Open Letter to BSN Members and Friends
June 12, 2000
(with update as of 7/17/00)
As many of you know, I have been running the Baltimore Singles Network, originally Single Professionals' Network, for nearly nine years now. There have been many changes and hundreds of activities in that time span. I started with less than 1000 names in our database, and now there are nearly 4000. Yet, membership and attendance have declined.
When I started with the club, there were many members who were very active, and took responsibility for a variety of tasks. However, they have largely dropped out, and nobody has taken their place. I have had to perform their functions. In order to keep the club running smoothly, or even to maintain its existence, I would like a few people to volunteer to assume some simple duties.
Specific items I need volunteers for are as follows:
(1) Publicity manager, to put together our press releases and send them to local newspapers. I already have labels, and it's just about 15 letters. It would also help to contact other local papers, magazines, radio, and TV, to see about getting free or inexpensive ads. Also possible is posting ads at local colleges and other institutions, such as hospitals.
(2) Information manager, to be listed as a phone contact for people to call about the club. This person would take messages, call people back, send out newsletters, and keep a list of those contacted to be entered in our database.
(3) House party manager, who would keep the basic supplies for parties, such as plasticware, paper goods, and decorations, and see to it that these items are delivered to wherever the party may be. It would also be helpful to set up these items and be sure they are replenished during the event. The actual duties could be delegated to others who will attend. A related duty would be to contact people who might be willing to have house parties in the future.
(4) Newsletter editor, who would use desktop publishing to put together the newsletter on a quarterly basis, and have copies run off. Additional responsibilities would be stapling, folding, labeling, stamping and mailing, although these could be done at a work meeting as we have done in the past.
(5) Events manager, who would contact people about sponsoring events, and arrange them into a calendar on a quarterly basis. This would also involve calling people to get them to volunteer to assist at specific events.
(6) General help: For any event listed that you plan to attend, you may call the contact person to volunteer to help in some way. Helpful assistance would be things like taking names, collecting money, distributing newsletters to newcomers, keeping the food table clean and efficient, etc.
Even offloading a few of these things will be a big help. And, of course, we always welcome volunteers to host events, even simple things like dinners at restaurants.
This summer's newsletter has perhaps a record number of activities, but they are largely just listings of public events that anyone may attend. They could be great singles events if enough people would attend, but I doubt we will see a lot of participation. Many singles seem to want an easy way to meet that perfect someone who will make their life complete, so they flock to the heavily attended dances or perhaps the well-worn house parties. When they come to something where there are only a few people, and they don't see anyone they are interested in, or one or two they dislike, they tend to reject the entire group. Although they say they are tired of the "bar scene", they still seek a similar venue where they can quickly scope out a lot of new people in search of their dream.
The Baltimore Singles Network is supposed to be an alternative to all of that. We strive to have activities that are fun, wholesome, and inexpensive. Often, we find one or two very interesting and attractive people who attend, but they are apparently discouraged at not finding others of interest, so they drop out. It is quite possible that compatible people often miss each other because they attend only one or two events. Instead of being patient, and concentrating on enjoying the activity, they give up on the entire group and look elsewhere.
It is important to realize that this club is designed to be run by and for its members. If there are not many events you really like, it is up to you to take charge and sponsor something that you find interesting. If you would like to meet more people in your age range, why don't you take the initiative and distribute newsletters among your colleagues, or find ways to advertise in places where such people frequent.
There is certainly much room for improvement in this organization. I have many ideas that could make it better and attract more people, but I cannot, or will not, do it alone. We need people who want to take an active part in making things better for others. Being single is an opportunity to meet and mingle with many other people. Not everyone you interact with will be your ideal mate, but you can learn a little bit from everyone. It can brighten your day if you help someone who is a bit less fortunate than yourself. Many people in singles organizations lack social skills, and need a bit of help. As you reach out to others, you make yourself more attractive, and so may meet someone with whom you may want to spend more time. The love you share will be returned to you many fold.
If you can offer any assistance, or have any suggestions, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Paul E. Schoen
P.S. As of 7/17/00, several people have volunteered to take over some of the duties listed above. I am grateful for their offers of assistance. We can still use more help, so please don't hesitate to volunteer. It could be fun!