It used to be that keeping up with the times was a good thing. And in most cases, it still is. At ASA's headquarters we're definitely keeping up, by keeping expenses down. Downsizing and "right-sizing" notwithstanding, we want our members to know that just as they have trimmed their excess expenses, so too has their association.

In fact, our staff, including the Education Foundation and Center for Advancing Technology, was at its peak just two years ago, with 27 full-time equivalents. Of course, there were those who were dedicated to functions that we no longer perform (such as the ASA News publication and management of AIM/R) who are no longer on staff. However, it's largely through the effective use of cross-training and flexibility of our current team that we've been able to eliminate these full- and part-time positions without sacrificing service.

Our current team of professionals now numbers only 16.5 full-time equivalents, which is exactly the size of our staff back in 1995, before we even knew what a Center for Advancing Technology was! Kudos to the staff members of ASA who have taken on additional responsibilities and are now working more closely as a team than ever before.

Other expenses have been cut as well, to help the overall picture. To help pay the rent and fill space formerly occupied by ASA staffers, we've sublet out almost all the excess available space in our headquarters. We've reduced expenses significantly in almost every internal category, including telecommunications, supplies and travel. We've also called upon our volunteers for help in reducing expenses normally reimbursed for attendance at meetings. Our committee budget was slashed in half, and due to careful management, our convention expenses have routinely been kept under budget.

We've done this not only to demonstrate sound business skills, but also to keep up with challenges to our traditional sources of revenue. As members consolidate, our dues base also shrinks. Short and long-term investments have traditionally also been a source of some income for us, which lately haven't borne much fruit (an understatement to be sure).

Indeed, the times when national associations were the last ones to feel the pressures of economic downturns and challenges to their budgets are over. We at ASA feel the need more strongly than ever to practice what we preach, and we're proud of it.