Tuesday, 23 June 2009

STC Action Plan

My earlier post on the STC looked at the problems, but didn't address what the Society should do now about its financial crisis. Some people have asked me what I think the Society should do about raising money. Some of the ideas I've seen, like imposing a levy on members, looked crazy to me, so I thought I'd offer a few of my own, which might not be quite so crazy.

  • Announce today that dues for the next membership year (2010) are going up by 25%-30% for all categories.

  • Offer members who renew for 2010 before 1st November 2009 a big discount on next year's rates.

  • Ask any local Chapters with excess cash in their bank accounts to lend money to the Society as an interest-free, standing loan, which the Society will repay when it can (which may of course be never).

Those are my ideas on finance. But my main idea on STC's dwindling value proposition remains the same. The Board urgently needs to address the key question that every individual member is asking themselves:

  • What can STC give me that I can't get cheaper, or for free, somewhere else?


Ellen said...

Oops -- I forgot that I had signed up for the June 22 "town meeting". I think the STC forgot me too, because I was supposed to receive a reminder and log on details by e-mail, wasn't I? Yet, I didn't.
On the whole, I agree with you, David.

Milan Davidović said...

"What can STC give me that I can't get cheaper, or for free, somewhere else?"

My chapter, maybe.

Could we organize our own, without Head Office? Possibly. But the reach of the larger organization somehow makes it easier to reach certain corners of the local scene. It would take some time to replicate that reach, I think.

techcommdood said...

If the STC implodes, your "chapter" will still remain. Your chapter's leadership has everyone's contact info. No reason you couldn't still get together locally on your own. Yes, you lose some funding models and such, but honestly, life can go on.

I would like the STC to come out of this on top. I think there is a lot of potential for a global society. But, I think it needs to abandon many of the outdated practives and offerings and start fresh. Will some members not like it? Absolutely. But who likes egg shells in their chocolate cake?

David Farbey said...

Milan, my personal experience in two non-North American Chapters makes me hold exactly the opposite view to yours. Many Chapters thrive despite the (very minimal) input from the Board/Head Office, not because of it.

Paul Pehrson said...

Excellent points, everybody. These are the same questions I'm asking, and I really hope that the Society can overcome both the immediate funding issue and the secondary, but not-so-unrelated problem of providing value that people are willing to pay for.

Do you realize that the last time STC dues went up, our chapter's membership dropped by 50% in a single year? So, by raising dues, the STC actually LOST money from our chapter. I don't know how the membership will respond if the dues are increased further, or if STC were to levy a fee on members for the current year.

And Bill S has a good point... As VP of my chapter I know who all the current members are, and who the non-renewals are from previous years. If the Society implodes, I still have the information, and we can still provide support to each other (though not as a tax-exempt org, which we are in the USA).