New Bylaws Approved
Edward B. Dunn
In the January issue of the Quarterly Bulletin I asked you to support the proposed revised Bylaws as printed therein. At this time I am happy to report that the new Bylaws were approved by a margin of over 10 to 1. The total vote cast was light, indicating presumably that the members found nothing particularly objectionable in the proposals. The changes will become effective July 1 and until that time, we continue to operate under the old Bylaws, which call for ballots to be mailed to the membership as has been done in the past.
Dues to be Increased
The new Bylaws provide for the dues to be set by the Board of Directors, the usual method in national organizations, as this is the group which best knows the needs of the Society as compared to its income. It was suggested in the January Bulletin that, if the new Bylaws were approved, the Directors "will set a schedule consistent with that of comparable organizations."
Meeting in Seattle, Wash., on April 9, the Directors discussed the dues structure at length. There was no question but that there should be a raise but the exact amount was debated rather thoroughly. The vote set the dues for 1968, and later until rescinded, at $7.50 per year. This means that, according to the Bylaws, the Chapters will receive 30% of their members' dues, or $2.25 and the American Rhododendron Society will receive $5.25 to maintain the national organization, publish the Bulletin, and carry on its various activities.
Reasons For Dues Increase
The dues were set at $5.00 per year when the Society was formed, over 20 years ago, and there had been no increase since that time. However, when the Society was formed there were no Chapters and probably no thought that there would be. When Chapters were formed they were allotted 30% of the dues of their members and so the Society's income was reduced to $3.50 per member, except from our relatively few non-Chapter members. This provided only enough income for operating on a minimum scale. Dues were discussed by the Directors for many years, but being fixed in the Bylaws they could not be changed to meet increased costs or to provide additional services. That is, until the Bylaws themselves were changed, which has just been voted.
The Chapters, over the years, have faced increasing costs and it was frequently brought out by Chapter officers that they needed more money. The problem was met by various money raising activities such as plant sales, much volunteer labor, special gifts, and even voluntary assessments.
The Society itself made out by exercising great economy and by benefiting from a great deal of volunteer work. The sale of books brought in several thousand dollars, and more recently the seed exchange has contributed substantially. Without these sources of income the Society would have been bankrupt several years ago. The increase in the dues will not cause any slackening of these activities but the Society will be less dependent on them.
From time to time various proposals have been made for increasing the Society's activities and its services to its members. Many of these proposals have had to be turned down because of lack of finances. Just what new developments we may anticipate is not fully worked out as yet. The increase is modest and costs are still going up. However, a long range planning committee has been appointed and the needs and desires of the members will be thoroughly studied. I am sure the Committee would welcome your suggestions.
The increased dues are not out of line with those of other similar national organizations, and much lower than many. We realize there may be a few who will feel the raise was not needed. None of us like to spend more than we have to. We feel sure, however, that if you will consider the matter objectively you will realize, as did the Directors, that increased income was necessary for an active, growing, and modern Society.
In other action by the Board it was decided to raise the price of old Bulletins, as advertised in the Bulletin, from 0.65 per copy to $1.00. These Bulletins have to be stored, some for several years, and the looking up and mailing individual requests, sometimes for a single Bulletin, requires a considerable amount of time.
The Board voted to postpone the printing of a membership list until next year. The new book will be published later this year and that will require a considerable amount of money, and it was felt the membership list could wait.