SOS board votes dues increase for 2010

Reported by SOS Treasurer Susan Grimes Width and President John Hamill

At its December 2009 meeting, the Shakespeare Oxford Society board of trustees reluctantly decided that it was necessary to make some adjustments in the society’s membership dues structure effective January 2010. Longtime members of the society will remember that our dues have not been changed for quite a few years.

As a reminder to all members, the SOS operates on a calendar-year basis. This means all members must renew their membership in January of each year. You can renew membership online at the Shakespeare Oxford Society GoEmerchant site: http://www.goestores.com/catalog.aspx?Merchant=shakespeareoxfordsociety&DeptID=27020

Beginning in January 2010, the BOT created a new membership category called “Regular Member.” A Regular Member will have full voting rights, receive any published newsletters and a copy of our annual journal, The Oxfordian. Dues for a Regular Membership in 2010 have been set at $65 a year.

Dues for a “Basic Membership” will be $50 in 2010. Basic Members will have full voting rights and receive any published newsletters.

Dues for “Family Members” (two people) will increase from $75 to $100. Family Members will have full voting rights and receive any published newsletters and The Oxfordian.

Please see the 2010 Membership Dues Schedule below for additional details about all membership categories.

After resisting any dues increases for several years, the SOS board of trustees determined that these adjustments to the dues structure are necessary because expenses have been rising and income from membership dues has been declining over the past few years.

Vice presidents appointed for fundraising and communications
To address our fiscal situation, the board of trustees has made several decisions. One difficult step involves adjusting the dues structure (outlined above) to help defray some of our expenses. To explore additional ways to grow the society’s membership base and increase income from various sources including individuals and foundations, the board has created a new position — vice president for fundraising and development/membership — to explore grants and other funding opportunities to support our authorship-related educational programs and publications. Richard Joyrich has been appointed to this important new position.

The board of trustees believes the society – with more than a half-century track record as a nonprofit, educational organization – should be able to secure additional sources of funding for such worthwhile projects as the publication and distribution of The Oxfordian to schools and libraries and a speakers bureau to provide educational presentations about Shakespeare and the authorship issue to schools, universities, and community organizations.

The board of trustees also created the position of vice president for communications and outreach to help the society increase its visibility through a more aggressive, integrated public relations/communications strategy. Former SOS President Matthew Cossolotto has been asked to assume this critical new role. The activities of the two new vice-presidential positions are closely intertwined. Increased visibility will enhance the Society’s ability to attract funding, and vice versa. One current project to increase visibility is the ongoing distribution of The Oxfordian Volume 11 to some 150 university English departments and the selected media outlets. Other ideas include publishing and distributing a monograph in 2010 about the posthumous publication of Shakespeare’s Sonnets in 1609. We will also be developing a public-relations strategy around newsworthy events in the course of 2010, including the April release of James Shapiro’s book about the authorship question titled Contested Will.

While exploring ways to boost membership and increase funding, the board of trustees will actively consider ideas for reducing expenses, including the possibility of shifting to an electronic format for the newsletter. Such a move could reduce printing and mailing costs significantly.

We hope all members will pitch in by making additional donations over and above their annual membership dues. Society members can also help by recruiting more members; speaking to local schools; or forming local chapters of the SOS.

Because we operate on a calendar-year basis, members are strongly encouraged to renew their membership in the SOS as soon as possible in January 2010 according to the categories outlined in the table below. You can join or renew online at: http://www.goestores.com/catalog.aspx?Merchant=shakespeareoxfordsociety&DeptID=27020. To Contact the Shakespeare Oxford Society, mail to P.O. Box 808, Yorktown Heighrs, NY 10598, call 914-962-1717S, or <mailto:sosoffice@optonline.net>.

We sincerely appreciate the ongoing support of all members of the Society. We need your active participation as we seek to grow the society, increase funding, and pursue our mission of researching and honoring the True Bard.

2010 Membership Dues Schedule

Category 2010 Dues (2009) Voting Rights Newsletter or news online Oxfordian[1]
Basic* $50 (N/A) Yes Yes No^
Regular* $65 ($50) Yes Yes Yes
Family* $100 ($75) Yes (2) Yes Yes
Sponsor $125 ($100) Yes Yes Yes
Contributor $250 Yes Yes Yes
Patron $500 Yes Yes Yes
Benefactor $1,000[2] Yes Yes Yes
Student* $30 Yes Yes No^
Member
Recruit*
$25[3] Yes Yes No^

* For US/Canada residents; overseas add $15.

^ May purchase single copy of The Oxfordian at discounted price of $20.

[1] Note:  Effective 2010, individual copies of The Oxfordian will cost $25 plus $4.95 S&H.

2 This category includes members who contribute $1,000 and above.

3  Half price of Basic Membership for first year.

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