Dues Increase FAQ
The last dues increase occurred in 2011. How did the members benefit from this?Back to Top
Since 2011, there have been many significant enhancements to the Toastmasters member and leader experience:
- Extended hours for member support calls and emails, web chat support and more stringent service delivery standards and response times
- Enhanced club and district dashboards for easy reporting
- E-learning for club leaders
- Expanded offering of translated materials in Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese
- A redesigned, responsive website that better supports prospective members while still serving member and leader needs
- Expanded social media channels that reach more than 150,000 members as well as external audiences
- The 2011 rebrand and ongoing support and monitoring
- Enhanced public relations efforts generating greater awareness in local, national and international markets, plus additional support for district public relations managers and club vice presidents of public relations
- Digital, mobile version of the Toastmaster magazine
- Enhanced training for district leaders at International Convention and mid-year
- Implementation of an online accounting system for districts
- Enhanced district accounting support to ensure accuracy and a proper, control environment
- A comprehensive toolkit for Club Growth Directors including an online lead management system, contact tracking, new club developing training and a how-to manual
When will the dues increase become effective?Back to Top
On October 1, 2016, Toastmasters International membership dues will be US $90, payable in increments of US $45 every 6 months. This is equivalent to US $7.50 per month.
Who is responsible for determining the dues amount?Back to Top
In November 2015, the Board of Directors made the decision to increase dues to $45 each semiannual period beginning in October 2016.
It is the Board of Directors’ responsibility to determine the dues amount, as directed in the Bylaws of Toastmasters International, Article IV: Revenue, Section 2: Membership Dues Payment. Additionally, Policy 8.0: Dues and Fees, Section 10, requires the Board to review the dues, fees and submission processes at least every three years beginning in 2009.
Why are dues being increased now?Back to Top
There are several factors driving this increase.
- The needs of our members are greater than ever both technologically and experientially. Members want 24/7 access to tools and resources, availability of materials in new languages, club and district leaders require more automated tools to reduce the administrative burden and much more.
- Since the last dues increase in 2011, the membership has grown more than 20%, from 273,895 members in 2011 to 332,199 in 2015. Clubs have grown by nearly 20% and 16 districts have been added since the last dues increase. Furthermore, the mission of the organization is to make effective oral communication a worldwide reality. To achieve this mission, the organization is rapidly expanding into new markets and geographies while continuing to support current markets.
- The Association Management System (enterprise-level database and transaction system) that stores all member information, logistics and product information must be replaced. The system was originally installed in 2003, and upgraded in 2011, and has now, after 13 years, is reaching the end of its lifecycle.
Why are we having a dues increase?Back to Top
Much has been done over the past few years to enhance support and services for members, including modernizing the member experience with better technology, an improved Toastmasters website and more consistent training for leaders. However, there is still more to be done. Membership is higher than it’s ever been, and to sustain the high quality you expect and deserve, we must further modernize, expand and improve your experience. To accomplish this, the Board of Directors made the decision to increase the dues.
Is Toastmasters membership a good value?Back to Top
As you consider the dues increase, think for a moment about seminars, conferences, and college or university classes that cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. Toastmasters, at US 90 per year, provides education and invaluable practical experience. You gain feedback and support from peers, and develop the confidence and transferrable skills that will help you achieve your personal and professional goals.
Will there be an increase in the new member fee?Back to Top
There is no increase. The new member fee is still $20.
What are the benefits to the member?Back to Top
The benefits are wide-ranging and significant. The increased funding enables our organization to implement the initiatives in the Board of Directors’ 2015 Strategic Plan, which encompasses the next five years. These initiatives include:
- Making significant investments in our infrastructure over the next three years. Upgrades must be made to meet the needs of our growing organization. For example, the association management system (AMS) we rely on to store all member, club and district data must be upgraded to scale with our growing organization. The AMS is the backbone of our operations. All transactions are conducted or tracked through this system, and it must be robust, scalable and secure so that members, leaders and World Headquarters staff are able to conduct business easily, seamlessly and safely. Initiatives such as this, and others primarily relating to on-line transactions, have the potential to reduce costs through enhanced member self-service and support.
- Finishing the development and testing of the content and digital systems that support the revitalized education program (REP), and launching the program.
- Streamlining and improving how Toastmasters leaders and members interact with our website through Club Central and District Central.
- Launching the Toastmasters mobile application, a real-time app that members can use in club meetings. This tool will boost club quality by enabling members to perform meeting roles with greater ease. Other digital offerings are being expanded and improved, as well.
- Expediting receipt the Toastmaster magazine in several countries and launching a more user-friendly, web-based delivery system for the electronic version of the magazine.
These and other initiatives will better position us to meet the needs and wants of current and future members.
Has the organization tried to reduce its costs so a dues increase wouldn’t be necessary?Back to Top
Toastmasters is always looking for ways to reduce expenses. For example, in the past three years, the organization has:
- Significantly reduced postage rates and print costs for all materials vendor negotiation and bidding processes.
- Leveraged technology to automate critical functions and moderate increases in staff levels as the organization grows.
- Continually increased the availability of online tools to conduct club and district business, which also reduces labor costs.
- Provided more material digitally via the Toastmasters International website.
To save money, should Toastmasters reduce the products and services provided to members and clubs?Back to Top
Members and prospective members are well-educated, discerning and have high expectations. Offering fewer or outdated products and services will not meet the expectations of our members and clubs; rather, it will discourage current members from continuing their membership and deter others from joining. Members expect and deserve a more advanced experience, both educationally and in the way they interact with the organization and each other.
Is the Toastmasters International budget made public for the members?Back to Top
It is not. As directed in Policy 11.0, the Board of Directors is responsible for approving and overseeing the budget and financial matters. Rather than providing the annual budget, which is a planning and management tool, the organization makes available its annual financial results and its annual United States Internal Revenue Service filing, known as Form 990.
The membership number continues to increase, which generates more revenue. Why should there still be a need for an increase?Back to Top
While there are approximately 330,000 members, and that number continues to grow, retention hovers at 57 percent. The cost to recruit, set up and support a new member is greater than the cost to maintain and support an existing member. In addition, the mission of the organization is to empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. To achieve this mission, the organization is rapidly expanding into new markets and geographies while continuing to support current markets. The cost to support new and distant markets is greater than the cost to maintain existing, more mature markets.
Can the organization obtain the needed funds from other sources?Back to Top
Toastmasters has several sources of revenue in addition to membership dues. The largest is product sales including educational materials, recognition items, books, and other club and member supplies. Toastmasters offers these materials to all members and clubs around the world. Revenue from these sales helps lengthen the interval between dues increases.
Has the Board taken into consideration that a dues increase can slow growth because of the current economic situation and varying exchange rates?Back to Top
The board recognizes that the increase will likely affect October renewals, particularly among members who participate in multiple clubs. However, the Board also believes membership continues to provide exceptional value and is confident that the timing of the increase will have minimal impact on clubs’ ability to become Distinguished in 2016-2017.
In its November letter the Board indicated that Toastmasters’ financial position is stable. If this is the case, why is it necessary to increase dues by 25%?Back to Top
Toastmasters is financially strong today. Revenues and expenses are consistent and predictable; however, in order to implement all of the services, support and innovation required and requested by current and future members, significant ongoing investments in technology and member and leader support are planned.
What is involved in the Board’s review of the organization’s financial position and the five-year financial forecast?Back to Top
An in-depth review of the current and future revenue and expense trends, a roadmap of strategic-level initiatives to enhance service and support, and future needs for an ever-expanding membership.
When was the last dues increase and how much was it?Back to Top
The last dues increase was in October 2011, with dues rising from US $54 per year to US $72 per year.
Why has the compensation of staff members been increased if we have to work more cost effectively?Back to Top
Toastmasters, as a global organization, is committed to attracting and maintaining a professional and experienced staff that is capable of innovating, modernizing and maximizing efficiencies.
To ensure that salaries are competitive but not exorbitant, the organization retains a human capital consultant to conduct periodic salary assessments for all staff positions. It benchmarks job titles and responsibilities against other non-profit organizations in Southern California and nationally. Staff salaries range from the 65th to 75th percentile of market. No staff members are paid at the top of the salary range.
Why has the number of paid staff members increased?Back to Top
The number of staff has increased to support the increase in members, clubs and districts around the world and to implement new programs and better support existing programs.
Can I receive a discount for having dual or multiple memberships? Can I purchase a lifetime membership?Back to Top
Toastmasters International does not offer discounts for having dual or multiple memberships or provide lifetime memberships to individuals because the costs to the organization are the same regardless of how many memberships you may hold.
What will be the financial impact for districts?Back to Top
Districts will continue to receive 25% of the dues paid by district members; as a result of the dues increase, the funds received will increase by the same percentage as the increase, which are used to support the district mission of building new clubs and supporting all clubs in achieving excellence.
Has Toastmasters considered reducing the funds provided to districts?Back to Top
Reducing the funds districts receive would not be beneficial to clubs or to the organization as a whole. Districts provide much-needed support to clubs, helping them to function better and achieve the club mission. They train club officers and provide other educational programs to help members improve their speaking and leadership skills. Districts also are responsible for building new clubs and supporting new clubs in attracting new members.
Will Club Central show the new dues amount?Back to Top
Yes. Starting September 1, 2016, club officers will be able to add new members with October begin dates and pay renewals for the October–March period online with the correct dues amount.
Where do we find updated new membership applications?Back to Top
Updated new membership applications will be available for download from the Toastmasters International website by September 1, 2016.
If I use a previous version of an application, will it be accepted and processed?Back to Top
We ask that you use the form that is available online now. However, if you use a previous version of the application, we ask that you mark the correct amount on the form and submit the new dues. If an application with the old dues amount is received, our membership team will reach out to the appropriate individuals to ensure that the correct amount is received prior to completing the processing.
What will the dues be for new clubs that charter by September 30, 2016?Back to Top
Members of new clubs that charter by September 30 will pay six months dues in advance at the old rate of US $36. The subsequent prorate paid by those members will be at the new rate.
Do we need to change our club bylaws? If so, how?Back to Top
Article III of the Addendum of Standard Club Options requires that clubs indicate the amount of dues and fees they collect from their members. Depending on how much your club currently charges members (membership dues plus club dues), it may be necessary to change your club’s Addendum of Standard Club Options. Please remember that a majority favorable vote of the club’s active membership is required to change the Addendum of Standard Club Options.
Any active club officer can make changes to their club’s Addendum of Standard Club Options simply by logging in to www.toastmasters.org/login. Officers will log on with their personal user name and password.
- Once logged in, go to Leadership Central and click on Club Central
- Select the applicable club name and number
- Under Conduct Club Business, click on the option Change my club’s Addendum of Standard Club Options
Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the relevant information. Upon receipt, the information will be filed with your club’s original documents.
What about undistricted clubs?Back to Top
In some parts of the world, clubs are not assigned to districts. Members of these clubs will pay US $67.50 per year, payable in increments of US $33.75 every six months.
My club forgot to submit a new member who joined prior to October 1Back to Top
You can still add the member online or send in a membership application with a join date prior to October 1. The dues will be at the previous rate. The renewal payment for the October–March period will be at the new rate.
My club paid dues for both the April 2016 and October 2016 periods in April. What do we do?Back to Top
Your club will be billed for the additional amount due for the October 2016 period.
Who may I contact if I have questions?Back to Top
For questions, please email email@example.com. If calling World Headquarters (+1 949-858-8255), please ask for the Member Support Team. Any one of our representatives will be happy to assist you.