Mike McCauley, NACADA Past President
Eileen McDonough, NACADA Past Treasurer
Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director Emeritus
Editor’s Note: Past treasurers pictured are Frank Dyer, Wes Habley, Mike McCauley, Eileen McDonough, and Eric White.
As 2009 brings economic woes to the world, NACADA members can feel secure in knowing that NACADA remains financially strong. This strength is not by accident, but rather through the diligent work of past Treasurers, Boards of Directors and the Executive Office, who put the policies into place to create a firm financial base for the Association. The underlying commitment to the membership to keep dues affordable and to provide outstanding service and quality events at a price that makes them accessible to all in education has proven to be the key to financial security.
From the beginning of the Association in 1979, when the membership fee was set at $25, members have found a “bargain” in NACADA. Today, 30 years later, the membership fee is still the lowest among similar associations. Those first 429 Charter Members sparked an Association that has grown to over 10,000 members, adding “quantity” to “quality” and making it financially possible to continue to expand services to the members, which in turn attracts more members.
Underlying this success has been the tremendous commitment of volunteers to “run” the organization in its early years and to continue to be involved in its development and governance after the establishment of the Executive Office. The volunteer hours contributed annually – by members currently in leadership positions, as well as countless others working on committees, task forces, advisory boards, review panels, commissions, and interest groups; in Regions; and in a variety of other less formal activities – are astounding.
During the Association’s fledgling years, the Board of Directors and volunteer leaders worked hard to provide some basic services – newsletter, journal, national conference – with primarily dues and conference income. They contracted with Kansas State University’s Conference Office to manage the newly formed Association’s Annual Conference, beginning in 1979. (As explained by others in this publication, the first two national conferences were held before the Association was formally organized). This arrangement provided additional operating income. As the Conference grew, net conference income and membership also grew.
With continually increasing members, the volunteers realized in 1988 that they were soon not going to be able to keep up with the operating demands of the Association nor adequately meet the members’ needs. In anticipation of added costs for the operation of an Executive Office, the Board of Directors increased the membership fee and added a surcharge to the Annual Conference registration fee, then began the process of establishing an Executive Office. Their foresight was commendable in that it provided a stable financial base for an Executive Director and a secretary. Fortunately, Kansas State University’s interest in housing the Executive Office also provided some financial benefits for the Association through salary assistance and contributed space. This contribution by Kansas State University has added greatly to the continued financial success of the Association.
Bobbie Flaherty was hired as the first Executive Director because she had been running NACADA’s conferences through the KSU Conference Center; the Annual Conference was brought in-house in 1991. Nancy Barnes was hired to coordinate the Conference and produced increased net income from the Conference annually, which further contributed to the financial stability of the Association. The Board of Directors quickly realized that as Executive Office responsibilities were increased, providing additional services to the members, annual net income continued to increase. Conservative budgeting along with skilled management led to increased professional development opportunities as well as increased service to members. As the annual income grew and Association reserves steadily increased, Flaherty kept a vigilant watch over the fiscal resources of NACADA and assisted the Board in understanding the financial nuances of the Association and wisely, with the approval of the Treasurer, invested.
NACADA’s reserves so that the Association earned income. This income was used to support research, awards, and special projects like the NACADA Journal. It also enabled the publication of NACADA’s early resources for advisors.
Under the leadership of Treasurers Mike McCauley and Eileen McDonough, the budgeting process moved from a guessing game to one of “project based” budgeting, where each request was tied to a project and supported by past or projected data. The budget process was also enhanced by the establishment of Board policy to ascertain that all expenses were justified and approved within specific guidelines. This process was very transparent, so that the entire Board (then over 40 members) could view how the different cost centers were allotted funds and how the cost centers were held accountable for their expenditures. Having a well informed Board helped perpetuate NACADA programmatically and fiscally. NACADA’s fiscal resources grew as a result of Bobbie Flaherty’s vigilance over income and expenses, as well as her astute resource investment. This led to the development of specific financial reports to the Board on a regular basis and eventually to annual audits.
For many years, ACT, Inc. supported the Association through sponsorship of the initial NACADA Awards Program, which provided visibility for the Association through a recognition and reward program for advisors and advising. ACT also developed the Summer Institute on Academic Advising prior to relinquishing its management to the Executive Office. In addition, ACT, The College Board, and ETS provided initial funding of the original Faculty Advising Training Video, and each was reimbursed from sales income within the first year of its availability. Also, many members have contributed their professional talents as instructors at professional development events and as consultants. The commitment of these entities to NACADA has strengthened it both professionally and financially.
The skillful financial management of the organization’s treasurers has assured that NACADA has been true to its commitment to its members to be a good steward of their money and to invest it in the development of additional services to continue to ensure that they can best focus on the development of students in higher education globally.
Director of Academic Systems
Ball State University
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty
NACADA Executive Director Emeritus
Kansas State University
Cite this article using APA style as: McCauley, M., McDonough, E., & Flaherty, R. (2009, September). A financial history of NACADA. Academic Advising Today, 32(3). Retrieved from [insert url here]