Volume 16, Number 1, Fall, 1998

LFS News

LFS raises dues, adds membership levels for 1998

For the first time in a decade, as part of an ongoing reorganization to strengthen and sustain our activities, the Libertarian Futurist Society has raised the level of Advisory and Basic membership dues and launched a major membership drive.

Dues are the way that LFS pays for quarterly publication of Prometheus and supports the gold prizes of the Prometheus Award and Hall of Fame. At the old rates, not enough income was generated to continue sustaining these important programs.

Effective July 1, 1998, annual dues are $20 for Basic membership (up from $15) and dues for Advisory members $75 up from $50).

Basic membership, which includes a newsletter subscription, helps support the Prometheus awards, and includes the right to nominate current novels for the Prometheus Award and older classics for the Hall of Fame. Basic members also vote for the annual Hall of Fame winner. Advisory membership includes all Basic membership privileges, plus the right to vote for the Prometheus Award winner.

At the same time, subscriptions to Prometheus were raised to $15 for non-members ($20 for overseas mail).

LFS members unanimously approved higher Advisory dues, in principle, in response to a November letter and questionnaire, and higher Basic dues in response to a followup December letter/ questionnaire. While many members were willing to pay significantly higher Basic and Advisory dues, LFS Director Victoria Varga, Prometheus Editor Anders Monsen and LFS founder/Life Member Michael Grossberg wanted to be cautious in raising dues in the hope that everyone will continue to find it affordable and desirable to continue indefinitely as LFS members.

While many members favored reinstating Life Membership (at $750), others expressed concern about how that would affect annual income. As an alternative, Victoria Varga suggested a new category of Basic Life Membership. For details, contact Varga.

All these steps are just the beginning of revamping the LFS to meet our members' needs and grow to a new level of influence and libertarian outreach in the next few years. We'll explore other changes in regular communications to the membership and we hope to develop a consensus before implementing each new step.

LFS launches major Membership Drive

LFS has signed up several new members within the past three months as a result of the organization and increased communications with members and potential supporters-but we hope that's just the beginning of a major 1998 membership drive.

Above all, we want to recruit more Basic members. An outreach letter has been prepared, and is available to members who want to use or adapt it to recruit libertarian friends who are also fans of science fiction and fantasy. The letter will serve as the basis for new LFS flyers, which should be available this spring for mass distribution at libertarian conferences and science fiction conventions.

For a free copy of the outreach letter, or more information, contact Varga (warga@compuserve.com) or Grossberg (mikegrossb@aol.com).

Call for donations and "Patrons"

Because many Advisory and Basic members have expressed a willingness to pay much higher annual dues than the new level, the LFS is considering adding an honorary Patron-level membership to recognize those who make annual donations in addition to their annual dues.

Donations will make a big difference right now and for the next few months, became of three things we hope to do soon if we can raise enough extra money beyond money for newsletters & awards:

  1. For the first time since LFS began, we are preparing multiple-run classified and display ads (for Liberty, Reason, Locus, etc.) to raise the LFS profile and generate new members. (Estimated cost: About $600.)
  2. With the price of gold near multi year lows, we aim to purchase/stockpile several gold coins for several years' Prometheus Awards (Cost: About $300/ coin); and
  3. As part of our outreach efforts, we are developing new LFS flyers and introductory brochures for mass printing and distribution at SF and libertarian cons. (Estimated printing cost: About $400.)
Patrons would not have any additional privileges or nominating/voting rights beyond their current Basic or Advisory levels. However, the LFS would want to recognize Patrons for their additional support in two ways:
  1. Listing Patrons in the newsletter and mentioning them in that year's awards ceremony;
  2. Rewarding patrons with free T-shirts, tapes, buttons and stickers, depending on how much they donate.

We are preparing a similar list of "Prometheus Points" rewards to bolster several LFS activities, such as our first major membership recruitment campaign. LFS members who become "Frequent Activists" will receive points toward free or discounted merchandise for every new Basic member they recruit, for early membership renewals, for nominating future awards, for writing reviews published in Prometheus, for serving actively on LFS committees, etc. If you want to participate, send a SASE to Michael Grossberg, 1441 Hamlet St., Columbus' OH 43201. Also contact Grossberg if you have new books or products to donate, or have access to interesting items.

A time of changes

LFS expands with new roles for members

By Michael Grossberg

For too many years, the Libertarian Futurist Society and the Prometheus awards program survived to a large extent because of the efforts of one volunteer.

First, it was novelist L. Neil Smith, who founded the Prometheus Award in 1978, then myself as founder and organizer of the LFS in 1982 to revive and sustain the Prometheus Award; then Victoria Varga, who edited the newsletter, coordinated the annual award and administered the group for many years; then [Ian Jackson and Bill Stitch -- names garbled --editor] and now Anders Monsen, who has taken over many of Varga's responsibilities in recent years.

Beginning in 1998, the LFS no longer is depending on one person, but many. Not only to survive, but also to grow more effectively as a broad-based organization, we have invited members to take leadership roles-and many have volunteered. Can we depend on you, too? Now is a great time to get involved, as described below.

LFS members received two successive letters and questionnaires in November and December (plus several Email reminders and updates), asking for their advice and support. The letters (available to new members upon request) outlined some recent organizational problems and suggested various solutions. We have implemented only those changes that received strong to unanimous support from responding members.

And unanimous or virtually unanimous support materialized for higher dues and the creation of more awards received strong majority support but have been put on hold until we have implemented more urgent changes and can research the ramifications more to address some members' concerns.

Without these changes, LFS might not have survived. Anders Monsen wanted to step down as editor by 1999, yet we couldn't find anyone to replace him until we divided up LFS responsibilities to give others real leadership roles on various committees. Once the Prometheus editorship was limited to actually editing the newsletter-rather than doing that and just about everything else then we did identify a volunteer, William Stoddard, who is willing to take over as editor. Similarly, once we divided up the responsibility other members were willing to step forward to help out there, too.

As libertarians, we know that the division of labor is one of the strengths of a market approach--so why not use it to the LFS'S benefit?

For 1998, at least, Victoria Varga will continue as LFS Director, and chair or President of a new Executive committee (and eventual Board of Directors, if LFS becomes a non-profit.) Anders Monsen will continue as Prometheus editor (with William Stoddard as editor-in-training); and Tod Casasent (mughi@cyberramp.net) as LFS Webmaster. (While we don't have a formal Newsletter committee, anyone interested in contributing reviews or articles to Prometheus should contact Monsen. Regular writers can become official contributing editors.)

[Yetwfhiqks aliment -- garbled --editor] transition, and we want more people to get involved. Here are descriptions of four new LFS committees you can join, and a list of volunteers so far:

While the new committee system represents progress, we hope to find and train more people to assume leadership roles so that no LFS member needs to chair more than one committee or hold more than two jobs. The more members who participate actively, the easier and more fun it should be for everyone to work together to make this better--all the more likely it will be for these activists to serve longer without burnout.

Over the next year or so, we also plan to poll members about several more steps, such as formalizing awards rules, organizational procedures and committees in bylaws, and establishing a board of directors-worthwhile in then selves, but some steps toward possible non-profit status.

To volunteer or make suggestions, contact Monsen, Varga, or Grossberg.

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