ballot presentation of the dues increase

The dues increase is presented on the ASA ballot as being to “restore a modest portion of ASA’s income decline from the continuing economic downturn.” Let’s look:

Total ASA revenue in 2009, as listed on that year’s audit report (most recent available): $8.37M*
Total ASA revenue in 2007 (audit report): $7.04M (Or $7.43M in 2006)

And, how much revenue will it “restore”?

Ballot: “Council hopes the current proposal will increase revenues by $100,000 to $200,000, depending on the membership distribution by income level. This increase would represent between 1.7 and 2.4 percent of total revenue”
Council’s own statement to members (here): “The projection is that the proposed dues structure would result in about $200,000 additional revenue in 2011 (a net increase of just under 11%, equal to 3.3% of a total budget of $6 million).”

*Granted, according to Council’s statement, “Membership declined by about 1000 persons between 2009 and 2010, and dues revenue was projected to be about $100,000 below the 2009 amount.” Of course, how much of this was due to the “continuing economic downturn,” and how much was specifically due to ASA deciding to make the repeat visit to Atlanta? (When people were bemoaning going back to Atlanta, they thought it was just because of a few sticky days one summer. Little did they know it would help provide the foundation for a dues increase that would last the rest of their professional lives…)

More generally, decide for yourself: when reading how the dues increase is presented on the ballot, do you feel like someone is trying to explain something to you, or to sell something to you? How would you like your professional organization to approach these matters?

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

One thought on “ballot presentation of the dues increase”

  1. I would present something on the ballot like that if I were either (1) incredibly stupid or (2) hoping it would lose.

    Otoh, several years ago, SAG did something similarly stupid, and the guy who spent most of his time lecturing the membership that they “didn’t understand” was elected President.

    So I guess the leadership of the ASA believes that Sociologists are as dumb as Actors.


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