Raising Dues After Fifty Years

Video Message from Libby Eason, DIRI Board Chair



Zoom Meetings


Thursday July 29th 5:30 PM MDT

Click link below for July 29, 2021 Meeting

07.29.21 Membership Dues Meeting Recording 

Wednesday August 11th 5:30 PM MDT

Click link below for August 11, 2021 Meeting

08.11.21 Membership Dues Meeting Recording 

Proposed Changes to Dues/Licensing Fees

for Review By DIRI Membership

A Dr. Ida Rolf Institute® (DIRI) board subcommittee working on our membership dues/licensing fees* and classifications has submitted a proposal to the Board of Directors for consideration. 

This motion includes:

  •  An increase in membership/licensing fees of $150.
  • Changes to membership categories such that Limited status will be replaced with a hardship provision.
  • The "Find-a-Rolfer" listing would be available without extra charge for all members who choose to opt in.

We will explain these proposed changes in more detail below.

Request for Member Feedback & Comments:

The DIRI Board of Directors ask that you please review the following proposal, and related information, and provide any feedback for the board to consider.  Please send comments to Membership Services or ConnectMembership where your comments will be compiled for the Board.

We will hold two, 1-hour zoom meetings followed by Q&A with membership. We hope you will consider attending those meetings even if it’s just to hear the perspective of other members. Those two meetings are planned for July 29th at 5:30 pm Mountain Time and August 11tt at 5:30 pm Mountain Time.

The following pages summarize the motion to increase licensing fees, the history of our licensing fees, and provide more detail into other aspects of this motion.


DIRI Board of Directors

Note: DIRI Bylaws were modified through a membership vote in 2017 which allows each Rolfing Association to set their dues to meet local economies and organization objectives. Several of our international partners have already made changes to their licensing fees. 

*”Licensing Fee” is the appropriate legal term, since DIRI is organized as a non-profit 501(c)3 educational organization, not a 501(c)6 membership organization.  The term licensing fees will be used for the rest of this document.        

Synopsis of this Memorandum

       1.   Motion on Dues and Classification Changes

2.   The History of licensing fees

3.   The Value of the Service Marks

4.   Value to Membership

5.   Where your licensing fees go:

5.1.  Licensing

5.2.  Increasing Quality, Reputation, & Value

5.2.1.   Education

5.2.2.   Ethics

5.2.3.   Find-A-Rolfer

5.2.4.   Branding and Marketing

5.2.5.   Global Consistency

6.   Limited Status

7.   Conclusion

1.   Motion on Dues and Classification Changes

The following motion is before the Board.

       1.   Raise membership dues/licensing fees by $150.00. 

2.   Delete limited status effective for dues period starting January 1, 2022.  This will be replaced with a hardship provision policy to be developed and approved by the Board.

3.   New graduates will receive one year free membership and one year @ ½ dues, both counting towards the 20-year status.

4.   All current Rolfers® will receive a website listing (Find a Rolfer listing) free of charge, if they opt in (required per General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)).

6.   Add Legacy Contributor recognition for 20+ year members that choose to contribute the full membership dues (or more).

7.   Set membership lapse at 30 days, allow a grace period up to 60 additional days.  After lapse (at 30 days), a notice is sent to require members to remove all references to Rolfer and Rolfing® SI from their websites, email addresses, etc. until and unless dues are paid and membership reinstated.  If the service marks are not enforced, the Institute and concurrently the membership may  lose the right to them.  So this policy has to be in effect and enforced.

8.   Monthly ACH Payment options will be developed to make dues payment more user friendly, including automatic monthly credit card debits.

2.   The History of  Dues/Licensing Fees

Dr. Ida Rolf sold the rights to the service marks to the Rolf Institute in 1978. The Institute licenses their use to Rolf Institute graduates who pay for the right to use them by maintaining current status as members of the Institute.

Licensing fees for the Institute were originally set in the Bylaws (1977), in the amount of $450 and this was, at that time, the approximate cost of one 10 series.  That amount would equate to over $1,900 in today’s dollars. The dues have not been raised since. In the interim, spending on member services has increased significantly.  Expenses associated with member services include:

  • International Service mark protection, monitoring and legal fees
    • Service mark violations must be addressed, or their value could be diminished by unauthorized use
    • Monitoring is done by a service, which is billed through the attorney
    • Legal fees are incurred whenever violations require further legal action
  • Creation of follow up resources for business and practice development, for new and established members, is currently in process
  • Website: Members Only Section, photos, branding, etc.
  • Website: Public facing information, Find A Rolfer, etc.
  • ConnectMembership - Zoom meetings on topics of interest to membership
  • Advertising for the training
    • Grows membership through new graduates
    • Increases the presence of Rolfing in the public eye
    • More Rolfers means more public interest, and awareness of and respect for Rolfing as a unique brand in the vast field of alternative and integrative therapies

For most Rolfers, 10 series today is likely $1500 or more depending on the practitioner and location. The DIRI costs in all categories have, of course, increased dramatically over this time period. The board proposal under consideration would increase licensing fees by approximately one additional session for a total of $600 annually by 2022.  This increase is partially offset for many Rolfers by including all Rolfers who opt in to the “Find a Rolfer” listing on the website.  Additional options for dues payment have been added, including monthly installments via automatic debit.

Note: Using the CPI Inflation Calculator (Bureau of Labor Statistics) an item bought in 1977 for $450 would translate to over $1,970 with a cumulative rate of inflation of over 300%.

3.   The Value of the Service Marks

Importantly, much of the value of the service marks is the reputation they bring when used by Rolfers. As an “Intangible Asset”, valuations can be complicated and there are many ways to estimate the value of protected trademarks (Russell Parr and Gordon Smith, Intellectual Property: Valuation, Exploitation and Infringement Damages, 11th Ed., 2013, Wiley).  Our Service Marks were valued at approximately $1 million about 10 years ago, and we believe would have significantly higher value in today’s environment.  Revenue from membership dues, trademark licensing, training programs, and licensing fees from Regional International Organizations (RIOs) all go to support our trademarks’ value.  This includes not just legal fees associated with protecting our service marks, but more importantly the continued building of quality programs that ensure the highest quality training and resulting reputation for our practitioners.  

4.   Value to Membership

Ultimately, the value of any trademark is based on the reputation that the trademark represents for your practice and the community you serve. We currently have one of the longest training regimens amongst SI organizations (731 hours), plus required CE, Advanced Trainings and a Rolf Movement Integration Program.

We are one of a few SI organizations in the US that is officially approved as a school in the full regulatory and legal sense.  This means we are approved by the US Department of Education (DOE1), the Colorado Department of Private Occupational Schools (CO DPOS2), and are accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA3). These accreditations make it possible for the DIRI to offer Federal Title IV Student Loans, that are utilized by nearly half of our students, as well as Veterans Association Funding, providing greater accessibility to a wider diversity of students’ income levels. This sets us apart in terms of our programs, including many governmental and legal oversight requirements designed to ensure the highest quality training and, importantly, post-graduate success in their practices. They also support practitioners’ regulatory filings for many state level requirements, such as licensing by a professional board.

The service marks bring a history of quality to our practice, helping attract clients and further educate the community on the value of Rolfing SI.  In terms of our practices, many of us receive clients who say they selected us based on searching for a Certified Rolfer® and/or indicating that they believe us to be the premier training center for Structural Integration. If we get just one 10 series client per year based on name recognition, this revenue far exceeds the cost of a year’s dues several-fold.

5.   Where your Dues Go

5.1 Service Mark Protection 

The most important use of our membership dues is certainly protection and strengthening the value of the service marks.   Protection is a significant expense globally.  In fact, the larger our organizations become and the more value given to our service marks, the more legal expenses that are required for defense. We currently file for trademark protection and defend the trademark globally, with collaborative support by each of our Regional International Associations (RIOs) - ABR, JRA, CRA, ERA.

Challenges to our service marks must be pursued.  Filing and other defense of the service mark usage (legal fees) also have significant costs.  We recently added a global web domain monitoring program to search for domain infringement.  Each domain infringement found is followed up with legal action to continually protect our service marks. We must defend the use of our service marks to maintain our exclusive rights to them.  This makes it a fiduciary duty of the DIRI to protect this asset.

5.2 Increasing Quality, Reputation, & Value

5.2.1  Education:

The DIRI has spent the last several years overhauling multiple aspects of our educational training programs with an emphasis on quality and consistency.  We have a more extensive teacher-in-training program. The course curricula (rubrics) have now been defined in much deeper detail. Students have a Canvas Learning portal online to take advantage of online resources, track progress using the learning rubrics, and submit assignments.   We have implemented an oral and practical Assessment Exam that students must pass prior to graduation. New course material based on the latest advancements in understanding of our work continue to be developed by faculty and administration, and added to course modules.

5.2.2  Ethics 

The DIRI supports an Ethics Committee and Implementation Process which protects the public and ensures that all our practitioners maintain the highest ethical standards. In 2019, the membership approved a ballot initiative to expand our Ethics Code to a robust model based on the Restorative Justice Model. We believe we have the most stringent Ethics requirements in the field of SI, and the most judicious for members and the communities they serve. Thank you to our Ethics Chair, Robin Graber, and Les Kertay, for development of this important ethics program, and thank you, the membership, for taking part in the voting process.

5.2.3  Find-A-Rolfer

The listing has long been supported by a separate $75 payment to the DIRI. This has a lengthy legal history as to rationale, but has nevertheless long been contentious and has limited the Rolfers that are listed through our website.  As part of the update to our dues, the DIRI proposes to include the listing for all members, so that our listing is robust and includes all members that choose to be listed online, per privacy regulations (e.g. requires opt in).

5.2.4  Branding and Marketing

Members have consistently requested that more be done to expand our exposure and public awareness.  We completed new branding in 2019 and have launched substantial marketing and social media efforts to call attention to the quality of our education,  organization, and practitioners, and to highlight our rich history as the original school, founded by Dr. Ida P. Rolf.

New advertising and recruitment efforts, and publications, are planned to support our school and membership. We also recently redesigned our journal and continue to support research efforts in collaboration with the Ida P. Rolf Research Foundation and our DIRI Research Committee. Our recent Platinum sponsorship for the 5th Fascia Research Congress in 2018,  and Gold Sponsorship for the 2018 IASI Membership Meeting, and Membership Sponsor for the 2021 IASI Online Symposium are examples of our support for research and the larger SI community. 

5.2.5 Global Consistency

We recently completed negotiations with our partner associations (RIOs), including the ABR (Brazil), RAC (Canada), ERA (Europe), and JRA (Japan).  This was the result of the collaborative “RIO Summit'' in 2017.    Final Agreements define, in much more detailed terms, our responsibilities, especially ensuring that students from all parts of the globe graduate with a consistently high quality of understanding for our work. To help support this global reputation for quality and protect our service marks, our partner Associations agreed to a new financial model which increases their financial support for these truly collaborative efforts.

6.   Limited Status

The proposal before the board eliminates the Limited Status while replacing that classification with a hardship application. The purpose of this change is to limit reduced fees in cases where someone just wants to work part time, but still gets full advantage of the service marks and services from the Institute. However, we want to make sure that those practitioners experiencing an inability to work due to family hardships, illness, pregnancy, etc. can still apply for a reduced rate through a hardship application.  The details of the hardship application and consideration will be developed by our Executive Director and will require board approval.

7.   Conclusion

Thank you for your attention through this long document. We felt it necessary to lay out the rationale and importance  of your membership dues/licensing fees, the need for licensing fees to increase, explain where your licensing fees go, and how these services increase the value of your membership and contribute to the success of the Institute.  The more recognized our service marks become, the more we are required to protect the marks for appropriate usage. All these services and support for our membership and community make DIRI a leader, but also carry significant responsibilities and costs. We hope you will see the value and necessity of these investments and changes. We invite you to give feedback to the board, and join our membership Zoom meetings.

Thank you Board members Libby Eason and Cosper Scafidi for your work on this proposal. 

Warm regards,

Dr. Ida Rolf Institute®, Board of Directors


Reference Organizations Missions

1 US Department Of Education (US DOE): Our mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.  website

2 Colorado Division of Private Occupational Schools (CO DPOS): The mission of the Division is to implement the directives of the General Assembly, to provide standards for and to foster and improve private occupational schools and their educational services, and to protect the citizens of this state against fraudulent or substandard private occupational schools.   website

3 Commission On Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA): Elevates and upholds standards of excellence in massage therapy/bodywork and esthetics education through specialized accreditation, benefiting students and schools, practitioners, and the public.   website