A budget for the new fiscal year and a renaming of the American
Numismatic Association’s membership categories were approved by the
ANA Board of Governors during its conference call board meeting on
The new membership plan will change membership category names,
although current membership benefits will remain the same. Regular
members will now be Platinum members, Basic members will be
Gold members and Associates will be Silver members.
A Silver membership will remain priced at $14 a year and must be
sponsored by a Gold or Platinum member.
Gold membership is priced at $28 a year and is the Basic
membership with the addition of a digital subscription to the ANA’s
monthly journal The Numismatist.
The highest level is Platinum at $46 a year and, consistent with
the current Regular membership, members receive a print edition of the magazine.
Life memberships will not change, and membership types for Young
Numismatist (17 and younger), Senior (65+) and Emeritus (50 years of
membership) will be incorporated appropriately into the new groups
with discounted membership dues for Young Numismatist and Senior
members, and no dues for Emeritus members.
Drawing from the endowment
The board held little discussion at the open session on the
passing of the budget for the new fiscal year which runs November 2013
to October 2014. While board members provided statements when voting
to approve the budget, ANA President Walter Ostromecki said that the
budget had been discussed “at length” during the closed session where
there were “a lot of concerns.”
Ostromecki characterized the budget as realistic and said that the
ANA was working diligently on a plan to provide a balanced budget in
the next three to five years.
The budget anticipates operating expenses of $5,574,381 along with
$776,195 for various capital expenditures including $625,595 for
development of the ANA’s website, www.money.org.
The bulk of the capital expenditures are to be drawn from the
A majority of the board members who participated on the phone call
— governor Laura Sperber was absent — voted to approve the budget.
Only governor Gary Adkins voted no on the budget, citing his
fiduciary responsibility to the ANA as a board member, warning that it
was not financially responsible as it draws on the endowment to pay
operating expenses. He said that the ANA is “kicking the can down the
road” by using funds from the endowment.
Adkins added that he thought that spending down the endowment was
only a temporary fix to a long-term problem that needs to be addressed.
The ANA had been working with a provisional budget that was passed
at the Oct. 22 meeting. A full vote on the budget was delayed at that
time, pending further examination of revenues and expenditures. At the
October meeting, projected revenues for the 2013 to 2014 fiscal year
were forecast to come in lower than in prior years, with declining
revenue from the sale of convention auction rights blamed as a key culprit.
The auction revenue used to be a separate revenue line item in the
budget. For the fiscal year April 2007 to March 2008 it was listed at
$540,000 and for April 2008 to March 2009 fiscal year it was $571,000.
A total of $650,000 was budgeted for auction revenue for the April
2009 to October 2009 fiscal year. For subsequent fiscal years auction
revenue was included as convention revenue.
The ANA does not currently disclose how much income it receives
In a press release announcing the board’s approval of the
first-quarter expenditures, Treasurer Larry Baber said, “We are on
firm financial footing overall; the board simply wants to take some
extra time to find ways to make up for reduced revenue.”
ANA marketing and communications director Jake Sherlock said that
from the provisional budget to the passed budget, a total of $152,699
was cut from expenses. Areas that saw reductions include staff travel,
professional development, advertising and printing.
More prestigious membership
Sherlock presented a Powerpoint presentation titled “The value of
membership: A New Approach to membership in the ANA.” He said the
subject needed the ANA Board’s immediate attention as the proposal
addresses the ANA’s budget deficit while it modernizes its membership
marketing and could increase membership retention. He warned that
waiting to adopt the plan could complicate and increase costs as the
ANA builds its new website.
He then characterized the current membership levels of Basic and
Regular as “BORING, UNDERSELLING and CONFUSING.”
Sherlock pointed out that currently the ANA cannot auto-bill
credit cards for membership renewals and that renewals occur on an
Ostromecki said initially that members would be able to comment on
the new membership names at the ANA’s 2014 National Money Show in
Atlanta, set for Feb. 27 to March 1, but later ANA Executive Director
Kimberly Kiick clarified that the proposal needed to be passed at the
board meeting as it affected the future website designs.
Sherlock’s presentation stated the problem as follows: “Because of
the longtime nomenclature (i.e. Basic, Regular), the ANA is not seen
as a good value, it is seen as a cheap membership. There is no
prestige attached. Member types are too cumbersome and confusing for
potential new members.”
Sherlock acknowledged, however, that “ ‘platinum’ is no more
descriptive of what you actually get with a membership than you get
with the term ‘regular,’ other than it does hold more prestige.” He
said the new membership approach provided a cleaner, more streamlined
way of organizing membership and that individual membership numbers
would be retained.
Exploring a Netflix billing model
As a possible model for the ANA, Sherlock suggested that the group
look to Netflix, a provider of on-demand Internet streaming media that
has a monthly, auto-billed subscription that allows users to choose
between streaming content or DVDs for $8 per month.
The board unanimously approved a new Bronze Digital Subscription,
which provides users with a digital edition of The Numismatist for $4
per month auto-billed to a credit card. It would not be an actual
membership. Rather, it would be a gateway to introduce people to the
ANA, and monthly billing will be available with a three-month minimum.
That the subscription rate was $2 a year more than current Regular
membership was touted at the meeting as a reason that people would
want to be ANA members rather than mere subscribers. ■