[Western] FW: Membership Restructure Proposals

ronportwood vallust at earthlink.net
Tue Feb 5 08:32:42 PST 2002

Everyone needs to read this and respond comments at sca.org! It's your game
----- Original Message -----
From: "vscribe" <vscribe at ansteorra.org>
To: <western at ansteorra.org>
Sent: Monday, February 04, 2002 10:29 PM
Subject: [Western] FW: Membership Restructure Proposals


The following has appeared on several e-mail lists. It is also avialabe
on the sca.org website at:



-----Original Message-----
From: spiders-admin at sca.org [mailto:spiders-admin at sca.org] On Behalf Of
Andrew Smith
Sent: Monday, February 04, 2002 9:38 AM
To: announcements at sca.org
Subject: [SPIDERS] [Announcements] Membership Restructure Proposals

Greetings Subscribers of announcements at sca.org.

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 at sca.org.

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.

Most cordially,

Andrew Smith
Andrew of Riga
Secretary, SCA Inc.

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 at sca.org
Sincerely yours,
The SCA, Inc. Board of Directors

Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas,  CA 95036

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