By Karen Lane
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
In July your Administrative Council (AdCo) met—as it does most months—to plan and direct upcoming chapter activities. This particular meeting, however, was a little different. Chapter leaders, interested general members, and active non-members met for a full day in the training room at Atkins Global in Maitland to participate in the chapter’s annual Leadership Retreat, a tradition begun years ago during the presidency of long-time member Mike Murray.
The purpose of the Leadership Retreat is to give leaders and prospective leaders a chance to play an active role in the chapter’s future while sharing ideas for new programs. We hope you will be pleased with some of the ideas we came up with. Stay tuned—come to meetings and read chapter announcement-list messages—to learn more.
We do have some news we can let you know about right now. The chapter has been facing financial challenges (as have most chapters and communities) for the past couple of years. We weathered some of the worst storms, but in order to continue to bring quality programming to our members and non-member colleagues we are going to be raising meeting fees beginning in August. This decision was a difficult one, and we didn’t make it without a good deal of discussion to find out if there were some other way to continue afloat without asking more of our members and non-member attendees. Ultimately we realized that losing money each month was changing us from a thriving chapter to one that was going to have to close down some of our best programs for lack of funds. We of course realize the irony that one of the strongest and most admired chapters in STC has to grapple with the possibility of retrenching. And we will continue to explore other revenue sources—sponsorships, fee-supported webinars, enhanced fundraising campaigns, click-thru sales commissions from CafePress and Amazon. But for immediate relief we’ll be raising meetings fees, since it’s the cost of putting on meetings that represents the largest item in the expenditure column. If circumstances permit, we will revisit this decision next year and perhaps be able to readjust downward. But for now, please help us continue to put on the programs you enjoy by supporting the chapter with your attendance at meetings.
Member admissions to regular meetings will now be $15 per meeting, and non-member admissions will be $25 per meeting. Student non-member rates will remain on par with regular member rates ($15), and student member rates will remain at the previous level of $5. Multi-admission member passes (5 admissions for the price of 4) will still be available and will be priced at $60.
It is never easy to ask attendees for more money, but in order to offer programs and professional-development opportunities, we have to remain solvent, and in order to do that, we have to increase our fees. I hope circumstances will permit further announcements on this topic to reflect successes and a financial turnaround.
We strive to be good stewards of chapter funds, and we are always available to answer any questions or address any issues you might have. Our AdCo meetings are open to all members who wish to attend, and your input is appreciated and respected.
And now to something more fun: This month we have our highly anticipated review of the Technical Communication Summit. We hope to see everyone at Washlines XVIII on August 21—it’s the meeting where you learn what you missed if you didn’t attend—or even if you did, since no one can attend all sessions. You will learn more about the program in a special issue of Memo to Members later in August.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).