I wrote Kathy Bornino of IONS SLO (San Luis Obispo, CA) where I used to live and since I love IONS so much I decided to create one here in Florence.. I asked Kathy a few questions about SLO’s IONS and here is her letter which I will be promoting on the IONS Florence fb page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/188621395657438/):
Great that you are forming an IONS group!
I hope it becomes as inspirational and nourishing for you as it has been for me.
I did not start the group in SLO. I was on the board of the Central Coast Jung Society and the President Jim Skinner told me about an IONS group meeting in SLO. It was started by Bernice Nicholson, a retired Humanities/Art Professor at Poly. She led the group from 1990-95, then decided she had done enough. No one stepped up to her request for a replacement and I did not want to see the group die so I took over.
Over the years we met at various places in SLO: first the Newman center, which Bernice was using and I continued for free, maybe two years. Then I think they expanded to include some Saturday morning program which was when we had met, so we met in the community room of a complex near Sinsheimer park, also for free because one of the IONS members lived there. When that was not available somebody found us at the Unitarian on Foothill which let us use a foyer room on a pass the hat basis. In those days all the monthly notices went out by US mail, for which I asked people to contribute $5 per year for stamps. I never thought to charge for meetings but sometimes a speaker wanted something so we passed the hat. I’m sure it is possible to set up a group with dues, but I just encouraged people to join the Institute because they needed membership.
They used to supply films if your requested them – there was a catalogue. [well I certainly have plenty of films to choose from! – B Banner]
They were usually glad to share their passion and it was marketing for them.
I would also do 1-2 meetings per year on science and do the more biology oriented one myself and ask someone who I knew had an understanding of physics to help us learn some basic quantum mechanics.
And I would ask people for topic recommendations. 1-2 times per year we would have a thought provoking topic that I just had some questions prepared for and the meeting would be a joining of minds. And of course IONS attracts people who have had psi – experiences – especially now that IONS is researching that more openly – and that is a good topic for meetings.
And every 2 years there is the international conference somewhere, after which videos of the presentations are available online for at least awhile. I love watching those and picking 1-3 to present in the fall after the conference.
Is there an IONS in Portland? If so, they might have some pointers about understanding how to attract Oregonians.
You can also get pointers from IONS website coaching on community groups and there are forums for community group leaders that I confess I never have time for. Receptionists have always been friendly when I called IONS and I am sure the community group coordinator can give you some helpful tips.