OAH Treasurer: Membership down, revenues down, investments off

Historians in the News

... Revenue has matched expenses for the first six months of the fiscal year, and we have a slightly positive balance of $10,269. This is a significant improvement over last year. You’ll recall that, last year, we started the fiscal year with a debt of $179,000 to IU (who handles many of our expenses, and whom we periodically reimburse). Halfway through the last fiscal year, our debt to IU had actually increased. This year we have a significant positive balance with IU rather than a debt. (And IU has made clear that our accounts must be cleared every six months, so they are no longer willing to carry us for longer than six months at a time.) Another positive sign at the halfway mark of this fiscal year is that our accounts receivable and pledges receivable have improved markedly, most likely due to the new software and new procedures. The annual meeting is an important source of revenue. Because the 2008 annual meeting will be in New York City, we anticipate a very healthy attendance, perhaps even a record-breaking attendance.

However, amid these positive signs at midyear, two areas for concern stand out—investments and membership. As I noted above, we did very well last year with our investments—indeed, the unrealized gain on our investments meant that we ended the last fiscal year with increased assets over the previous year. In the past six months, however, we have lost some of those unrealized gains as the falling stock market has affected our investments. Membership is also down by 300 as compared with a year ago. Despite the increase in dues (or perhaps related to the increase in dues), our revenue from membership dues and institutional subscriptions stood at only 44 percent of the projected annual total. Unless this is reversed during the next six months, we could fall as much as $142,000 short of projected revenues. The executive office has recognized this potential problem, and is developing plans to increase membership....
Read entire article at Robert Cherny, OAH Treasurer, in the OAH Newsletter

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