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alt.org.toastmasters Frequently Asked Questions part 2 of 5: Membership in Toastmasters International 1. How does one go about joining Toastmasters? First, of course, you must have found a club to join. If you have visited a club and found it to your liking, ask a member (preferably an officer, who is more likely to be able to help you) for an application form. According to the bylaws all Toastmasters clubs operate under, any new member of a club must be voted into membership by the club. In practice, this rarely happens. Instead, members are welcomed enthusiastically into the club as soon as a standard membership application ("Form 400") is turned in with a check for the appropriate dues. 2. How much does membership cost? Upon joining Toastmasters, you will find yourself paying three different fees. One is the standard $16.00 fee that every new member must pay in order to receive educational materials (see below). One is the standard International dues, $3.00 per month. One is your Club dues, if any. All Toastmasters clubs are billed in March and September for semi-annual dues for their members who wish to remain members for the next six months. If you join in between those periods, you submit a _pro-rated_ share of the dues. Clubs usually charge dues on top of the world dues. This is so they'll have money in the treasury for expenses. It's up to each club what they want to charge. Some clubs waive the club dues for new members and only assess them at the semi- annual dues payment dates. So, to make a long story short, if you join at the following times, you'd owe: April or October: $16.00 + $18.00 + club dues May or November: $16.00 + $15.00 + club dues June or December $16.00 + $12.00 + club dues July or January $16.00 + $9.00 + club dues August or February $16.00 + $6.00 + club dues September or March $16.00 + $3.00 + club dues Then, once you're signed up, dues of $18.00 are assessed every six months, in September and March. * Note: due to California law, members of _California_ clubs pay sales tax on their new member fee. 3. Can I belong to more than one club? Yes. This is called "dual membership" even if you belong to more than two clubs. When you join the second club, of course, you don't need to pay the New Member fee because you don't need a second set of starter materials (see below). 4. If I belong to more than one club, do I have to pay full dues for each? Yes. If you belong to more than one club, you must nonetheless pay full dues for each club. 5. Are my dues tax deductible? In the United States, they are -- IF your job is of a sort that requires or necessitates good communications skills. In other words, it must be an educational expense to be tax deductible. Toastmasters International will send you complete tax deduction explanations if you request them to do so. 6. What do I get for my dues? Your $18.00 semi-annual dues paid to World Headquarters goes partly for a subscription to the _Toastmaster_ magazine (which, to be honest, is an excellent magazine), partly to support development of new educational programs (they've got some *nice* new programs coming out these days), partly to support operations at World Headquarters (i.e. the staff who process membership applications, CTM applications, new club applications, etc. etc. ad nauseam), and partly to support your local District organization. Furthermore, when you finish your CTM, you get three of the Advanced project manuals for no extra charge to work toward your ATM with. Dues went up for the first time in over ten years last year and as a result, dues should not rise for a long time (it was like pulling teeth to get the most recent dues raise through, and some members remain unconvinced that it was necessary). This raise had a lot to do with printing costs and so forth quintupling over the last decade. Your club dues generally go to pay for the club's supplies, such as ballots, awards, ribbons, and educational materials. In some cases, such as when your club has a meal at each meeting, your dues may go to pay for that. 7. What do I get for my New Member fee? Your $16.00 New Member fee gets you the following: * the Communication and Leadership project manual * the "Gestures - Your Body Speaks" manual * the "A Speaker's Guide to Evaluation" manual * the Voice manual The latter three are instructional manuals rather than project manuals. Only the first is a workbook. 8. If I want to drop out of Toastmasters after joining, what do I do? Simply wait for March or September to arrive and don't pay your dues again. It'd probably be a good idea to let your Vice President Education know to stop scheduling you for speeches, though. 9. How receptive are clubs to new members? Since most people are genuinely terrified of public speaking, Toastmasters has its hands full recruiting members. There's virtually no chance that you won't be enthusiastically welcomed into any club you join and immediately be considered one of the gang. Occasionally, however, people get into bad situations, but the same is true of ANY organization. There are jerks everywhere. Toastmasters probably has its share. For this reason, the author of this FAQ considers it a good idea to visit ALL Toastmasters clubs in your area before deciding which one you want to join. If a club that you visit turns out to be full of jerks, please don't assume that this is true of the entire organization. Once in a while, people come to forget that they're part of a larger organization and act as though the message and mission of Toastmasters doesn't concern them. Please nod, leave, and visit some other club. This is definitely the exception, but we cannot honestly say that it never happens. 10. If I join, will they make me speak right away? No. You will not be asked to speak unless you're ready to. If you feel more comfortable waiting a few months, that's fine. Most clubs attempt to arrange the meeting schedules in such a way that most members are involved in some capacity at each meeting, so you'll need to let them know what your wishes are. Give Toastmasters a try! If you want information about clubs in your area, do one of the following: * call (714) 858-8255 and ask * send a postcard to TI, P.O. Box 9052, Mission Viejo, CA 92690 * access http://www.toastmasters.org/index.html * send email to firstname.lastname@example.org (include a postal address) We're looking forward to seeing you!