AFSA Ushers In Additional Dues Categories
In 2020 the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) Board of Directors voted to increase the membership dues structure for only the second time in the past 20 years. That action was needed to keep pace with the rising cost of doing business, and the creation of in-demand programs for our members.
Unlike some trade associations, AFSA has limited sources of income, including membership dues, proceeds from our annual convention, and our training programs. We are unique in that all members and associates pay dues based on self-reported income levels or company size.
Many companies join at an original tier level, but as they grow, don’t revisit the dues structure year over year, which we know from conversations with members is very innocent and unintentional. It is an easy thing to forget about, especially since we don’t audit anyone to determine if members should be moved to another level.
That said, we are asking all members to review the new dues structure being implemented in January 2022 and let us know which category best represents your gross fire sprinkler sales. Please note there is no change in dues for those members in the first eight categories. We have added one category (highlighted in red below) to fill a gap in the original dues structure.
The newly added categories will have an impact on members and associates doing more than $50 million in volume. The additional categories were created to address the revenue losses experienced through the mergers and acquisitions our industry has been experiencing. For example, when a top-tier company buys another company, the net result for AFSA is a loss of the dues revenue from in the acquired company. Over the past several years, mergers and acquisitions have resulted in a significant reduction in dues revenue, and it became clear that AFSA was long overdue for an overhaul of a dues structure created decades ago.
Like many of our members, the association was financially impacted by COVID-19, with some members not renewing due to hardship, and having to cancel our convention in 2020. The new categories are designed to get us back on track in the fairest way possible and to keep pace with evolving business structures. We believe membership in AFSA is a great investment at every level. Our technical services department has had multiple cases where a member saved three times the cost of their membership with a single technical question code review.
Some members may not know that when your company is a member, your employees are members too. They have access to numerous beneficial services they may not know are available, including:
• AFSA’s Safety Portal provides a long list of toolbox talks, providing a great resource for safety managers, superintendents and foremen. These can also provide ideas and content for your company’s safety handbook.
• Training with in-person, webinars, and on-demand (new programs coming in 2022 as enumerated in the Nov/Dec 2021 Sprinkler Age issue’s President’s Report).
• Networking – connecting with other fire sprinkler contractors in one of our 31 local chapters.
• AFSA’s SprinklerForum, where peers can help with suggestions and solutions to unique situations or everyday challenges.
• Business Solutions – save money on office supplies, insurance programs, and more planned to include vehicle buying, vehicle maintenance, and fuel programs for members.
As you review the new dues structure (above) and reconsider the tier level your company fits for 2022, I hope you will join me and your Board of Directors in the knowledge that we’re all in this together and that together, our industry is stronger. Being the primary resource for your employees’ training and continued education continues to pay back dividends in both time and money. We hope you will agree that your dues are a benefit, not a cost, when you look at our services objectively.
Your membership team of Bruce Lecair, Meda Merritt, and Dominick Kasmauskas are always available to assist you and your team. Please feel free to reach out to me via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call my cell phone, (760) 908-7753, if I can answer any questions related to this issue, or hear any feedback you’d like to offer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bob Caputo, CET, CFPS, is president of AFSA. He currently serves as chair of NFPA 24/291 Private Water Supply Piping Systems committee and as an alternate member of NFPA 13 Sprinkler System Installation Criteria committee. Caputo has written and presented seminars throughout the world on fire protection and life-safety systems and has developed AFSA and NFPA education and training materials.