The Dues of the American Rhododendron Society
As was indicated in the October Bulletin, the Governing Board feels that the dues should be raised. As the dues were established in the By-Laws at $5.00 per year when the society was founded, some seventeen years ago, any change in the dues structure will have to be approved by the membership.
The Board has recommended that the By-Laws be amended, as indicated on another page of this Bulletin, to permit the amount of the annual dues to be set by the Board. This is the procedure in most national organizations as it permits the elected representatives who have the responsibility of managing the affairs of the society, and who know its needs and limitations, to specify the amount of the dues. This permits the Board to make changes if necessary, depending on the general condition of the economy, the progress of inflation, and the needs of the society.
Frequent changes are hardly to be expected in view of the fact that the Directors have operated for seventeen years on the amount set at the founding of the society. The Board realizes that frequent changes would be disturbing, and probably irritating, to the membership. That is undoubtedly one of the reasons why they suggested that the dues should be raised to $7.50 per year. A smaller raise would, of course, permit the society to function but might result in the need for an additional revision much sooner than if the dues were raised to $7.50 at one time.
The society has been able to operate up to this point with a dues level of $5.00 because of economical administration and because of receipts from the books published by the society each five years. At the present time the society has a reserve fund for the publication of the next book, due in 1966, but otherwise has a very small cash balance.
It was felt by the Directors that a society such as ours should have a larger cash reserve to carry it over emergency periods if such should occur. More to the point perhaps was the feeling that we should have enough cash on hand to be able to undertake additional services to the members and possibly to help finance activities which might increase knowledge about rhododendrons. Such projects might include plant exploring expeditions, although of course any contribution we might make would be rather small and certainly we are not anticipating organizing or substantially financing any such explorations. The same might be said with respect to fundamental research being conducted in connection with rhododendron culture, propagation, breeding, or pest control. Sometimes the contribution of a small sum will encourage a piece of research, at an experiment station or university which would otherwise not be started. The Directors have no specific projects in mind but simply felt that a society as large as ours should have the means to at least encourage exploration or research which promise to yield important knowledge about rhododendrons.
Although the Directors indicated that they felt the dues should be raised to $7.50 they could not make any definite move in this direction until the By-Laws have been amended, and so any increase in dues, if voted, would become effective not sooner than the year 1965. Members who have strong feelings one way or the other are invited to make their feelings known to one of the Directors or officers of the society.
If the By-Laws are amended to permit an increase in the dues the whole matter will undoubtedly be reviewed by the Governing Body and, if a raise is voted for 1965, an announcement will be published in the October, 1964, Bulletin.
The distribution of dues, as between the chapter and the society, is another thing which will be considered further by the Board. It is planned that a brief survey will be made of methods used by various chapters to raise money for their own use. Some have apparently been quite successful, others may see a need for a greater amount from the dues for local use.