“Remember the Member …” ~ HCD as a candidate for AIA President

Those who serve you – the AIA Virginia Board of Directors along with the staff team – have taken this phrase to heart. In every judgment we make, and each action we take, we consider the best interests of our membership. This month, I’m proud to share two major decisions that keep the individual member front and center.

Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA
Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA

The first relates to our emerging professionals. Beginning in the 2016 dues cycle, we’ll provide graduated dues for AIA Virginia members transitioning from Associate to Architect membership.

Delegates to the AIA 2015 National Convention in Atlanta in May supported a resolution to adopt a graduated dues model on a three-year cycle for members making this transition. In August, the AIA Virginia Board of Directors voted to follow suit, to strategically align with the Institute while also demonstrating our support for emerging professionals in the early stages of their careers. Further, the graduated dues model advances the objectives in our strategic plan to enhance support for emerging professionals and increase efforts to retain these members.

In this new model, the dues ‘step up’ over a three-year cycle. The first year following licensure, the member would incur the total cost of the current associate member rate plus one-third the difference of the architect member rate. The second year after licensure, the member pays the cost of associate membership plus two-thirds the difference of architect membership. The third year after licensure, the member transitions to the current architect member rate.

It is our belief that the minimal negative impact on the organization’s revenue will be more than offset by our ability to retain current Associate members and obtain new members. Anyone who has recently made this transition from Associate to Architect membership is painfully aware of the substantial jump in dues, happening at a career point when one is least able to bear it. Also, it helps our firms as well, as many generously continue to pay the dues for the members within their offices. And … we’ve encouraged all the local components in Virginia to join in this approach, if possible. The short-term sacrifice is well worth the long-term return in good will.

Speaking of good will, the second piece of news regards membership dues. Also during its meeting in August, the AIA Virginia Board decided NOT to raise state dues, at all. An escalator that aligns with National’s percentage increase is provided for each year, but the Board exercised its option to suspend the escalator. In other words, they made the deliberate decision not to raise dues … thus keeping your 2016 dues exactly at the 2015 level.

Our membership numbers are climbing, and quickly. In July, we exceeded our stated 2015 membership goal, and we continue to do all we can to enrich the value you receive for your investment in your professional society at the state level.

Thank you for being a member of AIA Virginia!

Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA
Executive Vice President

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