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Membership Report

Membership Secretary Tony King gives some facts, figures and statistics about the most import people in the EPS - You!
Tony King, 34 Keats Avenue, Romford, Essex RM3 7AR
Chamaerops No. 17, published online 23-07-2002

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With the EPS now entering its fifth year I thought it might be interesting to dip into the membership records and provide you with a few statistics on just who makes up the EPS.

Since our 1990 formation, some 633 people have been members of the society and when we went to press with the Autumn 94 issue of Chamaerops, 400 remained on the mailing list. As I write this, in March 1995, 26 people from summer 94, and 93 from the last issue are still to renew. If they do so, we would then number some 453 members. It is characteristic that we experience this fall in numbers at each of our four renewal periods, but we are lucky in that after prompting, a fair number of lapsed members are welcomed back to the fold.

We are also fortunate that new members are adding to our number all the time, thanks to encouragement from existing members and to Martin at the Palm Centre and Toby Spanner m Munich who send out applications with each package of plants they sell. I'm sure we are not alone in our drop-out rate, compared with other societies, but it is very important that we reduce this to the smallest number possible and that when your subscription is due you renew promptly, lest you forget.

Despite our title you, the members, are a wide spread bunch! We currently are represented in some 31 countries including Japan, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada as well as every European country and a few bordering the African side of the Mediterranean. Although no longer with us, members have hailed from as far away as Chile, and Noumea in the Pacific.

Our largest block of members is not surprisingly from the UK although even here we cover every part of the country. Our next largest group are our German friends, about 40, plus 18 who hopefully are still to renew. France offers our third largest contingent. Whilst growing steadily, the USA perhaps offers scope for greatest growth with many potential palm lovers interested in cool growing plants to be lured into the society.

I am pleased that we have been able to keep the subscription the same re for five years now and indeed those of you who have taken advantage of the advanced subscription offer will enjoy this rate for some 3 more years.

In the UK, over 50 people have taken advantage of paying their subscription by bank standing order, which cuts down on our overheads by not having to send reminders and enables you to not have to worry about remembering to pay your subscription each year. Thanks to Toby, the opening of our Post Giro account in Germany this year will enable our German members to pay in Deutschmarks which may be easier. We try very hard at the EPS to make it easy for members to pay their dues!

From the £15 basic subscription, £1 is set aside towards the expenses of operating the society. This includes the cost of stationery, enclosures, reminders, credit card processing charges etc. The remaining £14 all goes in the production and despatch of the journal Chamaerops that is £3.50 per issue. The printing cost of 500 issues of Chamaerops and mailing it (which includes postage, labels, envelopes, etc.) is approximately £1250. At £3.50 per issue you can see that we need to have a minimum of 358 paid up members just to cover this cost. Luckily, from the sale of back issues and monies saved from the times when we have more than 358 members, a modest surplus has been accumulated. This is used to bridge the publication costs at times when we are waiting for a number of people to renew (as at present), as well as paying for items such as the binders and T-Shirts that are being/have been offered to members. It will however gradually become more vital in absorbing any rising costs, such as postage and printing, over the coming years, since it is important not to increase the cost of subscriptions to the society until absolutely necessary.

It has certainly proved to be an exciting time, though of course, the 'behind the scenes effort' required to make the society work can be time-consuming! Our two biennials, at Kew and with Fous de Palmiers in Menton, have been a great successes and we must look to arranging more social get-togethers in future. I very much enjoy welcoming new members and corresponding with friends made since our formation.

I hope you all still enjoy being members and that more of you feel able to contribute something for Chamaerops in the coming months. I wish the society many more years of growth and spreading the word on the world of exotic plantdom!

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