Friday, 17 April 2009

Avoiding the OGS membership fee increase

In a previous posting I suggested delivery of electronic versions of NewsLeaf and Families in pdf form could substantially reduce costs and likely obviate the need for an OGS fee increase.

This is an option as in recent years OGS has made considerable efforts to install a web server and software appropriate for administering the Society, assisted by a grant from the Trillium Foundation. During the past year experience has been gained in Internet distribution of some issues of the Society newsletter, NewsLeaf.

One advantage of adopting such technology is opening up options for improving service and operational efficiency. For the savings to be achieved it requires a willingness on the part of Society management to exploit the technology, AND on the part of the membership to accept a change in the way service is delivered.

The May 2008 issue of NewsLeaf provides information on 2007 expenditures which can be used to assess possible cost savings.

Families $20,380
Newsleaf $14,726
Postage $14,255

It appears that postage for other purposes, e.g. membership renewals, was recognized elsewhere in the statements.

If the first $1,000 of production for each publication ($250 per print run) are fixed costs, and there's a print run of 4,000, variable cost per member per year would be $11.84.

There would also be some relatively minor offsetting costs for electronic formatting and distribution, but the net saving would surely be a minimum of $10 per member. If the print run was actually only 3,500, the potential savings per member rise to $12-13.

How important is it to you to receive these publications in hardcopy? Or would you prefer to receive the same information over the Internet and save $10 - 12 annually? Would it be acceptable to increase fees only for members who do not want to accept the service change?


Linda Reid said...

Thank you for raising this issue on your blog. OGS has not offered any alternative scenarios or encouraged discussion.

OGS members already experienced a cost-increase when we lost the charitable donation deduction a couple of years ago.

As you pointed out Ontario-government grants have enabled the Society to purchase expensive computer hardware and software. This should have resulted in efficiencies and cost-savings.

Many people join OGS in order to be a member of their local branch. Ontario databases and the journal "Families" are of little interest to those of us who don't have Ontario ancestors. It would be nice if they could be an optional extra and we just had to pay for benefits that we want.

I agree that OGS should explore the Society of Genealogist model of reducing services, particularly the hours and level of staffing in the Provincial Office.

Unfortunately the email from our President didn't offer an alternative plan B of what will happen if the fee increase is rejected.

Linda Reid

Anonymous said...


Dear Colleagues,

I wish to advise you of my retirement as the Librarian and Archivist of Canada effective April 24th 2009. Although retiring, I will continue to be active as I fulfill my mandate as President of the International Council of Archives, and work on projects of interest to libraries and archives.

It was a special privilege to work with Roch Carrier and our entire staff team in creating the Library and Archives of Canada. We described it then as a voyage of discovery, exploring the possibilities of an integrated knowledge institution serving Canadians in the 21st Century. This has been a collective effort, reflecting the ideas, commitment and skills of all staff. The vision we developed together is a compelling one, of broad interest nationally and internationally. It is boldly proclaimed in the preamble to our legislation and it has inspired partners and stakeholders alike in working with us. I encourage all of you to sustain the momentum.

The opportunities to meet noted Canadians and visitors have been enjoyable, but working daily with so many knowledgeable and creative people is what I will treasure most. Almost every visitor I brought through our buildings commented on how impressed they were by the obvious dedication of our staff. I have been proud to be associated with each of you. Thank you and best wishes.

I expect that the Government will make an announcement shortly regarding my successor.

Ian E. Wilson

Mike More said...

The announcement from OGS was notice of the intent to introduce a motion at the Annual General Meeting. The AGM will undoubtedly have a great deal of discussion on the proposed fee increase, leading to a vote by all members in attendance. So it is rather disingenuous to say that OGS has not encouraged discussion when the time for discussion is at the AGM.