Annual Dues increase on tap beginning with 3Q2016 dues billing

(This article appeared in Issue #32 of The Journal of The Masonic Society.)

It is never easy to write to the membership of any organization to inform them that dues must increase. Thankfully, for most of the eight years since we started The Masonic Society, we have never felt that expenses were increasing to the extent that a dues increase was warranted, and the original annual rates for membership and subscriptions has remained at a very affordable $39 (US/Canada) and $49 (remainder of the world). However, in the past couple of years, expenditures have risen to the point where the Board of Directors has decided that the steady erosion of the Society’s purchasing power needed to be addressed. At the annual meeting of the Board of Directors in February, 2016, it was accordingly proposed and agreed to set the annual membership dues and non-member subscription fees at the following rates, effective for all new and renewal memberships and subscriptions starting October 1, 2016:


Your mailing address locale Old rate (US Dollars) New rate (US Dollars)
United States $39/year $45/year
Canada $39/year $49/year
All others $49/year $67/year

These rates reflect steady increases in postage costs which have eroded the bottom line. We have actually begun to incur small losses, particularly in overseas memberships, due to postage alone. We have also added staff members and increased compensation for them over the past few years, and the price of consumables and cost of rental space is also steadily rising. As we look to the future and new programs for the Society, it is clear that future budgets will soon overrun total income.

To ease the transition to the new dues structure, the Society will accept renewals for a maximum of three years for all members at the old rates through the cutoff date of September 30, 2016. Please note the following restrictions and recommendations:

  • Membership dues and non-member subscription payments at the old rate made by postal mail MUST BE RECEIVED IN OUR MAILBOX NO LATER THAN SEPTEMBER 30, 2016. Any payments received after that date at the old rate will be returned to sender and you will have to renew at the new rate.
  • We cannot base payment date on postmarks because a significant portion of the mail we receive either has an illegible postmark or no postmark at all (particularly in the case of electronic checks sent to us by your banking institution).
  • We recommend strongly that any “old rate” dues payments made after September 15, 2016, be made online rather than by postal mail.
  • Renewals received with payment for more than three years will be credited as three year renewals and the balance will be refunded by check drawn in US dollars (or via Paypal if the payment was made through Paypal).
  • If you pay us via postal mail by providing credit card information on the back of the renewal invoice, please indicate the number of years – up to 3 (three) years – for which you wish to renew. If no indication is made, we will assume 1 (one) year.

Please do not ask us to make exceptions to these provisions. We believe we are giving due and timely notice to all members and there should be no reason for any exception to be made.

Unfortunately, non-profit organizations are not zero-sum games where money in equals money out. Faced with a choice of spending down our existing capital and not raising dues, or raising dues to keep enough money in the bank for ongoing operations, we have chosen to increase revenue. It is our sincere hope that these increases will not prevent our current members from continuing to enjoy the Journal and the other programs provided by The Masonic Society.