With modern technology offering a way to connect us with people all over the world, from those with similar interests and circumstances, to various support groups; things are sure different from when the Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese started and other foreign wives in Japan were few and far between. Since there are all kinds of free online groups out there, prospective members might wonder why being a member of AFWJ requires the payment of annual dues. AFWJ is completely administered by people who volunteer their time, there are no paid positions, so where does the money from dues go?
One of the most prominent ways our dues are spent is the seasonal publication of the AFWJ Journal which appears both online and in print. There are expenses associated with the online platform that the Journal appears on, as well as the printing and mailing expenses for the print version. While the Journal is something that each of our members can enjoy, publishing it is not the only expense that AFWJ has. Our annual dues are needed to pay for the following 3 Ts:
The administration of AFWJ requires a Board and the Board needs to conduct meetings. Round-trip transportation to all regular meetings for the President, Vice President, National Secretary, Treasurer, Journal Editor and Membership Secretary is covered by the AFWJ treasury. There is also a transportation allowance to two meetings per year for each of the District Representatives within Japan and a travel subsidy for the Overseas Representative.
Transportation for non-elected Board members to each Board meeting and travel expenses for training purposes is also subsidized by the treasury.
The AFWJ website that you are reading this blog on has maintenance fees that need to be paid annually. Some of the Board positions require computers and software in order for the member to carry out their duties. For example, the Journal Editor needs to have a computer and software in order to assemble that journal. While these aren’t annual expenses, when a computer gets too old or breaks down, a replacement needs to be purchased so there needs to be funds set aside for that eventuality. Speaking of breaking down, the computers also need insurance so that if something were to prematurely happen to them it would soften the blow to the treasury.
AFWJ is a support network and we always want to be there when times are tough for one of our members or their family. With that in mind, we maintain a Donations Fund, which is used for offering expressions of sympathy on behalf of AFWJ. It can also be used to extend help to members and their immediate family suffering adversity or loss. This fund can be used at the discretion of the President.
Now you know a little bit more about why AFWJ requires annual dues and where the money is spent. Besides the Journal and the 3 Ts discussed above, our membership dues are also used for a few miscellaneous expenses, such as: paying for the place to hold Board meetings and the equipment rental needed to conduct them, special cases of an emergency nature concerning AFWJ, and Board approved publications, such as our upcoming 50th Anniversary magazine. The treasury also maintains a Reserve fund for the dissolution of AFWJ - which hopefully never has to be used!