The PRSSA National Committee is taking a proactive step toward aligning our incoming revenue streams with our operating costs by proposing a dues adjustment. This proposal will be presented to the National Assembly delegation to help maintain member benefits and continue advancements needed to enhance our Society. If this proposals is approved, annual national dues will increase from $50 to $55 and the PRSSA Affiliate Program dues will remain the same at $65 per year. This change will be effective for all members paying national dues on November 1, 2016.
First, let’s contextualize the increase. There are few things for five dollars that are as valuable as PRSSA membership. Five dollars is basically equivalent to one drink from Starbucks. If your members can give up one extra drink to invest in their futures, they can manage this dues increase. #CoffeeContext
We hope this Q&A will help answer any additional questions you or your Chapter may have regarding this proposal.
Q: If we are paying more money for membership, will more member benefits be added?
A: As noted in the proposal, the dues increase is focused on maintaining the member benefits that currently exist while balancing the cost of providing those benefits with the rate of inflation over the past nine years. However, the increase also will assist PRSSA National with updating crucial resources, like the website and other technology infrastructure, and it will enable us to realistically consider additional benefits seen as necessary in the future.
Q: If this amendment does not pass, will member benefits be eliminated or changed? And if so, how soon will it be before we see these changes?
A: If this amendment does not pass, you will not necessarily lose existing benefits right away, but we also cannot guarantee them indefinitely. In other words, the only way to help ensure that all member benefits will continue is by accepting this proposal.
As noted in the proposal, a key benefit that could be decreased or potentially eliminated is the amount of financial coverage provided by PRSSA National for delegates to the National Assembly and Chapter leaders who attend the Leadership Rally. This is a valuable service PRSSA wants to continue to offer, as these representatives receive important development and training to carry out their Chapter duties. Without this benefit, many Chapters might not be able to send representatives to these training events, or could be forced to seek supplemental or independent funding elsewhere.
If this amendment does not pass, changes may take effect as soon as June 2016.
Q: Why can’t PRSA, which has considerably higher dues, help cover some of the costs for PRSSA students by providing the supplemental money?
A: PRSA, much like our Society, has its own member benefits to support. PRSA already provides PRSSA with substantial benefits such as access to select webinars and PRSA publications. Additionally, PRSSA members have access to Champions for PRSSA and the PRSA Foundation, which work to provide scholarships and awards to students and members of PRSSA.
Q: Will this increase keep the Society sustainable for a while? (Last update was 2007, so nine years later another update has come up. Will it be similar?)
A: PRSSA National is pleased that we have been able to keep dues at $50 since 2007, and budgeted efficiently not only to maintain current benefits, but also to create additional benefits. We can’t say for sure that this timespan will be a regular time period for dues increases, but we believe this increase is vital to maintaining and advancing our services as a pre-professional society for another significant period of time.
Q: Are there other ways PRSSA National raises money?
A: Yes. While revenue comes primarily from membership dues and the National Conference. PRSSA does have smaller revenue streams such as advertisements, contest/campaign partnerships and sponsorships for National events, such as Assembly and Conference. We also will continue to secure these funding sources to manage the operating budget.
Q: Do you think that increasing dues will decrease the number of students who become dues-paying members of PRSSA? Why or why not?
A: At this time, we don’t anticipate any major changes in membership. We are confident that with proactive planning for the implementation of this dues increase, which we have already started, and reminding students that this Society is an investment in their future, we will not have a major decrease in terms of membership; remember #CoffeeContext. Effective communication will be key, not only from the National level, but also from Chapter leaders like you.
Q: Considering the increase in dues, for students who are financially unable to provide these dues, will PRSSA National provide a service or payment program to help alleviate the costs for students unable to afford the new national dues?
A: The National Committee has already begun to discuss and brainstorm ways to ease this adjustment for students, and these will be shared shortly. However, a payment plan is not currently an option.
Q: Will passing the dues increase result in a decrease of diversity in PRSSA, especially in terms of members who come from a lower socioeconomic background?
A: With the proactivity of the Chapter and National leadership, we hope it will not. We also encourage those who are truly unable to afford PRSSA dues to reach out to their local PRSA Chapters to discuss potential sponsorship and scholarship opportunities.
Q: Are any other increases planned with respect to this dues increase? For example, does this mean Conference and Assembly prices will increase, etc.?
A: At this time, we are not planning to increase event charges. We believe that this dues increase is exactly what is needed to keep other benefits at their current rate and continue to help PRSSA National cover costs for Assembly and other National events.
This Q&A was written and compiled by Emma Finkbeiner, the PRSSA 2015-2016 publications editor in chief, and Laura Daronatsy, the PRSSA 2015-2016 National President, with help from the PRSSA 2015-2016 National Committee.