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2018 budget proposal includes special assessment

Find-a-Dentist digital campaign to enter its second year on strong note

September 18, 2017

By Judy Jakush

With the close of the first phase of a three-year digital campaign focused on connecting prospective patients with dentists, the ADA Board of Trustees has proposed a $30 special assessment for 2018 and 2019 to help fund the second and third years of the $18 million initiative.

Since July, the digital campaign has garnered over 76 million impressions, 464,424 online visits and featured 30,000 photo profiles of members on Find-a-Dentist on These are initial results, with updated performance data on the campaign reported monthly. (For the latest on Find-a-Dentist, see story, Page 1.)

The Board proposes in Resolution 32 using both the special assessment and reserve money to fully fund the digital campaign approved by the 2016 House.
Photo of Dr. Roberts
Dr. Roberts 

Said ADA President Gary L. Roberts, “I think the $30 assessment and taking the rest from reserves is a responsible way to cover the cost of the program. If it puts one patient in a member’s office, it’s more than worth five times the cost.”

At the urging of the House in Res. 67H-2016, the Board used reserve funds in 2017 to pay for first-year costs of the campaign, formally titled, “Drive Utilization of Dental Services for ADA Members.” The resolution left the funding mechanism to the discretion of the Board for 2018 and 2019.

In the background statement for Res. 32, the Board explains that the choice to recommend a special assessment was based on an analysis of the current reserves status in light of the “ADA’s 2020 finance strategic plan goal to target unrestricted liquid reserves at no less than 50 percent of annual operating expenses.”

In Board Report 2, which details anticipated revenue and expenses, the Board recommends a 2018 operating budget of nearly $130.8 million in revenues and more than $130.6 in expenses and income taxes, generating a projected surplus of some $134,000. Regular dues are recommended to remain the same for 2018 as in 2017, at $532.

Behind all of the budget work are the strategic priorities of the Association as outlined in Members First 2020 — Strategic Plan 2015-2019, said ADA President-elect Joseph P. Crowley.

Those priorities are: Focus the message; fill the pipeline; simplify.
Photo of Dr. Crowley
Dr. Crowley

“Budgeting is not an exact science,” noted Dr. Crowley, “but the ADA Board of Trustees has become more analytical and exact at budgeting resources to meet the expectations of our strategic plan.”

Providing value to members underlies these efforts, he said. “The Board works diligently to maximize our resources to keep our programs and governance operations in line to offer the value propositions our members have come to expect,” Dr. Crowley commented.

Dr. Ronald P. Lemmo, ADA treasurer, says that the Board has held expenses while investing in new initiatives such as enhancing the annual meeting by combining it with state, local and international dental organizations and in starting development of the DLOSCE exam.

The Dental Licensure Objective Structured Clinical Examination is intended to be a national exam that may be used by state boards of dentistry to assess a dental licensure candidate’s entry-level knowledge, skills and competency, while averting the potential ethical issues involved in the use of patients for dental licensure examinations.
Photo of Dr. Lemme
Dr. Lemmo

He also pointed to investment in the ADA Foundation Volpe Research Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland. “Science is at the core of what we do as dentists,” said Dr. Lemmo. “We have continued to update the way we communicate with our membership, with the public and the way we interact with state and local societies to provide client services. We are more streamlined to meet member needs and maximize resources. We are investing to maintain and increase our relevancy to all dentists.”

Financially, the ADA is on a sound course, he said. “We have looked forward with the budgeting process, looking at trends three to five years down the road. In funding the digital campaign through the special assessment, we are protecting our ability to meet member needs in the future.”

The ADA House of Delegates will meet Oct. 20-23 in Atlanta. Board Report 2 and other reports and resolutions for the 2017 House are available to members only on in the Member Center. Members First 2020 — Strategic Plan 2015-2019 is also available online in the Member Center.