Fall 2017: Volume 73, Number 2
by Sonia Venkatraman, Ph.D.
The previous two years have been a period of rebuilding for WSPA as we sought to stem losses and find financially viable revenue streams. The main goal of the 2017 WSPA Board thus was focused on increasing membership, our main source of revenue, by improving member benefits and more effectively engaging existing members. While our finance committee has continued to carefully analyze the budget and keep expenditure low, we were able to implement some new processes this year to better serve our membership.
One way we sought to achieve the goal of increasing membership was to completely restructure WSPA’s membership model, from a years-in-practice model to a benefits-based model. The reason for this change was to find a way to engage the many psychologists who work in hospitals and other group practices, who might not need the level of support WSPA provides to those in private practice dealing with managed care entities. However, the legislative and advocacy work that WSPA does benefits all psychologists who practice in this state—something that has not always been readily apparent to non-members. We looked at other state associations’ membership models, and reduced the main membership structure to three categories: Basic (for those who wish to support WSPA legislative goals but may not need support with practice-related issues); Premium (equivalent to the previous Full membership); and Platinum (with the most benefits for our staunchest supporters). We also retained/created other membership levels to more accurately reflect professional and financial statuses (e.g., Retired, Emeritus, Postdoctoral, Student). This new model has been received well, and we have seen a sizeable increase in new members in both the Basic and Platinum categories. Another effort has been to more efficiently and effectively communicate with our members, whether it be via phone calls, emails, news articles, or weekly CE blasts. We have reinstated the Washington Psychologist newsletter, now an online twice-yearly publication with membership, Board, and legislative updates.
A second goal this year has been to establish other additional sources of revenue, including high-quality Continuing Education programs. This year, we had successful standalone workshops in the spring in both Seattle and Spokane, all at inexpensive but good-quality venues. In the fall, for the first time in two years, we held a WSPA convention, which was financially, logistically, and programmatically a success, with excellent feedback from our members and other attendees. We hope to continue to keep conventions profitable by increasing sponsorship revenue and possibly by cosponsoring conventions and events with other professional organizations. Another promising revenue stream is the release of our Telemental Health package to coincide with the enactment of new legislation providing insurance coverage of telemedicine services.
A third priority this year has been to recruit and engage leadership within the organization. Recent years have seen a turnover for various reasons among leadership both at the state and local levels. We have been glad to see renewed interest this year from members in terms of increasing their involvement within the organization, and anticipate that this trend will continue next year as well.
Our goals in 2018 will again be focused on increasing membership and revenue. We have recently made a more concerted effort to reach and engage early career and newly-licensed psychologists; in fact, three of our current Board members are ECPs. We hosted a successful CE and brunch event for ECPs at the fall convention and have more such events planned for this coming year; we also plan to reach out to graduate programs to recruit and expand our student membership.
Of course, none of these efforts would be possible without the current membership; it is you who allow us to continue our work on behalf of our profession. On behalf of the WSPA Board of Trustees and Executive Director, we thank you for your support, and we look forward to continuing to find ways to make your membership more meaningful.
Sonia Venkatraman, Ph.D.
President, Board of Trustees
Washington State Psychological Association
Fall 2017, Volume 73, Issue 2.