State of the Association

2020 has certainly been a unique and challenging year for ATA, as it has been for all of us. The Association, or should I say the hundreds of volunteer members and ATA Headquarters staff, have demonstrated a degree of resilience and fortitude in the face of an unprecedented global health and economic crisis of which we can all be proud.

ATA remains strong, vibrant, and flexible. We have adjusted to the temporary reality and restrictions imposed on us by the pandemic. ATA Headquarters staff have maintained their high standards for member services while working from home. All our volunteers—from division listserv moderators and blog or newsletter editors, to the members of the various standing and special committees—have risen to the challenge and advanced their work during these challenging times. While they all deserve recognition, the people involved in our professional development program deserve special thanks for rapidly expanding our free training offerings, especially for interpreters who have been particularly hard hit by the impact from the pandemic. These individuals have worked to increase both the quantity and quality of remote professional development opportunities for our members.

ATA’s advocacy efforts have also been running at full steam this year as we worked to obtain amendments to California Assembly Bill 5. While not as successful as we would have wished due to the political realities in California, we would not have achieved the exemptions we did get without the grassroots efforts spurred on and supported by ATA members working on advocacy.

But all is not peaches and cream. ATA continues to face financial challenges, primarily due to a very slow but steady decline in individual membership. We have seen about a 15% decline in individual membership since its peak in 2010.

That’s why ATA must continue to work on improving and expanding its professional development program and other member benefits to increase the value proposition of membership. And we need to do a better job of demonstrating and selling that value proposition.

One positive change in membership is that the share of voting members (active and corresponding) versus non-voting associate members has increased by almost 10 full percentage points in the past 10 years, from 21.0% in 2010 to 30.4% in July 2020. I would like to see the day when almost all individual members are voting members.

Thank you for your support and membership in 2020. Together, we will continue our work building a stronger association in these challenging times.

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