President's Column: Update on New Membership Model

By David Burge, NACAC President

In just a few short weeks, many of us will gather in Salt Lake City. Without fail, NACAC’s national conference provides wonderful opportunities for education, inspiration, and networking each year. And just as importantly, it offers members the chance to reflect and engage with the association’s collective goals.

One item that will likely be a subject of conversation is a new model for NACAC membership. Adopting a new membership model is one of the most all-consuming tasks an organization like NACAC can undertake–which is why it took us more than two years to get to this point.

We consulted experts, reviewed data, and circulated surveys on potential membership models to both the affiliate leadership and the membership at large. Financial models of multiple membership scenarios were created and, in February, the Board voted to approve a new billing and dues structure that is designed to:

  • Make it easier to join NACAC and add new members to institutional rosters.
  • Encourage more individuals from member institutions to participate in NACAC.
  • Extend voting status to more members.
  • Provide more opportunities for NACAC to share its professional knowledge and ethical practices with a wider segment of the professional community.

The changes—set to take effect in 2020—are designed to help us increase the diversity of our membership and reach more professionals through our events and services. Although the new model is designed to be revenue-neutral, we expect these changes could potentially help us add thousands of new members to our ranks—amplifying our collective voice as we advocate on behalf of students and their families.

Additionally, during the Annual Membership Meeting at the national conference, all in attendance will be asked to vote on significant changes to our Bylaws which map out who is eligible for association membership. While the Board of Directors has already approved new dues and billing structures, decisions to be made at the membership meeting are equally important. Attendees will vote on who can be a NACAC member, who will be eligible to be a voting member, and, in doing those two things, will decide who is not eligible for membership.  

I know many of you still have questions and concerns about a new membership model. Despite significant research and consideration to this point, we can’t claim to have all the answers. But I can tell you I’m confident that even with a few unknowns, the benefits of the new model far outweigh those offered by our current system. As an organization, we are overdue for a change like this.

If you’re participating in this year’s national conference, I urge you to attend the Annual Membership Meeting to learn more. And, regardless of whether you are coming to Salt Lake City, on Sept. 5, NACAC staff and I will answer your questions during a Facebook Live broadcast. The discussion will kick off at noon (ET).

I’m truly excited about the potential of these changes to make NACAC a more inclusive and dynamic association and I hope you are too.

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