As you may be aware, the FPRA State Board of Directors had appointed a committee to conduct a much needed review of our current association dues amount (which has held steady since 1997!). Given the research and the financial needs of our organization, a slight adjustment was approved by the board.

Effective for the 2011 membership year, which begins November 1, 2010, annual membership dues for the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) will increase from $150 to $170. This dues change will apply to the following membership categories:
  • Individual Professional
  • Institutional Professional
  • Multi-Institutional Professional
(Additional members from the same company and location would be $160)
  • Allied

The Associate Member category, which is designed to extend membership privileges to those individuals who are temporarily not actively engaged in a public relations position (including recent college graduates), will remain unchanged at $52.50 for the maximum one-year membership.

This decision was not made lightly, as many of you may have read in the communication earlier this month from the FPRA state office. The facts you need to know about the reasoning behind this include:
  • FPRA has not increased its dues since 1997. During this time, the Association’s expenses have increased by 39 percent while revenues have only increased by 32 percent.
  • Not until 2007/2008 did the Association experience a deficit, which is why the State Board has not recommended an increase until recently.
  • This dues increase will allow the Association to reinstate the full 20 percent rebate to chapters. Chapter rebates were temporarily reduced to 10 percent in 2009/2010 to help balance the budget for the 2009/2010 year.
  • The increase will allow the Association to continue to set aside funds in reserves as recommended by the Association’s accountant and financial management, which will protect the ongoing financial viability of our professional Association.
FPRA is continually seeking ways to reduce costs for our members and control operating expenses of the Association. Some of these measures include:
  • Negotiating lower hotel rates ($125 room rate for this year’s Annual Conference in Naples) and other expenses for professional development events.
  • Seeking local sponsors and community resources to reduce costs of hosting quarterly State Board meetings.
  • Seeking sponsors to help support communication vehicles such as the Association’s Web site.
  • Minimizing print and postage expenditures by using electronic means for communication when appropriate.
  • Renegotiating telephone service fees.
Additionally, in November 2009, the FPRA State Board of Directors approved a new Association Policy titled “Membership Dues and Categories Review Policy.” This new policy requires an annual review of our membership classes and dues to ensure that membership categories reflect the needs of members and that membership dues are appropriate to meet the Association’s budgetary requirements.
Now, for those of you doing the math, Individual, Institutional and Allied memberships only cost $3.27 a week – a bargain price for the professional connections and career skill development that FPRA provides. About 80 percent of our membership dollars are spent supporting association-wide efforts, which govern our overall administration and connect us with fellow practitioners across the entire state.
The Southwest Florida Chapter is one of 15 from across the state (plus 11 student chapters), and each chapter contributes significant professional development opportunities in their local areas. Local chapters join together at the Association level to coordinate efforts and to create a statewide network with additional events and opportunities. The State office also conducts industry-wide research, sets goals, leads projects and performs other administrative, budgetary and organizational tasks that keep our organization running smoothly. As the association Web site states: The Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) is the oldest public relations organization in the United States. Members represent a variety of different organizations including private and public corporations, government entities, not-for-profits, counseling firms and independent practitioners. As a statewide Association, FPRA boasts nearly 1,100 professional and student members. As you can imagine, managing an organization of members who juggle volunteer roles and their day jobs can be very complicated and challenging.
We hope that you agree, this is a modest and necessary increase to ensure we can continue to offer the level of service, professional development and networking opportunities we have all come to expect from our professional organization.