Mid-Year Treasurer's Report
Unless you've been in hibernation for the past year, you're probably painfully aware what a rough financial climate we have been in. Obviously, this affects us not only professionally in our businesses, but it also directly impacts professional societies like UPA and our conferences.
With that in mind, UPA (through the diligent efforts of Laurie Kantner and the whole program committee) took many steps this year to control and reduce costs for our annual conference without sacrificing quality to attendees. For example, we cut back on the number of food choices at meals and breaks, but didn't eliminate the breaks so we could maintain them as networking opportunities. We scaled back on the conference materials, the give-aways, and on the Thursday evening event entertainment, going with "one of our own" rather than a big name. And, fortunately, our attendance was higher than our conservative estimates. But, we kept the Internet Café, thanks to our sponsor, Intuit, and expanded our conference program offerings to more high-quality sessions and more choices for attendees. Let us know what you think. We'd like to hear your feedback on what we should do again as we move rapidly forward in planning UPA 2003.
As a result of all of these efforts, we were able to turn a projected conference deficit into at least a break-even status, if not a small profit - we're now in the process of counting all the final numbers, so the actual figures should look much better than the budgeted figures shown in the FY02 Budget Summary below.
The UPA Board of Directors made a conscious decision to run a deficit this year in our annual budget, but to put off spending much of that until we could see how the conference numbers looked at mid-year. Again, we've kept our focus on maintaining the quality of services and value to our members while reducing costs. Fortunately, as mentioned above, the conference numbers look better than projected, so we'll be re-evaluating our initiatives and program offerings in the weeks ahead. Our financial reserves are supposed to be equal to 1 year's operating expenses. We are making strides to achieve that, but we're not there yet.
UPA FY02 Budget Summary
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|Local Chapters ||12,000|
|Membership Services ||12,000|
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|Total Expenses ||697,330|
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|Fund Balance, start FY02 ||690,934|
The UPA is a volunteer-run organization, including the Board of Directors. The board meets monthly via teleconferences, regularly via e-mail exchanges, and twice a year for face-to-face meetings (one of which precedes the annual conference). The board members are responsible for these expenses, and, while their respective companies have typically picked up those costs, this has not been the case in the past year given the economic climate. We've been creative in "belt-tightening" this year to help each other out. For example, several of the board members stayed at other board member's houses during the winter board meeting to save on hotel room expenses.
Likewise, the expense of hotel lodging to conference attendees is a big focus item for us as we plan for future conferences. Because we have to book and sign contracts years in advance, it may not be obvious to you, our members, that we've heard your requests for less expensive hotel rooms. We face major challenges in finding hotels that can provide the amount of meeting space we need to hold all of our activities and sessions while keeping the room costs low. But, we are hard at work on that challenge, and are very excited about the venues we will be able to provide to
you in 2004 in Minneapolis and in 2005 in Montreal.
In closing, I'd like to emphasize that the UPA is your organization. It depends on your input to operate successfully and to actively embrace the many programs we'd like to offer. So, let us hear from you:
All of us on the Board of Directors are at your service and welcome your input!
- Tell us what you like and would like to see more of
- Tell us what you feel is missing
- Tell us what you'd like to be involved with