ANNUAL REPORT OF THE BUSINESS OFFICE - 2008

I. BSA Business Report - Introduction
The following report provides an overview of the activities of the Botanical Society of America’s business office over the past twelve months. Let me begin by thanking and acknowledging the Executive Committee for their support and direction. On behalf of the Executive Committee, the Society, and myself, I also thank and acknowledge the Society’s staff, Rob Brandt, Heather Cacanindin, Claire Hemingway, Richard Hund, Wanda Lovan, Amy McPherson, Jennifer Potratz and Johanne Stogran, for their efforts and dedication to the Botanical Society of America. What an exciting year! Once again, as a team, we were able to improve our ability to support BSA members, meetings and our mission.

II. Thank you!
I extend a special thank you to those members who donated to our endowment and to the BSA sectional/awards funds. Contributions totaled over $73,000 (see FAC report for details). At the meeting you will hear about our efforts to support future generations of botanists through the establishment of the BSA Legacy Society. It is exciting to see this aspect of the Society maturing and planning so positively for our future.

I would like the EC and the Council to consider collaborating with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Center for Plant Conservation by investing funds to move our offices to a carbon-neutral position. At this point, I see easy fixes in the areas of lighting and hot water. We should also consider solar and wind energy. BSA can provide community leadership by reducing the amount of paper, organizing greener meetings, and office improvements as outlined above.

III. Financial Update
BSA account balances are provided in the table to the left. It is pleasing to note that Wanda and Mary Widner (our accountant) have completed the project of separating the BSA accounts into distinct units: operations, conference and investments. The bad news is, the account balance is off by three cents – in our favor.

Our key operational revenue streams for the year to date are budgeted at $1,386,56. Income to date is $1,079,827. Variance is due to grant activity taking place later in the summer than initially anticipated. Expenditures reflect the same situation, with anticipated expenditure of $1,316,422 and actual of $856,382. I anticipate we will end the year slightly below budget on both counts given this is our first year in managing the NSF PlantingScience grants.

The meeting income and expenditure reflect the late billing by ASPB for the Botany 2007 conference. Botany 2008 is showing roughly $233,400 in income and $63,000 in expenditure, leaving a balance of $170,400.

The BSA Smith Barney investment account closed June at $3,329,009. It appears the Smith Barney team is doing a reasonable job of managing our downside risk given a very poor overall market. See the Financial Advisory Committee report for more detailed information.

The DRAFT 2008-9 BSA budget can be found online at
http://www.botany.org/governance/reports/Board/2009-BSA_Budget-080612.xls .

IV. Membership
Membership in the Society remains a highlight, with 2,916 members in total for the year to date. We have been able to maintain a strong student presence with 733 members, surpassing the 2007 record of 715. Given we have three months to go before the October renewal season starts there is a good chance we will see a new membership record.

Recommendation 1: It is recommended membership rates for 2008 remain the same.

Recommendation 2: It is recommended we provide students an incentive to renew, with an “early renewal” rate of $15, October 1 – December 31.

Recommendation 3: It is recommended we hold a new student membership drive beginning at the opening of classes in the fall of 2008 at a gift-rate of $10 per student.

Recommendation 4: In conjunction with items 2 & 3 above, and BSA’s desire to increase student involvement, it is requested the sections waive fees to allow student memberships to include sectional memberships.

V. American Journal of Botany
The 2008 American Journal of Botany institutional rates have been set at $625.00. This is an increase of 10.6% ($60.00) over the 2008 rate.

We have registered 1,450 Print, plus Print & Online institutional subscriptions for the year to date (1,473 in 2007). By year’s end we should exceed the budgeted sales volume of 1,463 subscriptions. Sales revenue is $800,867 as compared to a budget of $785,745.

Member subscriptions, at 675 print copies, are slightly below the budget of 700.

I’m pleased to report the move to Sheridan Press has gone smoothly, and that publishing members will see and experience the benefits of doing so. See the American Journal of Botany Editor’s report for more detail.

Recommendation 5: It is recommended member rates for the print version AJB increase by $5 for professional ($90) for the 2008 year, a 5.9% increase.

VI. Botany Conference
Upcoming Botany Conferences:
• 2009 – Joint meeting with the Mycological Society of America, ABLS, AFS, and ASPT in Snowbird, Utah
• 2010 – Joint meeting with the AFS and ASPT in Providence, Rhode Island
• 2011 – Joint meeting with the Society for Economic Botany, AFS, and ASPT in St. Louis, Missouri

VII. Strategic Planning & Bylaws
Strategic Planning - Thank you to all members who took part in the recent membership survey. Results will be available in the Plant Science Bulletin online shortly after Botany 2008. The committee is scheduled to meet for breakfast on Tuesday morning in Vancouver. We’ll update the Society as we move into the next steps in the process.

Bylaws - We will hold a meeting for the membership to ask questions at 7:00 am on Monday, July 28, in Vancouver. The suggested updated bylaws and policies are online at: http://www.botany.org/governance/AMbylaws.php and http://www.botany.org/governance/AMpolicy.php.

VIII. Plant Science Bulletin
The Plant Science Bulletin is now live online. We are working with Marsh to place all items online as they come in. In addition, we have upgraded the “Botany in the News” feature and the “Books for Review” as RSS feeds, allowing us to experiment with this technology. All appear to be receiving positive feedback.

IX. PlantingScience
I’m pleased to report, in conjunction with our NSF grants, we have hired Jennifer Potratz as Education and Outreach Coordinator. Jen is working out of the St. Louis office and will add new depth to the team.

I’m also pleased to report that interactions on the PlantingScience site continue to improve. Our understanding of how the online interactions work best, and Claire’s approach to recruiting, training and supporting online mentors, are beginning to pay off. The graph to the right clearly shows that interest in the program continues to grow.

We have just completed our first round of project reporting to both NSF and Monsanto. You will find links to each report below.
http://www.botany.org/PlantingScience/Reports/DRK12_submitted08report.pdf
http://www.botany.org/PlantingScience/Reports/ITEST_submitted08report.pdf
http://www.botany.org/PlantingScience/Reports/Monsanto_submitted08report.pdf

Over the past month we held conversations with the American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT), 4-H, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), looking to build the PlantingScience partnerships. I’m pleased to note ASPT and ASA have come on board. We are waiting for further discussion with 4-H National and the BLM.

We are in the process of recruiting a large number of BSA members who indicated they wanted to actively participate in Society programs. We hope to have over 400 BSA members participating as scientist mentors in the 2008 fall session.

X. Website
The overall growth trend for people accessing the BSA website at www.botany.org shot up in April, May and June. It is pleasing to see the line move back up: over 9,000,000 people have now visited the BSA web site since we began recording statistics in February of 2000.

Respectfully Submitted, Bill Dahl July 18, 2008