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Strengthening NACAC's Core

By Joyce E. Smith

I’ll admit that I don’t go to the gym as often as I should, but, when I do, my trainer’s message to me is always the same: Work on your core.
 
“Building up your core,” she says, “is essential to everything. It’s the key to strength, stability, and good health.”
 
The same advice might apply to NACAC. As with other associations, our core is our membership. It is the foundation on which we base all our programs and services. It gives us our direction. And it is one of our most important revenue sources.

As we look to the future, we know that strengthening our core will be essential to NACAC’s continued sustainability and growth.
 
From the start, this “core” concept has animated the development of the new membership model. When the NACAC Board of Directors and staff began the process a few years ago, data indicated that our membership numbers had grown stagnant and had even begun to decline slightly. We set about to design a new model that would help the association to grow in a sustainable way, and to engage and serve a larger, younger, and more diverse segment of the college admission profession. We hoped this new model would enable us to reach more students and families as well.  
 
Thus, in early 2018, the NACAC board proposed a new model of membership based on the “institutional model,” which would allow colleges, universities, secondary schools, CBOs, and other organizations to extend the benefits of membership to their entire professional staffs. Dues would be charged based on staff size instead of charging for additional individual members. In most cases, the costs would be less than paying for each professional individually. The model also would make membership possible for those professionals at public institutions whose state and local policies prohibit them from paying for individual memberships but do allow them to pay for institutional memberships.
 
In the past year and a half, that original proposed model has undergone significant changes in response to thoughtful suggestions from our members. You have shared your ideas via personal emails and social media posts, surveys, and comments at the Leadership Development Institute, annual affiliate conferences, and last year’s Annual Membership Meeting. The feedback has been extensive and often passionate.
 
And we listened. In response, we have made changes, offering a revised model that retains the institutional membership while providing new membership categories for individuals. We believe the new model better defines the benefits of membership, clarifies concepts like “principal representative,” and makes corresponding adjustments to the proposed fee structure.
 
We realize that, as yet, the model may not be perfect, and more refinement may be necessary. We do believe, however, that it gives us the best chance to build on our strengths, increase our financial stability, and better serve all our professionals and students.  
 
Now, the national conference and the 2019 Annual Membership Meeting, where members will vote on amendments to NACAC’s Bylaws related to the revised model, is just four months away. I am asking all of us to get familiar with the proposal and to consider giving it your support.
 
Help us strengthen NACAC’s core—and build a stronger future for our association.
 
Thank you for all you do every day for your students and for one another.

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