Executive Director’s Commentary
By Don Eversmann, F240000
In 2008, when FMCA’s leaders worked on the budget for the 2009 calendar year, changes suggested to balance the budget included a proposal that members using the Mail Forwarding Service begin paying a portion of its associated costs. The Mail Forwarding Service constitutes a considerably large line item in the FMCA budget, one that had been a significant amount for a long time.
A recommendation to begin charging an amount that might cover approximately half of the cost of the service was approved by FMCA’s Governing Board during its 2008 meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota. So, beginning January 1, 2009, a $5 monthly fee was charged to members using the service, in addition to their regular postage required to forward mail to their desired location(s). This charge applies only to members actively using the service.
Back in 2008 when this fee was approved, no one could have foreseen the impact that the housing market, the economy, and the RV industry would have on FMCA. During preparation of the 2010 budget, every consideration was made to cut costs and try to present a balanced budget to the Governing Board at its annual meeting this past July in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Staff reductions have been made, pay cuts approved, mileage expense reimbursement halved, and chapter support reduced, and many other changes will be implemented in 2010 in an attempt to help balance the budget. Again, mail forwarding costs were evaluated, and even after related staffing reductions and pay cuts, the service represented a considerable expenditure that was benefiting less than 3 percent of the FMCA membership. So, to further reduce the budgeted loss, the monthly service fee for mail forwarding will increase to $10, effective January 1, 2010.
FMCA’s mail forwarding program is simply priced, with no hidden or add-on fees. We researched other mail forwarding providers in an effort to avoid overpricing this service and yet try to cover its costs through monthly charges. We found that one needs to thoroughly evaluate any program being considered so as to determine the true cost of each mail forwarding program.
Other mail forwarding service providers may add the following charges to the base price of their service: a specific number of consecutive months required in an agreement, such as 6, 9, or 12 months; an enrollment fee or setup fee each time a mailbox is opened; a cancellation or closure fee each time a mailbox is closed; an extra charge for improperly addressed mail, such as no PMB number; an additional charge for certified mail or packages; an additional shipping charge beyond the actual mailing or shipping cost.
With the FMCA Mail Forwarding Service, a flat $10 service fee will be charged the first time mail is sent in any given month and postage is debited to a member’s account, or when mail is picked up from the Round Bottom Road office. The fee will be deducted from the mail forwarding participant’s postage account. The charge will be identified as a “Mail Forwarding Service Fee” on the mail forwarding postage statement/invoice, along with the date.
When a member notifies FMCA to close his or her mail forwarding account, the account will be removed from active status. Accounts that are not active but are in the process of being closed will be charged $2 for each mailing, and no more than $10 per month.
If you have any questions about the changes to the service, please contact Mail Forwarding at (513) 388-5315 or (800) 448-1212; e-mail [email protected].
This change is certainly not being taken lightly. We do want to continue providing a mail forwarding service to members. We hope the service will still be considered a member benefit, even though there will now be a cost that might be comparable to some other mail forwarding programs available to travelers.
To those who have used the FMCA Mail Forwarding Service, we enjoy getting to know you in our telephone conversations, and the staff looks forward to meeting your needs in the future. We will always be here to support the membership.