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Adapt or Perish



adapt or perish cactus societies While some garden clubs are prospering many are not. When public liability laws became an issue some years ago every club jumped and took on appropriate insurance. The threat of being sued got everyone to pay attention and change course.

Otherwise much of what garden clubs do, has not changed, since they were formed, which in many cases were 50 or more years ago. A raffle, door prizes, a cup of tea, a flower bench and maybe a newsletter and occasional speaker.

Let’s look at the newsletter. In 50 years newspapers, this means all newspapers, even your local one, have gone colour. Those clubs with newsletters that are still without colour are letting the members down.

Does your club have a slide projector? Or have you moved on to a digital projector or digital TV? Many clubs have and enjoy vastly improved presentations and plant pictures. Some clubs and conventions have banned slide projectors due to their failings and poor quality. TV has gone in 50 years from black and white to colour and is still improving with high definition and 3D.

Some clubs can’t raise enough money to pay for tea and coffee, let alone keep the doors open and have a useful newsletter. Money seems so tight when the idea is raised to increase fees to improve facilities. Yet these same people, who perhaps complain about paying for $2 coffee at the door, will often have a morning latte at the café down the road for up to $4 a cup. Do they see better value in a café and what it offers? Perceptions of a garden club are that they aren’t worth it. What does your club project? A worthwhile organisation? Well there is no doubt that there are more garden club members spending a heap in coffee houses instead of preferring to do similar with us. What do the coffee houses offer that we can learn from? They have changed immeasurably over the last 50 years – they have adapted well and the vibrant atmosphere they offer can be emulated in clubs.

Four dollars for a really good coffee, maybe a cake could equal $8.00 per person per visit. For some people it is a daily ritual. Try and ask for $8 at the door at a ‘once a month’ garden club meeting...

The most common answer to asking for more money is that members won't pay, then when asked they say they can’t afford it. How could this be if the same people are visiting a coffee shop almost every day? Do they perceive they are not getting value for their money at the garden club – this is where the 'circle' is complete. Colour newsletter, vibrant programs, new equipment and a well -paced evening is something successful clubs are finding members are willing to invest their money and time in.

This 'circle' also speeds up attracting more lively and active committee members. Almost all club committees complain about lack of volunteers. A fascinating example exists where looking outside your circle of friends in the club, if your committee is not computer savvy, not active with internet and email then your local library should be contacted for assistance. They are often very eager to support local clubs. Extending on this idea of outside help, contact a local secondary school who may be willing to embrace the club and bring it up to speed (student projects, design and implement digital website for your club). Every year the same school could set a new project for your club – design and implement new club logo and motto etc. If your club was linked every year with the same school and year level, this would go a long way to drawing on young people as future members, or even their family and friends.

There are many other ways clubs can improve but there is absolutely no doubt that by doing things the 'old way', the 'safe way', the 'slow way' have no future – clubs must adapt or perish.

Author: Attila Kapitany

http://australiansucculents.com/
http://www.cssaustralia.org.au
Index of Articles
Introductory and Naming
     Wherefore Art Thou Cactaceae?
     How to Write a Scientific Name Correctly
     Cacti & Succulent Identification
     Cereus Peruvianus -The Least and Best Known Cactus
     More About Cereus Peruvianus

Cultivation and How-To
     The Sun Burned Cacti
     Grafting on Pereskiopsis
     Making Your Own Cactus Soil
     Growing NON-Hardy Cacti in Cold Climates
     Tools of the Trade
     Growing Cactus with Artificial Light
     Making a Hypertufa Planter
     Cactus Flowers - Fake or Real?
     How-To-NOT Build a Cactus Terrarium
     Raising Cactus From Seed
     Growing Cacti in Terracotta

Conservation
     Is Cultivation Conservation?
     Interview: Cactus Conservation in Paraguay with Alex Arzberger
     The Fate of the Minnesota Ball Cactus

Variety
     A Cactus Odyssey in Arizona
     Mangrove Cactus
     Have a Cup of Cactus
     Opuntia as an Invasive Species in Australia
     The Creating of "Springtime Succulence"
     Making Botanical Illustrations
     Adapt or Perish
     Chasing the Wild Epis
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