[NAFEX] Reply to Bruce Hansen

list at ginda.us list at ginda.us
Thu Oct 28 19:28:34 EDT 2004


On Oct 27, 2004, at 8:55 AM, Bruce Hansen wrote:
. . . What a bunch of tight-wads.
> Shame on you!! I even had one person state "I do not know anyone who 
> would
> want a membership". Egads!! Use your telephone directory. Pick three 
> people
> at random who have fruit-like last names and buy them a membership. . 
> . .

I am the person who wrote this to Mr. Hansen.  The full statement (in 
context) was:

"Well, personally, I'm the only one I know who likes to plant and eat 
unusual fruits.  That's why I joined NAFEX - to meet other people who 
share this interest.  I can't imagine to whom I would give a 
membership.  It would make more sense to just give NAFEX a donation 
outright.  If NAFEX asks, I probably will, but I think I will wait and 
see how the discussion goes, first.  I suspect we need higher dues, but 
I'm not sure what the best level is.  It's nice that the dues are cheap 
enough that you don't need to think too hard about them."

I wasn't going to reply on the list serve to Mr. Hansen's remarks, but 
now that he has insulted me by name, too (in his note at 6:05 this 
evening) I can no longer restrain myself.

I second the request from for more information from the board on 
NAFEX's financial difficulties.  My understanding (which might be 
wrong) is that NAFEX has enough cash, but has had considerably more 
outgo than income in the last few years.  This is a structural problem, 
not an urgent one.  As such, I believe it should be solved 
structurally, not by frantic random fundraising.

The idea of donating grafted trees is a nice one, although there are a 
number of reasons individual members might not respond to the offer 
(limits on money, space, time, or interest).  The idea of putting old 
"Pomonas" on a CD and selling it to members (or others) is also a nice 
one, although it certainly must be done under the auspices of the board 
and with some attention to copyright law.  (If individuals want to 
convert their own copies of Pomona to electronic files for their own 
use, with the possibility of later donating their work to NAFEX, that 
is also a nice first step and should be within the realm of "fair 
use".)

I don't think the idea of buying random memberships is a good one.  
While it is certainly positive to buy a gift membership to a friend who 
might be interested, and might become an active member, buying 
memberships to strangers with "fruit-like last names" is likely to do 
more harm than good.  First, it's rude as the unfortunate strangers are 
likely to consider "Pomona" to be unwanted junk mail.  My neighbor 
might want to support his local bowling league, but I don't want to 
read their newsletter!  Second, it probably hurts NAFEX.  NAFEX has two 
major expenses:  Running the annual meeting and producing and mailing 
out "Pomona".  If we currently have negative cash-flow, the odds are 
that the price of membership doesn't cover the cost of mailing out an 
additional subscription to "Pomona".  (The fixed costs are fairly 
small, since it is written and edited by volunteers.  The variable 
costs of paper and postage are large.)

I guess I wasn't explicit enough to Mr. Hansen, but I was serious about 
giving money if NAFEX asks for contributions.  I am still formulating 
my ideas, but I wonder if one way that NAFEX might address its 
structural cash-flow problem is by having a low-key fund drive once a 
year.  It might be a compromise between raising dues, and possibly 
driving away some of our members (who value membership, unlike my 
random neighbors) and slowly going broke.  Those of us who could easily 
afford higher dues might instead send in a donation in addition to 
dues.  It might be very low-key (and not too annoying) if it were part 
of the dues form.  Something like "membership dues: $13/year, voluntary 
contribution:  $10, $20, $30"   Who knows, we might even qualify for 
tax deductible status (although we could ask for contributions whether 
or not we do.)

I do not plan to give money just because Mr. Hansen tries to bully me.  
I will certainly not buy a tree from him, even as a gift.  I care 
deeply about NAFEX, but I would prefer a polite request for help from 
the board.

Actually, the board did ask for our help.  We got a note from a board 
member asking us to come up with ideas.  Several people have tried to 
address this constructively.  That's not "just talk", it is the first 
step towards action as an organization, that will help the 
organization.

Sincerely,
Ginda Fisher




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