Dear NATS Member:
For the past 75 years NATS has relied on its engaged members at all levels to propel our organization forward. This year more members than ever before are engaged in a variety of nationally appointed committees and task forces addressing current and future needs of our industry. NATS is now in its 76th year of existence and embarking on a major strategic planning effort to position NATS for the future and reposition our resources to best serve our ever more diverse constituency.
Every member was invited to participate in a member climate survey in March and the results are helping shape the work of the NATS Advancement Committee and NATS Strategic Planning Task Force as they shape both our strategic plan and our efforts at raising internal and external support to sustain and grow our association well into the future. We are grateful to the NATS Foundation for sharing with NATS, Inc. in the cost of engaging our consultants Strategic Funding Solutions. Between our Board of Directors and these two important groups, over 50 NATS members are directly involved in evaluating, prioritizing, and shaping a plan for the future. In early 2020, a draft strategic plan will be vetted among a variety of constituency groups within NATS with a goal of having a final plan in place in late Spring.
NATS is the leader and largest association of voice teachers in the world! Collectively we have some of the leading minds in our diverse field as members, a leading journal that is respected and held up as a model around the world, a system of feedback auditions that provides experiences for well over 15,000 singers each year, a treasure trove of media for professional development, and so much more.
NATS provides greater services than some of our sister associations in the industry whose member dues are much greater. Since the last dues increase, an impressive number of new services and activities have been provided our members and their students: The National Music Theater Competition, expansion of our auditions to include the National Student Auditions, a new website (which will be scheduled for a refresh in 2020), a national registration system for auditions, additional staff, NATS Live Learning Center, Vocapedia.info, So You Want to Sing… book series, and new insurance options and other affinity relationships with a variety of partners.
In order to provide for future challenges and opportunities, the Board of Directors, at its June 2019 National Board Meeting discussed at length and ultimately approved a dues increase beginning with our 2020 dues cycle to $120 for most membership categories. They approved a new simplified membership category structure proposed by our Membership Committee which includes eliminating the additional dues charge for international members.
As we move through this planning cycle I hope you will be engaged by offering your feedback on how NATS can better serve you. You were asked to provide feedback with the member climate survey, yet if you did not take advantage of that opportunity or have had further thoughts since then, I strongly encourage you to send them forward directly to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or president Karen Brunssen (email@example.com). NOW is the time for your voice to be heard as we enter this critical phase of identifying and prioritizing future goals and action plans which will be our focus over the next 3-5 years.
As you renew your dues we hope you will also take the opportunity to donate to our 75th Anniversary Campaign if you have not already done so. If you are a new donor your gift will be matched by the Kathryn Duax Challenge so your gift will have double the impact. Your unrestricted gift helps us provide additional funds needed to advance our mission, strengthen our funding base, and expand programs like adding additional categories to the National Student Auditions.
We wrap up our celebration of the 75 years of NATS next summer at our 2020 NATS National Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, June 26-30th. We are planning an exciting conference full of many opportunities for us to engage with others in the profession and energize ourselves for the future. I am excited to share with you that Lawrence Brownlee will join us as a featured artist. Some of Larry’s earliest performing opportunities were at NATS auditions and we are so glad to have him join us. Much more is to be announced soon! Make plans now to join us.
Allen HendersonExecutive Director