No I’m not trying to convince your lodge to join me in a multi-level marketing scheme selling soap powder or vitamins to your friends. But I think I have stumbled across the perfect fundraiser!
Recently on a Scottish Rite mobile app I read a post created by Illustrious Brother Micah Evans, 33° who is the Secretary General of the Valley of Omaha , Nebraska. Brother Evans explained the local Knights of Andrew was holding a yard sale. This in itself isn't all that impressive but this was a special kind of yard sale. The Knights were holding a MASONIC YARD SALE!
The Brethren within the Valley of Omaha are asked to donate unwanted Masonic items like chapeaus, swords, Masonic watches, rings..etc and the items are offered for sale to the membership. The most recent sale brought in over nine hundred dollars from items that would have continued gathering dust in some dark corner of a Brothers home.
When I read about this program my mind began to wonder. During my misbegotten youth I used to be the building manager of a Masonic temple. Several times a month I would get a call from a widow or the child of a Mason. They would tell me their father or husband had passed away and they had an whole trunk of “Masonic stuff” the departed member had left behind and wondered what to do with it.
I've known several times my lodge came upon the same issue. In many cases, a member of the lodge would pick up the items and put them in a closet in a dark corner of the temple where these items would reside until it was decided they needed to go into a dumpster.
So many times you see a Masonic item listed on eBay which were purchased in an estate sale and put up for sale to the profane world for some crazy opening bid (You know the person believes the piece is priceless because it's Masonic, and all Masons are rich). Wouldn't it be better if these pieces of Masonic history be offered to the membership and help to raise funds for a lodge or another Masonic body?
My thought is if one Brother (or several) would be willing to gather items donated by members or members families, sift through the donations and throw away stained or broken items and price the remaining merchandise, then before stated meetings and degree work (or any Masonic event) the items could be placed on a table and offered for sale. Capital outlay is virtually nothing so if your revenue was only fifty dollars at each meeting and you made the same amount over the course of a year, this small enterprise could bring in five hundred dollars! That is five hundred dollars which in many ways would be like “found money” which could be used in a number of ways.
If this venture is deemed to be a success, you might even consider setting up your stand alongside the information superhighway. If you have a member who is somewhat tech savvy you could even offer your merchandise for sale on a site such as Etsy, or even start an eBay store of your own. The sky is the limit!
I'm not saying your lodge will get rich or save your temple from the auctioneers hammer but let's face it, neither will a fish fry or flipping pancakes. In my opinion, this is a great way for your temple or lodge to make some money and help recycle some once treasures Masonic items which would otherwise end up in a dumpster or cluttering your house.