SVPI 2023 Dues Update

SVPI was founded for the purpose of expanding the SVP brand by building new Affiliates and updating SVP practices to stay at the forefront of philanthropy. As such, historically, existing affiliate dues have largely resourced SVP’s work to launch new Affiliates. Over the last 6 years, it became clear that the launching and growing affiliates process required more resources since many Affiliates struggled to get started and grow. This coincided with landscape changes in the way donor network organizations are getting resources, what donors need from these kinds of organizations, and ways in which local SVP affiliates are evolving their work.

Dues History:

SVPI has steadily reduced both our organizational reliance on and the total amount of affiliate dues since 2019. Prior to 2020, affiliate dues were close to 40% of SVP International’s budget ($400k), and in 2022, they were less than 25% of our budget ($250k), though our overall budget remains around $1 million/year. 

Historically, SVPI has encouraged Affiliates to build network dues into their budgets as a standing line item similar to other operational costs (audit, administration, staffing, office space etc) each year assuming a small 3-5% increase to account for inflation for the following year. 

Due to the global pandemic, SVPI made progress but is still in the midst of assessing and considering a business model transition. At the time, we prioritized ensuring that existing Affiliates were able to weather the challenging time by implementing a network wide discount in dues that began in 2020 and continues through 2023. In addition to this discount, we also implemented an equitable process for providing requested reduction in dues for those Affiliates struggling financially. 

Given current increases in cost of living and services, keeping dues flat effectively means that SVPI is providing an additional 10-12% discount from previous years. 

Dues Feedback:

We have heard a lot of different types of feedback from affiliate leaders, Partners and chairs about dues, as it relates to the role and value of SVPI. These issues are being formally addressed in the SVPI business model assessment and recommendations that will be shared with SVPI’s board in June. 

There are some specific issues related to dues and invoicing that have surfaced, which include requests for SVPI to do the following: 

  • Invoice earlier for affiliate budgeting and planning purposes.
  • Provide more information on the “benefits of affiliation” with the SVP brand and the global network, that can be shared with Partners and board members. 
  • Inform the network about the role of dues alongside other sources of income to increase understanding of how they are invested in the network. 

SVPI is considering these recommendations for future affiliate dues invoicing, to coincide with the updated business model and dues structure. 

Future Business Model & Dues: 

It’s been informative to continue to hear from network staff leaders about their experiences working within different national and international network models (franchise, subsidiary, etc) and the pros and cons of those models as they relate to SVPI.  

For those of you who wish to have more context, you can review founding documents that led to the formation of SVPI as a “loose federation” designed to grow and expand the SVP brand over these last twenty years. 

It’s useful to see that even at the founding of SVPI they were aware that: “Over time, SVP will need to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of its centralized functions and processes and revise its model as appropriate. Successful growth of the SVP network may warrant a stronger federation model if the experience of similar organizations is indicative.” 

It is also useful to remember that SVPI was structured to be about supporting the work and connection of Partners across the network, not just Affiliate staff leadership. And, as many of you know, in the past, SVPI had shared operations with SVP Seattle and only operated in North America. The changes in operational infrastructure and our global presence have created new demands for our network. These are some of the many changes that SVPI is working to address by reviewing our business model. 

Finally, our partners at United Philanthropy Forum have provided a useful business modeling resource that has been helpful for thinking about potential changes to the SVPI business model and that may also be helpful to each of you locally as you think about your future business model: 

What’s Next: SVPI will update the network after the June board meeting. 

SVP International is grateful for the support of our funders – the Raikes Foundation and Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative – whose grants have allowed SVPI to discount the dues of affiliates over the last few years while also providing resources to upgrade our technology, business model and support our strategic evolution to advance more impact driven philanthropic practices. With their support SVPI continues to grow the SVP brand and amplify the great work happening throughout the network to reimagine giving.