Data Analytics and the Future of Freemasonry

According to Technopedia, data analytics refers to qualitative and quantitative techniques and processes used to enhance productivity and business gain. Data is extracted and categorized to identify and analyze behavioral patterns.

Grand Lodge is now doing data analytics and you, as Worshipful Master or Secretary of a Lodge, can see the results in MORI. How do I know this? I attended the Massachusetts Lodge of Research on February 10th and learned all about it. Special thanks to RW Elliot Chikofsky for an informative and entertaining presentation.

Data Mining to Improve Retention and Recruiting Processes

The term “data mining” often has a negative connotation when used in conversation, particularly in a society where antonymous lodges view any outside input or suggestions as “meddling” or “interference”. That may sound harsh, but let’s face it, many brothers feel a certain kind of way when they hear Grand Lodge edicts or receive “assignments” at LOI. Are you one of them?

Please put all of that aside. The data mining being done by Grand Lodge is providing us insights that can help our lodges grow, our members thrive, and our retention numbers improve. By reviewing average attendance, demits, deaths, and newly raised candidates, we are able to see growth and recession patterns. When we do it district-wide or across the jurisdiction we can see behavioral patterns.

Applying data analytics to behavioral patterns is how businesses solve problems. Freemasonry, as you’ve heard me say many times before, is a business to those responsible for managing it. For a business, decreased sales numbers and increasing costs will eventually result in failure. For Freemasonry, declining membership and higher operating expenses are sending us down that same road.

How do we stop the bleeding? First, we must understand the problem. This is done by analyzing the data, a process that doesn’t happen without first doing some data mining. What questions do we need to ask? Membership numbers and attendance are good, but what about age demographics and geographical data? We have the raw data to compile statistics on those now. What else do we need?

How can you assist in this effort?

The primary source of data for this analysis is MORI, but the reports will only be as good as the data that is input into the system. Your lodge secretary should be keeping track of meeting attendance, every meeting, not just once in a while. The Master and Finance Committee should meet regularly to go over demits and NPD’s.

You could also join the Massachusetts Lodge of Research. They meet quarterly and the location varies from meeting to meeting, so you’re almost certain to be able to attend one that is geographically nearby. For more information on that, visit their Facebook page or email me for more info:

WordPress Insights and Google Analytics

If you’re looking for more data on how your lodge is doing, go to the “stats” page of your WordPress dashboard. You’ll see tabs for traffic, insights, and activity. These numbers show what your online presence looks like. If you’ve been following Hiram’s Edge and using the techniques we’ve outlined for you, those data fields should be filling up.

Google Analytics can be activated in your WordPress dashboard under “settings >> traffic”. The insights provided in Google’s analytics program can tell you who is visiting your site and from where. You can see the point of acquisition for each traffic “hit”. And most importantly, you can see “user behavior”.

Start paying attention to WordPress and Google Analytics now, because new MORI reports coming out should be viewed side by side with these data analytics. Think about the questions you’ll be able to answer. Does higher web traffic equal more candidates? Are you getting visitors who live in your lodge home town? What are the ages and gender of your visitors?  Do those statistics match your member stats?

Data analytics is a powerful tool and we as Masonic leaders need to embrace the concept and use it to strengthen our fraternity. You’ll be hearing more about this in the upcoming months. I might even write an LOI about it …


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