The Reasons for a Dues Increase

By Gretchen Nielsen, Sertoma Junior Vice President

September 25, 2019

I have had the pleasure of serving as a Sertoma board member twice. First, as the Regional Director of the Heart of America Region, and now as the Junior Vice President.

When I was visiting clubs as Regional Director the question I was asked more than any other was, “What does Sertoma do for us?” I will admit, that it was, and still is a difficult question to answer. You would think that as a board member we would have the answer immediately. The reason it is difficult is due to the fact that Sertoma, Inc. is different for each club, and sometimes even each member of a given club. To me, this question leads us to, why do we need a dues increase?

The average cost of living in the U.S. increases 3% each year. Even as a school teacher we receive an annual increase based on years of experience, and we have not increased Sertoma dues since 2012.  That puts us at a 21% deficit based on the national average. This information brings us back to, “What does Sertoma do for me?” In the past, it may have seemed that clubs and national were two separate entities. We have dealt with a large disconnect for many years, but those tables are turning. Our new Executive Director, Aaron Ensminger, is helping move this process along. He is more member focused than we have been used to in the past. We have said goodbye to two staff members and have hired a Member Services Manager to focus on our members.

We have added new ways for members to be recognized in giving to the Annual Fund. Believe it or not, the Board is listening to what members have to say and we are working hard to find solutions.  I know we have tried and have been unsuccessful at a dues increase during the last two elections. I feel like we set ourselves up for failure in those attempts. The first one was too much at once–increasing both individual and club national dues. The second attempt was confusing, even for some of us who were on the Board at the time.

So, what are we doing to make this change more member focused? We are asking for one increase, and are doing our best to keep it simple and straightforward. Sertoma needs you. With no dues increase in 7 years, and a loss in membership that we are still working to correct, we need your help.

The increase we are asking for is $25. This will take your current member dues from $80 per year to $105. If you consider the fact that we are no longer paying district dues, we are really asking that this money be given to Sertoma instead of the governors. For many, this substitution will cancel out an increase altogether. 

If you have questions about the upcoming election or dues increase, please contact and reach out to Sertoma staff and your board members. We all want stronger clubs and a stronger organization. Together, we can do great things and we can make this happen. Please have the dues increase conversation within your clubs and continue to ask questions!


  • Wil Lemley says:

    I understand why the increase .
    What I don’t understand is where all the money go?

    • Aaron Ensminger says:

      Hi Wil!

      Since this increase will go exclusively to operational budgets, I’m happy to talk this one through. Operational costs include things like taxes, insurance and upkeep on our HQ office (a fantastic old house in Kansas City), utilities on same, office expenses like copier lease, phone, paper, etc., and staff salaries. Operational expenses also include expenses like sending staff members to Regional Meetings and expenses of national level meetings that aren’t covered by registration costs.

  • Dennis Graffious says:

    I fully support this and will begin advocating this within my local club and at our Regional Conference comming up this weekend

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