Member Pipeline - Member Services & Information - Update (MU07-07)

To: Members & Affiliates
From: National Office
Date: May 22, 2007


Reference: MU 07-07

print Printer friendly version

Comments Requested By
June 15, 2007

NACWA’s Board of Directors met on May 9, 2007 to take action on a number of issues of strategic importance to the Association. Significantly, the Board acted to adopt a comprehensive set of revisions to the Association’s Strategic Plan and took action on preliminary budgets for both the General Fund and Targeted Action Fund for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, including a proposed 6% increase in dues. This Member Update describes these important initiatives and requests member comment on the preliminary budgets by June 15, 2007.

Strategic Plan Revised to Emphasize Holistic View of Water
When NACWA’s Board of Directors developed and adopted a new Strategic Plan in 2004, they made a commitment to an ongoing process of thinking strategically. In the months and years since the Plan’s adoption it has become a touchstone to guide Association initiatives, as well as the impetus for change. Notably, the change in the Association’s name from the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies to the National Association of Clean Water Agencies was one of the first actions inspired by the 2004 Strategic Plan.

NACWA’s Strategic Plan is viewed by the Board as a dynamic document – one that must be responsive not only to the needs and desires of its membership, but also to the environment external to the Association. It was with this in mind that the Board of Directors appointed a Workgroup of its Strategic Planning Committee to review the Plan in the context of evolving positions and priorities and to measure progress toward achieving the five-year goals created in 2004. The Strategic Planning Workgroup began its task in January, 2007 and culminated its work with the adoption of the proposed new Strategic Plan by the Board in May. NACWA’s new Strategic Plan is provided under Attachment A of this Update.

The Association’s recently-adopted Strategic Plan acknowledges new and evolving issues and important work done by NACWA members over the past year to create a strategic watershed agenda and identify and frame issues for the future. Although no changes were made to the Association’s Core Values – and its Big Audacious Goal remains unchanged – the concepts of clean and safe water and sustainability were added to NACWA’s Core Purpose. The Plan includes four Goal Areas for the Association: Legislative, Regulatory & Judicial Advocacy; Valid Science; Utility Management; and, Organizational Framework, Evolution & Membership. It also identified seven Mega-Issue Questions of significant strategic importance for consideration by the Association in the coming months.
We invite you to take a few moments to review NACWA’s new Strategic Plan.

The Board of Directors has recognized that one of the implications of the new Strategic Plan is that the Association Bylaws may also require changes. Significantly, the Board felt it wise to consider a change to the Bylaws provision that addresses membership in the Association. A proposed Bylaws amendment will be placed before the membership in early July, for a vote at the July 18, 2007 Annual Business Meeting. The proposed amendment would give the Board of Directors the authority to identify, as members, other publicly owned agencies that ensure and provide clean and safe water. While no immediate change in membership is anticipated, providing this flexibility to the Board would reflect the Association’s commitment to sustainable approaches that support whole watersheds.

FY 2008 Preliminary Budgets Adopted
Each year the Association’s budget development process includes a thoughtful review of revenues and expenditures, as well as an assessment of dues levels to ensure that we can maintain and enhance our ability to deliver essential services to our members. This Member Update presents a FY 2008 General Fund Budget (Attachment B) which, through a 6% dues increase and, both modifications and additions to affiliate membership categories, allows for continued progress in achieving the key goals of NACWA’s Strategic Plan. Also presented for your review is a FY 2008 Targeted Action Fund Budget (Attachment C) which fully supports engagement in both ongoing and evolving legislative, regulatory and judicial issues.

This Member Update provides an analysis of the impact of the dues increase to membership categories, as well as tables presenting the new dues structures for Corporate Affiliates (with municipal revenues less than 500,000) and Legal Affiliates (Attachment D - FY 2008 Preliminary Budget Membership Dues). A description of a new Supporting Affiliate category of membership is also provided in Attachment D.

Approximately 1% of the dues increase will go directly to support NACWA’s Targeted Action Fund at $560,000. The remaining 5% reflects the increasing cost of operations currently being experienced by the Association.

Targeted Action Fund Remains Strong & Vital
NACWA’s Targeted Action Fund (TAF) continues to prove its value. Now, well into its second decade, the “stand alone” TAF strengthens the Association’s capability to achieve its short and long-term objectives. The TAF has provided dedicated funds to gather and analyze data, initiate litigation, and secure the services of consultants having expertise beyond that which the National Office can offer. These funds enable NACWA to pursue a wide range of Committee-identified projects that are of critical importance in achieving our strategic goals and objectives. In addition to the preliminary Targeted Action Fund budget for FY 2008, an analysis of continuing TAF projects for FY 2008 (Attachment E) and an overview and status report of all TAF projects currently underway (Attachment F) are included for your review.

FY 2008 Budgets in Brief
Specifically, the preliminary FY 2008 budgets provide for the following strategic initiatives:

Board Strives to Ensure Quality Service, Meet Challenges, in FY 2008 Budget
Overall, the Association’s FY 2008 General Fund and Targeted Action Fund budgets will ensure that NACWA can both maintain and enhance its aggressive agenda in the legislative, regulatory and judicial arenas – making certain that issues of critical importance to our members receive the attention they deserve in Washington. In finalizing the preliminary budgets for FY 2008 the Board worked hard to accommodate their commitment to move forward with implementation of NACWA’s Strategic Plan; the challenge presented by rising costs; and, the desire to keep member dues increases to an absolute minimum. Opportunities to generate nondues income were incorporated whenever possible. Although utilizing reserves may seem like a viable way to offset dues increases, General Fund and Building Improvement reserves are maintained for special purposes or emergencies only, and are not intended to routinely subsidize the General Fund budget. NACWA’s handling of reserves in this manner not only ensures that the Association remains in good standing with its mortgage lender, but is also consistent with Association policy.

Member Comment Invited on FY 2008 Budgets
Consistent with NACWA’s budget cycle, we are distributing the attached preliminary budgets to NACWA’s membership for review and comment. All comments received will be carefully considered and final budgets will be adopted by the Board in July. As always, our primary focus is on advocacy on behalf of our members interests. We look forward to sharing additional information on our advocacy work, and associated initiatives, in the upcoming Year in Review.

The Board of Directors encourages all members to review the FY 2008 Proposed Budgets for both the General Fund and the Targeted Action Fund. Please direct any comments you may have to Marian Orfeo, NACWA’s Treasurer and Chair of the Association’s Finance Committee (617/788-2264or via e-mail at or NACWA’s Executive Director, Ken Kirk (202/833-4653 or via e-mail at NACWA’s Board of Directors will meet in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 2007, and will adopt final FY 2008 budgets at that time. Please provide your comments and recommendations prior to Friday, June 15, 2007.

As the Association approaches its fifth decade of advocacy and service, initiatives throughout the year will support the objective of maintaining NACWA’s strategic position as the driving force in national clean water policy. This past year we have accomplished many things. Playing the most instrumental role in these accomplishments were NACWA’s leadership and members, whose firm decisions and substantial participation lent unquestioned credibility to the Association’s positions and led to increased attention to its policy goals.
Many thanks for your continuing participation and support.