From the SPSP Board of Directors: An Update on the Budget Process
Before I accepted the nomination for Treasurer of SPSP, I spoke to trusted and experienced friends about the role and my fit for it. Even with that preparation, the role is both more active and more rewarding than I expected. Luckily, SPSP Board members receive training in what exactly it means to be on the board of a non-profit organization. As with members of any non-profit board, our core responsibilities to the organization are: 1) Establishing Organizational Identity; 2) Ensuring Resources; and 3) Providing Oversight. The current board is well-served by our collective experiences as faculty in shared governance environments and our collaborative research endeavors.
From my perspective as treasurer, fundamental to fulfilling our organizational mission and serving our student, academic, and non-academic membership is ensuring that we have adequate resources to guarantee the long-term sustainability of SPSP. To me, budgets are an expression of our values. This is easy when coffers are overflowing. The Board can easily vote to support the many wonderful ideas and programs proposed by task forces and standing committees. However, when finances are tighter, it is useful to have mission and vision statements, and a strategic plan, to guide the Board in prioritizing funding decisions. Right now, SPSP is in a situation in which resources are scarce. A number of external factors are influencing our financial situation. First, as institutions of higher education face budget cuts and reduce their subscriptions and open-access agreements for journals increase, revenue from our publications has plateaued. Second, because of the flexibility offered to Annual Convention attendees in changing modalities and lower attendance rates and lower than anticipated attendance at the Summer Forum, SPSP anticipates a substantial deficit for the fiscal year 2022. Finally, SPSP endowed funds are invested conservatively and are subject to the ups and downs of the stock market.
Fortunately, SPSP is near the conclusion of a strategic planning process that will provide us with guidance for making budget allocation decisions. You will be hearing more about the plan and have the opportunity to provide feedback in September. The process also provides a forum for discussing how we might more efficiently use the time of our volunteers and staff by combining similar initiatives and programs. For example, in 2021 SPSP spent $111,000 supporting 5 types of travel awards, which also required over 450 hours of SPSP staff time to administer. Finding ways to simplify, integrate, and streamline support for conference participation will allow SPSP to support additional initiatives. Finally, as we chart our path forward, we'll continue to need and seek input from all SPSP members. We have created a mechanism for members to provide feedback to us at any time using the form below. I also encourage everyone to consider volunteer roles within SPSP.