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LIPMA Annual Meeting and District Investiture

Brothers,

The Annual LIPMA meeting and Suffolk District Investiture are right around the corner. The last 3 years have certainly been challenging and sometimes a bit frustrating. But we, through the hard work and dedication of many, persevered and in some ways even flourished.

As we wind up another Masonic season and the newly elected Masters of the Suffolk Masonic District gather to be invested with the secrets of the Chair, we look forward to what new leadership will bring to the table and build up the foundations of what has come before.

The investiture schedule and details can be found on the events page here -> LIPMA Annual Meeting/District Investiture – Suffolk Masonic District (suffolkmasons.com)

Dinner tickets are on sale now.

The Masters-elect attending will be guests of the LIPMA but should RSVP your attendance to the President of the LIPMA – V:.W:. William Arnold  – billarnold@optonline.net

Please see the event page for further detail. All those not on the investing team arrival time is 3 PM Sharp (LIPMA opens their business meeting)

Members of the Investing team should arrive before 2 PM for the rehearsal.

Dinner will be 6:30 PM for all those with paid ticket.

All Masters -elect should also (either through their Lodge or individually) submit their application to join the LIPMA and their dues, this can be done here -> https://lipma.org/join-lipma/

You can pay online or print the app and mail or bring with you with a check for the dues.

Your application will be read and if accepted a lifetime membership.

Lots of Changes for 2022…a recap

2021 and 2022 have been very unique years for all and especially Freemasonry. The pandemic had us staying home and trying to organize online video meetings and such just to keep in touch with our brothers. This also gave rise to brainstorming on how we could improve some aspects of the way we do things.

To many Brothers, nothing is more grating a sound to the ears than hearing the phrase “because that is how we always did it”. Now there is always or should always be a consideration for the past. But let’s face it, not everything that worked 20 or more years ago works today.

We often hear that everything moves slowly in Freemasonry. Well, that may be true but the last 2 or so years have seen a paradigm shift in this thinking. Over the last 2 years WMs, District, and GL officers had to “think quickly” and come up with solutions to problems that were neither anticipated nor considered frankly. This led to changes that for the most part were good for the Fraternity or maybe the jury is still out on some.

One change has focused on communications and how lodges, at least in our district, have “solved” or at least attempted to solve. How to keep all who wish “in the loop” when it comes to events and what other lodges are doing. Although it may seem that each lodge is an island unto itself, we cannot allow this to happen. Working in isolated silos works against all our interests. What works for a lodge to help them with members, finances, etc. should not be kept secret and should be shared.

The LIPMA (Long Island Past Masters Assoc.) has been attempting to help facilitate that sharing and collaboration we should be seeing. One way they are doing that is to try and have a consolidated outlet of news and information to distribute to all members of the Suffolk District or others. Some have embraced this and others have not yet. Having a consolidated events calendar is the first focus.

A one-stop-shop for all events happening at Lodges and concordant bodies in and around the Suffolk District. This includes obtaining tickets to paid events and fundraisers. Instead of waiting for tickets to be mailed to a member or lodge, they can go and pick them up anytime they like, 24/7/365. LIPMA even went the extra mile on this to assure that those that post events/fundraisers get their funds from the event quickly and electronically. Several have already taken advantage of this system and are either in progress or soon will be. You can check out events and purchase tickets anytime anywhere by going here and finding the upcoming events you would like to attend -> Suffolk District Events

Another change you may notice is communication on the District BAND. Brothers are signing on and sharing experiences and what’s happening at their lodges, requesting assistance, or just joshing with Brother online. The monthly newsletter is also back and hopefully, many brothers are receiving it and have a look at the goings-on around the District and the jurisdiction and beyond. The Grand Lodge of New York is also collaborating with CraftsmanOnline.com to bring excellent education to anyone who desires it. If you are not getting the District News Letter, you can sign up for that on suffolkmasons.com or go here -> Craftsmen Online – Suffolk Masonic District (suffolkmasons.com) and look for the blue mailbox with the S&Q and type in your email address.

It only took 22 years but it seems to me that Freemasonry is finally taking bold steps into the 21st century.

So here is the recap:

  • The suffolkmasons.com for the Suffolk Masonic District is new and improved.
  • Online ticket sales have taken off and received well by most. (don’t forget to purchase your tickets for the upcoming District Dinner at Polish Hall).
  • every day new members join the District Band. The BAND is for members only and updates the suffolkmasons.com events calendar daily. Feel free to add your Lodge events to the Suffolk District BAND so they can be published on the District Website.
  • Post articles of interest on the BAND and they may make it onto the website. Be sure and give credit for yourself and any contributors including photo credits.
  • The Suffolkmasons.com site is encrypted and secured, so feel comfortable with using it.

All of these solutions are for the brothers of the district and set up for your use. We are hoping for others to wade in and also think outside the square so to speak and find solutions that work and share these with your brothers. Everybody has ideas and we must seek that noble contention, or emulation, of who can best work and best agree.

A united front on getting information out to the District is critical. Too many times I have heard that “I didn’t hear about this” phrase. In this day in age there is no reason for that. Any member can post to the BAND and add to the calendar. Yes it’s moderated so we must remember our obligations when posting but there is no reason why brothers should be lacking information. I mean come on; we hold in our hands the aggregate sum of all human knowledge on a daily basis. if you didn’t hear about an event then chances are you didn’t want to hear about it.

If you would like more information about some of the changes or to recommend some, please get in touch. Leave a comment below reach out on BAND or send me and email, webmaster@suffolkmasons.com

 

Demand for Events has taken off!

As the days get longer and brighter, the demand for live events is building. New data reveals that consumers are buying tickets at a rate we haven’t seen since before the pandemic. The proof is in the numbers.

Since the start of 2022:

✔Tickets sales for entertainment events are up 176% in NYC and 127% in LA

✔Ticket sales for food and drink events are up 158% in NYC and 141% in LA

✔Ticket sales for concerts are up 100% in NYC and Boston

✔Ticket sales for health and wellness events are up 179% in Houston

The above is just a snapshot that reflects national trends.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to kick off and explore that new event idea, now is the time to act on the attendee demand that’s sweeping the nation. Whether you are holing a small dinner or a full-fledged party or musical event, now is the time!

If you are the member of your Lodge, or in the district, that is responsible for creating and running events there are a few things to remember:

  • Plan your event far enough in the future that you can assure you will have a good pool of potential attendees and not run events on the same day at the same time as your neighbor Lodges. This takes communication with the Masters & Wardens of the Lodges in the area (District).
  • Once you have a plan and are set, begin promoting your event at least 2 or 3 months ahead of time.
  • Selling tickets is a Lodge decision on how much and how many to expect to get the planned budget right. We have found that if tickets are to be sold and pre-paid ahead of the event, when the event nears it’s a cinch to adjust the budget accordingly to for the number of attendees. As opposed to just pay at the door. We all know RSVP is a four-letter word to Masons.
  • Promote your event as widely as possible and keep up with it, send reminders and updates periodically.

The Suffolk Masonic District and the LIPMA have teamed up to bring Hiram’s Tickets to all the Lodges and appendant bodies in the area. You can sell tickets to your Lodge or appendant body event right from the suffolkmasons.com website event pages. There is a cost as the system is a professionally coded and implemented software suite. The cost is minimal, just $1.00 per ticket sold.  So, what do you get for your $1.00/ticket price?

  • No messing with online merchant accounts, LIPMA will process all PayPal, Venmo, Credit/Debit Cards for you. The Credit Debit fee is passed onto the buyer, so the Lodge or organization does not absorb that fee.
  • Automatic payouts the day of the event to a personal or business PayPal account (minus the $1.00/ticket LIPMA fee).
  • You have total control of the event from creation to updates. Logon to suffolkmasons.com and click “My Events” on the top menu and add your Lodge or Organization event, dates, times, add images, etc.
  • Add tickets, how much, then they go on sale, when to end the sale.
  • Add a ticket image to make sure the buyer knows which event it’s for.
  • Email promotion to over 500 emails addresses in our DB, growing daily. Includes announcement, ticket promotion, reminders and an after event thank you note.
  • 24/7 access to your attendee list and sales reports
  • Online check-in via the website (attendees report) or via iOS or Android smartphone app (request the phone app code from the admins prior to your event).
  • The attendees list contains a valid guest list for future event promotion.

A representative from LIPMA can come and explain more if requested.

Let’s get those events listed. At the very least you should enter your event on the Suffolk District BAND and this calendar is sync’d with the suffolkmasons.com website calendar so it will be listed tickets or no tickets and there is never a cost to add non-ticketed events. In fact, you can create RSVPs as well and there’s no fee on that either.

If you would like more information, you can check out this post for more detail -> Introducing Suffolk Masonic events tickets powered by LIPMA

Introducing Suffolk Masonic Events & Tickets Powered by lipma

The internet is a wonderful thing sometimes. Growing up in the 70s through 90s if we needed information we went to the library or looked it up in your home encyclopedia, etc. Nowadays we hold the sum of human knowledge in the palm of our hands.

I remember getting tickets to see Van Halen 1984 at Madison Square Garden and I still remember getting the paper ticket in my hands. Luckily my cousin was an executive assistant to one of the owners of the Garden at that time, so the tickets were relatively easy to get. Convincing my parents I was old enough to join my cousins and older brother at the concert, not so much.

Over the past year or so the executive board has been discussing how to give back to the district and not just host a once a year summer soirée. (Hint we may make the Holiday Gala a yearly event as well).

As the plans for the Holiday Gala were being finalized we decided that the tickets would be sold online and we’d give the ability to pay for them with Credit/Debit Card, Venmo or PayPal. The point was we wanted the members of the LIPMA who run the event to actually be able to enjoy themselves at the event and not spend half the event collecting tickets, checking in guests and counting money or checks. So we opted for a 100% prepaid ticket model. So far it’s exceeded expectations.

With the results of that effort working exceptionally well for the event and LIPMA, we saw and opportunity to offer this same tech and convenience to the Lodges, members and appendant bodies in an around the Suffolk Masonic District.

So we expanded the use of the Events calendar and tickets you saw in action with the LIPMA Holiday Gala to the Suffolkmasons.com website and set it so any registered member can add events and create tickets for their event, whether is be a Lodge fundraiser or a District wide event.

So what do you need to do this? Simple you must register with the website and be approved. Once you create a login on the suffolkmasons.com website you will be able to create events with all the details you will need, who, what, where and when. To create a paid ticket you or your Lodge or organization will need a PayPal registered email address. If you have a PayPal email you would know. The Community events & Tickets will employ some interesting technology. It will include split payments and PayPal payouts. This is why you will need a PayPal related email to collect fund via PayPal, Venmo or Credit/Debit Card. So if you have an PayPal account already your all set. If not it’s a 2 minute setup with PayPal. No merchant (Credit Card Processor) account needed. LIPMA will complete the payments on the ‘day of’ your event, all the funds collected, minus the ticket fee, are then paid to the supplied PayPal email/account. Sorry at this point only PayPal is support by the software.

So what are a few of the pros and cons to this method of selling tickets with Suffolk Masonic Events & Tickets?

Pros

  • Get Paid in advance for events
  • Get better RSVPs/headcounts
  • no need to distribute paper tickets
  • generate online reports for sales and attendees
  • leverage social media and other avenues to promote and sell tickets
  • Check in guests with a smartphone (iPhone/Android) with a app.

Cons

  • Slight added cost to tickets and your event
  • There may be more but I can’t find any.

As you can see there is a definite benefit to selling your event tickets online. So what’s the downside? Well the software that runs the system is not ‘inexpensive’. So we have implemented a ticket fee which we believe was fair to all. So when you create tickets, the fee is subtracted from the total. It will most likely be $1.00 per ticket. Plus the merchant (credit Debit Card) processing fee, which is currently 3.7% + 0.49 per transaction. This must be taken into account when creating tickets for your event. So if you expect to collect $25/per person for your event, you would need to create tickets for about $28.00 to recoup ~$25.00 after fees are collected.

A Zoom or in person instruction will be announced to walk anyone interested in learning how to navigate and add events & tickets and get paid for the tickets. We sincerely hope that the members of the District will use and take advantage of the system and actually enjoy the events that they plan. Or those who have the online knowledge, jump right it and start creating events and tickets.

On the day of your event one or a few members with smartphones scan QR codes at the door to check in your guests and verify attendance and generate reports.

Payouts: Well due to several factors, one being refunds or reversals, LIPMA will hold all funds collected until the day of the event. On the day of the event the orders will be ‘Completed” and the funds processed. within 24 hours PayPal will send payouts to the supplied PayPal email for the event organizer (the person who and set the tickets and supplied the PayPal Email) minus the $1.00/ ticket fee and merchant fees. Since we are adding these fees at checkout the consumer is paying these fees as part of the ticket price. So the event organizer will get their price per ticket and LIPMA generates the funds to make the system self sustaining. Everybody wins.

A detailed step-by-step guide will be posted in the File Manager which is also added to the suffolkmasons.com under “Your Account” which cannot be accessed until after you register and login.

One of the most useful added features of Suffolk Masons Event Tickets is the ability to check-in attendees to your events via QR code. These scannable codes are generated automatically for all ticket purchases or reservations, and each code references a unique URL that can be used to quickly check-in guests without needing to manually access your attendees list.

Event Tickets Plus App

Our Event Tickets Plus App is the easiest and fastest way to check-in your attendees directly from your Android or iOS device without the need to log in to your site. Simply install and connect to your site using an API key and start scanning your tickets.

Download the app from:

Once you have registered, created an event, created a ticket with a PayPal associated email and the event is approved, your off to the races. Each person that purchases a ticket or RSVP’s to your event, you will receive and email notification (the organizer)). You can go onto the system anytime and check attendees and sales, export, print or email your reports.

The day of your event, there is nothing for your to do really but enjoy. The orders will be processed to complete and the batch payout will run and send the payment to the supplied email. Its that simple.