The Dues Debate
November 14, 2017
Most of us would probably like to have dues remain where they are, but then again, most of us would probably prefer to not make a car payment or take a trip to the grocery store. Sadly, during the past decade cost increases have continued to add up while our membership has not. The result is growing expenses and shrinking revenues.
We have and continue to change programs, reduce staff, limit activities and have made hundreds of decisions to manage our expenses. At the same time, we have made investments in efforts to grow revenues. Training and support efforts focus on the skills and techniques to engage new members and donors in Sertoma. CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence® events have been an effective way to raise new money from new audiences. We have expanded our efforts to grow, and to create new relationships so that we can allow more people and organizations to engage in our mission.
The results, though good, have not been enough to address the growing shortfall in revenue. Until we can build the participation of Sertoma members and engage new people and communities in these activities, we need to build a bridge to the future. That bridge is the proposed dues increase. It will not solve our problem or give us a surplus at any level. It will simply allow us to continue to support and strengthen our members and clubs. It will allow us to continue to work with new people and new communities to build support for Sertoma.
The Board knows it is not enough to just ask the members, the board as individuals and leaders must do their part. So while they are asking you each for an additional $5 a quarter, they have committed to raising $60K in new revenues each a year. That averages out to about $4,000 for each Board member to develop through new people and communities. So the real question in this debate is – do we stop here, separated from our future by a gap in our revenues, or do we build a bridge to our future and assure a second century of Sertoma service?
Club Dues – How to Manage with Other People’s Money
Since the announcement of the proposed dues increase, the biggest concern is the $175 annual increase for clubs. Clearly as a flat rate for clubs of all sizes, this is a concern for clubs with smaller revenues or fewer members. Unlike individual dues, which are the responsibility of the members, club dues should not come from the member’s dues. Club dues should come from the other revenues that the club generates through fundraising or other activities. In effect, you want to pay your club dues with other people’s money – not the members’. Much like costs for insurance, club dues are an expense required to operate. As a public charity, the club can and should raise those funds as a portion of their activities. Make this an opportunity to leverage your fundraising efforts to greater success. Not only will it cover your club dues, but it will let you give back to your community even more!