Anyone else suffering from.....?
….a shrinking Garden Club.
It was our AGM last night. Traditionally, AGMs do not attract a big attendance (is everyone afraid they will be asked to do something?)
Over the past two years, our membership has shrunk from 75 to 45 and last night, there were only 18 bums on seats. What has caused this decline?
We had a run of bad speakers the year before last that certainly put a lot of people off. Most of our members are elderly, several do not drive and do not like coming out of an evening. We have also lost one or two to anno domini, having gone to that great compost heap in the sky. With reduced membership comes reduced income – less membership fees, less raffle tickets sold, fewer purchases at the Bring and Buy stall. But the cost of the hall does not drop and speakers’ travel expenses continue to rise as fuel prices increase. We shall be bankrupt by this time next year unless we can reverse the trend.
The one piece of good news from last night was that we managed to recruit another person on to the committee but that still only makes six out of a full compliment of ten. As well as Chairman, I am currently handling the Club publicity (Publicity Officer is one of the vacant positions at present). Despite pieces in the local newspaper and on Radio Berkshire, a flier to all allotment holders in the town, posters at libraries and Garden Centres, a plant sale in the town centre (it rained all day!) and other promotion pushes, we have failed to gain a single new member in the last twelve months.
The meeting agreed to hold membership fees at the same level as last year; putting them up would be like shooting ourselves in the foot. We increased the visitors’ fee from £2 to £3 and encouraged everyone to drag their family, friends, neighbours and anyone off the street to come along. We will try to increase our links with other local Clubs but so far, no-one from them has come to our meetings (are all Clubs in the same position?)
I would be interested to hear if anyone else has been in a Garden Club with the same problems. How did you turn it round? Or did the Club just fade away (like some of the more mature specimens in the garden)?
I don’t know what else we can try to reverse this downward spiral.
- 12 Mar, 2008
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