Is Your Membership Current?
Tom Micheletti, AHS President
   The good news -  memberships in 2010 exceeded memberships for 2009 by 139 members! This suggests that the voucher program instituted last year has had an effect on reversing the recent decline in memberships. I want to thank everyone for their diligence in working to promote membership in the AHS. As the lion's share of our annual budget comes from membership dues it is important to keep your membership current by checking the date on the address of various mailings received from the AHS. The good news is that voucher program will continue. New members will receive a voucher for $15 to
be redeemed for the mail order purchase of plants from participating
nurseries. Not to be left out current members may also receive a voucher if they upgrade their membership to a multi-year or life membership. Full details and a list of participating mail order nurseries are listed on our website.
   Since memberships run from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 each year the board decided to extend the cutoff date for the assessment of a late fee until Jan. 15, 2011. This gives members a 2 week grace period to renew their membership after it has expired. The reason a late fee of $5 is assessed for renewals after that date is because if a members renews late, any publications that have come out are mailed to the late renewing member and having to mail these publications erodes the value of our dues. Members whose memberships have lapsed are contacted and reminded to renew, this need to send reminders also erodes our funds, so please be vigilant in keeping your membership current.
   It is also important to actively promote joining the AHS whenever possible in order to increase our membership. Several of us on the board as well as other members speak to local hosta societies and garden clubs. When we do we always promote the membership in the AHS and usually walk away with a few new memberships. Full membership information is available on our website. Please help spread the word and tell your friends!
   As you can see this first edition of our Online Hosta Journal is beautiful and informative. The extensive articles and photographs have made it worth the wait. It is of the caliber of our hard copy Journal and a big thank you goes to the committee that has created it. The decision to move to a digital publication was not made lightly and much discussion ensued at the June board meeting with the entire board endorsing the project. It was necessary to make this change because our budget could not sustain publishing three paper Journals. The reality was that members received $45 worth of paper Journals for their $30 dues. I assure you that several other options were discussed to bring costs in line with revenues. One scenario was to raise dues, but the $5 increase a few years ago resulted in a substantial loss in members. Another scenario was to go back to 2 Journals; you can only imagine what the response to that decision would have been! The most viable option that would not reduce services to members, only change the method of distribution was to publish the Journal online. As you can see it certainly meets the expectations members have come to expect of our Journal!
   What does this have to do with membership you ask? Well at the fall board meeting that was just held we discussed the reaction from members to this change. Every board member has received reaction. There have been some comments against the change, but the overwhelming majority of members that have responded, understand the need for the change and accept it. They understand that it is necessary to make some changes in order to help the society that they love to grow and prosper. I want to thank everyone for their understanding and patience with this new venture. Interestingly, many local hosta societies are also publishing their newsletters online in order to save on costs. It is becoming a necessity in today's economy in order to provide members with the same level of services without drastic increases in membership dues.
   We are also planning on sending an email newsletter in the near future. The committee that created this beautiful Journal will be working to put this together to keep members informed and up to date on the latest in hosta news. So please make sure we have your email address. Send up-to-date email addresses to our Membership Secretary, Sandie Markland at sandiemarkland@charter.net.
   Thank you for your patience and understanding in this time of transition. Your continued support and participation in the AHS can enhance your hosta growing experience and foster friendships and increase your enjoyment of the plant we all love.

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