July20: Fresh from the Board Meeting

Hello,

I have just returned from the July ARRL Board meeting.  It was a long,
arduous, and sometimes contentious meeting.  There are a few issues
that I want to touch upon, but this email deals specifically with the
need to increase memberships dues.

One of the most difficult decisions a membership organization faces is
increasing membership dues.  Both members, and the organization, want
maximum value for a reasonable cost. ARRL is no different.  For the
past 101 years, we have used all of our skills, expertise, and
resources for the benefit of you, our members. ARRL membership supports
the development, growth, and advocacy of the Amateur Radio service in
the US and worldwide.

ARRL’s last dues increase was 14 years ago, back in 2001. A great deal
of membership organizations across the country, citing rising costs and
slow recovery from an economic recession, have raised their dues in
recent years; some have raised their dues multiple times. ARRL chose to
postpone dues increases during this period, opting instead to control
spending and cut costs. Since 2001, we have implemented many operating
efficiencies that have contributed to reducing our staff at ARRL
Headquarters by 15% while either maintaining or expanding our level of
service to you. We have developed additional giving opportunities, such
as the Diamond Club, for those members with the means and desire to
support ARRL beyond dues.

ARRL’s operating expenses back in 2001 were just over $13 million. In
2014, expenses were $15.5 million, an increase of just 19% over the
past fourteen years, considerably less than the US rate of inflation
from 2001 to 2014 (which was 32%). A detailed explanation of ARRL’s
budget and expenditures over these years is available in each year’s
Annual Report. All reports since 2002 are available at:

www.arrl.org/annual-reports.

Candidly, as of 2015, the economic realities have caught up with us.
While ARRL has done a good job of keeping our costs down internally and
giving you the best services we can for your money, other factors are
simply out of our control. Everyone’s costs have gone up in the last
fourteen years and, for ARRL, those have included salaries, utilities,
insurance, postage, raw materials such as the paper your issues of QST
are printed on, and many others. We have done as much as we can to hold
off a dues increase for over a decade, but one has now become a
necessity, not an option.

ARRL’s Administrative and Finance committee has conducted discussions
and budget exercises associated with a prospective dues increase to the
tune of $10.  The committee forwarded its findings with a recommendation
to the full ARRL Board for careful consideration at the just held July
Board meeting.

I take no pleasure in announcing a dues increase; however it is my
fiduciary responsibility to ensure that the League remains on sound
footing — both organizationally as well as financially — so that it
will continue to provide the programs, services, promotion, advocacy,
and defense of amateur radio interests you’ve come to expect for many
more years to come.

This issue is nothing new to the hundreds of members in the Hudson
Division that I have spoken to over the past year.  I have, in
meetings, forums, and hamfests, explained the necessity of raising
dues.  A ten dollar increase is more than reasonable.  Please ask
yourself how valuable and valued your membership in the ARRL is.  What
it means to you.  What is means to Amateur Radio. Really, when it comes
down to it, the ARRL is worth far more to us than a measly $10 increase,
especially given what we spend on cigarettes and coffee on a daily
basis.

I want you to know that have voted in favor of the dues increase which
will take effect as of January 1, 2016.  While I do not enjoy doing
that, in my heart I know it’s the right thing to do.

73 de Mike N2YBB


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