As we reflect on the past year, we can only imagine how much better things would have gone for ourselves and our country if we weren’t mired in such a dismal economic state. We’ve all felt the pain, some of us more so than others. As 2010 approaches, we all hope this situation will continue to improve, with some of the recent economic indicators suggesting that we are recovering.
This past year was a difficult one for the AVMA financially, as I’m sure it was for many of you as well. When the AVMA Executive Board approved our 2009 budget, we did so knowing that cost containment and reduction were critical to improving our financial condition. The Board was also confident that we could turn things around through continued financial responsibility and good management.
While our deficit has shrunk considerably because of these efforts, things are still tight. As we began the 2010 budget process, the tone hadn’t changed much from the previous year. So we pinched. We cut. And we used considerable constraint in formulating responsible budget plans for 2010. It was a painstakingly thorough process, with the emphasis much of the time on the “pain.”
While we believed that our cost-cutting efforts would go a long way toward steering us into brighter economic times, the Board soon came to realize that just wasn’t going to be enough. We would have to make the difficult decision of proposing a 2011 dues increase to our House of Delegates. Dr. DeHaven and I would like to explain why.
Increasing our revenues will enable the AVMA to continue to achieve excellence in the areas you expect, most notably our scientific journals, educational accreditation and certification, convention management, scientific activities and the overall management of member services.
The additional revenue we realize from the proposed dues increase will also enable the AVMA to achieve its strategic goals and advance our leadership nationally and internationally in the areas of advocacy, animal welfare and veterinary education. It will also allow us to effectively address the critical issues facing veterinary medicine regarding our workforce and our economic viability.
Finally, the additional revenue is necessary to maintain the financial reserves of the association, which have been significantly depleted due to the state of our economy. It is vital that we maintain an appropriate reserve balance so we are prepared for unforeseen economic challenges to the association and the profession in years to come.
Raising dues is never easy, and asking you to contribute more in these times puts some added burden on you financially. We understand that, and we want to hear your thoughts. Your House of Delegates representative wants your input on the proposed increase, and we urge you to contact your state VMA or constituent allied organization to share your thoughts and concerns.