/ Hope Academy of Senior Professionals (HASP)

2022 Organization Changes

Covid has significantly affected membership and the way we operate. Paid memberships have fallen back to 2017 levels. The administrative workload has increased with support for Zoom. Revenues have not kept pace with services or inflation. Changes are needed to preserve the HASP experience we all so greatly value and enjoy.

To better understand these new realities, we surveyed 10 similar lifelong learning organizations to see how they were meeting these challenges. While we learned that HASP experienced less pandemic membership loss than the other programs, it was clear that an examination of our staffing was in order. After the HASP Board meeting in early October, the Personnel Committee was charged to investigate potential improvements and recommend changes.

Potential Staffing Improvements

Full-time Director

  • The director position is currently budgeted at 32 hours per week.
  • The survey of similar organizations found that seven of the 10 had full-time directors.
  • Increasing the budget to 40 hours per week during the academic year, 32 hours per week in the summer, would better reflect recent reality and provide increased time for strategic planning and member relations.

Director Benchmark Pay

  • The survey of similar lifelong learning organizations found the HASP Director pay is below the market.

Director Health Benefits

  • Current director is able to be covered under her spouse’s health benefits.
  • A future director that may require health benefits would cost the organization upwards of $20,000 per year for family coverage.
  • Budgeting consideration for this will be postponed until the need arises and can be determined based on a new director’s needs.

Program Support

  • The need for additional staffing hours has increased, primarily driven by the need for Technical Support – especially in hybrid live/Zoom sessions.
  • The estimated requirement is approximately 15–20 hours per week for 40 weeks per year.
  • Fourteen of the 20 hours were estimated to be incremental to pre-Covid requirements, thus forming the base for the budget adjustment.

Accounting Support

  • The Personnel Committee examined the idea of employing outside part-time accounting support, but decided to continue with our current practice – the director performs the accounting under the supervision of the HASP Treasurer.
Revenue Review

Paid HASP memberships and course fees grew steadily over the years before dropping sharply due to the pandemic. Total revenue has fallen significantly since the onset of the pandemic.

HASP Total Revenue by Year
Total revenues are expected to decrease by more than 25% this fiscal year.

Current Revenue Sources

  • Membership Dues (55–65%)
  • Course Fees (30–40%)
  • Special Events (0–3%)

Annual membership dues have not been raised since 2010.

HASP Percentage of Revenue by Source
Inflation and Fees

Many organizations had to raise their prices steadily over the years to insure their operations. HASP’s rapid membership growth prior to the pandemic masked the impact of inflation on our finances.

HASP Membership and Annual Dues

Financial Impact Study

HASP Treasurer Don Cowie created a financial model so the impact of any manner of revenue and expense manipulations could be evaluated. The model forecasted net income profits and surplus cash balances through fiscal year 2026. Countless scenarios were examined to see if potential changes were financially viable.

The current fiscal year, without any changes, is forecasted to end with a small net income. With the final recommendations beginning to go into effect on January 1, 2022, the forecast flips to a sizable, but manageable net income loss for this year and next year. Our current cash surplus balance, built up over the years, provides us the opportunity to take on these changes with confidence. The forecast concludes we will return to historical levels of financial performance in fiscal 2025 and 2026.

Final Recommendations

Personnel Recommendations

  • HASP Director — Increase Director position from 32 hours per week to 40 hours per week during the academic year, remaining at 32 hours a week during the summer. Adjust director compensation based on the lifelong learning organization survey salary data.
  • Add new staff position. Provide for additional hours due to technical support requirements (15–20 hours per week, 40 weeks per year).

Cost Reductions

  • Eliminate student intern position.
  • Reduce Professional Development Allowance by $2,500.
  • Replace annual luncheon with a morning meeting with breakfast-style refreshments.
  • Reduce Service Grant budget by 50% due to dwindling requests.
  • Reduce Postage & Copy budgets based on review of our usage experience.

Fee Structure Changes

  • Increase annual membership dues to $125 in fiscal 2023, and then to $150 in fiscal 2024.
  • No change in $5/session class fee structure.
  • Gradually grow the annual Special Event contribution from $2,000 to $6,000, to a level commensurate with the administrative time required to support the events.
The final recommendations of the Personnel Committee were unanimously approved for implementation at the December 14, 2021, meeting of the HASP Board of Directors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the decision process and the changes:


How exactly will Kim Mendels’ compensation be impacted?
Kim’s salary has been based on a .8 FTE (Full Time Equivalency) and will become a .95 FTE. Additionally, her salary has been adjusted to line up with the salary of others in her position in similar lifelong learning organizations based on survey data from other groups in our area.

What will the new part-time staff position’s duties be?
It is intended that this position will lead the technical support in both the HASP classroom and virtual activities. This person will become the primary contact for communication with presenters. The new position will add about 14 hours a week, 40 weeks a year, to our staffing budget.

How is Susan Timmer affected by these staffing changes?
Susan will remain as a valued member of our HASP staff. She has expressed a desire to takeover the technical support role once an additional administrative support person is hired.

When will these staffing changes occur?
Kim’s salary will be adjusted on January 1, 2022, and a search will begin immediately for the new administrative support person whose pay will be effective at the time of hire.

How long has this been in the works?
Covid-19 placed a burden on many organizations, including HASP. The HASP staff and board have worked together to address the need to continue meetings and courses via technology that most of us were previously unfamiliar with. Had any of us even heard of Zoom prior to the pandemic? In the last several months we’ve been able to determine the effects and evaluate possible solutions.


Why are the HASP dues being raised twice?
The annual dues have not changed since 2010. This was possible only because HASP experienced consistent membership growth prior to the pandemic. It was clear that a sizable increase is now needed. We felt it is reasonable to spread the increase over two years so members have time to plan for the change. It should be noted that HASP is expected to realize a cash deficit this fiscal year and next.

Was there a consideration to reducing expenses?
Absolutely. The entire expense side of the budget was examined, and several items were either eliminated or reduced. Specifically, the Student Intern Position has been eliminated, the Professional Development Allowance was reduced by $2,500, the Service Grant program was reduced by 50% in light of dwindling requests, the postage and copy budgets were reduced based on usage experience, and the annual meeting luncheon will be replaced with a morning meeting including breakfast-style refreshments.

Was there consideration given to raising the course fees?
Yes, all sorts of combinations of dues and course fee levels were considered. We want to encourage class participation as much as possible by keeping course fees low, so we chose to raise only the annual dues.

Can I pay less and just attend the monthly programs?
The HASP membership dues provide for that level of participation only if that’s your choice. Course fees are an additional amount.

Does Hope College support the changes?
Yes, the Hope College representative on the HASP board, Scott Travis, has been party to all the discussions and decisions relative to the changes and indicates total approval from the college.


Will Zoom offerings continue once the pandemic winds down?
Yes. While we’re hopeful of offering in-person monthly meetings and classes going forward it’s expected that a Zoom offering for both of these will continue. Zoom has allowed many HASP members to attend meetings and classes when away from home which wouldn’t have been possible previously. Also, given the uncertainty and variability of the Covid pandemic many members choose to participate virtually. Additionally, in some cases classes have been offered that would otherwise be unavailable as the presenter is in a remote location.

Will the Zoom offerings be less problematic?
There are technology improvements occurring that will lend themselves to an improved hybrid offering. Additionally, the staffing additions, when implemented, will allow for an increased level of attention to the process.

Does HASP have to pay a lot to use Zoom?
No. HASP uses Zoom under the master license to Hope College and does not pay a separate fee for the software at this time.

Will there be future expenses for additional or improved equipment?
We have been looking into ways to upgrade the online experience, and some new equipment is certainly a part of that. However, these purchases can be funded by the existing budget and our cash reserves or facilities fund.

We’d Like to Hear From You

HASP Leadership wants to know what you think about these changes, or about any other comments, suggestions, or ideas you might have. You can share anonymous feedback on anything, anytime. If you’d like a reply, include your name and we’ll get back to you. 

HASP Online Comment Form