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January 2, 2020

How Membership Dues to the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Are Spent

by Anne Paddock

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is a trade association in the food industry, representing  more than 200 companies that manufacture and market branded and private label food and consumer packaged goods through retail, wholesale and foodservice channels of distribution. Their mission “is to empower the industry to grow and thrive.”

Over the past several years, the GMA has undergone many changes including a substantial drop in revenue (from $38 million in 2015 to $19 million in 2018) which appears to have resulted in a big change in management (the departure of the President and CEO and several other executives and a new President and CEO installed in 2018).

The GMA has three types of memberships:

  • General Members (where dues are based on sales)
  • Associate Members Principal $40,000; Partner $27,500; Allied $11,000)
  • Supplier Memberships

Specific membership numbers are not listed on the website or Form 990 but based on the director list, members appear to include representatives from major food companies in the US (i.e. Frito-Lay, Clorox, Freshpet, Ocean Spray, Conagra, Coca Cola, Bush Brothers, Keurig, Rich Products, General Mills, Sunny Delight, Kellogg, Welch Foods, McCormick, Bumble Bee, Del Monte, Bimbo, Colgate Palmolive, Smuckers, Hormel, P & G, Kraft, and more).

In 2018, revenue totaled $19.6 million and came primarily from five sources:

  • $14.3 million (73% of revenue):  Membership Dues
  • $ 1.7 million (9% of revenue):  Conferences and Conventions
  • $ 1.9 million (10% of revenue):  Investment Income and Gain on the Sale of Assets
  • $ 1.0 million (5% of revenue):  Subscriptions, Publications, Advertising, Prof Services, and Project Funding
  • $  .7 million (3% of revenue):  Contributions

Expenses totaled $26 million in 2018 and were categorized as follows:

  • $14.3 million (73% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $ 3.7 million (19% of revenue):  Fees for Services (primarily other but also lobbying, legal, act, and investment fees)
  • $ 3.6 million (18% of revenue):  Office-related Expenses
  • $ 1.8 million (9% of revenue):  Travel and Conferences
  • $ 1.4 million (7% of revenue):  Excise Tax Provision, Broker Commissions, UBI Provision, etc.
  • $  .7 million (3% of revenue):  Advertising, Dues, and Other Expenses
  • $  .6 million (3% of revenue):  Grants

As illustrated above, compensation is the single largest expense for this professional association. 72 employees were compensated $14.3 million, which equates to an average compensation of nearly $200,000.

Using the above information, $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 73:  Compensation

-$ 19:  Fees for Services

-$ 18:  Office-related Expenses

-$  9:  Travel and Conferences

-$  7: Provisions and Commissions

-$  3:  Advertising, Dues, and Other Expenses

-$  3:  Grants

-$132:  Total Expenses

-$ 32:  Excess Expenses over Revenue

As illustrated above, GMA spent $132 for every $100 in revenue received in 2018.  To cover these expenses, GMA relied on general funds. At the beginning of the year, net fund asset balance was $30.3 million. After deducting $6.4 million in excess expenses, $2.7 million in net unrealized losses on investments, and an unrealized actuarial loss of $2 million, the net fund balance was $19 million at year-end.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2018), click here.

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