ISST Treasurer´s report for the Executive Board term 2016 to 2018
The treasurer is in charge for all formal issues concerning following the Society’s purposes laid out in the statutes. This includes the financial management as well as building up the organisational set-up in terms of office management and organization of payments (including e.g. maintaining the PCCI compliance level for customer´s protection).
After the last GMA in late 2016 some formal changes had to be made with a notary´s help at the German law court. We received some instructions about formal changes that have to be made in our statutes to follow the German NPO-status guidelines. You will be asked to vote to approve these changes in the upcoming GMA.
Below there is also a discussion of the Society’s growing savings: we need to ensure that this does not become too large because NPOs by their status are not permitted to make profit. We have also spent time identifying and tracking down non-paying members and on this basis have excluded about 40 members since 2016.
By the end of 2017 our memberships rose to 1019. We started to revamp our membership registry and build up a data bank including all membership information (e.g. their certification level and status). Collecting and collating all the information turned out being a quite complex endeavour but it is almost completed now. This is the place to acknowledge the immense efforts of Angeles Hoffmann in the ISST Office made in keeping up with all this tasks. We had to deal with in increasing number of membership applications and Nicole Haubitz joined us as an additional part-time member of our office staff in charge for processing these applications.
Joan, our Training & Certification Coordinator initiated the idea of running Summer Schools in the years in between the bigger ISST conferences on a regular basis. Travis, our Public affairs Coordinator made use of a web-based tool of our website that enabled us to organize the registration and payment process without a commercial organizer. Together with serious efforts of Jordi Cid, our local representative in Barcelona we managed to ask for quite low rates but reach a balanced result of the Summer School with 300 participants in the striking Modernisme building in the heart of this beautiful Mediterranean City.
At the end of the year we were in a financially sound position and so we took the risk to organize a really big conference in Amsterdam at a very beautiful (and costly) venue in the very heart of Amsterdam including offering lunch (which increases the costs a lot). In order to reduce our savings and maintain our NPO status we decided to keep the fees moderate to attract as many people as possible and make the conference affordable to members form less wealthy countries too. So in planning we budgeted for a moderate loss. In the end, however, we attracted more participants than expected: 1149 participants attended this exciting conference that will probably become a milestone in the history of the ISST. Since we decided to include as many people as possible (over 300 registered during the last 3 weeks), despite the high expenses in a costly city like Amsterdam the final balanced showed a profit of about 40.000,- €!
The first half of 2018 brought the specific challenge to cope with the revised European data privacy guidelines. After consulting our legal advisor, we learned that our existing procedures were already very satisfactory. Nevertheless it took quite some effort on my part, and that of our webmaster Travis, to implement some further changes that were required.
Over the year 2017, Angeles was being called on to deal with increasingly more complex tasks, and it became obvious that we needed considerably more staff capacity power in the office to deal with the rapidly increasing number of members, and related procedures like certification applications. We therefore started looking for additional support staff. We tried two people but neither of them fulfilled our needs. We extended our search and included professional recruiters and right now Angeles is trying to introduce another promising applicant. So hopefully we will soon have sufficient staff capacity in the office to meet our needs. This will, of course, significantly increase our running expenses. We don’t want to increase our membership fees if we don’t have to, and our growing membership (currently we have 1340 members) adds to our income, but it is an ongoing challenge to balance our income and our anticipated income with the needs of our growing organization.
This gives us a sound basis for planning our next ISST event – what we used to call our Summer School - and have rebranded as ENLIGHT to complement our INSPIRE conferences. Thanks to the efforts of Susan Simpson we have made arrangements for it to take place in a beautiful venue in Edinburgh, and have been given a very reasonable rate for the venue as well as food and beverages. This will allow us to increase the fees for the event by only a moderate amount.
Looking forward, therefore, our financial situation is very sound and we are in a good position to embark on our new events: ENLIGHT 2019 in Edinburgh and INSPIRE 2020 in Copenhagen. This also allows us to focus on the important aims of the ISST – to provide and expand our resources to provide a forum and networking centre and meeting place for schema therapists and those interested in schema therapy from all over the world.
Now, while reaching the end of this Board term, it has been my duty to prepare the upcoming online GMA, together with our President David Edwards, and to get all documents together (with the help of Angeles in the office, of course!), get the online voting tool ready to go, and to start preparing the following Board elections too.
Since the process of building up reliable and professional office structures will still go on for at least another board term I am willing to run for the Treasurer´s position in the upcoming Board elections. I believe this will provide a much needed continuity, but, in due course, I look forward to being able to pass the baton on to my successor.
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