Some of you have responded to a survey initiated by Arthur Morris. I am certain that you responded with good intentions and in good faith, as you care about NANPA as much as does the NANPA Board. Sadly, the information presented to you by Arthur Morris was very misleading. Following is a clarification of facts.
The ASMP Agreement
This agreement with ASMP is not a merger and was not structured in any way as a merger. As I said in my initial response to Arthur, even this very premise is false. NANPA maintains ownership of its core assets and ASMP may manage them in coordination with us only so long as ASMP fulfills all its commitments to NANPA.
All NANPA programming, events, benefits, committees, website, presence, name, separate social media, logo and branding will remain as they did before. Any changes must be approved by the NANPA Board of Trustees. The majority of the NANPA Reserve Fund is also controlled by the NANPA Board of Trustees, with an allotment to ASMP to cover NANPA’s share of the transition costs and the operation of NANPA programs during the transition period as we consolidate organizational operations.
If you want access to both NANPA programs plus all that ASMP has to offer at the very same price you pay now, you will have it, plus access to ASMP’s one-of-a-kind one-on-one business and legal clinic time each week, copyright training, and its ASMP Academy offered in partnership with Sony. If you don’t want those services, you can just not use them.
Your $100 dues are not going up, not now, not 5 years from now. Period. If it weren’t for this agreement, your dues would need to go up sooner than later, potentially by a lot.
Those who keep saying we have money in the bank are right — we do — largely because we have not been able to replace critical positions as people leave. NANPA can’t afford to pay people a living wage to run important functions of the organization and has been using part-time contractors, many of who move on for more lucrative opportunities. Costs such as insurance and conference facilities are also rising rapidly as we head into a likely recession.
These issues are not unique to our association. By joining forces, both organizations significantly reduce backend costs while improving services to members, NANPA can now afford to be fully staffed as it should be, and more money can be spent on expanded programming and on improved benefits for members.
Why not negotiate this openly with the membership?
This particular partnership and many other options were carefully vetted and negotiated in over a year of hard work both by the NANPA Board and a Task Force of long-time NANPA leaders working to solve the above issues, all with the help of volunteer outside counsel. Contrary to accusations, nothing was done in haste but required trust and confidentiality to share volumes of private information back-and-forth with other parties to properly evaluate our options. This could not be done in front of hundreds or thousands of members, any more than negotiations of our significantly simpler conference venue or contractor agreements can be done that way. Arthur Morris’ behavior shows why. What potential partner organization would ever want to subject themselves to being attacked and torn apart in uncivil ways?
Yes, we seriously considered and even spent many volunteer hours and days interviewing association management companies, as Eric Bowles says he advocated as an option to address our issues. An outstanding concern is that AMCs don’t understand photographers and photography the way ASMP does. AMC’s share staffing with multiple organizations, not just one, and don’t bring to our membership all the added benefits ASMP has to offer.
ASMP has hundreds of nature photographers and enthusiasts in its membership. Embracing photographers of all skill levels is core to their mission. And they too have embraced our mission. They have evolved and are no longer just magazine and professional photographers as they used to be. Together with them we will be a powerful force. And this force can cause real and meaningful change through combined advocacy fighting for photographers’ rights and access to the public lands we all love and share.
Increased combined membership numbers will provide needed new attendees and audiences for our programs and theirs, making programs financially viable, making us much more attractive to sponsors and speakers, and will allow us to negotiate better deals for members in our other partnership agreements. There’s much more room to negotiate deals for our members with 6,500 vs. 2,500 members.
In our annual membership survey, NANPA’s members continue to ask for more benefits, particularly our pros or those wishing to build their photography into a business. NANPA analyzed how to provide such services and their costs, which would have consumed NANPA’s financial reserves and more. A program similar to The ASMP Academy Powered by Sony is one of the benefits that NANPA members had been seeking. Why reinvent the wheel or require members to join 2 organizations when consolidation of costs benefits both memberships?
As announced, there will be a NANPA Town Hall next Tuesday, November 29 at 3 p.m. EST. Please come, listen, ask questions, and make your own judgment rather than listening to those who are perpetrating misinformation and who will resist and fight any kind of meaningful and necessary change.
NANPA isn’t going anywhere, ever. It is growing and evolving to better serve you.
Beth Huning, NANPA President
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