American Sociological Association

ASA Footnotes

A publication of the American Sociological AssociationASA News & Events
September-November 2020

New Approach to Dues for 2021: When We Pull Together, We All Win


As we grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the ensuing economic crisis, and social upheaval in our nation, ASA’s mission to serve sociologists in their work, advance sociology as a science and profession, and promote the contributions and use of sociology to society could not be more urgent.  

We are launching the 2021 ASA membership year under truly unprecedented conditions. Many sociologists and their families are struggling, students are unsure of future job prospects, and institutions and departments are facing tremendous challenges that in some cases threaten their very existence. At the same time, ASA is struggling under the pressure generated by pandemic-related reduced membership and meeting cancellation.  

How do we balance the significant financial needs of some sociologists while sustaining the Association?  The 2021 Pick Your Own Sponsorship membership initiative is designed to do just that. It is based on the recognition that the pandemic has not affected all sociologists equally and that the sociological community as a whole is both strong and supportive.  

Pick Your Own Sponsorship holds dues steady at the 2020 level and then provides members with the choice of a) paying those dues, b) taking a sponsorship, or c) providing a sponsorship. Taking a sponsorship means opting to reduce one’s dues payment for 2021 by 10%, 20%, or 30%. Giving a sponsorship means adding 10%, 20%, or 30% to one’s dues payment to support colleagues who are presently in more precarious situations. 

The ASA Council unanimously supported the introduction of Pick Your Own Sponsorship. President Aldon Morris explains:

Pick Your Own Sponsorship is a carefully considered initiative designed to promote the interests of all ASA members. It is also an effort to keep the Association strong as we navigate through the current crisis.  Sociologists understand how important generosity and solidarity are to achieving collective interests. These qualities are even more important in the context of a terrible pandemic that has negatively impacted so many people, often in disproportionate ways. Because each member of the ASA is important, we strive to address the unique challenges and opportunities of all our members. It is in this spirit that ASA is unveiling its Pick Your Own Sponsorship option to maintain the strength of our organization and to promote the discipline of sociology and all its members. 

Zulema Valdez, who voted on this initiative as a member of Council, says, “In this time of great economic uncertainty, the issue of membership cost is especially salient. I strongly support our Pick Your Own Sponsorship initiative, which provides tangible financial relief to our members who need it.” President-elect Cecilia Menjívar sums up the concept of Pick Your Own Sponsorship in this way, “ASA is made up of members and we need to respond and acknowledge each other’s concerns.”

Please renew your membership in ASA for 2021 and help renew our sociological community. Take a sponsorship if you need one, give a sponsorship if you can. In the words of Aldon Morris, “When we pull together, we all win.”

 You Make the Difference
 When You Renew Your Membership for 2021…

 ASA serves you in your work by providing numerous benefits, including:

  • Online access to 10 ASA journals; 4 additional journals available based on section membership. 
  • Free registration for ASA’s professional development webinars.
  • Unlimited downloads from TRAILS, ASA’s peer-reviewed library of teaching resources. 
  • Free access to the ASA Job Bank.

 ASA advances sociology as a science and profession by:

  • Building and maintaining the ASA Minority Fellowship Program.
  • Launching the new ASA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant Program.
  • Defending sociologists and their academic freedom.

 ASA promotes the contributions and use of sociology to society through actions such as:

  • Connecting experts in sociology with journalists covering today’s most urgent social issues.  
  • Sharing sociological content with a public audience through initiatives like the Sociological Insights video series.
  • Advocating for the integrity of federal statistics, including the Census.