I need to bring to the membership’s attention the fact that each and every one of us needs to be aggressive in bringing in new members. Our membership base has steadily reduced year-over-year for many reasons. Presently, we have 55 paid up members compared to nearly twice that many six years ago. As a result our treasury is reducing incrementally to cover meeting costs. We need a wider membership base over which to distribute the costs of dinner, room rental, and taxes. To simply raise the price of meals by say two dollars, we would only generate an additional $110 per month assuming that we would get 100% turn out.
Our recent talks with representatives of Sodexo Catering and The Jepson Center were meaningful. We enjoy a great relationship with our hosts and I think you'll agree, they provide quality service and food as well as welcoming feedback. We did agree to a 3% increase in the individual meal costs (guaranteed for two years), no increase in the venue rental, and three different hand-picked menu choices which rotate from meeting to meeting throughout the year. We are able to absord this increase within our current meal cost structure i.e. $35/$37 per meal for member/non-member respectively. However, with a reduced membership base, we now have little if any "margin" remaining which would normally go into our treasury for our end-of-year grant/scholarship programs. So I'm also looking for ways to generate additional income.
Other income generating ideas are in the works such as selling the new lanyards at a nice profit and the soon to be announced raffle of five donated Civil War prints and potential increases in meal cost, dues and/or the ticket price for the 50/50. There are also some drastic measures such as a change in venue, or discontinue our Heritage Program, that could be taken but I prefer to push a membership drive instead (no dues for the rest of this year for new members).
I have announced in the April, 2015 newsletter the kickoff of this membership campaign. Each and everyone of us can help by bringing in a new member. We all have that one friend, relative or acquaintance that you've always been meaning to talk to about joining. Now is the time to do it. Ask that person to join for free and let him or her enjoy the rest of the year's dinner's at the member's price.
Please pass on any new member info to any of us prior to the monthly meeting and we will have a "Welcome Packet" ready for them at the door. Also, make sure you arrive early with your new member so that you can introduce him or her to Vice President Paul Scott or myself, who will gladly make them feel welcome. Your support is critical as are your suggestions and comments.