Chapter News

A New Year and a New Committee: Finance

Hollie Oakes-Miller
January 17, 2021

Our chapter’s Finance Committee met for the first time recently to begin organizing our chapter finances more intentionally to better align with our democratic socialist values. On the left you will often hear, “a budget is a moral document” when we are discussing local and federal budgets, but we must also hold ourselves accountable to make sure our own budget embodies our beliefs. We hope that you will engage in the work to articulate and formalize processes for participatory budgeting, either through the Finance Committee or during chapter-wide discussions at a future chapter meeting.

At our January regular meeting we took the first steps to discuss and agree on our projected 2021 budget, but there are still some budget items that require more research and discussion. As part of this process, we will be surveying our members to assess accessibility needs, including internet access/upgrades and digital devices, so that we can make more informed budgetary choices that support our members’ ability to meaningfully participate in the that work we do, and to also learn what we might need to do additional fundraising for.

Fundraising is another area in which we are working to build member skills and chapter capacity. Once our chapter has decided on a 2021 budget that meets our members’ expectations and needs, we will begin actively fundraising, first from within our membership and then expand from there as needed. If you are interested in organizing our chapter finances or doing fundraising, please join our next Finance Committee meeting.

DSA is a member-funded organization, one which is different from other traditional non-profits that get a large portion of their funds from corporate donations. As democratic socialists, we  understand that accepting funds from corporations often comes with strings attached, which hurt the working class. In 2020 our chapter received all but $0.22 of income from either national DSA in the form of quarterly dues shares for our monthly dues paying members (33%) and from donations (67%) of which the majority came from member donations through our website or via pass-the-hat when we were meeting in person. 

It is important to note that when our members pay monthly dues our chapter gets back 25-30% of those funds, but we get no funds when members pay annually. At no increased cost a member who signed up for a standard annual membership of $60 could easily change their membership to monthly dues payments of $5 and our chapter would get back $15-18 per year to help us fund the work that we do. Please consider switching to monthly dues if you are able.

Currently the largest source of our chapter’s funding is coming from members who are making monthly donations through Donor Box, which you can sign up for on our website. These funds are vital to our being able to organize to our full capacity. Please donate as you are able.

Through the work that we plan, the Finance Committee aims to increase transparency and member participation in chapter finances, and to build our capacity to plan and fund budgets that help us build our path to power.