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Building a Better SIOP


by Doug Reynolds, Tammy Allen


Executive Board Seeks Dues Restructuring as SIOP Expands Benefits and Influence

Doug Reynolds, SIOP President
Tammy Allen, SIOP President-Elect

At its January 2013 meeting, the SIOP Executive Board unanimously recommended a change to SIOP’s dues structure.

The Board recommended that dues be set at $100 for professional members (Fellows, Members, Associates, and International Affiliates) and $50 for Student Affiliates and retired statuses. Per the SIOP bylaws, this increase requires a 60-day comment period followed by a vote of the membership. In anticipation of that dialogue, we would like to describe the reasons the Board feels SIOP’s dues structure should be changed.

Why is there a need to restructure dues?

There are several reasons why the Board is recommending an increase, but one reason stands above the others: we need to do more to support our growing profession, and our current dues level does not provide enough resources to fund many of the important projects desired by our membership.

SIOP is a conservatively managed organization, and decisions to spend money are made with a great deal of consideration. Our financial health is excellent, as long as we don’t stretch ourselves too thin by taking on new projects that add cost to our balance sheet. So, while our costs and revenues tend to stay at equilibrium, our flexibility to take on new initiatives is quite limited. For example, in the budgeting process this year, committee portfolio officers were asked to trim the budgets for the committees that they oversee. Consequently, many of the new ideas for services or initiatives that would benefit SIOP members had to be scaled back or eliminated from the budget. At the same time, general and administrative expenses continue to rise because of yearly inflation and cost of living.

SIOP is fortunate to have a vibrant and active membership, including nearly 30 ambitious committees. The Executive Board receives many requests for projects each year, and it’s not uncommon for those requests, regardless of the benefits that they might offer to members, to be turned down, cut back, or delayed because there is no flexibility to pay for them.

There are several important projects under development to enhance member services and better serve the profession, such as supporting increased visibility efforts via branding, increased advocacy, and SIOP's continued effort to monitor and influence licensing legislation. These activities can have a large impact on our profession. In the past, we have sought to do these things “in-house,” and although we have had success, the impact hasn’t been as great as we would have liked. Achieving stronger impact will require greater effort and cost toward these important activities.

The desire for SIOP to do more is echoed in our membership survey results. In the 2011 SIOP Member Survey, 85% of the 1,627 respondents stated they were satisfied with SIOP as a professional organization, and 65% of respondents said they would be willing to pay higher dues for SIOP to provide additional services.

SIOP membership is growing, which is very encouraging and positive. However, our growing membership is increasingly seeking more and better services that require greater funding. Several member services have been added recently, including subscriptions to Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice (IOP), Newsbriefs, and an affordable subscription rate for the member-only SIOP Research Access service, which includes access to three journal and literature databases as well as the SIOP Learning Center. We have also supported enhancements to our professional networking and visibility opportunities, such as our conferences, and we launched the online member community my.SIOP. We are also working to renovate the Consultant Locator Service to provide greater access and ease of use. The Executive Board is happy to have been able to provide these services to the membership, and we have worked hard to keep the costs associated with these services within our operating budget. However, the costs of these initiatives have further reduced the flexibility we have to fund other new and exciting ideas.

As the profession has grown, so has our need to extend our influence beyond SIOP’s membership. SIOP has sought to build and extend our external relationships, such as those with the United Nations, Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, and Federation of Associations in Brain and Behavioral Sciences. These efforts require funding to sustain as well.

Another reason for the proposed increase is to help smooth and diversify the revenue stream that supports our operations. Currently an overly large percentage of our revenue comes from the annual conference. SIOP leadership has been advised that it should be less dependent on that single source of income. As such, the Executive Board has been actively engaged in the process of identifying ways to increase revenue. This effort is intended to help ensure the long-term financial stability of SIOP while also facilitating support of the continued expansion of services offered to members. Although many thoughts and ideas are being discussed to increase SIOP’s revenue, a more appropriate dues structure is a key part of the overall strategy.

Members have seen just two dues increases in the last decade. Considering the extensive and expanding member benefits SIOP now offers (and would like to continue expanding), the Executive Board does not feel the dues structure has kept pace with our needs and our growth as a profession.

How do our dues compare to other organizations?

If the proposed increase is approved by SIOP’s membership, our dues will still be far less than other professional organizations in our industry. Consider the following:

  • Academy of Management: Professional $182; student $91
  • American Society of Training and Development: Professional $199; student $59
  • Society of Human Resource Management: Professional $180; student $35

Our current dues structure is a remnant of the days when SIOP existed only as a division of the APA. SIOP has raised dues in the past, although these increases have been quite modest. SIOP has expanded and changed immensely over the last several decades, and we are proud of our increasing presence and membership. However, we should not limit ourselves by our outdated dues structure. If we wish to continue to grow and evolve, to stay competitive with other professional organizations, and to expand our benefits, influence, and advocacy efforts, we need to expand the resources available to support our growth.

How will the dues vote work?

In order to increase dues more than 15% at one time, the SIOP bylaws stipulate that a vote of the membership is required. This includes a 60-day comment period, which will begin January 24, 2013 and end March 24, 2013. During this period, all members may comment on the proposed new dues structure on my.SIOP here.

After the comment period, the Board will take the comments into consideration and an electronic vote will occur shortly thereafter. Per the bylaws, only voting members may participate in the vote. This includes Members, Fellows, Retired Members, and Retired Fellows. The new dues structure will be enacted immediately if the majority of the vote is in favor. Questions regarding the comment period or voting process can be directed to Executive Director Dave Nershi at dnershi@siop.org.