by Marty Hayes, J.D.
Before I get into the details of a major announcement, I wish you all a very happy holiday season. We are all healthy and happy here at the Network, and life is good.
Network Dues Increase
First, a little history: In 2008, we started the Network offering membership for $85 per year. With that payment, members received three educational DVDs and a promise from the Network to pay up to $5,000 retainer so our members could afford to get immediate representation. We also promised to start funding a separate Legal Defense Fund, taking 20% of that $85 per year and putting it away into a separate bank account. By the end of that first year, we had 600 members and about $10,000 in the Legal Defense Fund.
As we continued to grow, we found that we could put another 5% of member’s dues into the Legal Defense Fund (up from 20% to 25%), which helped out in that department. We also started making more DVDs, recruiting more attorneys and members, and in May of 2011, increased the attorney retainer to $10,000, and gave members five DVD’s–still at the $85 per year price.
In January, 2013, we saw our first dues increase in the form of a fairly hefty increase, from $85 to $125 for new members’ first year dues, primarily to help pay for the ever increasing number of educational DVDs we were producing and mailing to our members. The dues increase was necessary then, even though we knew we would limit participation in the Network by some people–those who did not understand the value of the educational package. With the first year dues rate set at $125 and renewals still costing $85 per year, we have held that fee schedule until the present. But, as the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end.”
Starting January 1, 2016, we will be increasing the dues for membership in the Network by $10 per year for both new and renewing members, meaning that new members will pay $135 to join, and renewing members will pay $95 per year to renew. Each additional household member will pay $60 per year, up from $50. This approximately 10% increase is required for several reasons. First off, we now have a larger payroll to meet. Our member education package has grown to eight educational DVDs (with one more on the way), along with supplying Massad Ayoob’s book “Deadly Force” to our members. Not only does each part of that educational package have a price, we also have to pay to mail it to the member. We recently added an additional but very important member benefit–bail assistance up to $25,000. (See Network eJournal http://armedcitizensnetwork.org/october-2015-presidents-message for more information).
In addition to this, we are working on bringing to our members a training program, which will be extremely valuable for those who choose to participate. I cannot expose the details yet, but suffice it to say, it will be a fantastic addition to our educational effort. Of course we continue to build up the Legal Defense Fund (now over $600,000), and if needed a member could tap into that Legal Defense Fund to pay for their defense and bail assistance. This makes membership so much more valuable than it was at the beginning.
And lastly, we have found it necessary to venture out into the world of paid advertising, as the marketplace for aftermath of self-defense programs has gotten pretty crowded and competitive. In fact, one competitor gives away guns and ammo to entice new members! And, even though we believe the value of being a member of the Network is enticement enough, we still need to make sure our name is out in the market place.
Before this new rate increase kicks in, we do have an offer for you. If you want to take advantage of the old rates, we will renew your membership for one, three or 10 additional years for the price of $85 per year for one year, $75 per year for three years (total $225), and $65 per year for 10 years (total $650). Please call and talk to Gila or Melissa before the 31st of December, 2015 to add additional years to your membership at the old dues rates. Even if you just signed up and your renewal is not yet due for several months (or even additional years) we will be happy to extend it on into the future for you if you want. Nobody likes surprises, and this way you have the option of extending your membership at the current rates.
Click here to return to December 2015 Journal to read more.