It’s Our Future We’re Talking About

By John Kelly, National President

January 29, 2020

Before the ball dropped in Time Square to ring in the New Year, John Lennon’s iconic song “Imagine” was performed. The song asks the listeners to imagine an existence in which there is no heaven, hell, war, religion, possessions, and no need for greed or hunger. Now, I am asking you, can you imagine an existence without Sertoma?

If this was the case, in many communities, there would be no camps for deaf and hard of hearing children, programs for disadvantaged youth, hearing aid recycling programs and more. Think about the local programs your clubs have established and maintained, and the people in  your communities who have come to depend upon Sertoma and your club’s support. The list is endless.

Over the past two years, the Board of Directors have presented a proposal for a dues increase, and both times the proposal failed to gather enough votes to pass. Throughout the last three years, the Board has passed budgets that have forced us to dip into the reserves to continue funding Sertoma’s operations, and to continue funding services that our members expect and deserve.

This past year, the Board is drawing $130,000 from our reserves to fund Sertoma operations. At this rate, the reserves will be depleted soon, and Sertoma will be forced to shut down. The Board has heard your calls for cutbacks and we have done that.

We are also continuing to provide more services and resources to help your club. When you joined your local club, you made a commitment to Sertoma. As a member, you receive many benefits both tangible and intangible. Our proposal is to increase member dues by $25 a year, which is equivalent to slightly less than 7 cents per day. Can you help ensure our future?


  • R Mack says:

    $25 addittional per year is $2.08 per month. Not bad to keep a national affiliation with Sertoma. The national benefit that we use and find the most value is the insurance protection for our fund raisers. Are there national benefits offered by national that are not/rarely used that could be discontinued to save on overhead?
    Losing the “Sertoma” name would be hard, but not impossible to overcome locally. I would rather not try.

  • Renee Ward says:

    If $25 more a year will help sustain Sertoma until we begin to see an uptrend in membership along with national sponsorships, then that’s a cheap price to pay!

    I love seeing all the new services staff is working on! I also commend the new director and staff for listening to its members and making needed changes that clubs have been requesting for years. It takes money to pay staff to provide the services and training that is being offered. So, I challenge all clubs to give to the annual fund and to pass this dues increase! We have a lot of men, women and children that are depending on Sertoma to exist for years to come!

    We can do this! I’m so proud to be a Sertoman!

  • Mike Vaughan says:

    Membership decreases. Services decrease. Overhead increases. Dues increase (proposed). IMO – An unsustainable business model. One wonders the value of continuing the national organization model.

    • Duane Gritzmaker says:

      MEMBERSHIP INCREASES…when club leaders with a positive attitude set goals and make a plan to achieve them.
      SERVICES INCREASE…when club leaders review the “club business model” and make changes consistent with a revised model.
      OVERHEAD PER MEMBER DECREASES…with growth, and along with a dues increase, expands the improved services we have already begun to see.

    • Gretchen Nielsen says:

      My response to the issue of the dues increase;

      Part of your statement is correct; we are experiencing a decrease in membership. And while this ews is not new to us we as the board have been working very hard to find solutions to correct it.
      As for the decrease in services that is currently becoming a thing of the past. We all have known that many services that were once provided by HQ just disappeared or were buried somewhere in the website.I can tell you that your “national” board is listening to what the membership is saying and doing all we can to turn those asks into reality. And we are working on transparency so that the membership as a whole has access to what the board is doing. I know it has not been that way in the past. As a past board member that transparency was not always afforded to us either. All of that has changed. Please understand that not everything the board is working on gets conveyed to the membership immediately. This is simply because we have not worked all the bugs out yet and want to give the members a complete picture of what is coming.
      The dues increase is something that should have happened years ago. Inflation alone dictates the need for an increase. As for your “unsustainable business model” we as a board are doing many things to rectify this very issue. Some of those things the membership does not directly see such as board members paying for their own registration for national convention and we have paired the staff at HQ back quite a bit. There are many things the board is working on to help sustain our national organization far into the future. All board meetings are open to the membership and I would suggest that you come and attend one. You will get a much better idea of how hard we are working for you.
      So let me put this back to you; what is the value in not having the support of a national organization?

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