The DMCA, being a registered charity, acts as a collecting agency for the Province and the normal target for our giving is the Mark Benevolent Fund which is administered by Mark Grand Lodge in London.
The first thing to note is that all the money held by the DMCA belongs to either a Lodge or an Individual Brother and should be traceable as such.
The money comes in usually through a Charity Steward, although some brethren do submit one off donations direct to the DMCA. The first route through the Charity Steward is preferred so that they will have a record. The Charity Steward has to communicate whether the donation has to be booked against the Lodge or against Individual Brethren and if so, a list of the brethren and the amounts for each brother included is required with the submission. If you do not
advise the DMCA of the detail, then it will automatically go against the Lodge. It will be recorded at the date it is receive it, therefore although you may be submitting money that was collected prior to the DMCA accounting year, it is the date when it is actually received that counts.
Over the past 20 years we have had additional charity targets such as the 150th Anniversary of the Province in 2007, where to celebrate that Anniversary we put money aside to go to Devon Ambulance etc.. We have also had specific donations to support the Craft in the Foot and Mouth Appeal and as you all know we also do give to Local Non-Masonic Charities. However the bulk of our funds will always be for supporting the Mark Benevolent Fund.
Devon hosted one of the annual Festivals held on behalf of the Mark Benevolent Fund in 2016. The total raised was £1,014,000. When this starts the Province is said to be "in Festival". Donations that are given to specifically to support the Festival have to be kept separate, as under the Charity Law they are restricted to go onwards to that specific Festival and to nothing else. However the general donations from earlier years can in theory go to where the DMCA decide, although as already stated, the bulk will always be for the Mark Benevolent Fund.
Receipts by the D.M.C.A.
We receive money as follows:-
First, at Installation when a cheque is presented to the Presiding Officer and this may be a mixture of individual Brethrens donations as well as a general donations on behalf of the Lodge. But we need to be told. We also receive direct, one off donations direct from brethren, hopefully through the Charity Steward, as well as any Gift Aid Envelope collections that have taken place in the Lodge over the year. We will come back to the GAE procedure in more detail later.
Secondly, we receive Standing Order monthly, quarterly or annually direct into a Lloyds Bank account by individual brethrens name. Each of these must be accompanied by a Gift Aid Declaration form, before commencement. Even if a brother is a Non-Tax Payer he should complete the detail on the top section of the form and put a line through the declaration clearly marking it as a Non-Tax Payer. This completes our records and stops us from making false claims. The regular standing order contributions are all controlled by Mike Daniels whose details are on the Standing Order Form and to whom both forms should be sent.
Thirdly, we receive a transfer of the share of the profits from the 150 club, along with a schedule of individual brethren, this is received periodically by the DMCA after their year end which runs from 1st January to 31st December. Although we may try to change this in the coming year to quarterly transfer.
And finally, We receive the Gift Aid Envelopes from the collection that took place at Provincial Grand Lodge. If the DMCA invests some of the money on your behalf we also receive dividends and interest on our investments.
Payments from the D.M.C.A.
We pay money out as follows:-
First when a brother’s donations have reached a level for an award of a Jewel or an upgrade to the next level of Jewel, the DMCA send the requisite money to the Mark Benevolent Fund in London. The MBF then send back to the DMCA the Jewel and Collarette requested. At one time they used to engrave the brothers name on the back, but today they send an accompanying certificate. When an amount is sent to London for a jewel, that amount reduces the balance held in the individual brothers' name by the DMCA.
Secondly when a Lodge's donations has reached a level for an award it reduces the balance in just the same way as above. The DMCA also pay a certain amount of money out to needy Local Non-Masonic Charities in Devon.
MBF Collarettes & Jewels
These are awarded in recognition of donations made to the Mark Benevolent Fund, which works differently to the Craft. The Craft work from Festival to Festival, whereas the Mark Benevolent Fund is ongoing or cumulative. Therefore if a brother gave during the run up to the 1986 Festival, that giving still counts today towards his ongoing donations total. Having said that, there will not be too many falling into this category as the last Festival was 27 years ago. It is worthy of note for those that do come across this, that a collar of which ever level which was awarded for the 1986 Festival, regardless of the contribution for that Jewel at the time, is recognised as having today's level of contribution. E.G. if having paid at the time say £175 for a Vice Patrons Jewel, which today is a contribution of £250 - he does not have to pay that difference. For the brethren there are four awards as follows. For a Vice Patron's Jewel a donation of £250. For a Patron's Jewel a donation of £500, or if already a Vice Patron then an upgrade will only be the difference between the two, which is a further donation of £250. Similarly for a Grand Patron's Jewel a donation of a £1,000, or if already a Patron then an upgrade will be the difference between the two, which is a further donation of £500. Then there is the recently introduced Gold Patron's Jewel for a donation of £2,500, or if already a Grand Patron then an upgrade will again be the difference between the two, which is a further donation of £1,500.
For a Lodge there are similarly four awards, a Vice Patron, a Patron, a Grand Patron and a Grand Patron Gold, this last award of Grand Patron Gold was only introduced in 2011. Grand Patron Gold status has already been achieved by every Lodge in the Province during the recent 2016 Festival. In 2018 a Diamond award has been introduced to indicate a continued level of giving by Mark Masons.
What has been the approach
All of the last twenty five years records have been computerised to facilitate the better handling of the data. Annual Statements are now being sent out by Lodge of both the Lodges and every individual brothers' deposits for the year
these are detailed by "one off donations", "regular standing order donations" and "150 Club" etc. The statements are to try to ensure that the DMCA records and the records held by each Lodge's Charity Steward are in agreement, so that as we move forward we are all working off the same data.
Also as a part of this review we are also trying to maintain a comprehensive record of, who within the province, are holders of the various levels of MBF collarettes and jewels' as this record is not readily available.
There is a rule under the DMCA Bylaws (Rule12b) that any balances left behind in the name of a brothers who has either resigned or died will be transferred into the name of the Lodge under which it was given. This is to stop the DMCA having an accumulation of lots of donation balances that never achieved the level for required for a jewel. These are left behind, unowned and going nowhere and need to be cleaned up.
"Nearly there!" List
One use of the data will be to identify those brethren who are nearly there, that is just short of the level for a jewel award or just short of the next level up award. Each charity steward should use the data in this way and advise the
Gift Aid Envelopes
The Gift Aid scheme allows the DMCA to increase the value of your charity donations by 25%, because the charity can reclaim the basic rate of tax on your gift – at no extra cost to you. Use this link to find out more about the Gift Aid process.
Presentation of Jewels
All jewels when achieved will be presented in open Lodge by the PGM, his Deputy or his Assistant. Occasionally a brother is not comfortable with this, which we have to respect, but then advance warning must be given by the Charity Steward to the DMCA.
Duties of the Area Liaison Representative
The position of Area Liaison Representative is a VITAL LINK BETWEEN THE PROVINCE, THE DEVON MARK CHARITY ASSOCIATION , AND THE INDIVIDUAL LODGES. This link proved very successful throughout the Festival period in keeping both Lodge Charity Stewards and Lodge Secretaries informed and through them the individual Lodge Brethren in touch with all that was happening, and it has therefore been decided that it should continue, in a slightly wider concept.
The Province for this continued purpose will be divided into four areas, with three representatives within the Plymouth/West Devon Area, two within the North Devon Area, two within Torbay and finally two within Exeter/East Devon.
Each Representative will be responsible for a given number of Lodges within the designated areas, and it is essential that contact with these Lodges be maintained.
- Make contact with allocated Lodges on a REGULAR basis. Make certain that the Lodge Charity Steward/Lodge Secretary are aware of whom their Representative is, and that you are there to HELP.
- Make certain that the information being forwarded either from the Province/DMCA/Grand Lodge, has been received by the Lodges( in every instance) AND QUICKLY CIRCULATED to their Brethren, using e-mail, post or in open lodge etc.
- Visit Lodges to give up-dates in how charity donations can be made, how brethren can join the 150 Draw, and the use of Gift Aid envelopes.
- Pass any pertinent information received back from the Lodges re events/news etc, so that it can be included in the Provincial News Letter, to the Editor Nick White.( It is intended that these will continued to be issued perhaps three times per annum).
- Make certain any changes in personal are reported to the Province. MAINTAINING the data base is needless to say very important.
- Make certain that the Charity Stewards have supplies of all the necessary documents/forms and relevant information necessary to carry out their duties.
- Assist newly appointed Charity Stewards to carry out their duties effectively. If further help is required contact the Provincial Charity Steward.
- Encourage the Provincial Web-site to be regularly visited by Lodge Brethren.