Advantages of Being an AIS Affiliate

by Rita Gormley, Region 18

This article was written several years ago

As the new RVP of Region 18, I felt that I needed to put in writing, for our very large region, a list of all the advantages of AIS affiliation. Being a person who hates to "reinvent the wheel" if someone else has already done the work, I looked for a concise outline and could not find one; so I have gathered up information from other knowledgeable sources.

Individual AIS members are the lifeblood of the organization, and the AIS Regions and its Affiliates are the structure through which AIS can and does provide many services. The relationship is symbiotic in a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship.

As AIS President Terry Aitken said (in part) in his January 2003 "President's Message":

"The AIS affiliated societies are the backbone of the American Iris Society. They are frequently, but not always, the sponsoring organizations for Regional and National meetings, conventions, tours, shows and plant sales. Affiliates are, by definition, a composite of AIS and non-AIS members. These non-AIS members are dues paying; voting members of the Affiliate societies. They vote on club expenditures, club officers, and club sponsored activities.  Many of them are the volunteers that make our AIS activities viable. By association, these people are potentially the best candidates for becoming new members of AIS. We simply have to make it worth their while.

"It is important that our club activities include educational, aesthetically inspiring and socially satifying activities for both AIS and non-AIS members."

What AIS does for the Regions and Affiliates - (not necessarily in order of importance):

1) International Registry for all rhizomatous irises.

2) Sets Judges' Training standards and credentials to ensure quality judging in all Regions.

3) Established a National Awards system for all types of rhizomatous irises.

4) Each affilliated society receives a free copy of the AIS Bulletin.

Therefore, each Affiliated Society has the opportunity to cast one vote for the Symposium on behalf of the affiliated society. This gives an excellent program opportunity for the affiliated society to have a "Popularity Poll Party" and cast a ballot agreed to by all affiliate members.

5) Each affiliated society receives one set of free adult medals for each accredited show sponsored by that Affiliate.

6) Each affiliated society receives free use of one set of AIS slides per year.

7) AIS liability insurance extends to Affiliate's show venues, meetings and garden tours.

8) Affiliates can apply for subordinate society status under AIS, which grants tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status under the IRS Code. Members of a 501(c)(3) society may deduct contributions (rhizomes, etc.) to society auctions IF the member itemizes deductions.

9) American Iris Society Web Page -- - with links to many other iris sites.

10) Youth Programs: National and Regional with awards, contests and newsletters.

11) Publications of great interest to iris gardeners are available through the AIS Storefront; some of these are not available through regular commercial sources.

12) Provides special discounts to affiliates on some publications, such as The Gardener's Iris Book by William Shear.

Many of the items above enhance the ability of a local organization or affiliate to easily take care of the "Administrative" chores and get to the REAL iimportant items: fun with the educational and social activities.

Thanks to Terry Aitken, E. Roy Epperson, and Clarence Mahan for their contributions to this article.

Printed in the AIS Bulletin, Issue 332, January 2004
Reprinted with permission of the author.