JB: We're really beefing up our campaign. David Yeske, who is just exiting as chair of our board, has taken on leadership of the PAC. Right now we have $20,000 to $25,000 in the PAC bucket overall. I'm thinking of a fund-raising goal in the six-figure realm, maybe a $100,000 to $150,000 bucket in the next two years devoted to annual PAC contributions. If each of our 28,500 members gave just $5, that gets us to $142,500. We're not asking for a lot.

FA: What are you going to do to turn around flagging membership? Numbers have dipped from 29,500 to 28,500 in just three years. Is recruiting new
members a goal?

JB: For the first time last year our executive director Marv Tuttle brought a strategic plan to the board and the number one item is growth of membership, so it's important to the organization and to me personally. Not just the FPA, but all associations, particularly in the financial services industry, have had challenges in the last two to three years. We've patted ourselves on the back for having maintained membership. Staff is developing a strategic plan. I think to encourage growth we need to do things like we did in 2004, where our advocacy initiatives went to a new level with the stance against the SEC's broker-dealer exemption.

FA: What are your recruiting goals for new members?

JB: We'd like to see 6% to 8% growth annually over the next three years.

FA: We see that you had a little misunderstanding recently with another publication over whether or not you thought the organization was CFP-centric. After you were quoted as saying you didn't agree that the group was CFP-centric you asked for a correction. I think this has always been a gray area for folks in the press and even some planners. What's the message you want to send?

JB: The discussion was in the context of a conversation about a local chapter in Illinois, and it wasn't really about "CFP-centric" but about the group being all-inclusive. It's a difficult line, but we can be both. We have to be. In Illinois I got the complaint that we're too CFP-centric and I said, 'Go to Boston. They'll complain we're not CFP-centric enough.'" We're very much CFP-centric. That's the core member of the FPA. But we can also be all-inclusive. That's why we developed the heart of financial planning tag line last year, where we showed three chambers of the heart.
It's about those who deliver planning and those who need it. And in the process all of those folks assist with the planning, since no one can be all things to all people. So we want to include debt counselors, mortgage specialists, insurance agents and attorneys. Without all three-planners, investors and other experts-working together, we don't believe the process can be successful.

FA: What legacy do you hope to leave from your year as FPA president?

JB: Advocacy, as we've discussed. And also sound management. We've just changed over from an annual year to a fiscal year last year and we're in a positive position with our budget. We're not where we want to be, but the changes we've made are working. We'll be releasing our first-ever annual report in the next 60 days and we'll show that we've adjusted our expense side down.

We've cut some positions and we've added other strategic positions, in our Washington, D.C., office, in book publishing, membership and communications. The expansion of our association and long-term health is very tied to our financials. We plan to grow revenues and get to the point where the association would be considered stable from the standpoint of reserves and resources.