ASES Annual Report, 2013

ases 60 year anniversaryReorganizing for Growth

ASES is a member organization for the distribution of science-based information on renewable energy technology and policy, with the explicit mission of accelerating broad deployment of clean energy and efficiency measures in the United States and around the world.

In pursuit of that mission, ASES needs to reach a broad and expanding audience within the academic, engineering and scientific communities; in the consumer and wholesale markets for energy, energy products and services; among voters, elected officials and regulatory agencies at all levels of government.

Over its 60-year history, ASES has had strong relationships with government agencies and national laboratories, and has generated influential policy initiatives. The organization grew steadily during the decade leading up to the recession of late 2008, but has been slow to adjust to new economic realities and to the rapid consolidation of a growing and maturing industry.

ASES has now come through a trying year. We’ve had to shed staff and offices, but have managed to administer key programs: the National Solar Conference, the publications, and the National Solar Tour.

In their traditional formats, these programs have proven inadequate to sustain growth and even to sustain adequate staffing.

  1. The National Solar Conference lost money for three years running, due to sharply reduced sponsorship and overcommitment to outside support services (hotel blocks, AV, professional as opposed to volunteer planning and onsite administration).  As a result, ASES entered 2013 with more than $200,000 of accounts payable. Conference losses in 2013 pushed that to roughly $280,000. Risk of further conference loss has been negated for 2014, through partnership with Intersolar North America. For 2015, ASES plans a low-cost conference on a university campus near the Eastern Seaboard.
  2. The publications have seen sharply reduced advertising revenue due to falling circulation and industry consolidation. Content quality remains high enough to attract a rapidly growing audience, but that audience is on line, and does not pay to support production costs (editorial, design, cost of sales, connectivity, general overhead).  The key to competing in a volatile market is membership growth. The organization, along with its Chapters and Divisions, must find a way to convert nonmember colleagues to paid membership and print circulation. We’ve established an online discount program to encourage Chapter members to join ASES. Eight Chapters now participate. We need to design an analogous program for Divisions. This may involve bringing the Divisions into active management of the Emerging Professionals program, recruiting student members and converting them to professional members.
  3. The National Solar Tour produces national sponsorship, but at a level that barely pays to print and distribute a Tour Guide. ASES has, after all these years, never found a statistically valid way to count tour visitors, and has essentially ceded promotion and revenue-generating potential to local tour operators. The ASES Solar Tour website can be a valuable resource to local chapters. Promotion of the 2014 Tour began in May and by mid-June tours had been posted to the website in four states. We need enough sponsorship to support distribution of posters, lawn signs and other items of value to tour organizers, homeowners and tour visitors.
  4. The ASES archive – 60 years of scientific publications – has huge unrealized value to all ASES stakeholders and we’ve begun a process to digitize this content and make it available online. Arrangements have been made to ship the bulk of the archive to Penn State University during the third week of July, 2014. We’ve redesigned the websites to accommodate this material and moved to a larger, faster, greener and cheaper server.

2013: ASES benchmarks

During 2013, ASES

  • Brought expenses in line with revenue.
  • Finished the year with a positive cash balance.
  • Paid down roughly 55 percent of debt incurred over the past two years.
  • Stabilized membership decline.
  • Expanded publications audience to more than 50,000 monthly readers.
  • Maintained key programs (Conference, Tour, publications).
  • Reorganized the staff, led by a new Executive Director and Director of Operations.

2013: Notable fiscal events

  • In January, ASES launched a new campaign under the Solar Citizen banner, supported by large donations from individuals.
  • In April, the National Solar Conference lost money – about $127,000.
  • In May, reorganization of staff yielded payroll reduction of about 80 percent.
  • In September, ASES sublet its office space, saving about $7,000 a month.
  • In September, ASES conducted the National Solar Tour with vigorous support from volunteers, and $25,000 in sponsorship to underwrite
  • In November, ASES sold its interest in the FindSolar lead generation venture.
  • The year-end giving drive generated about $100,000 in November and December.
  • From May to December, ASES paid down roughly 55 percent of the vendor debt arising from Conference operations.
  • From May to December, ASES generated revenue of $350,000 against expenses of $250,000, including debt reduction.

Going forward:

  1. The real value of ASES is in reliable science-based information of use to students, faculty, researchers, Chapters, policymakers, regulatory authorities, voters, consumers, business owners and the financial industries.
  2. Content is contributed largely by Division members, professional members and ASES editorial staff.
  3. Content is distributed to audiences through the Divisions, Chapters, ASES publications (including online products), the Solar Tour and National Solar Conference.
  4. ASES needs partners to bolster the following areas of weakness:
    1. Membership development, especially Emerging Professionals.
    2. Grantwriting and fundraising.
    3. Staff resources for editorial and revenue development, and for program administration (Conference, Tour, archiving).
    4. General administration (office space, invoicing, member service etc)

The Board of Directors has identified a critical need to develop formal relationships with academic institutions, possibly on the model of the relationship between ISES and the Fraunhofer Institute.  Academic affiliations will provide grantwriting partnerships, new opportunities for program development, new partnership relationships through government funding agencies, publishing and interning opportunities for students, venues for ASES events, library facilities for ASES archives and infrastructure for ASES administration/overhead functions.

Accordingly, ASES has entered into discussions with several universities with strong renewable energy departments, who have expressed interest in working with us. Preliminary informal discussions have been held with personnel at Penn State University. The discussions are not exclusive – as time and resources permit ASES will investigate opportunities with other institutions. ASES intends to establish regular channels of communication between academic departments and Division members for the purposes of funding research and publication; and to maximize opportunities for Student Chapters at a broad range of institutions.

During 2014, ASES has

  • Scheduled its National Solar Conference in San Francisco, July 6-10, in collaboration with Intersolar North America.
  • Scheduled the National Solar Tour across the country, Oct. 3-5 (to accommodate Yom Kippur on Oct 4).
  • Implemented a formal fundraising plan.
  • Published this Annual Report for distribution at the National Solar Conference.
  • Expanded member-recruitment collaboration with its Chapters.
  • Expanded role of Divisions in writing for ASES publications and recruiting Emerging Professional members.
  • Begun digitization of the ASES Archive through collaboration with university libraries.
  • Stabilized revenue and paid off remaining vendor debt.
  • Transitioned to a new Executive Director.

Revenue Sources and Expenses, 2013

Revenue
Conference $246,611
Solar Today 237,822
Fundraising 215,230
Membership 180,311
FindSolar 83,974
Misc 15,667
 Total Revenue $979,615
Expenses
Payroll $380,148
Conference 373,513
Cost of goods 135,887
Business ops 129,078
Contractors 102,287
Total expenses $1,120,913
Net -$ 141,298
Revenue  Expenses
2013revenuepiechart 2013expensespiechart

 

Starting balance, Dec 31, 2012  $250,559

Ending balance, Dec 31, 2013    $120,089

Audience

Membership in May rose 3.5% to 4,284

  • Basic Members – 2,806
  • Professional – 688
  • Professional Senior – 150
  • Professional Students – 53
  • Student Digital – 45
  • Professional Supporting – 20
  • Dual Chapter Membership – 18
  • Life Members – 376
  • Business, Libraries, Nonprofits – 128
  • Plus 767 paid subscribers: print magazine circulation is 5,051, plus bonus circulation at trade shows and conferences (10,000 in July/August = 15,000 qualified readers)
  • Over the past year, visits to the digital edition of Solar Today average 18,131 per issue.
  • Total magazine readership (print and digital) averages 23,164.
  • Website visits average 16,000 per month, split between ases.org and solartoday.org
  • Solar@Work mails to 10,332 qualified names.
  • Total audience including websites and Solar@Work: just shy of 50,000.
  • Solar Citizen goes to about 44,000 unique names, but we don’t count it as incremental circulation because of the large but indeterminate overlap with our other audiences.

ASES Donors, 2013

William Achor
Paul Adams
John Ailey – Ailey Solar Electric
Donald Aitken
Brian Allen
Arkin Tilt Architects
Nicolas Arnao
Stephanie Ashworth
John Avenson
Renee Azerbegi
Jon Bader
Daniel Baer
James Balding
Lesley Barker
Jack Barnett
Jim Barrera
June Barrett-McDaniels
Linda Barrington
Britt Bassett
Vincent Battaglia
Taylor Jonah Bea
Carolyn Beach – American Solar
Energy Society
Lee Beatty
Richard Behlmann – Urban Wind
Alternative Energy Solutions, LLC
James Bennett
Don Benson
John Benya
Richard Birch
Nate Blair
Sue Blessing
Joananne Bochmeno
William F Bradley
Tom Bransfield
Dale Brentrup – Daylighting+Energy
Performance Lab
Jim Brown
Bruce Brownell – Adirondack Alternate
Energy
Jeffrey Brownson R. S. – Penn State
Kent Brye
George Buice
Richard Bulinski
John Burke
Enid Busser
James Byrd
John Calomeni
Richard Caputo
Gerald Carmody
Regina Carola
Rick Charlson
Michele Chavez-Pardini
John Christensen
Neal Clark
Robert Clarke
Cleveland Public Library
Douglas Cobb
Jack Cobb
Gilbert Cohen
Elizabeth Coker
Kenneth Colburn – Symbiotic
Strategies LLC
Barry Cole
Wendell Colson
David Comis – SRA International
Community Shares of Colorado
Christopher Cook
Timothy Coons
Gregory Cooperman
Richard Corcoran
Tim Cowles
R Gordon Dailey Jr.
Chris Daum
Andrew Davidson
Denis & Machelle Davis
Edward Davis
John Dayton
Francis De Winter
Carolyn Demorest
Russell Dennis
Anthony Denzer
Michael J DiGrazia
George Donart
James Dontje
Rob Doone
Eddie Doss
Edward Jennings Doyle
Michael Dunseith
Gregory Edwards
William Scotte Elliott
John Ellis
Ihab Elzeyadi
Lawrence Emerson
Aline Euler
Peter Ewers
Michael Ewert
Anthony Exposito
Judith Farina-Weller
Marie & Joseph Field
John Fisher
Flagstaff Public Library
Kurt Fletcher
Tom Flint
Philip Friedman
Michael Fritz
Dan Fugate
Gilbert Gagnon
John William Gallup
Tina Garcia
Charles Garlow
Ron Gehl – EOS Research, Ltd.
Robert Gilberti – Retired
James Gillis
Frank Goodknight
Allison Gray
James Green
Susan Greene – American Solar
Energy Society
Veera Gnaneswar Gude – Mississippi
State University
Ortiz Mario Guzman
Duncan Haas
Timothy Earl Haas
Bruce Haglund
Jim Hand
Lucy Hansen
Donald Hanson
Daniel E. Harp
Hart Area Public Library
Ingrid Head
Elaine Hebert – Norcal Solar
Steven Hegedus
Thomas Henkel
Theodore Hepp
Chris Herman
Ron Herman
James Herndon
Lloyd Herwig
Diane Hildebrand
David Hill
Dorothy Hill
Bill Hillard
Clinton Hinman
Jeff Hodgkinson
Gregory Hoepfner
Alan Hoffman
Harold Honath
Keya Horiuchi
Carlos Horne – Horne Brothers
Construction
Kalle Hulva
Bev Huntsberger
Sanford Hurlocker
John Hussey
Ruby Ingold
Linda Irrine
Dr. Dwight Jaeger
Eric Johanson
Gina Johnson
Maike Johnson
Sherwood Johnson
Scott Johnstone – Vermont Energy
Investment Corporation (VEIC)
Michael Jones
Peter Jones
Ron Jones
Mark Juedeman
Otak Jump
Kerry Kahl
David Kearney
Elizabeth Kelchner
Philip Kelly
Herb Kelty
Samuel Kendall – Florida Renewable
Energy Association
Jason Keyes
Kaveh Khatir
Gerald King
Ed Klotz
James Kloverstrom
Paul Knutson
Gene Kostruba
Yves Kraus
David Krause
Frank Kreith
Erwin Kubsch
Alison Kwok
Robert Lagerblad
Frank Laird – University of Denver
H.T. Lamborn
Bruce Langmuir
Kelly Larson
A B Lavigne
Norbert Lechner
Albert Lee
David Leonard
Richard S Levine
Sue Lion
Peter Lowenthal
Douglas Lowndes
Michael Lubberden
Scott Luers
Kurt Lund
Paul Lundquist
Susan Luster
Bruce MacFarlane
John Martens
Seth Masia – American Solar Energy
Society
Alison Mason
James McCandless
Joan McMurrey
Julie Mealo
Paulette Middleton
Shana Milkie
James Millard
John J.B. Miller
Carlos Monteagudo
Lyman Morikawa
William Morrison – Austin Community
College
Michael Morrissey
Chris Moser
David W Mount
James Mulder
Ingrid Nahm
Paul Nelson
Robert Nelson
David Nicol
Dr. Paul Nielsen
John Noel III
Richard Norn
Thomas Nunes
Robert Olander
Donald O’Mailia
James Orenstein
Herbert Oringel
Denis Oudard
Alfred Padula
Rajiv Pandya
David Panich
Jayant Patel
Siddharth Patel
Robert Pena
Richard Perez
Jeffrey Peterson
Luke Peteson
Miroslav Petrov
Lynn Piper
Bruce Plenk
Bryan Pletta
Carol Pond
William Poulin
Marilyn Powell
Roy Price
Emery Prior
Puget Sound Solar
Dr. Ramachandra Ramakumar
Real Goods Solar, Inc.
Kathleen Reardon
Dave Renne – International Solar
Energy Society
John S Reynolds
Sean Ricard
Laura Richardson
Earl Roberts
McLouis Robinet
Jr Haydon Rochester
Linda Rodriguez
Robert Rodriguez
Mark Rognstad
Gerald Vilkas Roman
Stan Rorick
Kelli Ross – Quick Mount PV
Molly Owings Ross
David Roth
Rick Russman
Howard Salk
Sigrid Salo
Anthony Joseph Sarno
Terry Satterfield
Bob Scheulen
Thom Schiavone – Wild Blue Group
Joe & Sally Schiller
Erich Franz Schimps
Bernie Scott
Bill Scott
Jack Scott
Edward Seliga – Advanced Solar
Products Inc.
Manajit Sengupta
Sequoya Cross Backwoods Solar
James William Serene MD
John Shaw
Karen Shaw
Jan Shea
Neil Sheaffer
David Sill
Daniel Simon
Dave Simons
Gary Sims
Kirk Smith
Doran Smout
Solar Energy International
Soldiers Grove Library
Thomas Spalding
Regina Spata
Faye Spratley M.
William Spratley
Cyrus Spurlino
Erik Stabell
William Stack
Fred Stanback Jr.
Brian Stansbarger
John Staviscak
Allan Stirling
Janet Stout
Lorene Stranahan
Dave Stuckey
Lois Sturm
Glen Suhren
Brian Sullivan
M.G. Symonds
John Synhorst
William Tallent
Kathleen Taylor
Texas Solar Energy Society
Hugh Thompson
Bryan Trammell
Eileen Tsai
Rao Tummala
Charles Turner
Akiyoshi Ueda
William Vachon
Tor Valenza
Max Vandament
Anthony Vasilas MD
David Vaughan
Leonardo Vidal
Thomas Vigne
Frank Vignola
Donald Wallace
Stephen Waller
Elmer Reed Walters
Sandra Ward
Renee Warrick
J Waters
Linda Weiss
Simon Wheeler
James White
Joseph White
Don Wichert
Maurice Wildin
Brown Williams
James Williams
Randall Williams
James Wilson
Kenneth Wilson
Scott Wilson
Lucas Witmer
James Wohlgemuth
Ronald Yevin
Daniel Yocom
Steve Young
William R Young
Bernard Yozwiak
Paul Zagozewski

plus four anonymous donors

 

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