This article is by ELGL cofounder and executive director Kirsten Wyatt, on behalf of the ELGL Board of Directors and Staff. Contact us with your questions and we’ll add them to the FAQ section below.
In the cadence of ELGL work, December is typically reserved for all of the fun and feel-good stuff that we love so much: matching members for #ELGLMugs; sharing the list of 100 top local government influencers for #ELGLTraeger; reflecting back on a year of work with our end-of-year posts; matching new friends for Birthday & Books; and gearing up for a new year of cohorts, events, and content.
And so, you might be wondering, “who’s the party pooper announcing a dues increase during this happy month of local gov love?” It’s us. ELGL is doing that.
We don’t take the decision to raise dues lightly. We know that every one of our members approaches their memberships differently. Some members pay out of pocket; others have memberships through their cities. Fundamentally, our goal is to make ELGL affordable for anyone who wants to engage with the brightest minds in local government.
Effective January 2, 2021, we are increasing dues by $10. Membership costs will be:
- Student: $25
- Individual: $50
- Two-Year: $100
- All-In (10 memberships): $450
- Supersize (20 memberships): $900
- Academic Supersize: $900
- Ginormous (60 memberships): $1,600
ELGL’s membership is growing! Which is a wonderful thing because we’re welcoming new faces to the organization every month. And this requires additional staff time and work to ensure that the people who are joining ELGL now, have the same personalized and authentic experience as people who joined ELGL when it was first starting.
ELGL’s programs are expanding! Even though we were hosting virtual events and learning opportunities before COVID, the last year has shown us how much people value our online events (like conferences and #ELGLInspire) and learning (like cohorts and webinars). We’re looking ahead to 2021 with five cohort “umbrellas” under which we’ll be training and sharing: justice & equity; resiliency; engagement; creativity; and data citizenship. We want to have capacity and room to offer topics in each category that match our members’ interests and needs.
ELGL’s staffing is increasing! On December 21, 2021 we will welcome Cherise Mead and Chanté Mitchell as our new Program Directors. Kirsten, Allie, Hallee, and Brian will continue on in their roles. And we’ve added two new GovLove hosts – Lauren Palmer and Toney Thompson, a new GovLove producer – Pizza Mike Montgomery, and two new GovLove transcriptionists – Heather Wakem and Kathryn Mortensen. Supporting this increase in staff is important as we continue to work as a cohesive team.
ELGL’s dreams are big! Looking ahead to 2021, we have big plans to continue with the momentum that COVID started for us. In 2020, we saw our highest numbers to date on membership, GovLove episodes, webinars, conference attendance, special events, and social media engagement. We know this will continue into the new year and so we’re getting ready to take on another year full of ELGL’s signature programs and member benefits.
All of these reasons led us to decide to raise annual dues by $10. By doing so, we’ll build our capacity to continue offering the content, resources, training, programs, and fun that you receive from ELGL. We’re hopeful that you can look at $50/year dues supporting the values and benefits that ELGL provides to you.
We’re here to answer any questions you might have about this increase. Below is an FAQ list and we’ll continue to add to this if new questions are submitted. Thank you for your support of ELGL and our continued growth and success. We look forward to serving you in 2021!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are current dues and what are the new dues?
Current dues are $40 per person per year. New dues will be $50 per person per year. Other membership packages (e.g. All-In membership which includes 10 memberships) increase in the same increment of $10 per membership.
When do the new dues go into effect?
January 1, 2021
If I want to renew now (before the dues increase) can I do that?
Yes, but note that your membership clock will reset to the date you renew on (so if you are scheduled to renew on February 1, 2021 but you renew on December 20, 2020, your new membership year will be December 2020 – December 2021, and not February 2021 – February 2022…). Go to ELGL.org/membership if you’re interested in doing this.
What are you going to spend the increased money on?
We have hired two new Program Directors (a net increase of one FTE) and we are spending the money on this increased capacity for the organization.
Where does ELGL get its money?
- 49% from membership dues
- 21% from event tickets
- 16% from program fees
- 14% from sponsorships
Why don’t you just get more sponsorships instead of raising dues?
We’ve talked about that, as well as increasing fees for tickets or cohorts. We value our independence and we’ve often found that sponsors expect things like speaking roles or content space for increased sponsorship funding and we’re not willing to give that up. And we want everything we do – events, cohorts, etc. to be affordable, and so raising fees isn’t part of those values. If anything, we’re trying to make more of what we do free rather than increasing pricing.
What other options did you consider other than a dues increase?
We considered not adding the additional new staff person but as we worked through our goals for the year and saw the demand and interest in new and expanded programs, we knew that bringing in a new program person was essential to continued relevancy and growth.
$50 is cheaper than any other national professional organization I’m part of.
(That’s not a question… that’s a statement). But yes! This is true and was part of our discussion. Again, affordability is key for us and making sure that anyone could afford the dues was part of our calculus. We felt like the $4.15/month is a tremendous deal considering that in an average month, we’re posting 40 new articles, sharing eight new podcasts, and hosting multiple events; plus running up to four cohorts at a time and organizing connector events and awards programs.
NEW! Will ELGL ever have a platform similar to ICMA where everyone can ask questions, share info/attach documents, and easily search through?
Not likely. We already have that via platforms that people are familiar with and are accessible to everyone. We’ll continue to use ELGL.org (and refine and retool the search functionality) as well as existing platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) for connectivity. Research shows that people are hesitant to research, find, and download stand alone apps and so we’ll rely on the tools that people are already using.
NEW! I am happy to forgo one pizza annually to support this increase.
Thank you! We raise a slice in thanks for your sacrifice!