I am writing with some exciting news on changes here at Hubbard Hall that we believe will allow us to serve you even better. For many years we’ve asked you to join or renew your Memberships at $25 each year, for discounts on tickets, classes and special offers. In my first year I’ve witnessed your amazing support – but I’ve also witnessed how this model can lead to confusion and layers of administrative red tape.
Although Member fees will bring in just over $11,000 in our 2014-2015 fiscal year, we spend even more than that on staff time and supplies to pursue and manage Membership enrollments, meaning our Membership program ultimately loses Hubbard Hall money and keeps us from doing a better job of serving you, our supporters. Unlike many other arts organizations, our Memberships don’t seem to translate into greater buying activity at the box office or in classes. For every $25 member fee paid, we estimate approximately $15 of staff time goes into processing that payment, plus the countless volunteer hours and supply costs for monthly mailings in pursuit of renewing memberships.
So our choice was clear: either increase Membership fees greatly (at least doubling to $50 each) or eliminate the fees altogether, freeing us up to more directly pursue support from our donors and freeing you up from being asked so often for your support throughout the year.
We intend this year to do away with Memberships and switch to the model of simply asking for your support as Supporters and Donors. We will have several Donor benefits, from simple items such as signed photographs from our artists and students to rare opportunities to gain an insider’s experience of a rehearsal or class as our guest. Here’s a breakdown of what will be different:
- Old Model – Memberships
- Requirement: A $25 annual fee;
- Benefits: Discounts on classes and tickets, offered only to those who have paid their Membership;
- Administrative Workload: Monthly mailings to Members (sometimes three months in a row to the same people) asking for their $25 fee; constant tracking of Membership renewals to allow discounts.
- New Model – Supporters
- Requirement: None – you can give at whatever level suits you, whenever suits you; we’ll have clearly articulated giving levels so you know what your gift is supporting;
- Benefits: Donor benefits including thank you letters, special gifts and exclusive opportunities;
- Prices will be lowered to the Member prices for EVERYONE – so everyone has equal access to Hubbard Hall – truly, Hubbard Hall for All;
- We will still provide families and students who enroll in multiple classes a break on class fees, to continue to help those students do more and especially help those families with several students get the best in arts and education the Hall has to offer;
- Administrative Workload: Fundraising drives just three times per year, in Spring, Summer and Fall to gain your support, with more staff time to thank you more often and in better ways.
We want to be more inclusive and less exclusive. We want to simplify, streamline and lighten. We want to lower the barriers to participation and celebration. We want to increase access and honor supporters better. We want to take the time and energy now spent chasing member fees and benefits and refocus them towards a few clear times each year when we ask for and then honor your support. We want to level the playing field so more people can play.
For those unable to attend the meeting on Saturday, June 20th, we had a great showing for the meeting, a good discussion and a unanimous vote to dissolve the membership model at Hubbard Hall and to empower the board to rewrite the company bylaws. We will begin immediately to redraft the bylaws and further dismantle the membership mechanism on line and in all our communications.
If you have recently renewed your Membership, the remainder of your $25 fee can be counted as a donation to Hubbard Hall. Please contact us for more information or with any questions.
We’re switching from Members to Supporters. We ask that you take this leap of faith with us. We believe it’s going to benefit everyone. Less time being asked for money; less worry about prices and discounts. More time to make art and community happen.
Thank you for your support, as always.
David Andrew Snider, Executive Director