Many professional organizations have been experiencing a decline in membership over the past few years, and last year the COVID-19 pandemic caused an additional drop in membership income for many State Provincial/Territorial (Psychological) Associations (SPTA) due to members experiencing a loss of clients and/or inability to transition to telehealth.

Like all SPTAs, or any professional guild for that matter, AK-PA membership dues are the major source of income that allow it to provide tangible and intangible services and benefits for its members.

To understand how a declining membership affected AK-PA, we looked at membership numbers starting with 2017 and found that there has been a steady decline over the past five years with a notable decline starting in 2019 and 2020. During those two years, your volunteer board of directors did an amazing job keeping AK-PA afloat and relevant without the help of an executive director. Fortunately, AK-PA had the reserves to help make up the loss of membership income, and without the expense of an Executive Director, the board did not need to dip into the reserves very deeply.

As AK-PA’s new Executive Director, these membership numbers are certainly concerning but reversible. I know it is possible to rebuild AK-PA’s members from my past experience with Washington State Psychological Association. The first step will be to reach out to those members who had not renewed since 2019 and invite them to return. With increased membership income the board can begin reviving expenses that are connected to membership benefits that had been put on pause.

One benefit that has already started is continuing to advocate for aspects of APA’s Model Licensing Act that will benefit all within the field from Grad Students and ECPs to Senior Psychologists.

The board will also ask members to approve a couple of membership changes this year. The first will be to change from an annual membership renewal at the beginning of the year to anniversary membership renewal 12 months after one joins. This will accomplish two things. First, membership income will come in through out the year versus the first 2 months, and second, it will allow members to make quarterly payments on their membership dues. The second change will be to add a new Academia membership category to begin expanding the base of our membership to other areas of psychology to become in line with the vision APA’s CEO has for SPTAs.

For members who have renewed in 2021, the AK-PA board greatly appreciates your continued support. If you are not sure if you have renewed your membership dues, simply login to your AK-PA account to find out. And to our new members, welcome!