AAN Seeks Input on New Programs

Board to consider options for use of surplus

(AAN Executive Director Richard Karpel is soliciting member feedback on options for using the association’s Fiscal Year 2001 surplus. The following is the text of a letter and e-mail sent this week to AAN editors and publishers.)

On Friday, AAN ended Fiscal Year 2001 with a surplus of approximately $200,000. At the annual meeting in New Orleans, AAN members voted to contribute $50,000 of the surplus to the Academy for Alternative Journalism diversity program, and to set aside $100,000 for new programs and services. The Board of Directors will meet this weekend in Madison, Wisc., to decide which new programs to fund.

It has not escaped our notice that the association’s finances are strengthening at the same time that many of our members find themselves struggling through a very difficult advertising environment. We want to assure you that in deciding how to deploy the surplus, our focus will be on promoting the collective interests of our member papers.

Following the convention, several committees and the AAN staff developed a smorgasbord of programs for the Board to choose from at its meeting next week. Among the programs that will be considered are:

• Web site archive/syndication project
• Quarterly regional business-trends survey
• Alternative newsweekly marketing kit
• Expanded trade-show participation

Although the IRS code and the laws governing the activities of non-profit organizations prevent us from paying AAN CAN rebates, they do not affect our ability to reduce dues rates and/or registration fees. Therefore, the Board will also consider fee-reduction initiatives like discounted membership dues or free registrations to the AAN convention.

The primary source of funding for these new programs is AAN CAN, our classified advertising network. Although the network has been operating for less than two years, it now provides over 50% of the association’s revenues.

In addition to the new programs and services that we are now considering, AAN CAN’s success has enabled us to reduce our reliance on the AAN Advantage donated ad program. In the fiscal year that begins today, we have reduced the number of donated ads from six half pages to two.

AAN President Russ Martineau and I encourage you to help us decide how to use the surplus by letting us know prior to the Board meeting what you think about these issues. To that end, feel free to contact me via phone or e-mail, or if you prefer, you can contact AAN Board members directly. Their e-mail addresses are noted in the header above.

Best regards,
Richard Karpel

P.S. Please let me know if you would like more details about any of the new programs noted above.

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