Contrabass Conversations double bass life

537: ISB - State of the Union

Nov. 8, 2018

We’re talking with International Society of Bassists President Nicholas Walker about new directions for the organization.  A lot has been happening behind the scenes at the ISB, and I’ve been privileged to be on the board and a part of these restructuring.  We dig into this and much more in today’s conversation.

Below is Nicholas’ column for the fall 2018 edition of Bass World.  This will give context to much of what we’re talking about.  Enjoy, and please join the ISB is you’re not a member!


We Can Do This Together

by Nicholas Walker

International Society of Bassists President

The ISB is thriving. We are an inclusive collective of bass players with an inspiring philosophy and 50 years of experience connecting through meaningful educational nonprofit work. We have a highly competent and functional Board of Directors and Advisory Board, an extraordinary Management Team, ever-blossoming and deepening Convention gatherings, this inspiring Bass World journal, a growing endowment, smart fiscal oversight, and best of all, we have ourselves, our loyal and devoted member-base-bass-members!


Member Dues

It has been four years since our member dues have increased, and it is time to raise them again. Our finance team has been crunching the numbers, and today the cost per member is $89.23/year. If you look at the new member rates at the back this journal you will see that all of our rates are below this number, and that we offer our largest discounts to students and seniors - we are at our very best when we hold all generations in our contiguous bass love.

That’s right. We deliberately set our member dues as low as possible so we are able to include more people. But this means we depend upon three additional revenue sources: 1) voluntary tax deductible donations from those of us who are able, 2) advertising and sponsorship income from our luthiers and vendors, and 3) growth in our member base.


More Members

This is where you come in. More members and more voluntary donations means our costs are shared among more members, a lower cost per member, more opportunity for us to expand our education and outreach programs, and a sustainable, financially secure future.


Simply stated, there are not enough bassists investing in the future of the ISB. Many membership organizations are struggling these days to answer one this question: how can we reach the next generation and inspire the kind of loyal civic responsibility and united, shared commitment that seems to have been culturally instilled in the baby boomers?

We need to bring more bassists into our family, and I’m writing to ask you to help us recruit members, both for idealogical and fiscal reasons.



One very easy way to do this is simply to sponsor a gift membership through the link at the bottom of this letter.

If you are able, please make additional voluntary donations beyond your member dues. We are a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, so all donations are tax deductible.

If you are a Life Member, and if you are able, please consider contributing voluntarily to cover the $89.32 yearly cost for providing our services to you.


Do You Need Help?

If you are in some tough financial times, please contribute what you can, and know that many of us would be very happy to help a fellow member stay in our ISB family. This can always be done discreetly and anonymously through the home office, or any board member. We know you would do the same for us if our situations were reversed.


Keeping Costs Down

By January 2019 we plan to offer you the option to opt out of paper delivery. Our second largest expense every year is the production, printing, and shipping of this journal. We know that some of our members love to have a physical copy in hand, while others prefer to read and browse on their phones, tablets, and computers. I hope that no one will feel obliged to give up a physical copy of the magazine, but for those of you who prefer a paperless subscription, we would like to provide you this service, which will also save us money in shipping and printing.

So many of our members are experienced and proficient in areas outside of bass playing. When you folks help with web development, investment expertise, fundraising, marketing, convention organization and implementation, we save money. So if you have time, experience, or resources that could be helpful to one of our teams, please reach out directly to the Chair of that team or the home office, and know that we welcome your help and participation.

My hope is that by the time we all are “back home again in Indiana” in June of 2019, we can report to you a happy increase in both our member numbers and voluntary donations.

Thank you for any part you can play in helping to keep our society strong and thriving into the next 50 years.

To help us out today, please visit

~ Nicholas


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