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News & Press: Industry

New Membership Model Adopted by National Society of Professional Engineers

Wednesday, February 14, 2018  
Posted by: FES
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 In a nutshell:

 For the 2018-19 membership year, members will have the following options: 

  • FES-Only Membership: $210
  • NSPE-Only Membership: $299
  • FES/NSPE Membership: $509 - invoiced separately


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Update as of 2/7/2018 

On December 27, 2017, NSPE’s Board of Directors voted to proceed with the new membership model and these changes will take effect July 1, 2018. Additionally, beginning in April 2018, NSPE will begin invoicing FES members for NSPE-only dues of $299.

On January 30th, 2018, the FES Board of Directors approved FES-only membership dues for 2018- 19 of $210. The FES Membership Development Committee (MDC) is currently reviewing Agency, Enterprise, Retired, and Respect memberships and will make a recommendation at the next BOD meeting (June 2018).

Background Info - The Florida Engineering Society (FES) is the state affiliate of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), which means that as a PE or EI member of FES, you are automatically a member of NSPE, with $154 of your membership dues sent to them. This will change in 2018 allowing for both state-only and national-only memberships due to the June 2017 decision of NSPE’s House of Delegates to implement a new membership business model to be effective July 1, 2018.

Why the change? NSPE and their state affiliates have struggled with membership recruitment and retention for some time now, but over the past few years it became much more dire. In 2010, NSPE had roughly 30,000 dues paying members; in 2016, they only had 22,000. During that same time period, FES witnessed a decrease in total membership, but at a much lesser percentage as compared to NSPE. With NSPE leadership and staff recognizing the significant challenge it was in, they started working to correct the problem.

In 2016, NSPE contracted McKinley Advisors, a nationally recognized research firm with deep roots in the volunteer membership association community, to provide possible solutions. McKinley’s research found that NSPE had a few main problems; NSPE needed to simplify their membership dues model to a single price point, instead of each state having multiple different membership dues prices, and that membership marketing communication was lacking due to the lack of a singular price.

The research phase concluded in early 2017, which prompted NSPE to create a committee of NSPE leadership, state leadership and McKinley Advisors to work together to develop potential new membership business models that would work for all 52 of NSPE’s state affiliates. The key points were to simplify the price structure by creating a single price for all NSPE members, to use NSPE’s database as the database of record (i.e. all changes to member records would be done through NSPE’s database), and allow NSPE to invoice membership dues.

After reviewing and working through possible solutions, the committee recommended two options as the best possible; an Integrated model and a Non- Integrated model.

What is the Integrated model? A unified membership that includes membership in both the National Organization (NSPE) and one State Society (FES) for PE and EI members, offered at a society-wide, single dues price point. This would require NSPE to establish and maintain a single membership administration and billing system managed by NSPE. In laymen terms, FES would be forced to use NSPE’s database for member records and to allow NSPE to invoice the PE and EI FES members. Unfortunately, this causes multiple problems for FES and our members. Before we discuss those problems, let’s first define the Non-Integrated model.

What is the Non-Integrated model? A non-contingent membership, in which a member may choose to join the National Organization (NSPE) and/or the State Society (FES) with no requirement to join both. In other words, Florida engineers that are eligible to become an NSPE member will choose to be a member of FES, FES and NSPE, or only NSPE. For members choosing to join both organizations, separate invoices will be issued by FES and NSPE.

FES’s challenges and concerns – FES isn’t the typical state affiliate of NSPE because FES’s practice section, ACEC-FL/FICE, is the state affiliate for the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and the database at FES intertwines both elements. In addition, FES has membership categories such as the engineering member or associate member that are not members of NSPE within the FES database. Due to this unique arrangement, NSPE’s requirement that FES relinquish control of the database management and billing of a segment of our membership does not work for FES.

The other big issue revolves around how FES and NSPE databases would integrate and communicate between one another. Since FES has members that would not be eligible to become NSPE members, FES would be forced to continue to maintain a separate database as well as invoicing those members separately. NSPE has been working on solutions to correct this, but at this time the only solution is one that has never been utilized by NSPE’s database company, Abila/ Community Brands.

Since the beginning of 2017, these concerns were voiced to NSPE leadership and in late September 2017, NSPE and FES leadership met to work through these issues. Discussions have continued in the months since that meeting, but unfortunately, NSPE leadership has not agreed to allow FES to switch to the integrated model if we continue self-billing and use our new database management system for our entire membership.

Moving Forward – NSPE required all state societies to decide which model their society would choose by December 31st, 2017. During the October 2017 FES Board meeting, FES leadership discussed at length the two options, pros/cons of each, and alternative solutions. In the end, the Board agreed it was in the best interest of FES members to move forward in the Non-Integrated model due to the unresolved issues with the Integrated model. The Board made the following motion:

“While we, the Board of Directors of the Florida Engineering Society (FES), believe it is in the best interest of both FES and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) to continue our longstanding affiliation, and to continue discussions to resolve FES concerns regarding the new NSPE business model, we must, at this time, choose to not integrate.”

On December 27, 2017, NSPE’s Board of Directors voted to proceed with the new membership model and these changes will take effect July 1, 2018. Additionally, beginning in April 2018, NSPE will begin invoicing FES members for NSPE-only dues of $299.

On January 30, 2018 the FES Board of Directors reaffirmed their decision to not integrate into the new NSPE business model, and set the dues for FES-only membership at $210 to include Chapter and Practice Section dues. These invoices will be sent to the membership beginning in August of 2018.

FES leadership remains dedicated and committed to providing the advocacy, educational opportunities, and customer service that our members expect and deserve.

Do you have questions or comments? Please let your opinion be heard and/or ask questions via this online survey –

***Please make sure to watch your email,, and the monthly FES Journal for updates regarding the Membership model and how it will affect you as a member of FES***