COVID-19 and Inn Finances

At the end of the 2019-2020 Inn year, most, if not all, Inns had to cancel their final 2-3 face-to-face Inn meetings.  While many Inns moved those meetings to a virtual space, the lack of catering expenses meant that many Inns realized a budget surplus for the year. Some Inns have used that surplus to donate food and supplies to local first-responders. Others are holding that surplus to build a reserve for the Inn’s future or are planning to use it to subsidize members in the 2020-2021 Inn year who are temporarily unemployed due to the pandemic.

Moving forward to the 2020-2021 Inn year, Inns will need to be thinking about how to manage their finances, and specifically their dues assessments.  In this regard, Inns should consider some scenario planning:

Scenario A:
Inn Resumes Normal Operations 
If local public health officials allow for gatherings large enough to include Inn meetings, the Inn could consider resuming normal operations in the Fall.  In this scenario, the Inn should expect to assess dues consistent with past budget practices.  Keep in mind that catering expenses may rise if there are additional costs associated with public health guidelines around food service and more intense cleaning practices; please be sure to clarify this with your food service provider.
Scenario B:
Inn Continues Meeting Virtually
If local public health officials do not allow gatherings large enough to include Inn meetings, or if members prefer to wait to resume face-to-face meetings, the Inn could consider continuing to conduct Inn meetings virtually, including executive committee, pupillage teams, and mentoring activities.  There may be significantly reduced catering expenses in this scenario, and that can be reflected in a reduction in the dues assessments.  However, the Inn should not reduce dues to zero, since there is still significant value being delivered to members (albeit in a different way), and the Inn is still responsible for collecting and remitting national dues.
Scenario C:
Inn Adopts Hybrid Meeting Schedule
Conditions may not allow for the return to face-to-face Inn meetings at the beginning of the Inn year, and those may need to continue to happen virtually.  But smaller meetings of members, including committees, pupillage teams, and mentoring pairs or groups, may be able to resume normally.  And it may be possible that full Inn meetings may be able to return to normal midway through the year.  In this situation, the dues assessments may need to be more like Scenario A above, and when regular Inn meetings resume the Inn can collect per meeting fees to cover the catering expenses.
As you will note, there is no scenario in which the Inn stops meeting altogether.  It is imperative that every Inn continue to meet as much as possible and to deliver valuable experiences to its members.  Whichever scenario ends up happening, Inn leaders need to be focused on delivering the member experience (Education, Mentoring, Connection, Collegiality, Innovation, and Respect).  And because those ongoing experiences have value, the Inn should assess an appropriate amount of dues to reflect the value the members receive.

The Inn is also responsible for collecting national dues from each of its active members to be remitted to the Foundation.  The national organization has been working hard to continue to support Inns with resources, information, and ideas for how to keep the Inns functioning during these difficult and unusual circumstances, in addition to continuing all of our regular Inn support services and benefits. Links can be found in the Resources area to the right.