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Re: What is it all about?

  • Subject: Re: What is it all about?
  • From: Ken Mosher <ken@spatulacity.com>
  • Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 12:32:12 -0400

I was taken aback by the inferred tone of Mr. Ruckert's email.  Maybe that was an unjust reaction but he does seem pretty aggrieved.  The all volunteer "staff" of the IAS do a fantastic job of running the organization.  It's hard enough to run a local club in a small state (I am heavily involved in the CT Cactus & Succulent Society (CC&SS), past president, current treasurer and membership dude) so I can imagine that some of the administration is made much more difficult for a national/international group.

The IAS is an educational society.  The board can make any kinds of plans it wants to increase membership but it will be mostly for naught.  In the US membership for horticultural societies in general is declining, sometimes rapidly.  The median age of members in the CC&SS is rising and we are having little luck at adding young members.  My most recent success in retaining current members resulted from including a renewal form with the mailed newsletter.  Most of our members still get a paper copy.  Those that are on email-only get a paper copy when their membership nears expiration - so we can include a renewal form.  Our membership doesn't go by calendar year.  We add the most new members in April as a result of our annual show/sale which is heavily attended. Like most clubs or monthly meetings are attended by the same core group of about 20 people and we're joined by an additional 10 to 30 depending on the location of that month's meeting.

One of the most amazing features, and probably least appreciated, is the IAS web site and the technology and work that went into its revamping. I'm a web developer so I know exactly how much time and effort Albert put into the programming and database work behind the scenes.  If he had charged us hourly it would surely have consumed the society's entire budget for 10 or 15 years.

Back to Mr. Ruckert's specific topics I have the same answer that I give to CC&SS members that give us grand suggestions about how to improve this or that or who have some complaint.  "That's a great idea/suggestion/question.  You're in charge. Thanks for volunteering. We always need more help from involved members."

This elicits one of two responses.  1) They get very quiet and we are able to continue with the meeting [99.75%], or 2) they accept the challenge [0.2%].  You've noticed that there is 0.05% missing, right?  Those are the times that extraterrestrials descend from the sky and make everything OK.  I call that "extraterrestreus ex machina."

Mr. Ruckert, you raised a bunch of great points.  You're in charge, thanks for volunteering.  We always need more help from involved members.  I look forward to meeting you at the conference in Miami, Florida either this year or next.

Ken Mosher

On Wed, Aug 7, 2013 at 10:52 AM, Denis <denis@skg.com> wrote:

Good questions? Which the board should try and answer. Yes, the 15 member board rotates on three year term and yearly elections in September. Would you like to put your name in nomination to be on the board. Enthusiasm is what we need. Several years back we went from being a local Miami based plant society to one which has spread throughout the world. As the founding members of the Society have passed away, the board has become more global and we are forced to meet online when there is something important on the agenda.  The only time we actually get together is at our annual meeting in September And we even then we usually have a hard time getting a quorum.


More and more people are spitting off to start their own little splinter groups as interest in one genera or another finds followers. People narrow their focus on what they like to grow and form Facebook groups. People only have so much time to spend on the internet discussing random aroids.


As far as the aroid conference is concerned: the world is in an economic downturn and not everybody has the money to fly half way around the planet to listen to scientist discuss their pet projects as interesting as they might be.


As far as a plan for the future. We can only plan what the leadership of the board and the board members themselves put forward to do. We need leaders who want to lead and have an idea of where they want the society to go.



Treasurer IAS


From: aroid-l-bounces@www.gizmoworks.com [mailto:aroid-l-bounces@www.gizmoworks.com] On Behalf Of Greg Ruckert
Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2013 6:35 PM
To: 'Discussion of aroids'
Subject: [Aroid-l] What is it all about?


As a person who has beem a member of the IAS, on and off, over a long period of time, I am moved to wonder what is the purpose of the IAS.


I note that the term of five Board membership expires in September and would like to know what the Board members do? When and where does the Board meet?

When are nominations called for the vacant positions?


Does the IAS has a plan for the future and where might I find it?


We have a wonderful editorial team and, without wanting to cause any offence, what is the succession plan that the IAS has in place for these wonderful people?


As a non-American member, apart from the newsletter and Aroideana, what is the point of me being a member?


Does the IAS have a plan to increase its membership?


Why is the IAS Facebook page not monitored?  There is an increasing amount of spam being posted there (I am not the only one who is annoyed by this) and nothing is done about it.

The IAS has a financial membership of 365, including institutions.  The Facebook page has 850 members and is growing quickly. Why isn't the Facebook page used to promote the society and recruit new members?

I notice I don't necessarily get answers to questions I pose. Does the Board think this is a good look?


Why is there a high level of Society disinterest in the International Aroid Conference to be held in Hanoi? Is it because it is outside the USA?

I have asked on Facebook about the Society's involvement in the conference and have effectively been told that it really is nothing to do with the IAS.  This is despite the IAS being involved in selecting the site for the conference and the front page of the IAS website encouraging people to "Join us"

Nobody seems to know who is giving the IAS presentation at the conference! Why? Why will there be no IAS merchandise available?


I have asked thirteen questions and will be interested to see how many I get satisfactory answers to.


Greg Ruckert


South Australia




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