New Club Guidelines
Greetings, fellow Parrot Heads!
After years of success, the locally organized parrot head clubs network has grown to proportions that none of us ever expected! With many officially recognized clubs in place, and national conventions occurring annually, our organization continues to grow in leaps and bounds.
Our intention is to promote the national network of parrot head clubs, known as Parrot Heads In Paradise, as a humanitarian group that shares information and activities for mutual benefit. We all share a common statement of purpose:
Parrot Heads in Paradise, Inc. was created to promote friendships and organize social activities for people with similar interests including enjoyment of the tropical spirit of Jimmy Buffett’s music.
In addition, PHiP, Inc. is a non-profit corporation and encourages its member clubs to provide a variety of volunteer efforts in the local, regional and national community for social and environmental causes.
In the process of making new friends and having fun, we believe in leaving something positive behind. Our clubs are open to anyone with the tropical spirit and desire to contribute to the betterment of their communities.
Although PHiP’s recognized club chapters are autonomous, we encourage them to follow our goals and mission.
We hope the following information will be helpful to you in starting a parrot head club in your area.
DISCLAIMER: We are recognized by but in no way attached to Jimmy Buffett and his business interests in Key West, New Orleans, Charleston, and Orlando.
We are not associated with HK Management, MCA Records, Island Records, or Margaritaville Records. We would like to stress that Mr. Buffett’s name, his song titles, lyrics, names of businesses owned by Mr. Buffett, and the term “Parrot Head” are all registered trademarks and should not be used for the pursuit of profit. Clubs are allowed to use the term “Parrot Head” on t-shirts, etc., but NOT Jimmy Buffett’s name.
Although group tickets are made available to the clubs through Jimmy’s management, each club must first show some level of community service activity, over an initial ONE YEAR period, and submit a report bi-annually (through info in their respective club newsletters or by letter/email) to Suzanne Calhoun. All clubs are required to comply with the guidelines set forth by Parrot Heads in Paradise, Inc. Please contact Suzanne Calhoun for a copy of these guidelines and a “How to Start a Parrot Head Club” packet. Thank you.
Now, with the regulations and disclaimers out of the way, here we go!
BRIEF HISTORY OF LOCAL PARROT HEAD CLUBS
In early 1989 Scott Nickerson of Atlanta, Georgia decided he had met so many great people “tailgating” before Buffett concerts that he should do something to get those people together more than once a year. His idea was to create something different than a typical social club or fan club, by forming a group that would not only enjoy a wide variety of social activities but also provide volunteer support for local (and beyond) community and environmental concerns. After all, Jimmy had set the example with Save the Manatees Club, Friends of Florida, etc., so it seemed a good bet that this concept would appeal to most parrot heads.
After 3 months of brainstorming, and receiving blessings from Margaritaville Key West, Scott put an ad in a free, weekly entertainment newspaper in hopes of starting the first organized parrot head club. Scott figured it was hit or miss, but inquiries came pouring in. Within a month, a core consisting of Scott and two other parrot heads had organized the first group meeting.
On April 1, 1989 approximately 15 parrot heads met at Chastain Park (the site of many previous Buffett concerts in Atlanta), for the first official parrot head club meeting, then headed to a local patio bar for margaritas. More and more people began to flock to the club’s bi-weekly happy hours, and it became obvious that the Atlanta Parrot Head Club was going to be a hit. During the next year or so, the club participated in several volunteer events with: the Red Cross, Children’s Wish Foundation, S.I.D.S., UNICEF, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Chattahoochee River Clean Up, and an “underwater monopoly” event that not only raised over seventy thousand dollars for Muscular Dystrophy but also broke the Guinness Book record! The club has been involved in the same types of activities ever since.
A short blurb about the Atlanta Parrot Head Club appeared in the Coconut Telegraph, written by Marty Lehmann (editor). Parrot head subscribers from everywhere began to call in to ask how to start the same kind of club in their own towns. Marty was impressed with the way the Atlanta club was running, so he asked Scott to write this “Guidelines” handbook to help start, and promote consistency between, clubs. Three years later, Scott was asked to handle all club-related inquiries and be consultant to all newly forming clubs.
By the end of 1992, clubs had emerged in Beaumont, Dallas, New York City, Orlando, Detroit, and New Orleans. The First Annual Parrot Head Convention, or “Meeting of the Minds” as it is fondly referred to, was organized by Jerry Diaz of the Beaumont club to take place in New Orleans, Louisiana, home of the newest Margaritaville Store & Cafe, in late December ’92. Approximately 80 people attended and all had a fantastic time. After all expenses were deducted from the collected registration fees, $200 was left over and donated to New Orleans Artists Against Hunger & Homelessness. The clubs also “honored” Jimmy with the lifetime achievement “Silver Chalice” award, which can still be seen high over the register at the Margaritaville store.
Nearly a year later, a second convention in New Orleans was put together by Scott Nickerson and the Atlanta Club for late October ’93. By this time, 19 clubs existed and more were on the way. 165 parrot heads attended this convention, which was highlighted by a parrot head party at Margaritaville Cafe. The party was opened by a surprise video welcome from Jimmy on the big screen over the stage, followed by Scott’s Buffett Tribute band, A1A, getting the party into full swing playing everyone’s favorite Buffett songs. $400 was donated to N.O.A.A.H.H. out of the registration funds that year. During the convention, a stronger connection was made with Margaritaville by Sunshine Smith’s (Jimmy’s business partner) presence at our meeting. Prior to that meeting, Sunshine named Scott official liaison between the clubs and Margaritaville, Inc.
Inspired by Sunshine, the national organization, Parrot Heads In Paradise was established in early 1994, in essence, to provide further guidance and support to the ever-growing number of local clubs and to give the associated clubs national recognition.
In Nov., 1994, the 3rd Annual “Meeting of the Minds”, was again held in New Orleans. By this time there were over 50 active clubs. At least 30 founders or representatives showed up to meet and discuss parrot head club achievements, and over 325 parrot heads attended this convention. Key West, the Band, provided their renditions of Buffett’s music, and originals, for the parrot head party at Margaritaville Cafe.
It was evident that the conventions had roughly doubled in size each year! By the 4th Annual Convention in Nov. 1995 the number of clubs had reached 81 and a record 750 parrot heads attended the convention.
Over 50 clubs were represented at the Founders Breakfast. Sunshine Smith, Marty Lehmann, and Judith Ranger of Margaritaville Inc. Key West, and Bob Mercer of Margaritaville Records attended the breakfast to thank the group for their ongoing community and environmental support. This convention was organized by a committee chaired by Monte Tolar, Houston Club leader. Monte and his committee put together a “phenomenal” weekend which included the following events: an auction of various signed Buffett memorabilia and items donated by Corona Extra that brought in over $8000 for charity. From registration proceeds after expenses, a check was given to Sister Jane Remson at Margaritaville Cafe for New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness for $2500, and a check in the same amount was sent to Save the Manatee Club. Additional funds totalling $5000 were distributed to a variety of charities suggested by club leaders, which brought the total charitable contribution from the 4th Annual Parrot Head Convention to $10,000.
This was highlighted by a professionally made 20 minute video produced by Mike Douglass (Mikey D.). This video opened with the annual greeting and words of appreciation from Jimmy Buffett and continued with clips of many of the clubs involved in their respective community service and environmental projects. Captain Tony Terracino was brought in for storytelling and autograph signing at the Tropical Isle and Margaritaville Cafe by Capt. Harry Finkand Sara Sunshine of the Tampa Bay Club. Key West and A1A bands were brought in to open up for Peter Mayer, Fingers Taylor, Roger Guth (all of Jimmy’s band), and friends for the annual party at Margaritaville Cafe.
Scott Nickerson was given an Award of Excellence from the clubs as well as a harmonica belt signed by Jimmy Buffett and Fingers Taylor as a gift of thanks from Judith Ranger of Margaritaville Inc. and Fingers. As an extra treat, Fingers joined A1A onstage for their rendition of his song, “Some White People Can Dance”.
By the end of 1995 Parrot Heads in Paradise had grown into an association of approximately 15,000 members worldwide. It was time to evolve. Early in 1996, Scott Nickerson formed a board of directors and Parrot Heads in Paradise filed for incorporation and not-for-profit status with the I.R.S. By-laws were adopted to further insure the positive direction of the association. Two more successful conventions were held in New Orleans.
Then in 1998, The Meeting of the Minds moved to Key West, FL for the 7th Annual Convention. The November event was attended by a record 2000 Parrot Heads in Paradise club members. 80% of the 126 clubs were represented, parrot heads from Canada even joined the phlock. Over $25,000 was raised for charity, in addition to a book collection for Wesley House and a toy collection for the Margaritaville sponsored Hurricane Relief Christmas for Keys Kids. And the BEST surprise of all was that it was convention “LUCKY 7”–Jimmy Buffett appeared at the Saturday night, Parrot Head Street Festival and played for over an hour with Greg “Fingers” Taylor, Robert Greenidge and the Landsharks.
Parrot Heads in Paradise, Inc. continues to grow and evolve and we hope you will join us for this voyage!!! Here’s how to phlock along…
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE, ANYWAY?
Club members come from a variety of backgrounds. Most are professionals, with an average age range between the mid-twenties and mid-fifties. Although membership numbers vary greatly from club to club, from all accounts, our clubs have an average membership of 150. The real beauty of the clubs is that they seem to attract exactly the right kind of people – people who, through their attraction to Jimmy Buffett’s music also have a number of other interests in common, most importantly the desire to give something back to the community in which they live.
1. ESTABLISH A CORE GROUP
Place an ad in a (preferably) free entertainment publication. Create interesting flyers and put them in bars or record stores (with permission, of course). The Atlanta Club’s initial ad read “The Atlanta Parrot Head Club now forming. For those who enjoy Buffett’s music, a variety of mostly outdoor social activities, and a chance to volunteer for community service and environmental projects. Call for more info.. First get-together coming soon.” Initially, you will attract at least a couple of enthusiastic people who will want to help you get organized. Once you have some assistance, start planning your first get-together. Always thank those who help out!
2. FIND A CENTRAL LOCATION FOR MEETINGS
We’ve found that two types of meetings are necessary on a regular basis – a happy hour at a local watering hole to attract new members, and a planning meeting for the principal organizers of the group. Try to find a popular bar or restaurant, preferably with a “Buffett”-type atmosphere, that is enthusiastic about having a regular group of parrot heads meet there casually twice (or once) a month, and who will sponsor club events, advertise your club’s association with them, and cover small club expenses (such as paying for club newletter copies in exchange for advertising their establishment in your newsletter).
Planning meetings should be held about once a month in a more sedate setting such as someone’s house or office. The happy hours should be casual social time, while the planning meetings are designed for handling club business (organizing volunteer functions and club social events, planning the newsletter, etc.) I cannnot stress how important it is to have BOTH.
3. PURCHASE OR MAKE A BANNER OR SIGN
When you are meeting in a public place, this gives you instant recognition and builds interest amongst other patrons. (Beer companies will usually make banners for your club for free. After all, it advertises their beer, and we are parrot heads!)
4. DESIGN AND MARKET A CLUB T-SHIRT
Create a suitable logo design for your club, and have a professional artist do the artwork. It will be worth the investment. T- shirts are a small revenue builder, and they provide great recognition for your club. The Parrot Heads In Paradise, Inc. national club logo is available for use by all PHiP sanctioned clubs to show their mutual affiliation, please contact:
David Cohen, PHIP Inc. Secretary
5. ESTABLISH A CLUB NEWSLETTER
Notifies members and potential members of upcoming activities, and recaps events from previous months. Usually a newsletter every two months is sufficient, but many of the clubs produce one every month. A calendar of all activities is another integral part of a good newsletter. You may also want to include parrot head trivia, crosswords, classifieds, etc. to make your newsletter more interesting and entertaining. While it is a good idea to always have newsletters on hand at happy hours and club activities, it’s best to establish a mailing list so that members can receive the newsletter at home.
Stay in touch with the other clubs by sending your newsletter. After awhile it becomes expensive to send extra copies to non-members, so if you want to keep receiving any particular club’s newsletter, be sure to keep sending them yours – or make arrangements to “purchase” a non-member subscription.
6. ESTABLISH COMMITTEES
Get members to volunteer for committees that will organize:
- social events – i.e., parties, cookouts, rafting trips, sporting events, etc.;
- the newsletter – if you decide to tackle producing one, you will need people to write, make copies, and mail it out. This is involved and is best handled by more than one person;
- volunteer events – projects with local charities, community service, environmental clean-up, etc.;
- memberships data base– to have on file at all times pertinent info on all members;
- club acct. – to keep track of membership dues anniversaries and club funds. (Dues range from $10 – $35 per year depending on the club.);
- phone callers – to contact members when something spontaneous comes up, or to remind members of important upcoming events. Get a few members to split up the member list and be responsible for staying in touch with their specific people on the list. This makes things more personal and inspires participation in club functions.
NOTES: Every Jan. 1, each club is requested to pay national dues to cover communication costs and to enjoy the benefits of charter membership in Parrot Heads In Paradise, Inc.. Initial, first year charter dues ($75 for the first year) are collected as follows: Jan.1-March 31, full amount due; April 1-June 30, 3/4 amount due; July 1-Sept. 31, 1/2 amount due; Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 1/4 amount due.
Renewal/annual dues for previously established clubs are $75 PLUS $1 for every member beyond the initial 75, based on current membership as of January 1st of any given year.
All chapter dues checks are made out to:
Parrot Heads in Paradise, Inc.
and mailed to:
Director of Membership
For renewing clubs, please include your club’s member roster as of Jan. 1 (with addresses if possible), and a listing of all charitable activities with a contact(s) name(s) from the previous year, your inception date/year, and current contact information including a phone number, email address (if one is available), and club web site.
New clubs, please register your club for charter as soon as you feel things are up and running. Please INCLUDE your name, address, phone number and email address for the directory and our web site https://www.phip.com along with your dues. Dues checks will be forwarded to our PHiP Treasurer.
Being part of Parrot Heads in Paradise, you will receive regular club listing updates and communiques to let you know what group activities are being offered: cruises, regional gatherings, national charity & environmental events, annual Parrot Head Convention info, and opportunities to purchase group seats to the annual Buffett concert venue near your club (see “disclaimers” on front page).
All national dues are used expressly for the expenses involved in:
- helping form new clubs & referring potential members to all clubs, since all inquiries are referred to this office by the folks at the Coconut Telegraph and a variety of other sources
- general consultation per your needs
- keeping you informed with updates on national club listings & activities through our newsletter, Tradewind Times
- necessary long distance phone calls to acquire group tickets to Buffett shows for all active clubs. Any funds left over will be rolled over into the following year’s budget. THANK YOU!
7. CLUB INCORPORATION
Several of the clubs have taken it upon themselves to incorporate. The process of incorporation varies from state to state, but in most cases is fairly simple and inexpensive. Incorporation helps protect you against personal liability. Although many clubs function fine without being incorporated, it’s worth looking into to see if it would be beneficial to you. Please contact your Secretary of the State’s Office for information on incorporation in your state. A tax i.d. number from the I.R.S. is the only thing you need to open a club checking account, and that does not require incorporation.
For further info, call the I.R.S. office that handles your personal taxes.
When considering starting a Parrot Head Club the most important thing to keep in mind is this, keep it simple & have fun! Although we do take seriously the community service/environmental support aspect of our clubs, a parrot head club should be primarily a source of enjoyment, relaxation, and fellowship.