Fwd: [ahspol] Preston Littleton's questions
Preston, I will attempt to answer some of your questions, as they relate to
me and my responsibilities.
Q1. If the costs are decreasing why doesn't our financial statements show
lower amounts? Please explain the entries in our budget.
Answer: There are many ways that costs can be measured, two of the more
common ways to measure costs are "absolute", and "per capita". In most
membership organizations such as ours budgets are presented on a gross assets
and liabilities basis, but when discussing the costs of producing a good the
person making the report has reduced this to a per item, or per capita basis.
In 1994 when $50814 was expended for the Journal there were 1800 members,
and there were an additional 200 copies of the issues published for future
sale. These back issues are maintained by Steve Greene and sell for $12.50
as advertised in the Journal. If you divide the $50814 by the number of
members, the cost per member to publish the Journal was $28.23, or if
calculated by the number printed it would be $25.41. During the 1980's and
1990's the Journal costs were "subsidized", or covered by the auction
revenues, without them Clyde and his predecessors would have had a hard time
publishing what they did, and thus they deserve kudos for what they
accomplished on such a thin line.
In 1999 we hit a milestone. I wish I could take credit for all of it,
but I can not. Our membership has increased to 3800. Yes, we have continued
to grow this year!
This increase in membership combined with some cost cutting I have been able
to accomplish have allowed us to reduce the cost of the Journal, on a per
capita basis as follows: [the actual numbers for 1999 will be less than the
$80000 budgeted -- I am a conservative budgeter and prefer to build worst
case scenarios as will be discussed further in my answer to your question 2]
$80,000 divided by the number of members 3800 results in a cost per member of
$21.05, at the same time we have upped the number printed for "back issue"
sales to 350 copies thus the cost per printed (2 copy package) is $19.27.
Thus, the need for the auction to cover the Journal virtually has been
eliminated, as the costs for 1999 include layout costs for 25 pages of
articles to be used in the Spring!
At this point I would like to tie in your question 2 which was "Why does our
1999 Budget only show $5000 for advertising revenues if they increased
As I intimated in the last paragraph that I am a conservative budgeter. It
is my fault that the budget only estimated $5000 in revenues from
advertisements as, although I believe that Jim Tock has done a great job
getting ads, you never know when you may have a bad year. Therefore, as you
provided the numbers, 1995 and 1998 could be considered aberations and
therefore I told Glen to estimate low at $5000, even though I felt Jim would
prove me wrong. Well, he has! The actual advertisement revenue for 1999 was
$8265. Jim Tock has been a wonderful addition to the Journal staff nearly
doubling the revenues in the 3 years he has been doing it for US! I will
warn you that, as good as Jim is, my conservatisim will only budget $6000 in
revenues for next year's budget. And I hope he proves me wrong again!
Now back to your first question, if we reduce the costs by the added revenue
from advertisements, 1999 was the first year in the last 2 decades that a
membership paid for both Journals with no need for "help" from the auction.
Also during this period we have increased the number of color pages in the
Journal due to contributions by individuals, and locals and due to certain
cost cutting allowed by the use of the computers in layout, etc.
With regard to your question #3 on the Nematode Action Fund, I will let
Clarence explain, but I believe that some clubs earmarked their contributions
for the Nematode Action Fund and others simply said for Scientific Research,
which resulted in the difference you point out, but I believe it is not a
critical difference. Again, I will leave this to CH.
Question #4 relates to a revenue from savings. Please note that in 1995 only
one issue of the Journal was actually prepared and sent under that year's
budget. In 1996, we published 3 issues "catching" up the schedule to what it
is today. The costs of this catch up, was funds not expended in 1995 but
expended over the next 3 years (lag time in billing and cost accounting
result in the fact that it didn't have to be transferred to cover bills until
1999, this is not the same as the cash number. I am responding to this one
since Don Hawke is not on-line. Don may be able to answer any additional
questions you may have on this item if contacted directly.
Regarding the "Sharing Circle", unlike other societies, up until this time
Memorials have gone into the general revenues of the society. Yes, from day
1 until this proposal, if Kevin Walek contributed $50 in memory of Judy
Rocco, it simply went into the general fund. Other plant societies have one,
or more, "memorial" funds where contributions can be earmarked to honor
someone who has passed. I mention Judy specifically as she was a member of
another plant society and made a point of contributing to specific Memorial
funds to advance the respective society. Several members, among them Judy,
and her husband Lew suggested that this is something we should also do. The
funding for this "Sharing Circle" will come from memorials and specifically
earmarked contributions, thus fulfilling the request of the person making the
donation to advance the society.
Question #5 The increase in membership proposal, is largely due to the fact
that over 1000 persons have asked for a third or even 4 Journals a year. A
$6 per year increase times 4000 members equals $24,000. This is not even
enough, if taken alone to pay for another issue of the Journal, but, I have
been asked, and I have accepted the challenge of proposing a consolidation
and restructuring of our publications to provide more of what members are
telling me they want. I have set nothing in concrete, and even if approved
it would take a phase in period. I look forward to any suggestions you or
other members of the robins may have and I will be soliciting additional
comment from the membership in the Spring isue of the Journal and in next
Preston, and others, feel free to provide me with any suggestions you may
have. Keep in mind that there are a wide range of members in this society.
I also look forward to your input on this subject at Hosta In Focus, as I
know you plan to attend.
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