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Re: Gaining New Members

I thought those in local iris societies might be interested in our
recent experience at the Ottawa Valley Rock Garden Society.

Last summer, we elected a new executive with some difficulties as no one
wants to take the jobs!  After some pleading, one young lady volunteered
to take over publicity.  She is a new Vietnamese immigrant and appears
highly educated but with limited English, so I was a little concerned
about her role in publicity.  What I missed was her dogged

Our meetings are on Saturday afternoons once a month except in the
summer.  She has arranged for the speakers to appear on the local radio
station at 8.15 on the morning of their talk.  They are interviewed and
the interviewer announces the meeting and invites people to attend.

The result is that we are almost unable to cope with success.  Last
meeting was a talk by one of our own members and usually we get far more
visitors for outside speakers.  We  had 125 attendees, completely filled
the room with standing at the back, added 29 new members at the meeting
and more are arriving by mail so that we have now passed 200 members. 
The result is that we have had to purchase two more coffee urns, double
the size of the room, etc. etc.

Our publicity representative now plans to send announcements to all 32
free newpapers in the area who have agreed to publicize the
announcements and publish gardening articles from our newsletter!

I mention this because the effort required to increase membership has
been relatively small but quite focused.  As I become the Society Chair
in June, my only concern is that I am not sure we, or I, can cope with
the success she has generated!

Some of your local iris societies may wish to copy these ideas.


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