Dear Quota Members,
Regional Meetings are enthusiastically underway around the world, clubs have begun the changeover in leadership, and our organization is regaining a more solid footing in its finances and governance. Through your donations, you, our members, have given Quota International the gift of time allowing your Board to research the most cost-effective future for our clubs worldwide beyond Convention 2020.
I am writing to give you an update on the State of Quota’s Union as of April 30, 2019 – seven months into our fiscal year – in Finances, Governance, and Membership. Our Board’s goal is to operate as transparently as possible and to share all of our successes, as well as our concerns, directly with you. My June President’s Message will report on Service, Communications, and Programs.
Quota International’s 2018-2019 Quota International budget projected a fiscal year shortfall of U.S.$151,345. Thanks to you, our donations program has reduced this shortfall to U.S.$44,164.19 during the first seven months of the fiscal year. (Note that this shortfall has been further reduced to U.S.$23,495 due to new donations made from May 1 – May 22, 2019.) This is excellent news.
In addition to this, as of April 30, 2019, our member dues have also exceeded the projected income budget for the year and our expenses are under budget by a significant amount. With five months to go in this fiscal year, we are cautiously optimistic that our shortfall will be eliminated by September 30, 2019, without having to use much, if any, of the proceeds from the sale of our first office unit. Here is more information on the specifics of our income and expenses.
1. DONATIONS. We are very grateful to all of our donors for helping to make it possible for Quota International’s doors to remain open this critical year. Here is a breakdown of the U.S.$145,780.81 in donations received this fiscal year between October 1, 2018, and April 30, 2019:
Wanda Frey Joiner Development Fund (Century Program/Founders/Founder Stepping Stones) – U.S.$87,425.10
We Share Foundation Benefactors Program (Benefactors/Benefactor Stepping Stones) – U.S.$7,139.81
Friends of Quota (Quota International) – U.S.$2,755.57
Special Donation – Bequest from Non-member to Quota International – U.S.$27,422.73
Special Donation – Donation to We Share Foundation (Dissolved Club’s Remaining Funds) – U.S.$21,037.60
2. OTHER INCOME.
Dues: We budgeted U.S.$308,100 for our 2018-2019 dues income, but have instead raised U.S.$319,666.01 as of April 30. Therefore we are over budget by U.S.$11,566.01. This is due to an increase in the actual membership numbers over what was projected in our 2018-2019 budget. In addition, it includes income from new members who joined Quota International since October 1, 2018. This line item is expected to increase slightly as new members join clubs before September 30, 2019.
Rental Income: While we were budgeted to receive rental income in the amount of U.S.$31,462, we will not make this budget due to the sale of one of our office units which we rented. (A good problem to have!) Rental income collected as of April 30, 2019, is U.S.$16,543.80 and we expect to receive an additional U.S.$6,620.25 by September 30, 2019, assuming our office space does not sell by that date. Therefore, we expect to be under budget by -U.S.$8,297.70 in this income area at the end of the year.
Other Income: As of April 30, 2019, we are over budget in other smaller categories of income – Dues Late Fees, Initiation Fees, Investment Income, and Club Supplies by a total of U.S.$4,672.19.
3. RESERVE FUND. The proceeds from the sale of our first office unit netted Quota International U.S.$246,202.74 after all fees were paid. This money has been placed in a reserve financial account with Merrill Lynch (the investment arm of Quota International’s long-time bank, Bank of America). Monies are invested in a money market account (U.S.$146,202.74) and four short-term Certificates of Deposit (U.S.$25,000 each). In addition, because the funds in our operating account exceeded the U.S.$250,000 insured account limit, the Board of Directors voted to transfer U.S.$80,000 of it to a separate money market account with Merrill Lynch to further protect Quota’s fiscal interests. Monies will be transferred back into the operating account by Board vote when needed.
4. EXPENSES. As of April 30, 2018, our average monthly spending on direct expenses is below budget. Our budgeted amount is U.S.$48,226 average per month and our actual amount is U.S.40,817.20. That is a savings of an average $7,408.80 per month or U.S.$51,861.60 total for the seven-month period. Multiple reasons are contributing to lower expenditures:
As a result of the sale of Unit 8 in February 2019, some projected expenses are no longer necessary: not needing to finalize a credit line that had been approved, but not finalized; reduction in condominium fees; small reduction in utilities; reduction in property taxes; no longer a need for the projected $10,000 emergency fund.
Beginning in March 2019, we have reduced our accounting costs by $1,100 a month because our financial records and reports have been brought up-to-date and simplified.
Our staffing remains at the same level as it was at the time of my previous status report – 2 full time employees and 3 part-time consultants equal to 1.5 staff members, and we are slightly under budget in both areas: -U.S.$1,460.19 in staffing and -U.S.$7,487.77 in category for our 3 part-time consultants.
Some larger costs related to exploring new structure options for Quota have not yet been realized because those activities have not yet taken place (for example, legal costs). In addition other larger costs that have been budgeted for but not yet needed will impact our expense budget going forward. Although we expect the amount we are under budget to decrease in the coming months for these reasons, we are working hard to end the year at or under budget in our expenses.
5. SALE OF REMAINING OFFICE SUITES. Although we have had serious interest in recent months, our remaining three office suites are still listed for sale. At the recommendation of our agent, we have lowered the price of the remaining three suites from U.S.$1,250,000 to U.S.$1,150,00 because these units have been on the market for six months. We have also listed each of our three suites separately to generate interest in the space.
6. 2019-2020 INTERNATIONAL DUES. The Board of Directors has voted to not raise international dues in the upcoming 2019-2020 fiscal year, instead leaving them at U.S.$79.00 for these reasons:
First, the purpose of the Board of Director’s research into more cost-effective structural options is to find a solution that hopefully will not increase costs to our members and clubs going forward after Convention 2020. Once that structure is fully defined, a decision on annual dues will be made.
Second, with the sale of our first office unit, Quota International has a new reserve in place containing almost U.S.$250,000. We are now operating under budget and our income is over what we projected thanks to the generosity of you, our members, with donations totaling over U.S.$97,000 plus unexpected special donations totaling over U.S.$48,000. We are cautiously optimistic that our new reserve will be protected for the next fiscal year. While our remaining office spaces have not yet sold, we are confident with time that they will sell, thus giving us the ability to not only pay off our debts from past years but also to add a significant amount to our reserve going forward and provide a financial cushion to our operations, if needed, while changes are made in the coming years.
Third, the data obtained thus far from regional meetings already held shows a wide disparity in members’ willingness to pay increased dues going forward. Even a small increase in annual member dues could potentially reduce Quota’s membership even further than we are projecting next year given the ongoing trend in annual membership loss that Quota has been experiencing (a minimum loss of at least 300 additional members). Any potential increase in revenue that would come from a maximum COLA increase of U.S.$2.00 could be lost through the resignation of members over and above the numbers we have projected for 2019-2020.
To close this section, I wish to remind all members that these are not normal times, and Quota International must operate in a different way with its financial resources until the evolution into our future structure is completed after Convention 2020. In the meantime, your Board of Directors is operating as transparently as possible to keep all members completely informed of news, good and bad.
Therefore, as a reminder, you can find Quota International Consolidated Audit Reports on Quota’s Web site for recent years including the short fiscal year of May 1 – September 30, 2019. Additionally, our 990 tax returns for Quota International and the We Share Foundation most recent years, including the short fiscal year, are published on Guidestar.org. (You will need to register and set up a password to enter this site.) Should you have any questions about any international financial matter, I invite you to e-mail your question to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In my April 2019 message to you, I reported on the revisions the Board of Directors made in Quota’s Rules of Procedure. Now, I wish to report to you that the 2018-2020 Board of Directors is finalizing its revision of the Board of Directors Policy Manual, which was last revised in total in 2013.
An annual revision of the Board Policy Manual is important because it contains all policies and practices required by the Board in conjunction with the governance and management of the organization. As the organization changes and evolves, policies must evolve. Policies provide detailed directives to governance issues outlined in Quota’s Charter, Bylaws, and Rules of Procedure. These include Board job descriptions and policies on its governing manner, confidentiality, and Board discipline applicable to all Board Members including the President in the situation where Board policy is not followed by one or more Board Members. In addition, policies cover conflicts of interest, an array of executive limitations, and Board procedures. It also outlines the relationship between the Board of Directors and the Executive Director including delegation, ongoing reporting requirements, performance review, and compensation.
Once the revision of the Board Policy Manual is completed and approved by the Board of Directors, each Board Member will sign a document promising to abide by all policies.
While finances required immediate and significant attention over the first half of our fiscal year, the issue going forward that will have the greatest impact on our organization’s future is membership.
Where does Quota’s membership currently stand? We grew from 4,054 members as of October 1, 2018, the start of our fiscal year, to 4,130 members as of April 30, 2019 (a net gain of 76 members). This number, however, is not a true picture of Quota’s membership at this point in time because clubs generally only report new members during the course of the year, but not their losses. For this reason, we would be most grateful if all clubs would start reporting their losses on a monthly basis so that we can better monitor the realities of our membership throughout the year. More accurate monitoring on an ongoing basis means better planning for Quota’s future.
The Board of Director’s growing concern at this juncture is the loss of several hundreds of members each year which means a reduction in the long-term viability of Quota as an international organization. As part of its planning for a new way of operating which will be affordable to clubs, your Board is studying past membership patterns so that we can project membership going forward on October 1, 2019, October 1, 2020, and every October 1 after that.
The question is….how low can Quota International go membership-wise and remain a viable international organization? The Board is addressing this question in its research related to assessing options for Quota’s future structure. Board Members will also review the feedback provided by members who have attended their Regional Meetings. We thank those members who have or soon will be participating in these important discussions.
In closing, I am counting my Quota blessings – all 4,130 of you! The power of your collective service makes a world of difference around our globe. Please know how diligently your leaders and staff are working to ensure a bright future for your club, and therefore, for those whom you serve. Additionally, on behalf of your entire Board of Directors, I thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and love for Quota at your Regional Meetings. It has been very rewarding for us to experience your Quota caring first hand.
Yours in Quota,
Want to print President Emilie’s messages and distribute to your club? Click HERE to access the printable PDF archive of this series.