In the past 24 months or so we saw some interesting things like virtual Lodge meetings and alike. Times sure do change in the blink of an eye. I suppose this also could be a consequence of the storied “NY Minute”. Either way we have managed to stay together and come out, what looks like it may be the light at the end of the tunnel, stronger than when we went in.
Lodges and member of the District put on their thinking caps and came up with, what I might say are ingenuous and unique ways to communicate with members of their Lodges.
After speaking with members from different Lodges and getting more ideas it still seems to me that one that is chosen is still most promising. There are currently 150+ member of the Suffolk District on BAND. Don’t know what BAND is or never heard of it? Well you can go here to learn more -> BAND
This platform like any other is not perfect but it’s not rife with hundreds o thousands or millions of “other” users. It possesses most the features of a FB or other social media but definitely better customization and fewer ads and alike. But more on that later.
The key is that I can connect the District Website Calendar and the BAND events calendar to keep them in sync so any event put on the Suffolk District BAND Calendar will within 24 hours be on the District Website calendar. Good news for the staff that maintains them both….yours truly. Beyond the time savings it also allow for public and private chats, Posting items of interest, Looking up other members that you may need to get in touch with, Sending alerts to some or all members, Adding items like to-dos, events, signups, attendance, etc. to posts. Plus a myriad of other features we hardly use but could prove useful. Even live streaming and video conferencing are included.
Not to hype this too much but it would be fantastic if more Brothers from the District would sign themselves onto the BAND (link above). Lodges can even create BANDs for their Lodge and see them all in one place and post to multiple bands at once.
With the announcement of the “New” suffolkmasons.com website there have been a few Brothers that have registered there as well. If they poke around they will notice a few things like a file repository where common files for Masons can be found. Great if your in a pinch and need a document or application, etc. it’s at your fingertips on a PC, smartphone, etc.
Something new being bandied about is adding a feature set to the https://suffolkmasons.com/events page. We currently use the “Events Calendar” by Modern Tribe to handle the events around the district. There are more options available and it would be great to see if we can’t take advantage of these. Namely Community Events. What Community Events addition would give us is the ability to allow members of Lodges to add their own events and sell tickets online using options like PayPal or alike to collect funds. Since this is a additional cost and the LIPMA is discussing powering this system there would be a site fee to create and sell tickets on the suffolkmasons.com website, maybe $1.00/ticket for example. There is also a component that allows for fee splitting. This is the key feature. It will split the payment between the event host and site host. So as each online payment is made, the exampled $1.00 would go to LIPMA and the rest of the payment to the event host. This fee could be added at checkout and combined with Credit/Debit transaction fees or just taken from the total. Either way the system is self sustaining and available to all. If anyone has used a paid system called Eventbrite, you will already know how this works.
This could be a good thing for the Lodges of the District for fundraising and assuring you are getting paid for the tickets you sell instead of mailing tickets all over never knowing if and when they will come back.
If anyone would like to discuss the potential pros/cons of this it would be a pleasure to discuss. There will be a public chat opened of the Suffolk District Band for this topic and I hope to get feedback and input on this and bring it to fruition for the Lodges of the Suffolk Masonic District.
- Posted by William Arnold
- On November 4, 2021
- 1 Comment