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News & Press: MSS News

NSPS Dues Increase Proposal

Wednesday, October 24, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Khea Adams
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NOTE: The NSPS Board approved a dues increase, effective in 2019. This report was prepared before the vote on October 20.


As we approach the final vote for the dues increase, let us reflect on several issues relative to your decision. All of the following items have been presented through various individuals per emails and phone conversations, as well as budget discussions. Many questions have been posed regarding NSPS’ proposal for a dues increase of $5 - $10 for the Joint Membership Dues. One theme that has developed is that NSPS should be able to operate on the current $40 per member rate. Another is that NSPS is currently collecting more membership dues income than it did prior to the launch of the Joint Membership Dues program in 2013. While that is true, everyone should be aware of critical pieces of information.


How did we get in to this position?

  • During the period of 2010 through 2013 NSPS incurred operating losses totaling $499,679 (about $125,000 per year).
  •  2013 was a transition year, with revenue from membership dues split at 54% from individuals and 46% from Joint Membership dues. NSPS survived this four year period by utilizing its financial reserves.
  •  In the four years since (2014 through 2017), NSPS has recorded $235,534 in operating gains (about $59,000 per year). Although NSPS has turned the corner financially during the last four years, we have not yet recovered fully from the effects of the nearly $500,000 in operating losses, and have only partially restored the reserves utilized during the lean years.
  •  The $40 rate for the NSPS portion of Joint Membership Dues was based on member counts provided by the respective state societies indicating that there would be an estimated 20,000 surveyors nationwide participating in the Program. The actual numbers never reached that estimate, and NSPS membership currently stands at about 16,000 members within the Program, which is 4,000 fewer members, resulting in 20% less income than the original estimates. This represents $160,000 less revenue per year for NSPS than originally projected.
  •  The peak revenue from Joint Membership dues was in 2016, when we received a total of $668,413.
  •  The 2017 results for Joint Membership dues revenue vs. 2016, reflects a decline of $47,268 or 6.2%.
  •  The cumulative effect of inflation from the period 2013 through 2017 is 7.4%, with another 2.1% projected for 2018. That brings the cumulative inflation rate to nearly 10% over the 6-year period that the Joint Membership Dues Program has been in effect. Add this to the 6.2% decline in Joint Dues revenue experienced in 2017, and you can see that mathematically NSPS cannot effectively continue its operations on the $40 per member dues rate.










Base Year




Inflation 1.5%




Inflation 0.8%




Inflation 0.7%




Inflation 2.1%




Inflation 2.1%










How have past budgets fared?

Analysis of NSPS Total Expenses

2010 through 2017


Actual Exp


Variance $

Variance %



$ $921,655

$ 932,495

$ (10,840)




$ 798,716

$ 867,835

$ (69,119)




$ 805,975

$ 879,275

$ (73,300)




$ 842,850

$ 853,222

$ (10,372)




$ 822,117

$ 868,615

$ (46,498)




$ 839,365

$ 857,286

$ (17,921)




$ 943,194

$ 910,852

$ 32,342




$ 941,940

$ 967,327

$ (25,387)




$ 6,915,812

$ 7,136,907

$ (221,095)




$ 864,476.50

$ 892,113.38

$ (27,637)





  • NSPS managed its expenses well within budget, coming in under budget every year except 2016. And for 2016 the “over” was by only 3.55%. The reason that 2016 actual was higher than budget was due to the write-off of book value for the ACSM/NSPS website, in the amount of $36,675. This website was placed in service in November 2009 and inactivated in September 2016.
  •  Since 2013 the NSPS Budget has been reviewed and approved by the full Board of Directors, which includes the representatives from all States participating in the Joint Membership Dues Program. The NSPS Treasurer, Executive Committee, and Staff have worked hard to be as transparent as possible regarding the annual budget. As the table above reflects, we are cognizant of our responsibility to manage the organization’s financial resources effectively, having done so consistently year after year.


What are some of the significant future expenses?

  • Within the next one to three years we will be replacing our Executive Director and our Accountant. In both cases, they will be staying on in a transition phase, where both incoming and outgoing will be paid.
  •  Replacing these two positions may be difficult at their present salaries, in that, current studies show the salary for these positions in the DC area is quite higher than what we are presently paying.



What have we been doing to control expenses?

  • The Executive Director and Office Manager coordinate all of the planning and details for the Spring and Fall Business Meetings, thus saving NSPS the cost of an independent contractor or part-time employee to perform these planning tasks.
  •  The Publications / Communications Manager Position was vacated in 2012. NSPS moved from hard copy journals on a periodical schedule to online communications about the organization’s activities and issues affecting the surveying profession. The Executive Director and Office Manager jointly manage and develop the content for these online communications forums, which include (a) the weekly radio show, (b) the weekly News & Views newsletter, and (c) social media accounts.
  •  The Accounting Manager prepares the annual IRS Form 990 report that is required to be filed with the IRS. This filing is necessary for NSPS to retain its non-profit status with the IRS. CPA Services were employed in 2013 for the 2012 Financial Review + Form 990 Filing, with an incurred expense of $16,000; $10,300 was incurred for the Financial Review and $5,700 was incurred for IRS Form 990. Since tax year 2010, the Accounting Manager has prepared and filed the IRS Form 990 every year except for 2012. NSPS felt it was apropos to employ the CPA’s services for tax year 2012, since that was the year ACSM was merged into NSPS, with ACSM’s remaining assets and liabilities transferred to NSPS.



What did we do to balance this years’ budget?

  • The 2018 NSPS Budget reflects that we will only “break-even” for the year.
  •  The incoming President has graciously taken it upon herself to reduce costs for the transition meeting by a considerable amount by holding it in Wisconsin, rather than Washington DC.
  •   NSPS dues paid to F.I.G. (the international surveying society) have been previously based on the number of individual members in NSPS. We are revising this to base FIG dues on the number of state societies with which NSPS has membership agreements, thus decreasing the FIG dues amount considerably.
  •  Conference calls are being used extensively by Committees rather than incurring travel and housing expenses for meetings.



In addition to administration of NSPS, members’ dues cover:

  • Government Affairs program which includes addressing Federal level issues on Capitol Hill and working with State Societies on state issues as requested; Opportunity to participate in annual “Day on the Hill” in DC
  •  Access to Disaster Relief Funds, distributed in conjunction with the NSPS Foundation
  •  Opportunity to directly interact with NSPS leaders during State Conferences, and during NSPS semi-annual meetings
  •  Weekly “NSPS News & Views” e-newsletter, keeping members current on surveying issues
  •   Weekly Radio Show- NSPS Radio Hour, addressing current issues related to the profession
  •  ABET Accreditation – NSPS is Lead Organization for review of Surveying related programs for accreditation or renewed accreditation
  •  ALTA/NSPS Standards (American Land Title Association)- Joint Committee to review standards for updates/revisions
  •  Affiliation with FIG (International Federation of Surveyors)- recognized US representative
  •  CST Certification – provides credentials for surveying technicians
  •  HYDRO Certification – Partner with Hydrographic Society of America
  •  CFEDS Certification – provide administrative/finance management
  •   Workforce Development Committee interacting with state programs
  •  Opportunity to provide input to External Affairs Committees in working with multiple organizations on matters affecting the surveying profession
  •  NSPS Assistance for outreach and interaction opportunities with the public, students, and those early in their surveying career through:

o   National Trig-Star Competition

o   Coordination of Scholarship Process for multiple student awards

o   Annual Student Competition

o   American School Counselor Association state/national conferences participation

o   Future of Surveying Task Force – NSPS is the Lead society among +/- 15 orgs.

o   NSPS Young Surveyors Network – interaction opportunities

o   Materials/Guidance for administering the Boy Scouts Merit Badge

o   Get Kids into Survey posters; NSPS is the US Distributor

o   Promotional materials for use by members and state societies, such as brochures:

Professional Surveying, Not Your Average Career

Should You Hire a Land Surveyor?

Professional Surveying, A Career Without Boundaries

CST: Future-proof you surveying career

Specialty Websites/webpages, such as: and

                     Colleges and Universities:





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