In previous columns I have exhorted members toother geoscientists to join AAPG; we can do better at getting more geologists to join, both in the United States and internationally.
An example of the U.S. growth potential comes from a study last February of the Houston Geological Society (HGS). Surprisingly about 50 percent of HGS members have not joined AAPG!
An unknown but significantly smaller percent of international geologists are AAPG members. A growing, vibrant membership will increase benefits for all.
While an increasing membership does mean more revenue from dues, those dues only account for about 16 percent of our total revenue. On average, each member spends about $108 per year on AAPG products and services, such as publications, short courses and conventions.
What does AAPG do with money collected for such products and services? We use that revenue to offer more. We publish new books, initiate new short courses, send more Distinguished Lecturers, plan new conventions, etc.
It stands to reason, then, that if we want to continue to offer more products and services, we will need to replenish and even increase our membership.
The wave of new petroleum geoscientists in the United States, reacting to the economics of higher product prices, will help our numbers in the next few years -- but our largest growth potential is international.
Last year’s Executive Committee (EC) attempted to make it easier and more desirable for international members to join AAPG. We considered two general initiatives:
- Increase international representation on the EC.
- Install a graduated dues structure.
We recommended the first initiative, and the House of Delegates’ (HoD) Constitution & Bylaws Committee and HoD leadership constructively altered it. The resulting proposal created two vice president positions, one for U.S. Sections and one for international Regions. The proposal passed overwhelmingly in the HoD and in the general vote of AAPG members.
The second initiative was not recommended from the EC to the HoD last year, because we simply needed further study of the concept. Subsequently, an ad hoc Graduated Dues Committee received data from AAPG staff, deliberated and reported a range of choices to the current EC in late August.
Your current EC accepted the report from the ad hoc Graduated Dues Committee and unanimously recommended a graduated structure to the HoD’s Constitution & Bylaws Committee.
That committee, along with the HoD and EC leadership, will confer in early December in an attempt to craft any bylaws changes that might be necessary to implement a new dues structure.
The EC’s recommended changes are designed to meet the following criteria:
- Increase overall number of members. (We cannot increase the number of new members at the expense of existing members.)
- Increase affordability for low- and moderate-income members.
- At a minimum, break-even on each member’s dues versus cost of membership.
- AAPG staff must be able to easily and cost-effectively administer any new dues structure.
As we consider a proposed graduated dues structure, I think it is important to consider the question, “Why does AAPG want more international members?”
- Job performance-- The United States has about 1.6 percent of global proven oil reserves and about 4 percent of proven global gas reserves, yet U.S. geoscientists play a disproportionately larger role in global E&P. U.S. geoscientists need international input to effectively do their jobs.
- Reserve growth-- Some large future petroleum reserve growth areas are in areas with relatively low current salaries for geoscientists (Russia, India, Nigeria and China come to mind). AAPG needs technical input from members in these areas.
- Networking-- International connections are beneficial to a wide range of members, from independent consultants to academics to management at super-majors.
- Technical input-- AAPG is striving to be the dominant creator and curator of applied geoscience technical information worldwide, especially in digital and GIS form. Increased international membership will improve this effort.
- Social-- It’s the right thing to do; facilitating an improved standard of living around the world is very satisfying for all of us.
Several years ago AAPG decided to become an international organization, instead of remaining a domestic organization with a few international members. We are gradually taking steps necessary to reach our desired global scope.
A graduated dues structure that allows affordable membership for more geoscientists is a step in the right direction.
For now, adios, auf Wiedersehen, Dosvidanya, bayi, G’day mate, ciao, Au revoir,
‘Til next month ...