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Topic: Ring Membership must be IBM member?
Message: Posted by: sirsephy (Mar 3, 2007 10:14AM)
Hello have a question, I'm the president of the local ring #79. We are in the process of overhauling our membership procedures. We have one magician who will show up now and then but has never joined the IBM. He is a nice enough person and has aided in our meetings he just doesn't want to join the IBM. Currently our bylaws state you have to be a member of IBM in order to be a member of the ring. I'm not sure if this is just our by laws or IBM's rules. I was wonder if other rings have a special membership, so people like this gentleman can join the ring but not have to join the IBM? This new membership would not be able to be an officer but would be able to pay the rings dues and contribute in any other way. So is this sanctioned by IBM? Or do all our members have to be members of IBM?
Thanks,
Dick
Message: Posted by: blink_inc (Mar 3, 2007 10:32AM)
My personal view....

It's only $55 a year!
No dues paid no enterance no special cases.

Have these bylaws not been in place for years? They are there for a reason.

Will//
Message: Posted by: sirsephy (Mar 3, 2007 11:34AM)
I think I found the answer to my own question. On the international site they have an example of the by-laws and where things can be different they are marked in italics. It definately states all members will be a member of the IBM in good standings. This is not in italics so I assume that is that. We will have to ask anybody who doesn't want to join international that they may not attend our meetings.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Mar 3, 2007 12:09PM)
That's pretty much the case. If they don't want to join the organization, they can't join any of their sub-chapters either.

That doesn't mean they can't attend meetings as "guests" but they would have no voting rights, they're excluded from whatever business meetings you may have, can't participate in any "Ring only" functions, and they usually will be asked to pay a higher "non-member" price for lectures and other open activities.

If they truly want to participate, you can work it out so it's cheaper to join than to pay higher prices for everything they want to do separately.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Mar 3, 2007 05:28PM)
It's true, them's the rules. We tell all newcomers that they have to join, and endorse their applications.

Look through issues of The Linking Ring since fall 2005 and see all the new members from Maine. We have a couple of people who have dropped by once or twice. We try to nudge them in the direction of joining the I.B.M., if they admit that they are not I.B.M. members. The problem is that we can't find out for sure. The International Office, which is just wrong on this, refuses to release a list of I.B.M. members in Maine to us unless the TVP OKs it. I have spammed him till my fingers bleed, but he just won't send an email to the International Office giving them "permission" to release the names.

We have built a great Ring in the middle of nowhere in just one year. Our website rocks. We want to submit our record to the International Office in 2008 to be evaluated for a Ring Quality Award. One of the things that they want to know is whether our members are members of the I.B.M. How the heck can we do this if they won't release the ****ing names to us? This is just wrong!

Yeah, yeah, I know. Try to work with the TVP. He has been TVP for eight years, and never did anything to form a Ring here. We do understand the nomination process, however. That's the other solution.

The I.B.M. does a lot of great stuff. The Linking Ring is a treasure. But sometimes, they get a little hung up on hierarchy, as they have in this case.

See for yourself:

http://www.ibmring362.org

Look through our Archive to see Ring Reports with photos.

Yours,

Paul
Message: Posted by: sirsephy (Mar 3, 2007 10:24PM)
Thanks for all the responses. I have a question Paul why don't you just ask the people themselves? They have to have cards, and numbers. How do you handle guests? Do you let them come indefinitely just they have no voting rights or do you say sign up or leave, not in those exact worda of course.

Thanks again of all the information.

Best Regards,
Dick
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Mar 4, 2007 03:21AM)
We ask people for their I.B.M. numbers. A year later, we still don't have numbers for some of them. We can't tell whether this is just because they never have their card with them, and can't seem to reply to emails, or because they are not members. Most members (unless they are very old) will have a five-digit number. Two members can't possibly have given us the right numbers, but they can't seem to get around to checking what the number is. With about 35 members, this has become very difficult.

The regulars, who come to all or most of the meetings, are all I.B.M. members.

When we have guests, we try to sign them up for both the I.B.M. and the Ring right there, unless it's clear that they aren't magicians.

As for voting, when we have had formal, recorded votes, all we can do is make sure that people have paid their Ring dues. This is a fair amount of work. We cannot verify that they are current I.B.M. members.

Sure, we can ask them. But guess what? People lie. Mostly, however, they simply fail to respond to mail, email, and phone calls. This is the reason that we really need the roster from the International Office.

Yours,

Paul
Message: Posted by: mrunge (Mar 4, 2007 07:52AM)
Yep...it's an IBM ring for IBM members. One just has to "pay their dues" to attend.

You can't attend other "club meetings," such as the Rotary Club, etc...without actually joining the Rotary Club. That's why they have THEIR meetings. It's a private club for members only.

Why would an IBM club be any different?

Mark.
Message: Posted by: blink_inc (Mar 4, 2007 08:11AM)
It's ONLY $55!!!!
Message: Posted by: sirsephy (Mar 4, 2007 08:20AM)
Mark, I understand. I know nothing of the Rotary Club, I do belong to the KofC and when we pay dues we pay it at the council (i.e. ring level) then the council will send the portion of dues for each member to international. With the Ring I pay dues there and dues to National on my own. This all started when we were revamping our membership procedures. We put in there that new comers may attend 3 meetings then must make a committment. Unfortunately, we have one guy who has been coming here and there way before I was a member. He has been helpful and not just a sponge, but for whatever reason doesn't want to join IBM. It is my understanding he did have financial problems in the past, but currently I think he is ok.

Don't get me wrong I believe everyone should be a member, I think it is a great organization, and don't see why anybody wouldn't want to join.

Thanks,
Dick
Message: Posted by: Bill Wells (Mar 4, 2007 06:43PM)
[quote]
On 2007-03-04 04:21, drwilson wrote:
We ask people for their I.B.M. numbers. A year later, we still don't have numbers for some of them. We can't tell whether this is just because they never have their card with them, and can't seem to reply to emails, or because they are not members. Most members (unless they are very old) will have a five-digit number. Two members can't possibly have given us the right numbers, but they can't seem to get around to checking what the number is. With about 35 members, this has become very difficult.

The regulars, who come to all or most of the meetings, are all I.B.M. members.

When we have guests, we try to sign them up for both the I.B.M. and the Ring right there, unless it's clear that they aren't magicians.

As for voting, when we have had formal, recorded votes, all we can do is make sure that people have paid their Ring dues. This is a fair amount of work. We cannot verify that they are current I.B.M. members.

Sure, we can ask them. But guess what? People lie. Mostly, however, they simply fail to respond to mail, email, and phone calls. This is the reason that we really need the roster from the International Office.

Yours,

Paul
[/quote]

Paul -

I am sending your message to key members of the I.B.M. Board in the hope that they might be able to change the policy that prevents you from being able to learn if those who belong to your Ring are also members of the I.B.M.

Bill
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Mar 4, 2007 07:36PM)
Dear Bill,

Thank you very much. That is very helpful. We really want to do what they want us to do, we just need a bit of help. Your action might be all that is necessary. I hope so.

Yours,

Paul
Message: Posted by: Payne (Mar 5, 2007 03:39PM)
Our club was originally created as haven of those wanting to escape a dreary and dying ring that had long ago become stagnate and cliquish -- It still meets today, all four of them.
Once there was another magic club in the area it soon blossomed and grew. But like all things it soon forgot it's past and the reason it was created in the first place. A cadre of folk wished it to be associated with the IBM once again. there was of course a great deal of incarnation to this but in the end the yea's outnumbered the nay's and we once again became an IBM ring with the provision that those who were members in good standing at the transition could opt out of becoming IBM members. Most of the declining voters have chosen this option so we have an IBM ring which has a mix of IBM and Non IBM membership. It has been this way for several years and has not been an issue with anyone at all. All new members and anyone wishing to hold office must join the IBM but anyone who was grandfathered in is under no obligation to join. We have had several members who, when it comes their turn to serve as an officer, join the IBM and then allow their membership to lapse at the conclusion of their term. To some this might appear to be a rather curious arrangement but it works for us.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Mar 5, 2007 05:54PM)
Boy, do I miss the West Coast. I lived in Seattle for four years. New England isn't like that at all.

Yours,

Paul
Message: Posted by: Payne (Mar 5, 2007 06:17PM)
[quote]
On 2007-03-05 18:54, drwilson wrote:
Boy, do I miss the West Coast. I lived in Seattle for four years. New England isn't like that at all.

Yours,

Paul
[/quote]

Well you could start a West Coast enclave in New england. Does it really matter if your members pay dues to the national organization if they're keeping their local dues up to date? As long as everyone's participating and getting along who cares if they are card carrying members or not? Nothing in our club changed when we affiliated with the IBM except that it cost those who wanted to join fifty bucks more a year. I don't think we've ever seen an officer from the organization come through town or gotten any kind of benefit from being an official Ring. As you said you cant get the IBM to even bother with sending you a roster of local IBM members so it obviously isn't important to them if the members of your club are official or not.
Message: Posted by: mrunge (Mar 5, 2007 06:27PM)
Payne, I couldn't agree more. The IBM does a really POOR job in their dealings with local Rings.

Several years ago I was President of our local Ring and we had some big issues with some in our membership. The previous President had no luck in dealing with them either. In reaching out to the IBM National, at all levels (TVP, Natl. Sectry, Legal Affairs rep, etc...) we got absolutely NO RESPONSE after several months of effort on our part.

Well...what happened?

Most of the membership broke from the Ring and we started our own magic club, not affiliated with anyone, and have been rockin' ever since. We meet two times a month, have a monthly newsletter, a club website and hold lectures from the traveling pros. We participate in local charity, outreach functions and have a great time being around each other.

Magic is wonderful when it works. Too bad the national level hasn't caught on and is probably a big reason the numbers continue to decline.

The only reason I remain a member is for the magazine. I get absolutely nothing else from them as does everyone else I talk with, which is too bad.

Mark.
Message: Posted by: Payne (Mar 5, 2007 07:29PM)
I'm very wary of national level organizations after having some very bad experiences, much like the ones you describe, with a couple non magic related ones. They are all very happy to collect membership dues but reticent to help you on a local level when you really need them. I read on this group that one of the reasons the national dues are going up is so that they can offer a bigger prize purse at the national convention. This is a benefit to the members how? One would think that if they wanted a larger purse that they'd collect it from the people attending the convention through higher attendance fees rather than soaking the entire membership for it.
I asked a few months ago what benefit there was from being a member of the IBM apart from getting the magazine and possibly the insurance and no one could come up with one. I look at the membership as little more than a magazine subscription and think baring someone from your local club just because they don't wish to subscribe to a particular publication is silly.
Message: Posted by: mrunge (Mar 5, 2007 09:35PM)
I saw that as well. It's ridiculous to raise the National dues in order to offer a higher "prize" to the winner of a magic competition.

You're right. Raise the entry fee to the competition or the ticket prices for those attending but leave everyone else alone!

Mark.
Message: Posted by: Michael Taggert (Mar 5, 2007 09:54PM)
I think some of you have missed the point here. The dues are going up at a reasonable rate. There are many expesnses to cover that are included. In case you haven't looked lately there are major benefits to Joining the national membership and not just a monthly magazine and a prize at the contest. By sanctioning non IBM memebers you are deflating the importance of membership. It is national membership that attracts members in the first place and it is the local membership that keeps it alive. For those that are negative towards the national organization you are Invited to become part of it. remember you are responsible for those people that join and later become your TVP or Your International officers. The membership is only as strong as each of us makes it. Here in My neck of the woods we are strong. The good folks Up in maine are a force to recone with. (Im coming up to visit in september, Paul BTW) Encouraging people to become members only during their term of office is an insult to those that work hard for you to ensure that you are learning and getting opportunities to share. Membership in the international organization gives you the right to claim such membership. This gives your customers the confidence to book you because you belong to the organization and not the local "cardflippers at the bar Club"
Either join or go elswhere.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Mar 5, 2007 11:37PM)
I would like to join Michael in exploring further benefits of I.B.M. membership in this discussion. For our big public shows this year, we are making a major effort to look for sponsors and advertisers. I think that we need something to show the locals that we are something more than a bunch of guys who trade our wool shirts for top hats once a month. I think that being a local chapter of an International organization gives us legitimacy in the eyes of locals who might want to work with us.

Other benefits:

1. Our Constitution, Bylaws and Policy and Program Manual were adapted from templates provided by the International Office. True, we could have just ripped them off, but we got all this passed based in part on its being adapted from documents of proven value, provided by an organization with which we were affiliated.

2. Our status as an I.B.M. Ring has given us a new angle to promote an international event, the Worldwide Escape Artist Relay 2007. Some of the participating escape artists are in local Rings. It looks like their Rings will get behind the event, as ours has done. For the escape artists who are not already famous, this is a big push behind what they are doing.

3. What good is The Linking Ring? It's great to get coverage for your Ring. In our first year of existence (we had our first meeting with our Charter in March 2006), we have been covered twice outside of Ring Reports, once for The Perilous Garden (July 2006) and once in a call for participation in WEAR 2007 (February 2007). I have heard from magicians all over the world in connection with both articles. There is no other way for our magic club to reach this many people. Other magazines are just not going to run our press releases, but The Linking Ring does. I am amazed that so few Rings bother to send stuff in.

4. The free member web pages are a good thing. Just slap something up with a link to your site and your Ring's site, and watch yourself move up a notch in the search engine rankings. Also, people who can't manage to write a real web site can put together one of these pages.

5. The I.B.M.'s Ring Quality Program and its website competition provide standards to which our Ring can aspire. If we were not affiliated with the I.B.M., we might have a tough time convincing some of our members that it was worth the effort to try to reach these standards. I see that some other clubs have done so without I.B.M. affiliation. You must have a great mix of people. We are still growing.

6. It is true that some of the aspects of the I.B.M.'s behavior as an organization are a bit stuffy. We are discovering (read this and other threads in this section) that if you push at it a bit, the organization moves. It is, after all, made up of well-meaning people who love magic, and seem willing to adapt in response to the wishes of the local Rings.

Yours,

Paul
Message: Posted by: Payne (Mar 6, 2007 01:35AM)
[quote]
On 2007-03-05 22:54, Michael Taggert wrote:
This gives your customers the confidence to book you because you belong to the organization and not the local "cardflippers at the bar Club"
[/quote]

I have never had a client ask me if I belonged to the IBM, or any other magic orgainization for that matter. I get bookings because I offer a quality product not because I belong to a magic club be it local or National

[quote]
Either join or go elswhere.
[/quote]

The way I look at it the IBM joined our club, not the other way around. A number of our members were perfectly happy belonging to a local group and have no interest in belonging to a larger orgainisation.
Message: Posted by: mrunge (Mar 6, 2007 07:48AM)
Yep...our members could care less about belonging to the IBM. We have gotten nothing from them, again, other than a magazine.

Yes, the magazine is wonderful and includes some great stuff. And yes, they now offer a free web page to those in need (we don't need it).

Other than that, through a LOT of personal experience as a Ring President, the IBM is worthless when a Ring is in trouble and reaches out multiple times over a 6 month period for help and gets NOTHING!

Like anything else, this is just MY opinion.

Mark.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Mar 6, 2007 10:59AM)
The problem I see with that approach is that once a group (or individual) breaks away from IBM, the problem will continue and they have no recourse to do anything about it.

Sort of a "You can't win if you don't play" kind of thing.

If there is a breakdown in communications, typically the TVP is the conduit you must go through. If the TVP themself is the breakdown, it's more difficult but not impossible. Dropping out just allows the problem to continue and eventually we all suffer.

I see that attitude with modern politics too. People want the Government to stay out of their business, but at the first sign of trouble these same people are the first to start crying "Where are they, and why didn't they help?" :rolleyes:
Message: Posted by: Bill Wells (Mar 6, 2007 11:05AM)
[quote]
On 2007-03-04 20:36, drwilson wrote:
Dear Bill,

Thank you very much. That is very helpful. We really want to do what they want us to do, we just need a bit of help. Your action might be all that is necessary. I hope so.

Yours,

Paul
[/quote]

Paul - I have been told that the headquarters office will supply the names to the Ring contact or President or the TVP if they request it. Try having your Ring President contact the Headquarters office and request a roster for your Ring. Please let me know whether or not you get any results. Thanks - Bill
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Mar 6, 2007 11:07AM)
See? You just need to find the right people to ask.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Mar 6, 2007 06:19PM)
Not only that, suddenly our TVP sent an OK to the International Office to release the names. Thanks again, Bill!

What would we do without The Magic Café?

Yours,

Paul
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Mar 6, 2007 07:25PM)
Actually, what would we do without Bill Wells? He knows the inner workings of IBM enough to know what cage to rattle.
Message: Posted by: mrunge (Mar 6, 2007 07:30PM)
Too bad you have to know someone who knows the "inner workings" and "what cage to rattle" in order to get anything done with the IBM.

Yet another reason the numbers continue to decline. After all, it's just a magic club and things shouldn't be that hard.

Mark.
Message: Posted by: Steve Hart (Mar 6, 2007 10:20PM)
Gentlemen,

Please Please listen to what you are saying?

It is obvious to me that you really care about this or you would not be spending so much time and energy speaking out against the I.B.M. right?

As Membership Chair it is my job to promote the I.B.M and its benefits, retain members and gain new ones.

Those of you have given your support here, I applaud you!
Those of you who feel you do not get your money's worth send me your suggestions in how the I.B.M can better serve you and your Ring.

I will take your ideas and suggestions seriously.

By the way Mark I have been in contact with you over the last few months.
Your request is being addressed at this time.


Steve Hart
I.B.M. membership chair
Message: Posted by: Payne (Mar 6, 2007 10:29PM)
[quote]
On 2007-03-06 23:20, Steve Hart wrote:
Gentlemen,

Please Please listen to what you are saying?

It is obvious to me that you really care about this or you would not be spending so much time and energy speaking out against the I.B.M. right?

As Membership Chair it is my job to promote the I.B.M and its benefits, retain members and gain new ones.

Those of you have given your support here, I applaud you!
Those of you who feel you do not get your money's worth send me your suggestions in how the I.B.M can better serve you and your Ring.

I will take your ideas and suggestions seriously.

By the way Mark I have been in contact with you over the last few months.
Your request is being addressed at this time.


Steve Hart
I.B.M. membership chair


[/quote]

Don't get me wrong, I really don't have anything against the IBM personally. If I were to join my club today I'd willingly pay the membership fee as that's our clubs rules. Although I'd pay the reduced rate and not take the magazine as I already subscribe to too many magic publications. But because I was grandfathered in under the arrangement our club devised when we affiliated ourselves with the IBM I don't have to nor really have any desire to. Some people like the perceived prestige of belonging to a national organization. I am happy enough just belonging to a local group of like minded fellows.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Mar 7, 2007 05:55AM)
Mark,

You don't have to know somebody who knows what strings to pull. I don't know Bill Wells, but he does a great job reading these posts, and now we have Steve Hart's attention. All you have to do is read the rules and try to use the existing structure. When that doesn't work, petition for redress of grievances in a public forum. Griping in print is a great American tradition!

Remember, folks, none of these people in the International Office (except for one beleaguered secretary) is paid. Those of you who have been Ring officers know how hard it is to keep forty magicians happy. Imagine if you had to do that for 14,000 of them.

I have never looked at the International Office as a group of people who had to "do something" for me. Instead, I try to imagine what our Ring could accomplish using the structure and the resources of the I.B.M.

Yours,

Paul
Message: Posted by: Steve Hart (Mar 7, 2007 08:32AM)
Mr.Panye said, "Don't get me wrong, I really don't have anything against the IBM personally. If I were to join my club today I'd willingly pay the membership fee as that's our clubs rules."

I appreciate your response but don't stop there....tell what can the I.B.M. do for you, its members, and the local Rings. As leaders in the I.B.M we are here to serve you but we need your help. So throw some of that energy you were spouting out earlier and give me some positive ideas. Ask, what if?

You mention that you are working as a magician. Do you have liability Insurance as a entertainer? If not, the price of what we offer as an I.B.M member is way beyond the amount of money spent. Before I had my I.B.M. liability Insurance policy I was paying over $400.00 a year. As an I.B.M. memeber I pay a lot less than that. I hope you have Insurance.

Another suggestion, I took a look at your Website. I love your photos and the way you diversify your talents but if you were to add an I.B.M. member Website linked to your current Website....your ranking in the search engines would sky rocket and give you better exposure on the Internet. These Websites are free to all regular paying members of the I.B.M.

I am eager to hear your suggestions.


Steve Hart
I.B.M. Membership Chair
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Mar 7, 2007 06:52PM)
We just got our lists from the International Office. It turns out, we have several "members" who have never been members of the I.B.M. Some of them have voted or attempted to vote on Ring matters. We will almost certainly deny them the right to vote or to participate in contests in the future unless they join the I.B.M.

Yours,

Paul
Message: Posted by: evanthx (Mar 8, 2007 12:19PM)
I have to admit I've also found it very curious that the IBM National level is totally completely 100% absent from all Ring events. I'm the sec/treasurer of the local ring, and other than sending in or checking on memberships, I really haven't ever seen the national level actually DO anything. Ever.

So since you ask, Steve ... here's some of the stuff I would love to see the IBM do.

When members join the IBM and aren't in a ring, I'd love to have them get sent something promoting local ring membership and telling them how to find and join a local ring.

At our monthly meetings, the IBM is TOTALLY absent. I have to admit to being bewildered for years now about why this is. So if you need suggestions about how to do this, here are some from the top of my head.

A IBM newsletter we could read or make available about what the IBM has done that month. Not the same as in the Linking Ring, but something like our own business meetings - a note from the president, a treasurers report, the basics.

Announcements about IBM leadership and changes in it. I have no idea who is running the IBM, how they got to lead the IBM, what they stand for, or anything. I recall there used to be elections, but there haven't been IBM elections in years as far as I can tell. So what's going on up there? I couldn't even find by-laws for the national group on the IBM website, I have no idea how the group is being run. For example, how is the TVP chosen? How did the rest of you guys get your positions? I have to admit to being really curious - I have absolutely no idea how ANY of that is done, and none of it is on the IBM website. Announcements about that, about what positions are open and how to apply for them would be really nice.

How about some prizes to award? For example, we have a monthly competition, and so do most rings. Maybe periodically you could have a national-level theme suggestion, and make a nice little award available for those who win the local ring competition. Stuff like that is fun, and doesn't have to cost much. (We have a little pin, for example. Just a small token award is what I mean.) It'd also be fun to write up and read about what each club did in the Linking Ring afterwards.

Arrange some friendly inter-club competitions? Get different rings to compete and have the TVPs judge? Or write in and let clubs vote on a winner or have an expert pick a winner? (Write the funniest joke about something, or design a trick that has some limitations and see who comes up with something clever.)

If someone does something really good, maybe we could submit their names up to get some sort of "attaboy" from the national level.

Again, that's five minutes of thinking. The real question is whether the national level wants to actually bother being involved with the local rings.

It would be really nice just see the IBM actually DO something. And on your side - if the IBM is visible, it would REALLY help encourage members to pay dues to you. Right now the IBM is just a $55 per year magazine, no more. It has absolutely nothing else to offer most members. Insurance, etc, is only useful to the full time performers, and that's the very small minority of our ring. And trying to sell a $55 magazine is tough. If you guys did something to show a presence and benefit to our more casual members, it'd be a LOT easier to get folks to pay dues to you.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Mar 8, 2007 12:58PM)
You raise many points that I am not qualified to address, but I can answer part of your question about nomination of the TVP. You can nominate your own. It is possible, but not easy. Please see:

http://www.magician.org/electionrules.pdf

This is from a link on the "members" page:

http://www.magician.org/members.htm

Yours,

Paul
Message: Posted by: evanthx (Mar 9, 2007 10:50AM)
Thanks for the link!

And to be clear ... I very much like the IBM and like being a ring officer, so I hope my post doesn't come off as just bashing it. I'd just really love to see them get more involved with the rings, so when it came up here everything just kinda poured right on out. :)
Message: Posted by: Steve Hart (Mar 10, 2007 09:04AM)
Evan, I appreciate your questions and suggestions.

I do not see your comments as bashing in fact this is exactly what I wanted to hear.

I hope my response here will only be the beginning of a continued conversation as we define what has been done and what we desire.

Most of what you have suggested is already happening for example your first request is, "When members join and they are not in a Ring, I'd love to have them get sent something promoting the local Ring..."

Every new member is contacted by either the local TVP or an appointed I.B.M. rep. They sent a letter or email welcoming them to the I.B.M. and it is recommended they visit a local Ring. Contact information is provided. When I had this job I would copy the local Ring so they too could reach out to the new member.

You also mention the need for, "an I.B.M. newsletter...something like our own business meetings (report) a note from the president, a treasures report, the basics." This is all reported in the Linking Ring and other news is reported on our I.B.M. Website. I guess you just have to know where to look.

You asked for announcements and elections....these too are all printed in the Linking Ring. The I.B.M. Website does have our complete constitution and by-laws in a downloadable PDF file. It is located in the "Ring Resources" page under "For Our Members."

We continue to have elections every year. The candidates are introduced through the Linking Ring. You asked, "what about positions that are open and how to apply for them." Just a few months ago Phil Willmarth our editor requested volunteers to contact him if they were interested in serving or heading up a committee. Phil is our incoming International President for this coming year.

Next you mentioned, "How about some prizes to award?" This is something I have requested. It is my desire for the national office to award the Rings with items that could used as prizes or awards on the local level. This project is something I am working on. I will speak to you about this later.

Next you suggested, "Arrange some friendly inter-club competitions?" We already have the Ring Quality Program. Over 20 Rings have already received this award.

Also every year we have a Ring Website contest. Ring 9's Website has competed in the past few years. Last year we had over 40 Ring Websites compete.

You last comment as "If you guys did something to show a presence and benefit to our more casual members, it'd be a LOT easier to get folks to pay dues to you."
That has been my job since I carried on the chair position for the membership committee. I believe we are providing a greater presence and more benefits for the common member. Do you have our I.B.M brochures to pass out at your meetings?
They do an excellent job of informing potential members why they would want to pay their national dues. One of the new benefits is the new I.B.M. member Websites. Even if you are not a working magician this is an opportunity for anyone to have their own Website for Free!

If you read my monthly articles in the Linking Ring I give several reasons why a non working members would want to post his own member Website. This alone is worth the $55.00 membership fee. Take a look at what other members are doing with their Websites. The link can be found on the first page of I.B.M Website under, "Highlights."

Yes the international officers and committees want to be involved in the local Rings. Our TVPs are your direct contact to the international office. Guess who is the current TVP for Georgia? Your buddy, Joe Turner. He could answer almost every question and address every suggestion you have made. I know Joe is a working professional magician and he may not make it to every local Ring meeting but he will help you get what you want in his spare time, just ask.

Also the contact information for our headquarters, the board of trustees, and the executive committee are printed in the Linking Ring. They are there to serve you.

Please I would like to hear more ideas, questions and suggestions for improving the I.B.M.

Steve Hart
I.B.M. Membership Chair
Message: Posted by: evanthx (Mar 10, 2007 01:25PM)
Thanks for the response, Steve. And I know Joe well, and I think he's doing an excellent job as TVP. You said you continue to have elections every year ... I have one question, then. Who's voting in these elections? I'm not. I don't even recall seeing a ballot in years. (To be clear - I'm not complaining about who's in any positions at ALL. I just want to understand the process.)

The problem is that you put everything in the Linking Ring, which is great, but then that becomes the excuse for ignoring ring meetings. When I suggested a newsletter, that's why I said NOT the same as in the Linking Ring. Since the IBM uses it only, that goes back to the national organization being ONLY a magazine. The point of most of my suggestions was to break out of you guys being limited to inside that magazine. So that's why I suggested a DIFFERENT newsletter for Ring Meetings.

For competitions - I'm aware of the Quality Award, which is nice, but I'm suggesting something completely different focused on fun which could be done inside a club meeting and then sent up - my suggestions of a joke around a certain topic or designing a trick aren't the best, but any club can enter and they don't have to be a large organized club, and they can compare their entry to others later. Maybe in that newsletter sent to the rings. :) In other words, I'm suggesting something simple, small, and fun come around a few times a year that any club can enter with a fair chance of winning.

I guess the overall point of what I'm trying to say, if you'll forgive me repeating myself, is that the IBM needs to break out of being nothing more than a magazine. Yes, you can use the magazine to do everything and you are, as you pointed out, but then you can't claim to be more than a magazine - and I really wish that the IBM WAS more. I just want to see it have a beneficial presence in the meetings, and as things stand I just don't see that.

And I'm sorry, but I just don't see the websites and insurance addressing that concern. They're great - I have the insurance and really appreciate it - but me having insurance, or someone having a site, does not really give you a presence at club meetings. :) Nor does it really help me convince someone to send you a sizable check!
Message: Posted by: Steve Hart (Mar 11, 2007 08:50AM)
Evan, Once again I appreciate your ideas and suggestion.

I hear what your are saying about giving a report or newsletter just to the Rings. Plus I see the need for something like this. I would like to think about this and pass it along to others in leadership and get their ideas.

Are there any other I.B.M. members who have some ideas and suggestions that would help in keeping our organization strong and healthy?


Steve Hart
I.B.M. Membership Chair
Message: Posted by: Michael Taggert (Mar 11, 2007 09:50AM)
Where we would be with out the Café' is an example of what great foks like steve and Bill are doing to help make our International organization a close and friendly organization. Several of us from the Café' had discussion on this subject recently at a gathering and came to the general conclusion that we are communicating more to the local leveland being able to get our thoughts and needs to the international level in an open forum.
I know that I personally had stayed away from National organizations for many Years because of a Them and Us sentiment. Back then you had to travel thhousands of miles to communicate with the interational board. Now when we travel we meet folks we know and feel comfortable talking too. We can express our needs without having to get on the phone or write detailed letters to people we never see.
Use this to help shape our organization into what you whant and need it to be.
Our ring is blessed with a very active TVP, A Past International President, and many people who work behind the scenes of international magic. but if you come to a ring meeting we all are treated as equals and more importantly Friends.
BTW whos coming to Magi whirl as Tickets will be going up shortly. getem while they are hot.
Message: Posted by: evanthx (Mar 12, 2007 07:11AM)
Thanks, Steve - having the ideas considered is all I'd ask! And I really appreciate your listening and considering them - I'll be looking forward to hearing what you guys end up thinking about it!