Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Newsletter - slipping!

Those who subscribe to the NHS weekly newsletter The Pennant have probably been wondering where this week's edition is.  We've had some great new developments that put a stop to the presses late last week and there hasn't been time to regroup and put it all into the new edition - keep your eyes open next week.

I should also forewarn the subscriber's list that it will soon be limited to NHS Members.  That's because as the NHS Board of Directors considers how to harness an influx of membership requests from all over the country, we realize that one of the greatest benefits we can offer is the distribution of that publication.  There will be more, of course - trinkets and special admittance to future events among the list of membership benefits.  And so the reign of free access to the NHS font of Hornet and Monomoy-related news could quite possibly be curtailed to those who are contributing to the press.

And now that we're on that subject - membership - I might as well make a few comments on that, specifically.  After all, I will be the first person to admit that we dropped the ball on this in recent months - and now we're scrambling a bit to realign and meet the demand signal.

Since our founding in 2009, most of our membership has been derived from local folks who participate in our various activities - from restoration projects to actually rowing, sailing etc.  And in that context it was easy to determine what makes a member and what does not - members were the only people eligible for positions of leadership within NHS.  And the qualifications were quite simple - you had to be active duty, retired or a  prior member of the sea service, a teacher, writer or historian dealing with the same - or - you could come out and show us that you mean business and bust your butt on the ground in projects or programming.  And this worked pretty well for a while.

But now, with more and more people chiming in and seeking membership - most of whom are quite taken with the Hornet Project but who've never been to the Dockyard, or even seen our boats in action - we have to reevaluate a bit.  What is it that makes a member now?  What is the criteria to become one?  and above all - how do we justify payment of $50 a year in dues.  After considerable thought, the Board is getting ready to publish the results - here and on the website, etc.  This isn't official yet, so don't tell anyone you saw it here:

- INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP will be open to ALL persons, no qualifications required.
- $50 in annual membership dues will get you 1) an offical membership card, laser engraved in metal 2) a subscription to our weekly newsletter, 3) NHS Member 'bumper' sticker, 4) access to an online discussion forum, with the NHS and Hornet Project leadership, and 5) an invitation to our annual retreat/planning conference, at cost.  Of course, you'll also have the knowledge that you're supporting our great organization and its projects!  Later on, we'll offer discounted rates for Hornet-related programming and merchandise too.

- GOLD MEMBERSHIP will be open to those persons who actively participate in our small-boat programming, and later to those who volunteer aboard Hornet.  As of yet, the only requirement that seems to be placed on this is that the individual has rendered conspicuous service to NHS - meaning that you show up frequently, work hard, and add an intangible positive to the organization with your presence.  This membership will be by invitation only, good for one year, and will pay no dues during that time.

- HONORARY MEMBERSHIP will be reserved as a special honor, bestowed by the Board of Directors.  This will recognize individuals for their contributions to NHS and the field of Naval heritage preservation, in general.  This is a lifetime membership with no dues.

While the final details are going on here locally and therefore out of the purview of most readers who are separated by distance (or who lost my cell phone number) - what do you think?  I'm eager to hear comments on this one.

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