Last October Winston Goretsky sent an order for some copies of "How to Know and Grow Gesneriads" for a workshop that he and Bill Price would be holding in Calgary, Alberta. Here is a copy of the invitation in his club newsletter.
I responded with the suggestion that we also provide some "New Member Packets" in case any participants wanted to join The Gesneriad Society. Winston agreed, and we sent him 10 packets. To my surprise and delight he sold all 10 new memberships - nearly half of which were 3 year memberships! In one day the Canadian membership of The Gesneriad Society increased by by 10%! Congratulations, Winston, you are the champion so far in selling New Member Packets.
I asked Winston to give me more details about this very successful gesneriad event. Here is his story:"We decided as a group to host a "Special Gesneriad Weekend Workshop" and invited everyone from Stampede City African Violet Society to attend. We also included the Edmonton African Violet & Gesneriad Society, as we often like to attend each other's events when possible and both groups have members in each other's groups. we invited Bill Price to be our speaker. we charted $20 per person to cover the cost of Bill's airfare, lunch and refreshments. We meet in the basement auditorium of a local Co-op grocery store.
"Bill flew in on Friday November 23rd and spent the weekend at our home with our 2 kids (Emily & Carter) and my wife Laurel. We scheduled the workshop for Saturday Nov 24th so that our out of town attendees would have time to travel to Calgary. The sessions were 9 Am to 5 PM with a lunch break and a mid-morning and mid-afternoon break for snacks and refreshments. There were 20 people in total, with 2 ladies travelling 380 miles round-trip from Edmonton, Alberta, and one gentleman who travelled 290 miles round-trip from Lethbridge, Alberta."
"We began by collecting a list of various topics from members so that each person's area of interest could be covered, or at least addressed. Bill spoke extensively on Sinningias, Chiritas, Petrocosmeas, Streptocarpus, Kohlerias, Smithianthas, Achimenes, Saintpaulia, etc. and also covered a wide range of other genera."
"Being the "Johnny Apple Seed" of the Gesneriad world, Bill generously brought a horrendous volume of cuttings, rhizomes, and tubers that could reclaim a clear-cut Brazilian rainforest. Everone got MORE than they ever expected to get, and as much of whatever they wanted without limit. Bill's kindness, eagerness, and willingness to share and promote Gesneriads is truly amazing and deeply appreciated by all."
"Initially, upon receiving the Know and Grow booklet as an existing member of The Gesneriad Society, I thought that this booklet needed to be made available to our general membership as a GOOD guide and useful resource. We agreed to order it and have it for sale to the members of our group and also to anyone who would attend the workshop weekend. Any extra copies could be sold at upcoming shows and sales and also to new members when they joined. I was encouraged to have some "New Member Kits" available for anyone wishing to buy a Gesneriad Society membership, and I asked for about 10 to 15 kits. Peter sent me 10 and I wonder what might have happened if I had received 15. We'll have to remember this approach for any future events, as the kits really do help sell the Society and Membership. Thanks, Winston."