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At the Top of His Game

Bruce Carter standing next to credenza and awards

An understanding of human nature leads to recruiting success.

In 2020, he was top-line signer for nine Shriners. Last year, he top-line signed for 17. That’s 26 new Shriners in two years, with more on the horizon. Who is this recruiting rock star?

It’s Noble Bruce Carter of Bahia Shriners in Orlando, Florida. He’s a passionate Shrine-Mason who loves making a difference in the lives of children. One way he does that is by getting Masons excited about Shriners and easing them into the fraternity very organically. In the Navy for 23 years and working as a Navy recruiter for 13, Carter learned some truths about people along the way. This deep understanding of human nature is his most valuable tool in helping men become Masons and Masons become Shriners. “In my first four years as a regular recruiter, I was required to put 48 people in the Navy per year,” Carter said. “The very first year, I enlisted 105.” The Navy sent Carter to recruiting school as an instructor, where he worked with top performers. He rose in the ranks from recruiter to master chief in charge in three years. “The techniques that were outlined at the school I have used since,” Carter said. “The biggest thing is that you don't ask anyone a question that requires a yes-or-no answer. Make sure all questions are open-ended. The next thing is you can't do it all by yourself.”

A Shriner’s Journey

A motorcycle enthusiast, Carter became aware of the Shriners in 2009 when he and his wife attended a group ride to Daytona to a Sam Swope Memorial Charity Ride, an annual event that raised money for Shriners Children’s Florida. “While I was there, I fell head over heels into what they told me about the Shriners Children’s mission, and I asked what I could do to become involved with the Shriners,” Carter recalled. “They asked me if I was a Mason, and I said, ‘No, I don’t even know what that is.’ ” Taking his phone number, they called the next day to talk about his desire to join Shriners International and the need to start by becoming a Mason. Carter followed through and became a Shriner on November 20, 2010. He has been president of his temple's Motorcycle Unit twice, treasurer for three consecutive years and served as secretary once. He is vice president of the Sportsman Club and a member of the Iron Horse Motorcycle Club.

In my first four years as a regular recruiter, I was required to put 48 people in the Navy per year. The very first year, I enlisted 105.
Noble Bruce Carter

Turning Masons Into Shriners

At his blue lodge, Carter is the senior mentor, teaching the catechism for Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason degrees. Here’s where his recruiting training comes in handy. He said it’s most effective to take things one step at a time. “While they are learning Entered Apprentice, I mention Shriners to them,” Carter explained. “When they start Fellowcraft, I explain more and give them our Shriners calendar book to look through and find units they are interested in. “Once they have done that, I don't ask them if they want to be a Shriner. I ask them, ‘What units do you think would be fun?’ Then I promise to help get them into that unit.” Once he has them hooked on the idea of being a Shriner, Carter shares information specific to each person. He will calculate the cost they can expect, based on whether they are planning to take part in a spring or fall ceremonial, and he makes sure they know important dates. Another key to Carter’s success is that he makes himself available and creates opportunities to connect with others. “At my blue lodge, even if I'm not doing the catechism, I still visit the meetings so I can ask questions that get Masons interested in the Shrine,” he said. “For anyone to be successful at making men Shriners, I feel you need to be active in your blue lodge as well as with your temple,” he added.

A Motto for Recruiting — and for Life, by Bruce Carter

“One of the things I taught in recruiting school was as follows,” Noble Bruce Carter said. “I would ask prospects if they like cheese. When they said yes, I would ask, ‘If I got a 10-pound block of cheese and a knife, could you eat it all?’ Of course that answer is no, they couldn't. I then said, ‘If I give you a refrigerator to put the cheese in, could you cut 6 ounces a day and eat it?’ That answer would be yes. So I would tell them, ‘Remember to cut 6 ounces a day, and don't try eating it all at once!”

How does that apply to Shriners? Whether you are recruiting, planning events or raising funds for the philanthropy, keep your goals manageable. “Whenever possible,” Carter said, “you should go visit a Shriners location, so you understand what your goal is. Once you have your goal, just stay on track and you will achieve the goal.”

Finding Meaning in the Mission

So what’s the root of Carter’s success as a recruiter for the fraternity? It all comes down to the mission. He became involved because of a desire to help children. Now as a Mason and Shriner, he also treasures the brotherhood that the fraternities offer. “Bahia is creating a group of fine Shriners,” Carter said. “I am very lucky to be asked to be part of that group. For me the Shrine means everything. It’s all about helping kids and making their lives as comfortable as possible.”