Beginning September the Operations Team implements Board-approved policy changes, which affect the bi-monthly dinner and the Alpharetta lunch registration process and fees.
As the PMI Atlanta Chapter’s Vice President of Operations, I’d like to take a moment and share with you the policy changes being implemented and why.
The chapter’s recurring dinner and lunch event(s) consistently incur financial losses. Annualized, the cumulative loses being significant, represent an ongoing drain to the chapter’s resources. Contributing factors include (a below our cost) pricing structure, the double discount extended to members (member discount, early bird discount), and the over-ordering of additional meal plates to accommodate late registrants and walk-ins. Prudent financial management of these events coupled with risk mitigation initiatives is necessary to shrink losses and allow for better utilization of recaptured funds to promote the chapter’s mission.
From an operations perspective, our vision and strategy has been three-fold. First, cut financial losses as we strive to achieve at least break-even status. Second, delay (as long as possible) the need to implement an across-the-board price increase. Third, encourage early event registration to enable savings, operational efficiency, and improved planning with vendors. As a result, the following is a summary of the policies that take effect:
1. Early Bird Discount, the timeline has changed
2. Fee charged to ‘walk-in’ registrants – no longer extends the member discount rate
3. Dinner option is removed once registration deadline is reached.
Our event cost overruns have been significant and we (Finance, Operations, Leadership team and the Board) have collaborated, strategized and worked diligently on your behalf to effect change that benefits the entire membership and chapter finances. For example, prior to this communication and accomplished earlier this year, we negotiated significant cost concessions and improved terms from vendors.
With respect to these changes, let’s acknowledge the WIIFM question - What’s In It For Me -the chapter member? Simply answered, these changes help us avoid rather unpleasant price increases, - the option of last resort. Without these hard-won concessions coupled with the current policy changes, I would have no alternative but to recommend increasing attendance fees at every lunch and dinner function.
Specific Policy Changes:
1. Early Bird Discount of 20% is applicable up to 3 weeks prior to the event. (Previously, the discount was applicable if you registered up to 1 week prior to the event.)
2. All ‘walk-in’ registrants to dinner and lunch events will be charged the regular, non-discounted admission price. (This adjustment eliminates the ‘member discount’ for walk-ins, which is still available but only for attendees that have pre-registered; no discounts at the door.).
3. The availability of meal plate options is removed from the registration page once the pre-event registration deadline closes, or shortly thereafter. (The registration deadline triggers communication of the final food count to the venue. Over-ordering is eliminated and an accurate count, not to exceed the meal plates purchased will be communicated.) Chicken Dinner is an upgrade option and, based on availability, will be offered at the door.