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Feedback needed on dues increase

August 18, 2011

The PRSA National Board of Directors has voted to ask the 2011 Leadership Assembly to approve a $30 increase in the cost of basic PRSA membership dues, to $255 from $225, effective Jan. 1, 2012. According to PRSA bylaws, the Leadership Assembly has the authority to approve the membership dues structure, as proposed by the National Board.

The Leadership Assembly, with Cindy Sharpe, APR and Patt Reed, APR, as your Tampa Bay Chapter Assembly Delegates, will be in Orlando in October deliberating and ultimately voting on this issue.

This proposal was influenced by the work of PRSA’s Business Model Task Force, which audited PRSA’s financial condition and conducted a comprehensive review of financial, membership and sponsorship trends, comparative data from other industry associations, and the evolution of PRSA’s product and service offerings. The Task Force recommended to the National Board of Directors a $50 dues increase; however, the National Board decided to ask the Assembly for a $30 increase. The Task Force and the National Board believes the dues increase is necessary to ensure PRSA’s financial health into the future.

Some of the National Board’s rationale for asking its Assembly to vote on a dues increase includes these reasons:

  • It’s been 10 years since PRSA last increased its annual membership dues.
  • The Board believes that annual operating costs will soon outpace revenue growth.
  • Membership dues would be priced at more than $270 today, had the cost been tied to increases in the Consumer Price Index since 2002.
  • PRSA wants to continue to meet its financial goal of returning 1 percent of its annual operating budget to its financial reserves.
  • Membership dues, which account for approximately 50 percent of PRSA’s revenue, have remained steady, but other revenue streams, such as professional development and Jobcenter, have declined in recent years due to the downturn in the economy and other market conditions.
  • Cost-control measures — which in recent years have included cost and operational efficiencies, elimination of underperforming products and services, staff reductions, a pay freeze, reducing Board travel and cutting sales and marketing expenditures — have eliminated $1.5 million in operating expenses from the PRSA budget. Further cuts risk compromising PRSA’s ability to deliver its current range of member benefits.
  • Funds from the proposed dues increase will be used to update existing benefits and create new ones; explore new products and services; create additional programming for senior professionals; enhance delivery systems by creating a mobile version of the PRSA website, introduce eLearning and create more digital publications; and otherwise modernize key infrastructure.

A detailed “Question and Answer” document on the proposed dues increase can be found on PRSA.org.

Your Tampa Bay Chapter Board of Directors will be discussing and deliberating this important issue in the coming months. The Tampa Board will vote on this issue at its September board meeting, giving direction to its Assembly Delegates on how to vote at the October Assembly Meeting.

Your Assembly Delegates and Tampa Board members would appreciate any feedback, comments, suggestions and questions from you, our Tampa Bay Chapter members. Send your feedback to Cindy Sharpe, APR, at c.sharpePR@verizon.net by Friday, September 2, 2011. Cindy will share your comments directly with Tampa Board members. You can also share your thoughts on this issue on our chapter’s Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

We hope you will take a few moments to share your thoughts on this issue and I look forward to your feedback.

Contributed by Cindy Sharpe, APR, Assembly Delegate, Tampa Bay Chapter

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