California is my home state. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and have spent much of my adult life in Southern California’s Inland Empire. Over the years I have witnessed the growth and evolution of California from both ends of the state. While most changes have been positive others have proven challenging for residents, most notably the high cost of living found in our state that many Californians are struggling with today.
As a non-profit organization operating in California, SCA has not been immune to these rising costs and is beginning to feel the pressure of supporting the needs of an ever growing membership that currently stands at more than 500 strong. A core tenet of SCA has always been to provide members with high quality benefits at an affordable price. In line with this, the SCA Board has worked diligently over the past fifteen years to not increase membership dues, while providing low-cost workshops to members, financially supporting member initiated events, and keeping AGM registration rates as low as possible for attendees. However, with the considerable rise in costs over the past few years we are beginning to experience shortfalls in our annual operating budget. Increased costs associated with the AGM have resulted in significant losses over the past two years and with the high cost of meeting in San Francisco for the 2020 Western Archivists Meeting (WAM) we anticipate additional losses this year.
Discussions on how to stabilize the budget are currently underway by the Board as we look toward a solution to reverse this course. We are planning to conduct an assessment of services, with input from membership, later this year to see where adjustments can be made to increase revenue and lower operating costs. One of the main areas that we’ll be focusing on pertains to the high hotel, reception, and audiovisual costs associated with the AGM. Due to our organization’s size we are heavily reliant on large hotel chains as they typically are the only available option to accommodate our meeting space and hotel room needs. The Board is interested in exploring alternative, non-traditional solutions for the AGM in order to keep associated costs manageable for both the organization and its members. At this point we’re not sure which direction this will take us in, but we do recognize that the AGM might need to be drastically reconceived in order to gain the necessary cost savings.
The Board’s goal is to minimize the financial impact on members so that SCA remains an affordable professional association for archivists, librarians, and other allied professionals in the state of California. To be fully transparent, the Board is currently reviewing the cost of membership and exploring the idea of a modest increase to membership dues. Updates on this will be communicated to members as our discussions progress. I am confident that with some minor adjustments on a few fronts we can collectively ensure that SCA remains affordable and maintains a solid financial footing moving forward.
Eric Milenkiewicz, SCA President
Read more from the Winter 2020 SCA Newsletter