A message from the President of the Greater Ft. Worth Chapter PRSA, Andra Bennett, APR:
I'm asking Chapter members to consider something that's sort of like a running joke about members of Congress. Vote yourselves a dues increase.
Our chapter dues are $45 annually. They have not been increased since the mid-to-late '90s, according to chapter records. The Board has proposed increasing the dues to $55 annually, effective January 2010. Bylaws require a majority vote of the membership at the annual meeting at noon on October 14th, at the Petroleum Club, to raise dues. (Register for this meeting here.)
Over the past 11-15 years (when dues were last raised), the chapter has doubled in size, requiring us to send an additional assembly delegate to the national assembly. The chapter has created eight new Special Interest Groups, several new committees such as Diversity and Ethics, committed to annual student scholarships for three universities (UTA, TCU and ACU), and a scholarship fund for members who attain their APR.
Every new activity has associated expense line items - small expenses but necessary for the committees to function. Operation expenses have increased, such as credit card and bank fees for online registrations. Because of our increase in size and budget ($30,000), we now retain an accountant for tax preparation, because even as a non-profit, we are required to file a tax return and associated state tax paperwork. As a 501 (c) 6, we are required to pay sales tax, which has increased as prices have increased.
We have diversified our income streams to include fees for award judging, portions of revenues from the Job Bank and TPRA awards contest, and sponsorships, in order to keep luncheon fees down and not raise dues.
This year, the Board reduced the budget and renegotiated contracts. We are exploring a new venue for luncheons that retains quality and professionalism but would contain costs better.
However, to sustain the many activities and operations of our chapter, we should consider increasing our dues to help cover and defray rising expenses and maintain a balanced budget. In addition, this would add room for further chapter expansion OR protect us from economic downturns like the one we saw this year.
Fyi, a $10 annual increase amounts to 83 cents per month per member.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact me (abennett [at] fortworthchamber.com) or our Treasurer Allyson Cross (cross [at] gcgadvertising.com).
Andra Bennett, APR
President, Greater Fort Worth PRSA