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Publication as a Member Benefit - 7/7/2010 -

On the listserver, your colleagues discuss if it is necessary for association bylaws to list the association's magazine as a member benefit or assign it a dollar value.

Q. We've been asked recently by our publisher to revise our association bylaws to list our medical journal as a member benefit. Can you tell me if your organization lists your publication as a member benefit in your bylaws?

A. The Alliance for Children and Families lists its magazine as a member benefit, but this is not included in our bylaws. Member dues include a small fee for a single magazine subscription (basically our costs—no profit), and this is explained in our communication with members. Since we are an association of member organizations (currently at 340), the revenue generated is not significant.

Malcolm McIntyre, Director of Communications and Special Projects, Alliance for Children and Families

A. During a BPA audit a couple of years ago, the auditor told me she would need a resolution from our board of directors stating that the magazine is a benefit of membership. I had never been confronted with that BPA requirement before but a board meeting was approaching, so I requested an agenda item concerning a resolution. The board approved the resolution, I sent it to BPA, and that was that. It may be that a simple one-sentence board resolution could accomplish what your publisher requests.

Ed Hiscock, Editor in Chief, Golf Course Management, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

A. We had the same situation many years ago, but it came from the USPS. We definitely made sure it was added to our bylaws.

Fred Haag, Vice President of Publications and Communications, American Medical Group Association

A. Maybe that is why our bylaws state: "Annual dues shall include subscriptions to the official scientific journal of the Association and to such other records, reports, proceedings, and publications as authorized by the Council except where otherwise provided."

Pam Day, Managing Editor, Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine

A. Our magazine is mentioned in our organization's policy manual in the section on operating procedures. The magazine is not mentioned in our bylaws, although the bylaws are part of the policy manual.

Dave Siegel, Editor/Communications Director, National Society of Professional Engineers

A. Our membership magazine is one of our member benefits, but we don't list individual member benefits in our bylaws. We do, however, require that any change to the current benefits list or to membership category definitions must be voted on by the board of directors.

Kate Conley, Periodicals Director and Editor, ISTE, International Society for Technology in Education

A. We had to put it in our bylaws to get our periodical postage designation. Without it, we wouldn't get the designation we sought.You should explore the postage regulations with your legal folks.

Rick Pullen, Editor in Chief, Leader's Edge Magazine, The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers

A. I believe we had to designate a "value” of the magazine for the postal regulations, (i.e. $50 of the membership fee is designated as a subscription payment), but I don't know if that was in the bylaws.

James A. Baumann, Director of Communications & Marketing, Association of College and University Housing Officers – International

A. With respect to assigning a certain dollar amount to your publication in your member materials, we are told by Elsevier that is no longer a requirement. You may want to touch base with your auditing coordinators, postal consultants, or publishing experts to see if things have changed out there for your organization.

Nancy B. Medina, CAE, Editorial Director, Annals of Emergency Medicine


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