Re: [bbshop] Re: Society and declining membership. Hello?
- Just to put a point on Charlie Davenport’s insightful post----there was a plan to put a college quartet on the road, in a van, to visit cities and towns all over the U.S. (and perhaps Canada as well). This was strongly being considered prior to the economic downturn. Of course, it had to be abandoned due to declining revenues from every source.
Cost for this project: $500,000 PER YEAR (includes salaries, transportation, room and board for the quartet and a someone to accompany them and do PR work).
That would only cost each member $25 per year. Who wants to take up the collection?
How about next year? Talk to your Harmony Foundation representative and see what percentage of our members are making donations right now---far fewer than you might imagine---and a great number of those donations are for the Ambassadors of Song program ($10 per month).
It was pointed out to me, by someone that works in the non profit field, that our members need to clearly understand how non profit organizations, like our society, are funded. There are primarily three sources: Membership dues, donations and funds earned by enterprise such as (in our case) convention net revenue and Harmony Marketplace. That is it, there are no money drops from heaven.
Ask one of our Gold Medallists what a full set of uniforms/costumes for an International competition costs them. Then ask them how many weekends per year they are on the road and away from their families, trying to do as many shows as they can for everyone and still have some homelife. You cannot believe how many chapters they have to turn down just because they need some time at home. Want them to do shows for free---do them yourself and pay your own expenses. I’ll bet that concept will quickly die.
Talk about raising the dues and see how far that idea gets. Talk about donating to Harmony Foundation and everyone disappears. Most of the things that don’t get done or services that are not provided are simply due to lack of funds or lack of human resources (Staff members). Translate that lack of human resources as a lack of funds. It also means a lack of volunteers. Everyone wants a visit to their chapter from a staff Music Educator. Try pricing that trip out. Consider, once again how much you would want to be gone from home if you were one of them. What if your chapter actually had to pay the entire cost of those visits.
It seems to me that everyone is only concerned with what they want, and not what it takes in terms of funding and people time to make their dreams come true. Every single dollar that passes through our headquarters is carefully budgeted and spent with that same carefulness.
Want to see some things get done? Let me tell you about a small group of volunteer guys (7 to be exact) working from their homes all over the country. These dedicated men are slowly working their way through the piles and piles of old hand written arrangements, left to the society by great arrangers like Lou Perry. They are converting these arrangements to the beautiful Finale documents we can use now---and for future generations. Want one of those old arrangements right now? The old hand written one is dispatched to one of them and the finished product is back in Nashville for you to purchase---in two hours. All volunteers, all working anonymously, quietly and without applause and without pay---just because they want to help.
Want to see things getting done? Take a look at Grady Kerr, another dedicated volunteer who publishes Preservation Magazine and makes it available on line for all of us to enjoy. Grady is spending two weeks in Nashville, at his own expense, to prepare the historical exhibits for the Toronto convention. He also is putting together the 75th anniversary issue of the Harmonizer for your enjoyment. All at his own expense of time and funds. Most people don’t know Grady---but you should. He is a wonderful, kind and gracious man---who has won more awards for his volunteer efforts than most people do for singing.
So, please stop the fault finding, name calling and complaining. Show me the things that you have actually done for the society, not the things that you think someone should do for you. Stop telling everybody about your credentials, show me the things you have done to correct all those things you think somebody else should correct for you---so you will have ample time to complain about something else and tell us how many things need to be done and how much better you can do them.
Perhaps you are complaining so loudly that you don’t even notice all the productive things that so many others are accomplishing.
Show me! Show me!
One last word on this matter. All of these people, who are being so freely maligned, are my friends. To the last one, they are too honorable to defend themselves. My friends are real people that I know and love very much. They are dedicated and remarkably competent. To thoughtlessly accuse them, of anything less than stellar and unselfish service to all of us, is foolish at best and a display of ignorance of the lowest order.
I have been writing a series of biographies in the Harmonizer, just to help us all get to know our HQ staff. Soon the biography of Nancy Carver will be published. I don’t know if we could ever pay her enough for what she does. And that is what I have found with every staff member I have interviewed. They are the best of the best and on our staff because they have earned those positions. In stead of complaining and demanding more, why not start thanking them for all they do and ASKING what you can do to help.
As for our volunteer leaders, our International Board members, take a look a their credentials and dare to tell me that you can do anything better than they do. I am currently working on a project with our International President Shannon Elswick. Every time I talk with him, I learn something new about management principles or “people skills”. I am astounded at his vision. Quite often I get E-mails from him that he sent at 1 or 2 in the morning. By the way, did I mention that in his real job, he is the CEO of Greater Orlando Health? That is 7 hospitals under his leadership. Anyone out there thinks they have better answers than Shannon? Give him a call and help him out.
I had to call board member and two time gold medallist John Miller the other night. I caught him in his office at NBC (where he is a Vice President) at 7 PM. He rarely leaves the office before 7PM---yet he is at every board meeting---and his wife Sharon is a board member of Harmony Foundation.
Of course we all know board members Dave Calland and Joe Cerutti and of all the things they are doing. If you don’t know the members of our International board personally, make it your first order of business to do so. And please don’t forget to tell them about your credentials or how much better you could run everything.
On Monday morning, we will bring the 23K project to full operational status. We will be calling every member of this society. We are going to build a volunteer army to help our dedicated district and International leaders. The 23K project is step one---building the data base and recruiting volunteers.
There is no reason to wait until you are called to volunteer. Look around you. If you have something to complain about---FIX IT. There is something that every single member of this society can do or fix or help with. Find your place in the army and fill the gap. Read some of the biographies of “Joe Barbershopper” in the Harmonizer to find some ways you can help.
Meanwhile, leave my friends alone. Want to pick on somebody, try me. These folks are giants, but I am more your size.
Blessings to all,
Montana Jack, keeping the faith, keeping it barbershop and keeping the "Q" in BHS
23K Project, Task Force Chairman
I tried scanning through all of this finger pointing and pontificating for a simple phrase at the end of any suggestions, and that being "paid for by ______" --
I could go on for volumes here about what has been done, what is being done, what has happened, what it takes to get a foot in the door in the Music Community, etc, etc... but in the end, unless you are willing to SUPPORT -- that means $$$ in dues, to the Foundation, to Conventions, and anything that will all investing in things that will allow us to become what you want BHS to be -- we'll have to keep inching along.
Let's discuss the budget (amounts and sources) it would take that would allow 4 men (Gold Medal Quartet) to "spend the next year making personal appearances to non-barbershop audiences" - Do include operational items like how they support their families after their Gold Medal year... and what about the next quartet... and the next...
We are making our way onto Music Row... sure, we ALL wanted it to happen over night... just like everything happens at the snap of a finger... But it is happening... perhaps you could research and fund a table at some of the events that would bring us to more prominence in town? What would it take to get TNS or Lunch Break to sing at an event instead of someone like Vince Gill, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood? If you're thinking it happens just like it does when the Quartet is invited to sing for the Rotary Club downtown, think again...
Complaining and pontificating isn't necessarily bad... it keeps others thinking, but seriously... Don't do it without being thorough.. Everything takes re$ources, and those resources are seldom if ever discussed in these conversations...
Former Resource and current supporter, worker, promoter, advocate and enthusiast.
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Did I miss a solution?
Let's all do it.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, March 31, 2013 6:58 PM
Subject: Re: [bbshop] Re: Society and declining membership. Hello?
Thank you, Montana Jack, for your informative response to all the
finger-pointing and bellyaching that has been so prevalent recently. I have learned
that if you're not part of the solution, you are probably part of the
Proud bass of the Ambassadors of Harmony
2012 Champion Barbershop Chorus
In a message dated 3/30/2013 6:02:26 P.M. Central Daylight Time,
So, please stop the fault finding, name calling and complaining. Show
me the things that you have actually done for the society, not the things
that you think someone should do for you. Stop telling everybody about your
credentials, show me the things you have done to correct all those things
you think somebody else should correct for you---so you will have ample
time to complain about something else and tell us how many things need to be
done and how much better you can do them.
Perhaps you are complaining so loudly that you don't even notice all the
productive things that so many others are accomplishing.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]