NAMTA, AMI-USA, and AMS are nonprofit organizations that file an IRS form 990 each year. Program Expenses are explained in more detail in Part 3 of IRS form 990, and I have created these charts based on the average expenses for 2005 & 2006.
Unfortunately, as far as I can discern, there are no specific criteria for reporting program expenses in a particular category. Each organization defines its expense categories and this may result in some variation, for example NAMTA lists Publications & Media and Journal as separate categories, while AMI-USA simply has Publications.
I find it interesting that AMS devotes a significantly larger portion of its funding to Member Services, and I am curious how the services provided by each organization differ. Does AMS offer more services, or do they simply define services differently?
However, I think we can safely assume that all organizations define Conferences expenses within fairly similarly set of criteria that would include venue bookings, travel expenses, guest speakers, advertising, registration materials, giveaway items, and other related expenses.
Given that the cost of publications is a considerable percentage of each organization’s program expenses, and further supposing that printing and postage for these publications are the largest contributing costs, I wonder how much funding might be made available by converting print publications to online publications?
For example, NAMTA journal articles are currently published quarterly in a bound paperback format and mailed to members at an average annual cost of $66,846. Switching to publishing articles weekly as a blog would allow NAMTA to redirect much of these funds to other pursuits. This could significantly increase available funding without requiring an increase in membership dues or reducing services to members.
In fact, online publication offers more services to members, creating the opportunity to include full color photos and graphics, and to publish video and audio clips of speeches given at conferences (similar to TED), rather than just the transcripts. Organizations could even offer Podcasts for members to download and enjoy. If organizations prefer to continue to limit publications to dues paying members, blogs and other websites can be designed to require a username, password, and active membership account, thus ensuring continued membership.
This article is part of an ongoing series examining Montessori Organizations. The information contained in this article was found by examining public records, specifically IRS form 990, filed by these organizations (found here). Numbers presented are the average of the years 2005 & 2006. I also include Sierra Club information as an external comparison to a highly successful and influential organization in the environmental movement.