• Grace Caldwell

November President's Message

Dear Quota Members,


Quotarians in the United States are celebrating Thanksgiving, a time for expressing gratitude towards loved ones and honoring the blessings in our lives. Here in Quota, we are grateful for you, our wonderful members. You, and generations of Quotarians who came before you, have provided help and hope to hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of people in need. You are Quota’s greatest gift and a blessing to our world.


As November flows into December, the Board of Directors is preparing for its upcoming meeting which begins December 5 in Washington, D.C. This President’s Message contains highlights of research that the Board will be considering as it contemplates its proposal for our beloved organization’s future structure. Some of the information we are considering is positive and affirming and other parts are concerning. Because it is this Board’s goal is to operate as transparently as possible, we are sharing these facts with you now in order to set the scene which awaits our Board.


Finances

As you are aware, the financial situation presented to the 2018-2020 Board of Directors was dire from the start. Without the immediate action that was taken, Quota’s doors would have closed early in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Instead, we ended the year successfully in multiple ways as reported in my October President’s Message. Since that message was published, our 2018-2019 fiscal year financials were finalized, and I am pleased to share with you the 2018-2019 Quota International, Inc. and Affiliate Consolidated Audit Report. Although a deficit budget had been planned, our year ended on a more positive financial footing with an excess of dues and donations over expenses by US$72,782. This success occurred for three reasons: (1) your generous response to the Century Program emergency appeal (for which I thank you!), (2) the sale of one of Quota’s four office suites (a second suite will go to settlement on December 2), and (3) the significant reduction in staff and operational expenses. The excess revenue monies will be needed to help offset the planned deficit of our 2019-2020 budget. Last year we explained that transitioning Quota International to its new structure would be a two-year process and deficit budgets would be required until Quota’s new direction was implemented. Going forward after September 30, 2020, the goal is for Quota income and expenses to balance. (Audit questions can be e-mailed to financialquestions@quota.org.)


Membership

While the 2018-2019 financial situation ended on a positive note, another situation has become dire – Quota’s membership. Twenty-four clubs, a record number, dissolved during the 2018-2019 year and we are expecting another significant drop in membership numbers when final 2019-2020 dues are processed. (Not all clubs have paid their October 1 dues and we are following up with them.) We ended the 2018-2019 fiscal year with 4,059 members in 209 clubs and now we are projecting a reduced membership of around 3,600 in 200 or fewer clubs as our official October 1, 2019 number once we hear from remaining clubs. ALL service organizations like Zonta, Lions, and Rotary, are losing members annually. However, with tens of thousands of members, these large service organizations have many decades left to operate and the finances to reinvent themselves with directions that could potentially attract younger generations in new ways. Quota’s situation is more time-sensitive.


Contemplating Quota’s Future

Quota International Bylaws are clear on whom the Board of Director serves and who its future structure proposal must address and support. Article V, Section 1 of Quota’s Bylaws states, “Quota International is the association of Quota clubs throughout the world.” Section 2 states, “The membership of Quota International shall consist of Quota clubs that have been accepted by the Board of Directors and chartered in the manner provided in the Bylaws.” Our Board is committed to finding a solution that will invest in the success of our clubs going forward, and that is our goal as we enter into final research and discussions at our upcoming December Board Meeting.


Regional Meeting results, which follow, were helpful in illuminating what is most important to our current club members and what they are willing to pay for their international affiliation. Twenty-three percent (23%) of Quota members (946) participated in the discussions, and 61% of participants were past or current club, district, regional, or international leaders. Leaders and past leaders participate more frequently in the international portion of Quota and therefore their views are significant. Here’s what we learned:


Question 1 - What three things do you value most about your Quota affiliation and want to ensure is retained in Quota’s new structure?


#1 Ranking – Total 768 responses received

· 40% - Service/Local Service

· 33% - Personal Benefits

· 18% - International Benefits

· 4% - Good Management/Good Governance

· 2% - Club Benefits

· 2% - Suggestions/Comments Only

· 1% - Regional Benefits

#2 Ranking – Total 662 responses received

· 43% - Personal Benefits

· 31% - Service/Local Service

· 18% - International Benefits

· 4% - Good Management/Good Governance

· 2% - Regional Benefits

· 1% - Club Benefits

· 1% - Suggestions/Comments Only

#3 Ranking – Total 573 responses received

· 43% - Personal Benefits

· 23% - Service/Local Service

· 21% - International Benefits

· 5% - Good Management/Good Governance

· 5% - Suggestions/Comments Only

· 2% - Regional Benefits

· 1% - Club Benefits


Examples of service/local service responses: community service, local service, service, help to hearing-impaired people, service – children, service-families, community projects, fundraising to help community, filling gaps, making a difference, helping disadvantaged.

Examples of personal benefits: fellowship, friendship, support, networking, personal growth, comradery, sisterhood, relationships, mentorship, fun, travel, food, togetherness, develop new skills, making others happy, common goal girlfriends, leadership opportunities.

Examples of international benefits: history, branding, mission, communications from QI, international presence, Hand-in-Hand funding, 501c3 tax status, serving on international committees, QI staff, resources on Web site, conventions, international service.


Why are these results significant? What participants value most is found in their local club experience and the personal benefits they gain through being a member of their local club. Therefore, Quota’s future structure needs to especially protect the service and personal benefits members experience locally. Only 18% of participants ranked international benefits as the #1 item they valued most; 18% ranked it as the #2 item they value most; and 21% ranked it as the #3 benefit that valued most and want retained in Quota’s future structure.


Question 2 - Quota’s current international dues are US$79. What is the maximum level of international dues (in US dollars) you would be willing to pay in the future?

Sixty-five percent (65%) of all regional meeting small group respondents indicated that they were not willing to pay higher dues (39%) or they were only willing to pay $1-$10 more going forward in the future (26%). 35% of remaining respondents were willing to pay between $90 to $99 (5%), $100 (23%), or an amount over $100 (6%).


Why are these results significant? Because As Quota’s membership becomes smaller, even with cost cutting, the need for higher dues becomes more important. Because there is a large constituency of respondents who are not willing to pay more dues (39%), even a small increase in dues going forward could potentially result in significant member loss. If Quota were to operate this new fiscal year entirely on member dues alone we would need to charge US$125 per member. As the membership declines, the need for higher dues increases.


Question 3 - What ideas, actions, suggestions, or comments related to the creation of a new plan for Quota’s future structure would you like to share with the Quota International Board of Directors.


-24% of all responses were made in the finances category. Examples include: transparency, minimize board expenses, money raised locally should stay local, overhead costs are too high, increase value for money, everyone should pay the same no matter what currency

-19% of all responses were made in the international structure/governance category. Examples include: Keep same structure, replace regions with districts, less restrictive bylaws, Do we need a Quota International?, re-evaluate/reduce the number of board members

-10% of responses were made in the promotions category. Examples include: Spend $76,000 on an Awareness Commercial, help clubs with publicity, create regional marketing teams, be more visible on social media, QI spends money to promote Quota in club communities


-Other 47% of responses were made in these categories:

8% - Meetings Examples: region meetings held opposite year of convention, convention every five years, bring back training seminars, restructure regional meetings

7% - Development and GrowthExamples: Make it attractive to join, push JQ clubs, make membership more relevant to younger people, “cooler” events

6% - Relocate OfficeExamples: Relocate staff to an area that costs less, move staff out of Washington, DC, move staff out of the US, work from home, rent warehouse space for staff

6% - CommunicationsExamples: better user-friendly website accessible by public (non-members), interactive Web site, better communication

5% - Service/Service ProgramsExamples: Additional opportunities for shared service, regional projects, include all countries in Hand-in-Hand program

5% - TechnologyExamples: Board meetings by Skype, virtual meetings, improved conference call quality, embrace new technology to save Quota

4% - Board of DirectorsExamples: Strict criteria for board members, cut board to 3 people, make board members more astute and transparent

4% - Programs/ManagementExamples: More manuals; Executive Director accountable to the board; provide more services to clubs

2% - Comments unrelated to the questionExamples: We all love Quota, we all appreciate the commitment shown by the current board, we feel unsupported


Why are these results significant? As can be expected because of the fiscal crisis, the two top areas of responses were in the area of finances (24%) and structure and governance (19%). Some of the ideas that members suggested were implemented before or after the meetings including creating a new Web site, increasing transparency in operations and finances, increasing communications, and downsizing the staff. Suggestions for completely opposite ideas were frequently made by different respondents – for example, eliminate regions (and bring back districts) and strengthen regions. Multiple members made suggestions for a Quota without the International part of the organization – for example Quota Australia.


In closing, corporations can make changes rapidly because they operate top-down. The owner/board creates a new idea, provides money to make the changes happen, and can fire employees whose skills are no longer needed. Membership organizations like Quota are bottom-up grassroots organizations. Local clubs recruit the members who belong to the organization and members vote with their feet if they don’t like what is happening: they leave the organization. Our mission as a Board is to create a direction for our clubs that will help ensure their continuation for a second century of service so that the world can continue to benefit from our special brand of service. We will report meeting results in January 2020.

Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for Quota International. I know how deeply you care about our beloved organization and its future. This Thanksgiving, we Board Members Give our Thanks to you.















Sincerely,

Emilie Simon

2018-2020 President

QUOTA INTERNATIONAL, INC.

1420 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC, 20036
United States

CONTACT US:

E-mail:       staff@quota.org

Phone:            202.331.9694
Fax:                 202.331.4395

© 2019 Quota International, Inc.

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