As Freemasons, we strive to help make good men become even better by sharing the ethical and philosophical teachings of our Craft. These lessons are made all the more meaningful through our Brethren, the dignified men of our Brotherhood who support one another in their journey towards self-improvement. Bringing in new Brothers is essential to continuing this mission and securing the future of our fraternity.

However, we know that finding the right men can be a challenge. And on top of that, setting up the proper processes needed to ensure that you are adequately guiding these men through the process of becoming a Mason can be just as, if not more, challenging.

The Grand Lodge of Wisconsin has faced those challenges head on. Their ongoing digital marketing campaign has been extremely effective in not just raising awareness of Wisconsin Freemasonry, but also in helping their state manage and welcome their newest Brothers. We spoke with the Grand Lodge’s Membership Committee Chairman, Illustrious Brother Mike Burnham, 33°, about their strategic plan and how it has helped them improve their recruitment process.

Read on to learn more and hear Ill. Brother Burnham’s advice for Grand Lodges and Valleys looking to similarly enhance their new member experience.

1. Why did you start this membership campaign? What were you doing before, as it relates to recruitment of new members, that led to make this switch?

Before we began this campaign, we’d only receive five leads (in this case, a lead is a prospective Mason that reached out with interest in joining) a week of varying quality from our website. Simply put, we weren’t getting as many inquiries from prospective Brothers as we’d like. To change this, we decided to create a campaign that would raise the visibility of Freemasonry in the state and started by deploying social media and Google advertisements to garner more attention and engagement.

In a broader sense, we also wanted to become a more authoritative voice of Freemasonry – we wanted to take control of our narrative. You can find a lot of unreliable information about Freemasonry online, so, with this campaign, we wanted to ensure that our voice was being heard through all of the noise.

We presented this campaign during the 2022 Conference of Grand Masters and found that this is a sentiment that is widely shared among Brothers.

2. As part of this campaign, your team began using HubSpot, a digital marketing tool. What led to the decision to incorporate HubSpot into your recruitment efforts?

According to a survey from the Scottish Rite’s Path Forward initiative, 68% of leads surveyed were not followed up with by a Masonic official. We wanted to create that accountability, starting at a state level. We have 12 districts in our state, so we wanted to ensure that district membership representatives were a part of the process, and that we were able to hand off leads to the appropriate district so that nothing would fall through the cracks. The digital marketing tool HubSpot has helped hold us accountable and has made it easier for both the Grand Lodge and our District representatives to track our engagement with prospective Brothers.

The tool itself is easy to set-up, however, there is a learning curve to understanding how the whole system truly works at a high-level. If you can show someone how the digital funnel system works and explain the rationale behind using the tool, it’s then much easier to understand.

HubSpot dashboard
The Grand Lodge of Wisconsin’s HubSpot dashboard, detailing how their campaign is impacting website traffic, new member inquiries, and more.

Note from Supreme Council: HubSpot is a sales and marketing tool that can be used to collect, store, and track engagements with prospective members - whether they inquire through a form on your website, an email, advertisement, or phone call. Leads entered into the HubSpot system are then led through a “digital funnel” that helps convert prospective Brothers into members. The “digital funnel” is customizable and will vary by each organization. Learn more about HubSpot’s lead management tool here.

The HubSpot dashboard above displays an overview of the organization’s performance to-date. It shows how many new contacts have been entered into the system, where they made their first contact expressing interest in becoming a Mason (a Facebook advertisement, directly on the website, etc.) and more.

3. What differences have you seen in your recruitment efforts since starting this new campaign to become an authoritative voice in Freemasonry?

We have definitely seen a big difference. Before this, as mentioned earlier, we were seeing on average five people a week reaching out with interest through our website. Last week we had 44 – this is an over 700% increase, which is fantastic. This is due to not just our use of HubSpot, but increased efforts and investment in Google and Facebook advertising. We’ve been leveraging the BeAFreemason.org and “Not Just A Man. A Mason.” materials in our ads and messaging, and it’s been working well.

Facebook ad examples for Freemasonry
Examples of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin’s Facebook advertisements, which utilize assets from the Supreme Council’s “Not Just A Man. A Mason.” campaign (right).

4. What advice do you have for other Valleys or Grand Lodges who might be looking to strengthen their recruitment efforts?

First, we must all be willing to take control of our narrative and have an authoritative online presence. Promoting BeAFreemason.org, as well as assets from the “Not Just a Man, A Mason.” campaign have been beneficial to our efforts, so I would recommend fellow Masons take advantage of these free resources available.

A Facebook Banner from the Scottish Rite, NMJ’s “Not Just a Man. A Mason.” campaign
An example of a “Not Just a Man. A Mason.” asset available for personal and Valley use.

If you’re interested in using assets from the “Not Just a Man. A Mason.” campaign, visit our website.

Secondly, we should fully respect each and every lead. If a man is willing to take the time to reach out to us, we need to do a good job of welcoming him and guiding him through the steps it takes to become a Freemason so that the process is as seamless as it can be.

5. What are you looking forward to in the future?

There are so many possibilities. When we started this campaign, we wanted to start small so that we could nail down the process without getting overwhelmed. We started this process with the mindset that we are “building an engine and asking for gas money.” What we mean is that we’ve built this system and are slowly pushing the accelerator. We’re excited to keep pushing and see where it leads.