by Marvo Reguindin
One of the first questions I had when considering the management of WSPA concerned the size of the membership. I was told that at one time the membership was around 800 members, but that number was in question when the previous staff found several duplicate membership records. In 2013, the membership database was migrated online and the good news is we are now seeing truer membership numbers. The not so good news is, like many membership organizations and many State Psychological Associations, WSPA is seeing a decline in members over the past three years.
In a management transition year, a drop in membership is usually expected. Members may be dissatisfied with the previous management and may feel they are not getting the same services from the office that they are accustomed to receiving and show their dissatisfaction by not renewing. From my conversations with WSPA members, my office staff is doing a great job providing timely replies to phone calls and emails and the response from members has been very positive.
From an APA size perspective, we are trending to drop from a medium state (301 to 800 members) to a small state (300 members or less). All small state psychological associations have only a part time Executive Director with no staff running the organization. To put our membership size into perspective, Idaho is a small state with 108 members and Oregon is a large state with just over 800 members.
But what does a decline in membership actually mean to you as a member? With membership dues being the primary income source for WSPA, a small membership equals a small operating budget. Services that members have come to expect such as an E.D. and office staff, Director of Professional Affairs, and a Lobbyist will not be possible if the budget won’t allow the expenses. CE workshop income helps the bottom line when they are successfully attended, but the time it takes to plan CE workshops and conventions is also affected by the budget of a small membership.
Next year WSPA will celebrate 70 years. A new member acquisition campaign is being developed with a goal to gain 70 new members and regain 70 lapsed members. Current members can help in the membership acquisition campaign by reaching out to peers and young professionals who are not WSPA members and encourage former WSPA members to rejoin.
A New Membership Structure and Pricing is Needed
A component of the 2017 membership acquisition campaign will be to introduce new membership pricing and structure levels. The current membership levels are numerous and a bit confusing. The pie chart below shows that we are very light in New Doctorate and First Year Full Members, which are the magic millennial demographic we definitely want to increase.
The membership committee is exploring two new membership structures. The first option would reduce the number of membership categories and revise the pricing structure. The new levels and pricing are based on surveying similar sized states. The second option is a pricing structure based on benefit levels available to all members no matter where they are in their career. The two membership options are listed below without pricing. We would be interested to know what membership structure appeals to you the most by taking an anonymous survey at the end.
Option 1: Reorganization of WSPA membership categories
Washington Psychologist quarterly newsletter; Annual report; Legal and legislative updates; Discounted continuing education workshops; Online referral service; Discounted convention registration; Free insurance and managed care consultation; Up to XX hours of free ethics consultation per year; Up to XX hours of free legal consultation per year; Public service opportunities; Discounts through WSPA partners; Committee opportunities
Early Career Member
First 2 years post-licensure; full member benefits
Full member benefits for members who are fully retired and no longer working or emeritus members (WSPA members for more than 20 years)
Out of State Affiliate
E-newsletter; Annual report; Legal and legislative updates; Discounted continuing education workshops
Annual report, E-newsletter, Legal and legislative updates, Discounted CE workshop registration, Discounted convention registration, Involvement opportunities, Volunteer opportunities. Students must be currently enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program, or be a pre-licensure postdoctoral fellow.
Full member benefits for each member at $000. Must have > 8 members from one institution.
Listserve, Washington Psychologist quarterly newsletter, listing opportunities for CE and other events
Option 2: Membership based on benefit levels
E-newsletter; Annual report; Legal and legislative updates; Discounted continuing education workshops; Discounted convention registration; Free insurance and managed care consultation; XX hours of Free ethics consultation per year; Public service opportunities; Discounts through WSPA partners; Committee opportunities
All Basic Benefits plus: Listing on WSPA’s Public Referral Webpage; Up to X hours per year of Ethics and Legal consultation; Discount on continuing education workshops; Telehealth referral webpage
Current board members and past presidents receive Premium level at a discounted rate; New members receive Premium level at a discounted rate.
All Premium and Basic Benefits plus: Unlimited free classifieds on WSPA’s website; Recognition in WSPA publications; One free 3-hour CE workshop; Convention registration discount; Special badging at convention; Reserved seating and special recognition at the conference
Annual report, E-newsletter, Legal and legislative updates, Discounted CE workshop registration, Discounted convention registration, Involvement opportunities, Volunteer opportunities. Students must be currently enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program, not including post-doctoral fellows.
Basic member benefits for members who are fully retired (no longer working) or emeritus members (WSPA member for more than 20 years)