HOW DID THE SUSTAINING MEMBER PROGRAM COME ABOUT?
The Signet has been the quarterly journal of Phi Sigma Kappa since 1879. Currently the Signet is funded jointly by the Grand Chapter and the Phi Sigma Kappa Foundation. The increases in the publishing and postage costs associated with producing the Signet, combined with the Fraternity’s growing membership roll, was the primary catalyst for creating the Sustaining Member program.
These increasing costs, combined with the need to continue adding programs like traveling leadership consultants, regional and national leadership schools and conclaves, and improved technology, made it vital to seek additional income sources. Further, it was decided not saddle the undergraduate members with an additional fee increase that many could ill afford (presently, initiate and census fees from students make up 63% of the Grand Chapter’s operating budget income).
Additionally, the 1997 General Convention approved legislation to tie alumni club voting strength to the club’s number of Sustaining Members.
HOW THE SUSTAINING MEMBER PROGRAM WORKS
The 55th General Convention recommended that the annual Sustaining Member fee be set at $25 per respondent, of which $5 would go to the Grand Chapter with the remainder being used by the participating alumni club. Alumni Clubs have two options for participation:
The alumni club collects the Sustaining Member dues from its alumni membership and remits to the Grand Chapter the $5 per respondent fee.
The Grand Chapter staff conducts the Sustaining Member program for the alumni club. Alumni are billed the recommended $25 per man (options are also given for alumni to contribute $35 or $50). The Grand Chapter oversees printing, mailing, supply purchasing, and bookkeeping. The Grand Chapter provides the following payment option to alumni when paying their Sustaining Member fees: cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. Start up costs for new participating alumni clubs are deducted from subsequent Sustaining Member fees collected. The Grand Chapter keeps the $5 per respondent fee and remits to the alumni club the remaining monies raised, minus expenses.
Alumni from closed chapters (provided the alumni club is not operating), chapters without alumni clubs, and alumni clubs that choose not to participate in the Sustaining Member program, will be billed through the Signet. All proceeds will be retained by the Grand Chapter.
Since it’s inception in 1995 the “Forever Phi Sig” Sustaining Member program has raised thousands of dollars for alumni clubs and house corporations to fund local alumni events, alumni club newsletters, chapter house improvements, and alumni club scholarships for undergraduate chapters.
The “Forever Phi Sig” Sustaining Member program has been an unqualified success, not only for the Grand Chapter but for the participating alumni clubs as well. The money raised through this program will continue to help both the Grand Chapter and alumni clubs provide important services for our growing membership as we face the new challenges and opportunities of the next millennium.