Letter from AASR Treasurer

20 January 2021
Dear AASR Members,
Warm greetings and a Happy New Year to each of you!
As the Treasurer, with a new Executive committee and a new year, I wanted to take the opportunity to draw your attention to Membership Fees and Finances for the year ahead, with the reminder that it is time to renew your membership for 2021. In the midst of a challenging and uncertain period globally, we have decided to take an unusual step: just for this year, we would like to offer you the opportunity to “pay what you are able” for your memberships rather than charging set fees. We recognise that some may have lost or had their employment/salaries reduced, while for others, job opportunities may be diminished. However, we believe that now more than ever, it is important for us as an Association to come together as scholars and colleagues, and we do not want finances to be an impediment to anyone’s participation. And for those of you who have not yet joined us, this is a great opportunity to do so at whatever cost is affordable to you!
As a guideline for your donation, our fee structure is:
Scholars from the Global North: 
Fully employed: $60 USD
Students/Retirees/Underemployed: $30 USD
Scholars from the Global South: 
Fully employed: $50 USD
Students/Retirees/Underemployed: $25 USD
However, in the spirit of “paying what you can,” we equally want to invite those who are able, to consider paying more than these suggested fees. For those who wish to support the AASR as patrons, we invite donations starting at $100 USD.
It is important to clarify that we are not taking this step from the position of over-abundance; indeed, our finances are a point of urgent concern and an area where we are focused on building capacity over the next five years. One significant cost we are currently facing is investing in a much-needed upgraded website and technical infrastructure, at the cost of approximately $1500, with some additional annual fees. This will enable us to expand and streamline our global reach while making it easier for members to join/renew and register for events. Additionally, with the need for greater online accessibility, we are pleased that these upgrades will soon enable us to offer more members-only benefits such as topical webinars, access to publications, “zoom coffee with the President,” and more! Please continue to check our website (https://www.a-asr.org/) or follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@AASReligions) for updates on these developments.
In closing, may I say that we are grateful to each one of you, our members, for your support and partnership. We can’t do it without you, and we look forward to working together with you in the months and years ahead to achieve greater financial stability for our Association.
Sara Fretheim, Treasurer
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