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Letter from the BoD re: membership fees

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  • Amy L. Hornburg Heilveil
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 4, 2002
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      >Below is a letter to the membership regarding various proposals for
      >restructuring memberships. The officers and the Board of Directors is
      >extremely interested in your comments and analysis. Please feel free to
      >contact them at comments@....
      >Important note -- because this is an email, the formatting of the
      >columns of numbers may have been effected. For a clearer picture,
      >please see the sca.org website -- if it is not there as of this writing,
      >it will be soon.
      >Greetings to the Membership of the Society for Creative Anachronism from
      >the Board of Directors:
      >We come before you for consultation concerning the issue of a possible
      >membership rate increase for the SCA.
      >The SCA’s membership rates have not changed since 1994. During the
      >intervening years, many of the costs associated with operations of the
      >Society have increased. For example, rents, printing, postage, and paper
      >expenses are up, and this trend is likely to continue. Our insurance
      >costs will rise by 17% in 2002. The stipend for newsletter production
      >was raised 14% three years ago with no corresponding increase in
      >revenue; the postage portion of the stipend has been increased several
      >times in response to increases in postage rates. (Note that stipends are
      >intended to cover the costs of producing and mailing a two-ounce, simple
      >newsletter, produced largely with volunteer labor. Kingdoms that desire
      >a fancier or larger publication, or want to have the binding done
      >professionally, need to raise funds to cover the increased costs of
      >those improvements.) The Directors and officers have done their best to
      >hold down the expenses they can directly control, often by donating the
      >expenses involved in performing their duties, but that is a small
      >percentage of the budget, and of course items like those mentioned above
      >are to a large degree outside of our control. Membership numbers have
      >not kept pace with these increases in costs, especially sustaining
      >memberships, as can be seen from the fact that, while membership numbers
      >are up, membership revenue is down. Membership fees are the
      >Corporation’s primary source of revenue. The number of paid members of
      >the Society has remained fairly constant over the past several years. It
      >is easy to see that when revenue remains constant and expenses increase,
      >the financial picture is not good. Following is a summary of revenue and
      >expenses for the past five years (all figures below rounded to nearest
      >dollar; % change compares 1997 to 2001):
      >REVENUE 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 % chg
      >Number of Members 23,814 23,832 23,802 24,400 24,988 + 5%
      >(includes all membership categories; annual average)
      >Membership Revenue $790,246 $621,768 $744,279 $761,633 $750,701 - 5%
      >Other revenue $145,932 $104,462 $94,277 $98,606 $87,741 - 40%
      >(includes Stock Clerk income, interest and dividends, TI advertising
      >TOTAL REVENUE $936,178 $726,230 $838,556 $860,240 $838,442 - 10%
      >EXPENSES 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 % chg
      >Kingdom Newsletters $187,409 $189,421 $213,750 $209,789 $198,985 + 6%
      >Staff Salaries $172,693 $194,087 $219,253 $201,695 $221,680 + 28%
      >(includes cost of benefits and payroll taxes)
      >Corp Office Expenses $143,437 $115,817 $141,355 $134,165 $155,835 + 9%
      >Meetings/conferences $36,996 $44,566 $46,625 $37,176 $42,822 + 10%
      >Board member expenses $4,230 $1,644 $2,625 $841 $355 - 92%
      >Officer expenses $18,610 $9,717 $12,195 $10,671 $13,747 - 26%
      >Other Expenses $267,794 $265,971 $255,808 $257,638 $206,230 - 23%
      >(includes stock clerk costs, insurance, professional services, other
      >publications, and capital expenditures)
      >TOTAL EXPENSES $831,168 $812,222 $891,611 $851,976 $839,654 + 1%
      >NET INCOME(LOSS) $105,010 ($85,992) ($53,055) $8,264 ($1,212)
      >2001’s final revenue figures are skewed because of a very generous,
      >one-time, unbudgeted donation of $40,000, which was earmarked by the
      >donor for a specific purpose (so it is not general revenue). The 2002
      >budget projects a loss of approximately $66,000. Despite the budget
      >shortfalls over three of the past five years, this is not an emergency
      >situation. At present there is enough money to cover our subscription
      >liability and the Society’s immediate expenses. But, looking into the
      >future, clearly that situation will not continue forever. The Board is
      >strongly of the opinion that an adjustment is needed to cover increases
      >in operating expenses that will inevitably occur in the coming years. It
      >is our feeling that a single increase designed to last several years is
      >preferable to smaller, more frequent increases, though we are open to
      >argument on that point.
      >As Directors, we have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that the
      >corporation has resources adequate to continue its operations. To that
      >end, the Board of several years ago instituted the Non-Member Surcharge
      >(NMS), which allowed the accumulation of an operating reserve. Once that
      >reserve was established, the Board repealed the NMS. That operating
      >reserve, which was fueled by the NMS, has been funding budget shortfalls
      >at the Corporate level for some years now. It would not be financially
      >prudent to spend all of the operating reserve with no plan to replace
      >those funds.
      >We ask that members consider the following suggestions on how to
      >increase revenues so that expenses can be met into the future. We
      >realize that these suggestions are by no means the only options
      >available. Please send us your comments on these options and your
      >alternative suggestions. The Board is seeking a consensus from the
      >membership on how to proceed. At present no decisions have been made ­
      >except that something must be done. We request and highly encourage your
      >suggestions and assistance. Note that International memberships are not
      >specifically addressed here. Those rates may need to increase
      >proportionately to any other rate increases that occur.
      >OPTION 1 - Tournaments Illuminated optional
      >Basic Membership: $35/year 3rd class; $42/year 1st class (Drachenwald
      >and Ealdormere available 1st class only). Includes member’s own Kingdom
      >Dependent membership: $15/year (with a family cap of $70/year) ­
      >available only to immediate family members of a Basic member
      >Tournaments Illuminated: $10/year.
      >Additional publications, including any additional Kingdom newsletters
      >and Compleat Anachronist (per publication): $10/year 3rd class; $17/year
      >1st class
      >Board Proceedings: $17/year (available 1st class only; includes Board
      >meeting minutes and Society Seneschal’s report)
      >OPTION 2 - all publications optional
      >Basic membership: $25/year
      >Dependent membership: $15/year (family cap of $60/year) ­ available only
      >to immediate family members of a Basic member
      >Publications, including all kingdom newsletters and Compleat Anachronist
      >(per publication): $10/year 3rd class; $17/year 1st class (Drachenwald
      >and Ealdormere available 1st class only).
      >Tournaments Illuminated: $10/year
      >Board Proceedings: $17/year (available 1st class only; includes Board
      >meeting minutes and Society Seneschal’s report)
      >Alternate option for Board proceedings in both Options 1 and 2: Board
      >meeting minutes posted to the SCA web site. In this case the option to
      >subscribe to the Proceedings would be dropped. The Society Seneschal’s
      >report would be dropped.
      >Under either of the above options the membership categories would be
      >reduced to two: Basic and Dependent (aka Family).
      >OPTION 3 - A general increase in the price of membership.
      >Membership categories and included publications would remain the same as
      >they are today. The price of each type of membership would increase by
      >$5 to $10.
      >OPTION 4 ­ A significant increase in the number of paid Society members.
      >We are NOT suggesting “pay to play”. We would be very interested in
      >suggestions for ways to encourage more of our participants to become
      >paid members of the Society. Obviously, with more paid members to share
      >the costs, each member’s share of those costs is reduced.
      >Other options that have been discussed include reinstating the
      >Non-Member Surcharge, or designating a percentage of the gate from each
      >event to go to the Corporation. Undoubtedly there are many, many other
      >possibilities that have not yet been brought to the table.
      >Again, the Board asks for your comments and suggestions. “Unbundling”
      >the publications from membership and/or increasing the cost of
      >memberships are undoubtedly not the only options. There may well be
      >other answers. Nothing will be done until after input from the members
      >and Kingdoms is received and carefully considered. The membership will
      >be kept informed on the status of this endeavor.
      >Please send your comments no later than June 15, 2002 to:
      >Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.
      >PO Box 360789
      >Milpitas CA 95036-0789
      >Or electronically to: comments@...
      >Sincerely yours,
      >The SCA, Inc. Board of Directors
      >Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
      >SCA Inc.
      >Box 360789
      >Milpitas, CA 95036
      >You may also email comments@...
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