President's Corner

What do you get for your membership dollars? We on the Board often hear the complaint from members that the fees are too high (a notion to which I don’t subscribe), or that it’s too expensive to be part of the RASC. And, “What do we do for Centres?” is another query that comes up from time to time. Here’s a way of answering some of those questions, borrowing from a pie chart devised a couple years ago by Colin Haig, one of the Society’s Directors. I’ve updated it a bit, as the numbers continually change, and even these may be inaccurate in the fi ne details, but they give a very good representation of the Big Picture. Based on an annual fee of $75 (yours may be more, and even less), here’s how the dollars break down.

As you can see, a large part of the Regular member fee goes to the Centre to which the member belongs (Unattached members are different, in that their entire fee goes to the Society). Also, much of the remainder goes toward publications and staff salaries. Those top items account for a little more than 83% of the whole. And, all the rest are less than 17%, in ever-decreasing amounts.

It’s interesting that observing, which is the mainstay of an astronomical society, accounts for only 1 cent of a member’s fee. But, that’s because the Society doesn’t buy your equipment—you do. Centre fees account for much of observing dollars, including site insurance, cost of observatory ownership, and all the things that go into running a Centre. Over the years, the Society has arranged for fees to be collected at the national level, which frees up volunteer hours at the Centre level. And, the headache of collecting, accounting for, and managing fees isn’t a headache at all. Oh, joy!

The Society Office staff are the glue that holds us together, and, if you’re in need of a “feel good” moment, give the office a call. I guarantee it’s an experience that’ll make you feel better.

Tell them I said so.

Clear skies!


One of our members gave his perspective on membership on his blog -- read it here

His Facebook comments are: Personally, I think we get a very good bang for our buck, no complaints here. I consider joining one of the better decisions I've never regretted.

eNews date: 
Monday, March 14, 2016