|February 10, 2015
To All Guild Leaders:
The AGO National Council has established new dues rates for all dues categories. The new rates will appear on the April 1 renewal notices that AGO Headquarters will send to current chapter members renewing for the 2015-2016 membership year. These rates are $100 for Regular members; $75 for Special members; $40 for Student members; and $75 for Partners. The new rates reflect a $3 increase in each membership category, with $2 being retained by each chapter and $1 allocated to National Headquarters.
The new dues rates will take effect on April 1 for those who join the Guild for the first time either as Chapter members or as Independent members, or who reinstate as either Chapter members or Independent members after their memberships have lapsed. Please note that new members and those who wish to reinstate their lapsed memberships can join now through March 30 at the current dues rates before they increase on April 1.
Separately, the National Council has authorized the National Headquarters to initiate a “rolling membership year” for those who are joining a chapter for the first time or reinstating after their membership has lapsed. This means that a member’s expiration date will be one year from the date on which the member joined; i.e., on the anniversary of the join date. Under this plan, all current chapter members will retain their July 1-June 30 membership year as long as they renew by September 1. For new and reinstating members, however, the membership year will commence on the first of the month in which the member joins the Guild. Independent members, like TAO subscribers, have always followed a rolling membership year and will continue to do so.
Effective retroactively to November 1, 2014, AGO National Headquarters implemented the anniversary date membership for all new members and those who reinstated their memberships since that date. These individuals will not have to wait until July 1, 2015 to begin to receive a full year of membership benefits. Instead, since November 1, their membership year began in the month in which they joined or reinstated.
Analyzing the responses to the recent membership survey, the AGO’s Marketing Committee has noted that, “Across all age groups, the most valuable aspect of AGO membership was to meet and network with professional colleagues.” Other key benefits include “staying informed about news in the organ world,” which is readily available through national and chapter publications including TAO, newsletters, websites, chapter meetings, plus regional as well as national conferences.
Our newest membership benefits include full online access to each issue of TAO, the ability to join online throughout the year and update one’s membership profile at any time, and, exclusively for first-time members, access to a no-cost life insurance policy for two years with a $40,000 benefit. All Guild members have the ability to review job listings on the AGO’s job board, the world’s most complete listing of positions available; eligibility for high-quality insurance plans for health, car, home, and professional liability at competitive rates; discounts on AGO convention fees and educational resources; discounts on certification examination fees; access to Chapter events such as recitals, workshops, meetings, and seminars (in some cases for chapter members only); and voting privileges in officer elections. One important benefit cannot be overstated, and a prominent, long-time Guild member said it well: “I am an organist; the AGO is my professional organization.”
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Manager of Membership and Chapter Relations
James E. Thomashower