Thank you to all the JGS leaders who took the time to share their experience
with meeting/program fees and insights - some off line.
Thank you specifically to: Trudy Barch, Harvey Glasner, Jeremy Frankel, Jan
Meisels Allen, Nancy Adelson, Judy Salomon, Morton Rumberg, Chuck Weinstein,
Mark Nicholls, Barbara Hershey, and Janice Sellers.
Here is what I learned:
- 10 JGSs responded in all. 5 JGSs charge a meeting/program attendance fee
to non-members and 5 do not.
- One of the 10 organizations is a smaller organization similar in size to
the current JGS Greater Orlando. The other 9 are larger JGSs.
- The small JGS charges $2. 5 of the larger JGS's do not charge. 4 of the
larger JGS's charge $5 (or A33 to A35) and one of these is experimenting
with waiving the fee.
- Those who charged a fee either took it simply as a donation (with no
eventual application toward membership dues) or applied it toward membership
dues at the same meeting - eliminating the need to keep track of who paid
fees, when, and and how many times.
- Reasons to charge: If you don't charge, why would they join? It is easier
for a guest to go in for free and not have to be a member and volunteer or
become a leader in the organization. If your meeting costs cannot be covered
through memberships (e.g. in a small organization with few members). This
provides an additional source of revenue for both programs and the library.
It has not affected non-member participation.
- Reasons NOT to charge: Don't want to create an extra layer of
administration to track and apply fees to dues. Don't want to pressure/force
people to join. Don't want a deterrent to increased attendance (this was
brought up 3 times). Meeting venue host/partner (synagogue who donates the
venue) wants meeting open to the community.
Meetings are at Y which does not charge for venue or meets in public library
which does not charge for venue. Is finding that most non-members usually
join after 2 or 3 meetings.
Thank you to Trudy for sharing the smaller JGS perspective.
I also must particularly thank Harvey Glasner for his response. What he
shared is how the JGS Canada (Toronto) is thinking and acting strategically.
It is brilliant that they have not only asked, but answered the strategic
question that gets to the heart of their value proposition as an
organization: "What do we offer that is not already being provided by
others?". The waiver experiment is innovative.
Moreover, it is being driven by a view of what is their organization's
strategic differentiator(s) and builds on those assets. Brilliant to tie the
value of a meeting fee to a waiver program that involves the membership in
outreach/networking by handing out invitations and further builds upon it
all by use of social networking tools and mentoring. It addresses key points
raised during the thought provoking talk given at IAJGS D.C. this summer by
Josh Taylor on "Attracting the Younger Generation." I hope to engage our
board in similar strategic dialogue.
The JGS Greater Orlando started a blog recently (less expensive than a
website and easier to maintain, more interactive, auto archiving, and may
replace our newsletter which is lacking volunteers) and I can see already
some ideas we may borrow from what you have done with your blog.
Marlis Glaser Humphrey
JGSGO VP Programs & Publicity
JGSGO Vice President Programs & Publicity Ukraine SIG Board of Directors,
Projects Director FSGS Board of Directors, Publications Committee Chair
IAJGS Membership Development Committee, Southeastern U.S. Region
Melbourne Beach, FL