Since 2006, the American Planning Association (APA) has encouraged Chapters to update their dues to a percentage of APA membership rates (i.e., which are graduated based on a member’s salary), rather than flat dollar amounts. APA recently placed emphasis on this recommendation by setting a goal of having all Chapters transition to a percentage-based dues structure by the end of 2017. Seventeen Chapters have already adopted a percentage-based structure ranging from 15% to 45% of APA membership rates.
The South Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA South Carolina) Executive Committee has considered modification of our dues structure several times since APA first communicated their desire for a change to occur. In the past, the Executive Committee determined to continue with our flat $35.00 per year rate. Recently, the Executive Committee met to revisit this subject and determined that as a representative Chapter of the APA, it is important that we support the larger, parent organization. To that end, the Executive Committee voted to modify APA South Carolina’s dues structure to a percentage-based system.
While the APA has asked us to change to a percentage-based system, the size of that percentage was left up to each Chapter’s discretion. A subcommittee analyzed numerous potential dues structures and provided this analysis to the Executive Committee for consideration. In considering the various scenarios, it was extremely important to the Executive Committee that while the Chapter will respect the wishes of the APA, it needs to be clear to the membership that the Chapter is not seeking to profit from the transition. Rather, the Executive Committee desired to select a percentage-based system that resulted in as close to a revenue neutral position as possible for the Chapter.
To fulfill APA’s request, the Executive Committee voted to modify the Chapter’s membership rates to 15% of APA’s membership rates. Under our current flat fee system of $35.00 per year, APA South Carolina’s current annual revenue from dues is $12,915.00. Based on the new 15% structure, APA South Carolina’s annual revenue from dues will be $13,323.75. It is important to note that revenue from membership dues only accounts for 19% of APA South Carolina’s total annual revenue.
While this dues structure change does not substantially affect APA South Carolina’s revenues, it will have an effect on individual member’s dues. Once the dues change takes effect, some will pay less and some will pay more than the current $35.00 per year rate, based on the salary of each member (i.e., please see the chart below). The Executive Committee understands that a change to one’s dues amount will require adequate time to plan and budget; therefore, the Executive Committee determined that the new dues structure will not begin until January 1, 2018.
The Executive Committee will provide opportunity for the membership to discuss this upcoming dues structure change during the APA South Carolina Business Meeting to be held at the fall conference in Augusta, Georgia on Friday, September 23, 2016. If you will not be attending the conference but wish to make a comment on the dues structure, please contact Ernie Boughman or Andrea Pietras.