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Information on SPJ board approving modest dues increase


The SPJ board of directors approved a modest dues increase at its Sept. 25, 2011 meeting. Below is information about the increase, the reasoning and the process.

When will it take effect?
The increase becomes effective January 1, 2012.

What was the reason?
Costs of nearly everything SPJ does have climbed since the last dues increase 10 years ago. Failing to keep pace could force the organization into a much more aggressive dues increase down the road. Furthermore, dues revenue is the easiest to predict – making it the least “volatile” revenue stream SPJ currently has. This is important in budgeting from year to year, and also in long-term planning (10 to 15 years down the line) for SPJ’s long-term stability and financial health.

How much?
The increase affects dues in the following ways:
-Pro Members: $3 (up to $75)
-Retired: $1.50 (up to $37.50)
-Household: $1.50 (up to $37.50)
-Post-Graduate: $1.50 (up to $37.50)
-Student: $1.50 (up to $37.50)
-Associate: $4 (up to $94)

When was the last time dues were increased?
Dues were last increased in 2002 – a $2 increase for professional members.

What authority does the board have?
Under SPJ bylaws (Article 12, Section One), the board of directors can increase dues by up to five percent. The specific wording is:

“National membership dues, as established by the Board of Directors, shall be payable at the time of or before initiation and annually thereafter. Dues shall include membership and a subscription to Quill. Any annual dues increase in excess of five percent shall not become effective unless ratified by the convention.”

Where does dues money go?
Dues help pay for costs associated with SPJ services and programs that are not covered by grants. This includes: Quill; SPJ.org content, maintenance and upgrades; advocacy; utility bills; insurance; legal fees; yearly audits; and basic office supplies. They also cover payroll expenses for those who manage and operate SPJ’s programs.

What are other sources of funding? How does dues revenue compare?
Dues represent approximately one-third of SPJ’s revenue – the largest single source. Other revenue sources include educational program grants, registration fees for programs/workshops, awards revenue from MOE and SDX Awards, affinity partnerships with companies like Geico, advertising and sponsorships. These are considered “volatile” streams that are harder to predict and can vary widely from year to year. Relying on them puts SPJ at a greater risk.

What was the process here?
At the April 2011 board of directors meeting, board members discussed the possibility of a dues increase and sought input from SPJ staff regarding the merits, needs, etc. of such an increase. The board opted to re-visit the issue at the Sept. 25, 2011meeting after soliciting input and feedback from members throughout the country. During the September meeting, board members reported that they had spoken to members and chapter leaders, both against and in favor of an increase.

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