Life is like a box of chocolates, or the curate’s egg
The curate’s egg was reported to be "good in parts", while with a box of chocolates, "you never know what you’re gonna get."
Roger Harrison - VK2ZRH
These amusing maxims are remarkably applicable to managing the operations of the WIA. Each monthly Board teleconference brings up good news in some areas and perhaps not so good news in others, along with the odd surprise.
Membership applications continue in a steady stream – month in, month out – and it is noted that among the applications there’s a good number of previous members rejoining after a period of absence. That good news is very gratifying.
The Board has noted that licence exam applications over this year to the end of August are up in numbers compared to 2012. Last year there was a small slump in exam applications compared to previous years. This has been attributed to the general circumstances of household expenditure, described in the media as "soft". People aren’t spending their money as they have in the past.
But the good news in this is that the Foundation licence remains the most popular among the three grades. There were 362 new Foundation licenses issued in 2012. Latest figures from the ACMA reveal that new FLs are on track to perhaps beat that figure for 2013.
We have all the clubs and the teams of assessors to thank for this. Keep up the good work!
However, while income from subscriptions and exam operations is holding up, income from other Institute activities this year is concerning the Board, and a shortfall of overall income compared to expenditure has emerged again this year.
The Institute has plenty of money in interest-bearing deposits to cover modest deficits, but the Board cannot allow losses to continue year on year. Hence, the Board has decided to make a number of changes to reduce expenditure, where possible.
Significant cost savings have already been made with the introduction of the MEMNET membership management system. One obvious area to look for immediate savings was foregoing expensive face-to-face Board meetings and holding them monthly by teleconference using a low-cost web-based application that requires only a low annual subscription. So far, this is working well, with directors scattered across Australia calling in successfully.
But more needs to be done.
The Board has decided to postpone the Club Grant Scheme this year. The Scheme has cost around $6000 a year previously, and the Board felt that this is another place to make savings. Rest assured, the Scheme has not been abandoned as it has served a worthwhile role within Australia’s amateur radio community to date.
Facing circumstances where the WIA’s fixed costs rise year-on-year, and where personal expenditure on the hobby is soft, the Board believes that now is not the time to raise membership fees, and trusts that the measures outlined here serve
to delay any necessary increase.
Other steps the Board is considering include bolstering the promotion of those functions and activities that generate income and bring more people into the hobby.
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