Explaining Your 2019 REALTOR® Dues
At the September Board of Directors meeting, the Board unanimously approved the recommendation from the Finance Committee to set CCIAOR duesfor 2019 at $230 a member per year (a $15 increase). The dues increase for CCIAOR membership is the the first increase in 16 years (since 2002). Combined with NAR’s $30 dues increase for the coming year, this will bring the REALTOR® membership dues to $576 for 2019. The Board also approved the Finance Committee’s recommendation to keep the MLS access fee at $324 per year, which is paid and due quarterly at $81 (no increase).
Why is CCIAOR increasing dues?
- This is the first CCIAOR dues increase in 16 years and reflects that the costs of doing business increase each year. From equipment to technology to events and programs, the cost of running the Association has risen year over the last 16 years and additional membership dues are needed to balance the operating budget. Over the last several years, CCIAOR has added more programs, classes in more locations around the area, and services for all members to access. For the last several years, CCIAOR has passed deficit budgets to pay for these added services. The dues increase will allow the Association to have a balanced annual budget that accounts for the increased costs of doing business instead of running a deficit budget that relies on reserves to fund. The Finance Committee is finalizing a budget for presentation to the Board of Directors at their October meeting.
- The increase will allow the Association to continue to offer a high level of services and programs to our members and to meet our strategic initiatives for the years ahead, and helping prepare our members and industry for an evolving landscape.
- The increase will allow the Association to continue to maintain healthy reserves that will protect and strengthen the organization into the future. While the Association could run deficit operating budgets for years, looking ahead, the Finance Committee felt this would lead to a higher, more substantial increase later on and instead, wanted to head that off with a moderate dues increase now.
Included below is the memo presented by the Finance Committee to the Board of Directors that clearly outlines the rationale and thought process behind the recommendation for a CCIAOR dues increase in 2019.
To: Board of Directors
From: The CCIAOR & CCIMLS Finance Committee
Date: September 6, 2018
Re: Recommendation on 2019 Association and MLS fee structure
MOTION: To approve the finance committee recommendation to set 2019 CCIAOR dues at $230 per member ($15 increase from 2018 dues).
MOTION: To approve the finance committee recommendation to set 2019 CCIMLS fees at $324 per member (no increase from 2018 fees).
The Finance Committee was presented with a proposed budget with a deficit for the second year in a row. After receiving feedback about the Board’s concerns with the deficit approved in last year’s budget, the committee looked at ways to deal with a budget projecting another deficit: The committee had three possible choices: 1) Cut programs and services offered to CCIAOR members, 2) Approve and run a projected deficit spending out of reserves (as we are doing this year,) or 3) Raise fees.
The Finance Committee immediately determined that we did not want to cut any programs or services because we all feel there is increased engagement from the membership, and that the new strategic plan we are working with is something that deserves as much funding and support as we can give it. As a member-driven organization, cutting the programs and services we offer our membership is self-defeating towards our organization’s mission of cultivating professionalism in REALTORS®.
The committee discussed how we could run several more years on an operating budget deficit and slowly dwindle reserves – essentially, kicking the can down the road. Every year expenses grow as services, equipment, events and offerings become more expensive, and the committee was wary of creating a scenario in which a larger increase is needed when that time comes – and it will eventually come.
The concern about raising dues with a healthy balance sheet was raised, but offset a bit by the proposal to create $600,000 in board designated funds, which was approved by the board as well. We looked at needing a six to 12 month operating reserve on hand – a generally accepted best practice in the business world. After evaluating the high and low cash balance figures over the course of a year, we targeted a conservative 9-month cash reserve, plus an allowance for the $600,000 board designated funds. To reach that cash number, we needed just over $15/member. After factoring in that potential raise, we found it brings our projected operating budget on the Association side to break-even in the coming year, which was a nice coincidence.
Additionally, the committee weighed where we fall on the competitive landscape of local Associations of REALTORS® in the state. Allowing for this increase, CCIAOR still has one of the lowest Association membership dues in the state of the 13 local Associations, especially given the high level of member benefits we provide of professionalism, free continuing education, and advocacy.