Many of you know that our executive committee has spent several months taking a deep dive into the lodge budget and finances. Working with the Key 3, committees, and our treasurer, they have analyzed lodge and committee revenues and expenses while carefully looking at historic data and trends. All committees carefully reviewed their budgets and many found ways to cut some expenses. Still, we are projecting an increase in operating expenses that is unavoidable if we are to continue offering the same quality program for which Tutelo Lodge is known.
Declining lodge membership and function attendance over the last several years have had a marked impact on our revenues. Those factors coupled with cost increases highlighted a concern about our function cost vs. what we charge for a function. Our finance team has developed a pretty compelling projection that our (per member) cost for a function in 2019 will be somewhere between $20 and $22. Of course, this is based on historic trends, so increasing membership and attendance will have a positive impact (cost per person actually goes down a little as attendance goes up).
Rather than bank on increased participation (which will remain a key objective), your lodge’s youth leaders made the tough decision at the March meeting to increase function fees. To go into this year knowing we were likely to lose up to $1,500 per function simply wasn’t prudent. All four functions will now cost $20 for early registrants (still an amazing value considering the meals and experience we receive), and the Winter Banquet fee is also increasing by $5.
Similarly, annual passes went up $5 per event and the “bonus” $15 discount was removed. Annual Passes will now cost $125. The majority of the annual pass holders at the meeting were understanding and agreed that the previous annual pass format, which essentially gave free dues and actually cost the lodge $25 over the year was no longer sustainable. We will be looking at a special patch or reward for annual pass holders. Also, there is a contingency in place for those that have already paid for 2019 functions or an annual pass.
Ordeal fees and lodge dues will remain unchanged through this year.
Rest assured every aspect of the budget is being reviewed, not just functions. Also take heart in knowing the lodge executive committee is also looking at ways to improve our functions to increase attendance. Any suggestions for increasing revenues, membership, or participation are always welcome; particularly when it incorporates brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service.
Sam Bystrek Steve Adkins
Lodge Chief Lodge Adviser