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President’s Column:
PMA Board Status Report & Action Agenda

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In November, your PMA Board held its last meeting of 2002. I’m happy to report that all of our key programs for 2003 are well organized and right on track for this upcoming year.

Several new concepts for strengthening our services to members are in the planning and development process. Here are the highlights.

 

Good News & New Moves

We have received our outside accounting firm’s year-end financial review.PMA continues to be in excellent financial health. Most industry associations receive 50% or more of their revenue from membership fees. If their membership numbers drop even slightly, they need to cut programs to survive. PMA, in contrast, is well diversified. It sponsors 10 major marketing programs, and each one supports a portion of the PMA budget. Since our membership fees need to produceonly 20% of our yearly revenue, wehave been able to implement high-quality programs while keeping dues quite reasonable.

 

Our administration is very efficient compared to other industry associations of the same size, with operating expenses below 33%. Hats off to Jan Nathan and Associates, our manager for PMA’s entire 20-year history. As we grow into our third decade, the Board is moving toward strengthening PMA’s long-term financial stability by building a restricted reserve fund of 5% of our annual operating budget.

PMA University is now set for 2003. Programs are complete and speZý’s are in place. The pre-university day will include a new members orientation as well as a legal clinic for all members. Stay tuned for details.

This year Reed, which runs BEA, will cooperate in marketing the University to all BEA attendees. Since we had a full house for PMA University last year and we expect that the same will be true this year, we will be setting registration limits to ensure that the experience remains top quality for all attendees. The moral of this story? Get your registration form in early!

At the end of last summer, Jan Nathan sent out an e-mail requesting that you let us know about your five most pressing problems. Your response was huge. So far, 1,500 members have sent in notes and suggestions.

Folks, that is the way to make sure your association continues to respond to your needs! Thank you. Your Board spent a lot of pre-meeting time digesting this material, and a significant amount of Board meeting time discussing it. Your comments will guide our planning process throughout the year. In a future column, I will summarize some of the key insights for you.

As a first step, we plan to update the independent publishing industry survey, The Rest of Us. In order to increase the visibility and leverage of our independent publisher members, we need to be able to quantify our impact–the number of books published, total yearly dollar volume, etc. So when the e-mail or snail mail about that arrives, please respond immediately (see Jan Nathan’s column on page tk; it tells you how to get on the list to receive the survey).

The rest of the players in our industry–wholesalers, retailers, reviewers, and other media people–need to understand that we’re a significant force in publishing, one to be noted.

The Board is discussing several ideas for making valuable information more accessible to our members. Most trade associations our size develop industry specific educational materials for their members. PMA already publishes an award-winning newsletter (yep, the one you are reading now) and in-depth White Papers, maintains a content-rich Web site, and delivers a multitude of information-focused seminars across the country. Several additional possibilities have been suggested and are under consideration.

Other items of note:

In February, the 10 PMA Past Presidents will be meeting to plan additional ways for PMA to serve our more experienced independent publishers.

The PMA affiliate associations across the country continue to thrive. The Board has approved a support grant for the Northwest affiliate association in Seattle.

The Ben Franklin Awards will again be a wonderful evening–this year also celebrating our 20th year. Please plan to be there.

Several new marketing and seminar programs are currently in the planning stage. Watch for upcoming notices.

The literacy support program–whose goal is distributing 1 million books across the country–is still in development.

We continue to discuss relevant industry issues that affect our members.

 

Your Board is busy designing and supporting the programs that will best serve you. Please keep sending us your suggestions. Your comments do have an impact. Thank you.

 

 

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