[Bonwicke] Fw: Letter from the Board

Bruno bruno at armyofdorkness.org
Mon Feb 4 21:16:36 PST 2002

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>I have been asked to post this letter from the Board of Directors to as
>many places as I can and encourage, plead and beg for commentary.  The
>chart part comes across slightly skewed by my e-mail program so if you want
>the original, I can send it as an attachment to individuals.  Please send
>your comments, pro and con.  The Board does not want to work in a vacumn,
>but if they only get 5 comments, they have to do what they think is
>best.  Also don't just write if you don't like something, write that you
>like something as well.  If all the comments are negative (because you
>people who like something don't bother to write), then you won't be happy
>when the changes aren't made the way you want.
>Please post this  to any other lists.  Print it out for those who don't
>have internet access.  Discuss it at your local meetings.
>Read and send you comments,
>Countess Megan
>Kingdom of the West Seneschal
>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)
>Revenue      $790,246        $621,768        $744,279        $761,633
>   $750,701        - 5%
>revenue           $145,932        $104,462        $94,277         $98,606
>        $87,741         - 40%
>(includes Stock Clerk income, interest and dividends, TI advertising
>REVENUE   $936,178        $726,230        $838,556        $860,240
>$838,442        - 10%
>EXPENSES                1997            1998            1999
>2000            2001            % chg
>Newsletters     $187,409        $189,421        $213,750        $209,789
>      $198,985        + 6%
>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%
>expenses                $18,610         $9,717          $12,195
>$10,671         $13,747         - 26%
>Expenses          $267,794        $265,971        $255,808        $257,638
>        $206,230        - 23%
>(includes stock clerk costs, insurance, professional services, other
>publications, and capital expenditures)
>EXPENSES  $831,168        $812,222        $891,611        $851,976
>$839,654        + 1%
>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
>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 at sca.org
>Sincerely yours,
>The SCA, Inc. Board of Directors

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