried to achieve this flow of content, but none had worked consistently.
The approach currently being implemented was the appointment of Media Representatives in every Lodge and Chapter.
These would ideally be more junior members, who would be briefed to spot the type of news that would make a good story, then take pics and send a draft or a short written overview to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An issue which Nigel highlighted was that currently only 50% of emails sent to our database of members were opened, and while this is way ahead of commercial benchmarks, he would like more members to open and benefit from these communications.
He then handed over to Omaid Hiwaizi, who gave an overview of the “Discover Freemasonry” event for prospective members and the public, held at Twickenham the previous week.
After describing the innovative process using social media, by which they had achieved 192 registrations, of which 88 confirmed when telephoned and 42 turned up on the day (reminded with an SMS that morning).
Of those, 18 completed enquiry forms on the night, and others were expected to be forthcoming.
The wide-ranging content had definitely struck a chord and the exercise is to be repeated at Harrow on Monday 19th November 2018. They are hoping to improve on the outcome using the learnings of the event at Twickenham.
The talk by Nigel and Omaid was greeted with appreciation and applause and a number of interesting questions posed.
The Lodge’s business was concluded but not before the retirement of the Lodge’s long serving and universally loved Tyler, W. Bro. Alan Laver, PPrGSuptWks, who had served the Lodge for many years.
This was due to his own ill health and having to care for his wife, herself in ill health. He was admitted into the Lodge and thanked by the Master, a gesture all present approved of with loud applause.
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