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Re: OT AIS membership

Walter; et al.: I understand the Wichita Flower show is one of the best in the country. I have been wanting to go to it  myself the last 5 years and just could not get away. I heard it is better then Chicago, which I went to many years ago. 


Big Flower shows like this one attract people from all around the country. If I were the local Iris society I would request the AIS exhibition booth to be sent. That is why they have it.  I bet you could even get a bunch of Bulletins to give away to those really interested, and of course there is the AIS flyer.  It is my understanding that all these things are under-utilized.


The biggest asset one has at such a show is the people who man the booths. If they are friendly and informative and ask people if they would like to come to a meeting, and then have the times and place of the next meeting available, it is surprising how many people might be interested. I always like to invite people to join so that they would receive newsletters. But it is very important not to pressure people. Assure them that they can attend a meeting without joining. Another good point is to have a meeting planned within a couple of weeks of the flower show with a good speaker that one can invite people to come and hear. 


I founded the Gateway Chapter of the American Rock Garden Society in just this way, and built its membership to over 100 members. Usually about 40 would attend a meeting. There was never someone saying if you join you have to attend (the kiss of Death). Clubs prosper very much by their leadership, and by the actions of their fellow members. An argument at a meeting can often cut the membership in half. We have to remember that we and everyone attending does this for fun. An officer or a member that insists that people do things their way, can kill a club. When a new president tried to impose his ideas on the NARGS group it cut the group in half. Even though we live in a democracy some people just dont get it. The only way to be successful is to let your enthusiasm rub off, and to build consensus. It is important to value everyones ideas and to celebrate their best ones. 


The three things that I believe sustain membership are; obtaining plants, learning information, and social interaction. Everyone seems to and at least one of these and two or all three is even better. But the lack of any one can also slowly erode or quickly destroy a particular club.

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