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What Do My Membership Dues Pay For?

May 31, 2014

A common question that comes is up “what do my membership dues pay for?”  Put simply, membership dues support the existence of the organization.  They pay expenses for:
  • Executive Director and staff
  • State registrations and filing fees (we currently operate in 12 jurisdictions)
  • Audit, bookkeeping, insurance, payroll and tax filings, and legal expenses
  • Bank and credit card charges
  • Support systems (website, Constant Contact, Survey Monkey, credit card payment systems)
  • Participation in conferences, workshops, travel
  • Chapter overhead expenses, i.e. nametags, marketing materials, postage, printing
Below are two charts that show where revenue comes from and how it is spent to “keep the lights on.”
You may have noticed that we did not include ‘programs and events’ on this list.  That’s because programs and events are paid for by the members and guests who participate in them.  Membership dues do not cover the cost to retain speakers, pay venues, print programs or pay caterers.  These expenses are covered by the cost to attend.
Think of TTN like a club.  A members pays to join, then pays the cost to play golf, have dinner or attend special events.  Unlike the club, there are many ways to participate in TTN that are free such as peer groups, special interest groups, participation on a committee, volunteering in an impact project.
Last year, through our chapters, TTN spent approximately $108,918 to offer programs and events.  This generated $107,163 in revenues.  Essentially 100% of program and event revenues were spent to provide those programs and event.
In order to help chapters pay their operating expenses (expenses other than program and event costs), they receive 15% of dues paid by members who are part of their chapter.  Beginning July 1, that will be $15 per member.  This provides money to pay the cost to produce flyers, buy name tags and, if they so choose, cover the cost of events that they offer to members for free.  Outside of costs to produce programs and events, chapters have very few expenses.
Based on the 2014 budget, it costs approximately $115 per member to run the organization.  Dues revenue contributes approximately $97 per member.  Board contributions and donations must make up the difference of $18 per member.  In an organization of approximately 2,000 members, that means we need to raise an additional $36,000 through fundraising activities.
These additional funds currently come from two sources – Board of Director contributions and member donations.  Members of the Board are volunteers who support the organization financially, above and beyond their own membership dues.  They commit to contribute a minimum of $1,000 annually to TTN.  In addition, we are fortunate to have the support of many generous member and alumni donors who add a few dollars to their membership renewal or participate in the year-end annual appeal.  TTN relies on these individual donations to cover some of the basic expenses of the organization so we can keep the membership dues as low as possible. 
We are currently researching what outside funding opportunities might be available that will help TTN develop and deliver transition programs, deepen the membership experience and reach more women in transition.  These outside sources are unique and variable and as such, cannot be relied upon to pay the day to day operating expenses of the organization.