A Look at AFSA’s Dues Structure
As most of you know, the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) Board of Directors added new categories to our dues structure in 2022, following a 20-percent increase in 2020. AFSA had only increased dues one time in the prior 20 years, but it was made clear to our staff that a 20-percent jump was not very popular.
The decision to create additional categories introduced in January of 2022 was primarily driven by the mergers and acquisitions activity, which resulted in a loss of dues revenue for AFSA in excess of $250,000. This was the unintentional consequence of larger member firms who were already paying the maximum dues rate, purchasing smaller companies whose dues then disappeared. It was also decided that rather than hit the membership with periodic large dues increases, we would implement small increases each year to keep pace with rising costs of labor, facilities, and general expenses. I hope you will agree this is a reasonable rate of increase to keep our high-level services consistent as inflation and the cost of everything increases yearly.
That said, we did not implement any increase for 2023 in consideration of the fact that some members had not yet begun to pay dues based on the newly created additional categories. Our member renewal dates are based on the month your company joined, and renewals occur throughout the year, so some company dues do not change until the third or fourth quarter. I want to reiterate that AFSA dues are self-reported, based on your top-line volume, and not audited. We always ask our members to re-evaluate their tier status upon renewal so we may continue to provide best-in-class services and training programs to support you and your company’s growth.
Dues Increase in 2024
Beginning in January 2024, AFSA will increase dues across the board at a rate of three percent annually. All things considered, we hope our members will agree that membership in AFSA is now and has always been a wise and worthy investment in our industry as a whole and a value-added benefit to each of you. Although “dues” sounds like you are paying your membership to a gym or subscription to a streaming service, consider AFSA as an investment into you and your business.
We are considering prorating dues at some point to move all renewal dates to January 1 of each year. That would mean your 2024 dues would renew through year-end regardless of your current renewal month, so everyone’s renewal in 2025 would be January 1. New members joining would start their dues on a prorated basis for the year they join and become renewed each January 1 thereafter. Members joining or having renewal dates after July would have the option to pay the prorated amount plus the following full year, with a discounted rate (2 percent) to make things simple. This potential change would help AFSA staff plan accordingly and spend less time each month addressing renewals, sending invoices, and chasing receivables, allowing us to focus on expanding membership and providing support programs.
Membership Has its Benefits
There are so many benefits to AFSA membership for contractors and associates that they can’t all be listed within this article. But some of those benefits include the following:
- Technical Resources—Free Technical Reviews are one of the most valuable technical resources for members. They are written interpretations available from the Engineering & Technical Services Department, on any subject related to automatic fire sprinklers. Use this benefit as an extension of your design staff. Members have reported paying for their annual dues based on the savings from one Technical Review!
- Education & Training—AFSA’s membership benefits include substantial discounts and access to the best in education and training in the industry.
- Networking—Actively participate in the association through local chapters, committees, educational opportunities, and the convention. Your involvement can help create a better informed and educated member experience.
- AFSA Convention & Exhibition—AFSA holds the largest fire sprinkler industry convention and exhibition in North America. In addition to presenting the latest in products and technology, the convention includes a wide variety of industry-related business and technical seminars.
- Public Relations/Industry Promotion—AFSA works within the industry and the media to promote fire safety and awareness of the value of fire sprinklers in saving lives and property.
- Discounts—As an AFSA member, you will receive a discount on all products and services, including technical reference products, seminars, training courses, and convention registration. Exclusive members-only discounts on NFPA standards.
- Legislation—AFSA acts as your liaison with other associations involved in fire safety, government agencies that can affect your business environment, and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs).
- Legal Consultation—All AFSA members are entitled to a free, initial legal consultation over the phone with a nationally known attorney who specializes in labor litigation.
We Want to Hear From You
We would appreciate your feedback on this proposal prior to the implementation of any proposed changes. I am always happy to hear from you; feel free to email me at email@example.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bob Caputo, 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 and has developed AFSA and NFPA education and training materials.