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Board proposes 2015 budget tied to member value, service, growth

August 18, 2014

By Judy Jakush

photo of Dr Norman
Dr. Norman
photo of Dr Feinberg
Dr. Feinberg
photo of Dr Lemmo
Dr. Lemmo
The Board of Trustees' 2015 budget proposal continues the Board's effort to tie financial planning to the Association's Strategic Plan, with a key focus on member value, service and membership growth.

At its July meeting, ADA leaders approved Board Report 2 for transmittal to the 2014 House of Delegates. The report includes action recommending a 2015 operating budget of $134,877,000 in revenues and $128,728,000 in expenses and income taxes, generating a surplus of $6,149,000 in net income before noncash adjustment and planned reserve contributions.

In response to Resolution 84H-2013, the Board is directing the transfer of $6 million royalty revenue from ADA Members Insurance Plans to a designated reserve. The reserve is dedicated to member value and long-term dues and financial stabilization.

With the anticipation of a surplus, the Board is not recommending a dues increase for 2015.

Dr. Ron Lemmo, ADA treasurer, offered his insights into the Association's financial future. "The most important part of the conversation about the budget is that we are focusing our spending on our members, which is the focus of the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan. Because of our financial stability, we are able to better dedicate resources not only in ongoing programs but are also able to invest in new, innovative programs to support members in the future."

ADA President Charles Norman commended the progress the Board has made during his tenure on the Board as a trustee, president-elect and president. "The budget process is continually evolving to better serve our members. We continue to modify and refine the budgeting process to support Members First 2020, the five-year strategic plan that begins in 2015, and that is truly reflected in the 2015 budget. We are invested in member service and member growth," he said.

A key challenge is to provide support to members with innovative programs while continuing the programs that have proven value to members. The Strategic Plan calls for the ADA to increase its member market share and for an increase in the assessment of member value by membership.

"That calls for a balanced approach to finances," said Dr. Maxine Feinberg, ADA president-elect. "We have to keep the long-term needs of the Association in mind, continue building financial stability and dues stabilization, while providing the programs and services our members value in their day-to-day practice life as they negotiate today's marketplace and prepare for future needs."

The Power of Three campaign has allowed more meaningful conversations among the local, state and national ADA organizations to work together to improve the member experience, to offer higher value benefits and superior member service through investments of resources in the Member Service University, the Leadership Academy, the Certificate in Practice Management programs, best in class continuing education program, and further development of the Center for Professional Success.  

ADA leaders are hopeful that the Power of Three will enable greater efficiencies, less duplication of effort and cost savings for those state societies who will take advantage of the Aptify association management software, being provided to them at no cost.

Dr. Lemmo said the Board's focus on member value is seen throughout the budget process.

"There are so many aspects of building member value that the Board is managing with staff," he said. "Over the last few years we have budgeted for capital expenditures for the building, which alleviates the need for special assessments so as to avoid fluctuation in dues, which again supports dues stabilization. This is the second year in a row we are not asking for a dues increase, yet our programs are getting better as we develop new ones."

Dr. Lemmo cited the strides the ADA Library has made in the past few years in its transition to a digital resource library that reaches more members each year with vastly expanded resources — and accomplished with no dues increase.

From January through July this year, the ADA Library & Archive Web pages totaled 3,530 visits, 4,826 searches and 3,754 downloaded articles. Members can access online some 285 e-journals, 55 current textbooks, Cochrane Database and DynaMed Database and librarians are available to help members find what they need.

The Association has also enhanced member value through its investment in Aptify, an association management software that allows the ADA to collaborate with states in an effort to provide better service to members at whatever point they connect with the Association — national, state or local. It replaces outdated software and systems the ADA had used for membership records as well as allows for the development of the ADAcatalog.org website. Sixteen states are being deployed in 2014 with another 26 planned for 2015.

Other member-focused investments have led to improvements in these areas:

  • The Center for Professional Success, which launched last fall, provides dentists with an online tool to help with the day-to-day business management of their practices. The website is organized into three areas: Practice, Live, and Learn and is highly interactive with updated news feeds, trends trackers, research, quality of life, improved video capabilities and financial calculators.
  • The Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry website was updated this year, and the Center in July added a Science Podcast to address EBD and other dental science topics. The Center offers a comprehensive database of systematic reviews on a broad range of oral health topics, providing tangible benefits and value for dental school students and faculty, as well as dental practitioners.

The ADA House of Delegates will meet Oct. 10-14 in San Antonio. Members First 2020 — Strategic Plan 2015-2019 is available on ADA.org in the Member Center/Leadership and Governance/Strategic Planning section. Board reports and resolutions for the 2014 House are available to members only on ADA.org via this path: Member Center/Leadership and Governance/House of Delegates/Board Reports and Resolutions.