A budget should be used in every Masonic Lodge. You may not have thought about it, but everyone makes use of budgets in one way or another. This is true in every aspect of life,
whether it be conserving energy for use in the final minutes of a game,
or reducing automobile speed to stretch-out the remaining gasoline supply until you can reach a gas station.

    Budgeting is necessary to attain your desired goals and to keep your planning within the realm of reality. It requires a systematic evaluation of estimated income and expenditures to ensure that funding will be available for programs, activities and building maintenance.


The first step in creating a budget is to estimate the income that the Lodge will receive. All budgets must eventually relate to the resources or income available. These resources are determined by the size of your Lodge’s membership, amount of investment yield,
and other sources. It is not, however, the most important aspect of the budgeting process, as we shall see later. These Lodge resources are typically made up of one or more of the following:

1)    Dues 2)    Interest and Dividends 3)    Sale of Stocks or Bonds 4)    Income from rental property 5)    Applications and Affiliations 6)    Donations 7)    Other

Consult with your Secretary and Treasurer to learn how much money is available in the several accounts held by the Lodge,
and to determine the amount of the annual income which may be expected from each account. Funds available to your Lodge may be estimated by filling out the budget form shown in Appendix D.


    The second element is to determine the costs associated with your Lodge, and without which it cannot function. These are the fixed costs, and should be itemized separately from non-fixed or discretionary expenses. Fixed costs should include the following:

1)    Rent/Maintenance 2)    Utilities 3)    Salaries and associated taxes 4)    Trestleboard printing and postage 5)    Telephone 6)    Per-Capita tax

This list is presented as a suggested guide for planning.
Actual fixed cost items can only be determined by considering your Lodge’s unique situation.


Once the resources and fixed expenses are identified and cataloged, the real task of budgeting can begin. After all revenues are identified, and the totals compared, you will have a good idea of the amount of money available for your special programs or your program budget. This is the point where dreams become realities as your ideas for the Lodge start to take shape in the form of realistic programs.


When you have determined what your budget allows, you will have to make some project or program choices. Projects and programs can be very expensive or very inexpensive. It all depends upon what you plan and how you execute it. The costs of various projects and programs must be carefully estimated if you are to come up with a realistic budget.
The following items should be considered in your estimates:

1)    Printing costs (special trestleboard inserts, flyers,
programs, tickets, etc.)

2)    Postage for flyers and/or tickets

3)    Entertainment costs (Musicians, entertainers, scenery and misc. for home or local talent, etc.)

4)    Decoration costs

5)    Food or refreshments (include condiments, paper goods,

You may not have all the details for each of your programs worked out to the level shown above; but the closer that you can come,
the better your estimate will be.


As soon as you have determined what your budget allows,
and how much your proposed projects and programs cost, you will have to make the hard decision as to which programs you can afford, and which you will have to drop. Benefits of possible programs are not easily evaluated,
but they must be considered if you are to present your lodge with an interesting plan of activities. You need to choose programs that will be enjoyable for the majority of the members and will be well attended. The following points may help you in this decision process:

1)    Would the majority of the members be likely to attend?
(Are most of the members interested in this type of program or is it too specialized – for example, a bridge tournament as opposed to a cribbage tournament?)

2)    Is there a cost to individuals attending? (If the cost is beyond the means of the members of your Lodge, then you can’t expect very many to attend. In addition, Senior Citizens often have a limited income and cannot afford functions that are too expensive.)

3)    Is the distance to the event too far for most members?
(Should a bus or other transportation be provided?)

4)    Is the event too late in the day for most members?
(Again, Senior Citizens would be unlikely to attend late evening events,
but could be available to attend week-day activities.)

5)    What is the accessibility of the facility where the program is to be held? (Uneven terrain or a great many steps could mar tfre enjoyment of those members who are Senior Citizens or who are disabled).

Finally, you must estimate the value or benefit to the membership of a proposed program, and relate it to the cost of the program. The relative benefits of alternative programs must each be considered in light of their respective cost. Those programs which yield the greatest benefit to your lodge for the least cost are the most effective.


Not all programs need to be funded entirely by the Lodge revenues. A significant portion of the costs related to some kinds of programs could properly be borne by those who choose to participate.
For example, a Family Night Program that involves a dinner with a Magician’s act following the dinner could properly charge those attending a donation for the dinner plus some or all of the entertainment. In those instances,
it is recommended that the precise amount of lodge contribution to the program be identified early, and that the user portion of the program costs be advertised in the trestleboard well in advance of the event.
Be sure to state definite cutoff dates for reservations. Also any necessary deposits should be requested at that time. This will have the effect of reducing the number of “no-shows” and will also provide working capital for the program. In many instances, programs can be put together which cost very little and yet are still of great interest to many people.
Examples of these might include a tour of some private or public facility such as a major dam and powerhouse, a pulp mill factory, a historical museum, train or car museum or… Look around your area, and use your imagination. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a great resource tool that you can use for facilities appropriate to your area.

Also, public relations offices are established by many firms and public agencies to make their services known and to establish good rapport with the general public. They often welcome guided tours of interesting operations. Taking advantage of such services may materially reduce your program costs and at the same time provide an interesting program. In some cases, it can even make a good program possible in the first place. An excellent program does not have to be expensive.


You now come to the best part of the budgeting process.
You have by now completed the project or program evaluation process and know how much revenue is available for these items. In some instances you may have determined that the benefits to be derived from a particular program warrant its full support by lodge funds. In others, participant charges for all or a portion of the program costs may be warranted. For still others, you may have decided that the lodge cannot afford the program at this time and may have chosen to give the idea to one of your Wardens for their use at a later date. You are now ready to finalize your plan and to correlate your budget with the calendar from your Annual Plan. Your preliminary budget,
with your calendar, should be submitted to your budget committee for review and their comments.

The final budget should ten be prepared by the budget committee for submittal to and approval by the Lodge. After the budget is approved by the Lodge your plan is ready to submit to your Entertainment Chairman for implementation.

REMEMBER, your budget is a plan and as such is subject to change. Don’t hesitate to change the plan, with the approval of the Lodge, when it becomes necessary.


BOAZ LODGE NO. 59, A. F. A. M.

January 2, 1997


    The Budget and Finance Committee met on December 31, 1996 to prepare a Proposed Budget for 1997,
which the Committee recommends as follows:


Estimated Income
1996 Actual
1996 Budged
Dues $7,410.00


Income from Suppers $2,240.00 $2,000.00
Interest on Lodge Investments $300.00 $300.00
Interest on Checking Account $15.00 $10.00
Miscellaneous $320.00 0.00
$10,285.00 $9,860.00
Secretary’s Expenses $1,100.00 1,175.00
Rent $4,200.00 $4,200.00
Aprons $150.00 $180.00
Postage 385.00 400.00
Sewer 300.00 425.00
Electricity 485.00 500.00
Salaries 800.00 800.00
Per Capita 1,852.50 1,852.50
$9,272.50 $9,532.50

The following will summarize the Committee’s considerations in preparing the proposed 1997 budget.

Dues $7.410.00. The dues estimate was based on 247 dues paying members at $30 each.

Application Fees. Following a policy established several years ago, we should not rely on the uncertain receipt of application fees in order to prepare the lodge budget.

Secretary’s Expense and Printing $1,175.00. These amounts were estimated as follows:

Trestle Boards 240.00
Installation Printing 50.00
Secretary salary 500.00
Supplies and envelopes 200.00
Cards for members 150.00
Miscellaneous 35.00


Mailing permits 60.00
Trestle Boards 250.00
Birthday cards 50.00
Miscellaneous 40.00



Aprons $180.00. It was estimated that we will purchase a six candidates aprons.
Postage $400. The postage expense was estimated as follows: Per Capita
$1,852.50. Total per capita tax was computed at $7.50 for each of the 247 members.

Respectfully submitted,

Section 5: How To Put Together A Team