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Why are fees going up 18%?

General discussion about SSCA

Why are fees going up 18%?

by michaeloreilly » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:31 pm

I just received the latest Coconut Telegraph which informed me of the 18% increase in fees. Since there was no explanation about why the fees need to go up, and why this rather significant amount, I came here. But I can’t find any discussion or information. I assume I’m just missing it.

Given all the recent changes with staffing and office, and now this significant fee increase, I’m left wondering if the organization is in financial trouble.
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Re: Why are fees going up 18%?

by michaeloreilly » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:21 am

So, just in case anyone else cares about this, I got an message from our Treasurer:

"The full financial report should be coming out in the next Commodore Bulletin.
Basically, costs have increased dramatically since the last dues change seven years ago.
Steve

Steve Rosenthal, Treasurer SSCA”

So I guess we’ll all see the details with the next bulletin.
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Re: Why are fees going up 18%?

by Scott Berg » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:48 pm

I think it's the first increase in 10 years or so; I know we never raised dues when I was on the BOD; that makes it 1.8% per year, not bad... I'm a member of the Cruising Association, Ocean Cruising Club, Marine Trawlers Owners Association, US Sailing, and a couple of yacht clubs. SSCA was (and Is) the least expensive and the one I get the most out of... more than happy to pony up the dues increase. Thanks to the BOD for their hard work.
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Re: Why are fees going up 18%?

by michaeloreilly » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:25 am

Just a note that I am still waiting to see the promised full financial report. Did I miss it?
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Re: Why are fees going up 18%?

by Scott Berg » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:00 pm

Yes, the annual report was in the last CB and traditionally, the Treasurer presents the report, upcoming budget, and takes questions during the AGM... hope to see many of you there. This was the first dues increase in years and I think SSCA is still the best bargain in the cruising community.
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Re: Why are fees going up 18%?

by michaeloreilly » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:10 pm

Thanks Scott, I appreciate it. I’ll go dig it up. I guess I missed the notice — must have come in while we were still cruising this year…

Just looked. Many thanks again. As a far-flung member, I appreciate the openness and the info.

I see a rather large drop in membership revenue from 2016 to 2017. Looks like we lost around 635 members in one year. If membership revenue is an indicator of total numbers, this tells me the SSCA lost nearly 20% of its members in one year. I also note significant cost controls on most expense lines, and can see the transition planning moving from paid staff to the contract management. Good stuff...

I infer from the 2018 budget that you are predicting this membership loss to slow, but still be significant.
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Re: Why are fees going up 18%?

by Scott Berg » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:56 pm

While I'm no longer on the BOD it is my opinion that some of that is an accounting issue (definition of a member) as well as a full updating of the books based upon the decision to migrate to a new system; still, there was clear loss of membership in the past 3 years. All membership groups struggle in the internet age but I truly believe in the Clean Wake traditions of SSCA and continue to pay my dues with pride and mentor the next generation of cruisers as I know you do. Thanks for asking hard questions; that's what committed members do. President Rich Boren and Vice President Kathy Barth are both active cruisers and very involved in the community; in concert with our new management company the organization is in good hands.
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Re: Why are fees going up 18%?

by michaeloreilly » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:17 am

Thank Scott, as a Canadian cruiser I’ve not been very active with my SSCA membership, but I believe in the organization, and have supported it, and used some of the services, since joining a few years ago. I’ve served on the board of a number of national member-driven organizations, so I appreciate the challenges. This is why the 18% fee increase caught my attention. It tells me the organization is facing challenges that me, as a simple member, was unaware of.

My last post was more an observation than a question. The financial statement and budget clearly shows how hard the board is working to control costs and reduce expenditures, but this can only be a short-term fix. Membership losses of this scale cannot go on for long.

I can see the organization is making changes to its governance and programs. I hope this helps reverse the membership losses, but as you say, most organizations like SSCA are suffering in this day of Internety-everything.
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Re: Why are fees going up 18%?

by Scott Berg » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:29 pm

Michael,

All good comments... a few of my own:

This was the first increase in a dozen years so it seems large by amount but by annual percentage it is much more proportional
You're right about cost containment and management changes
And lastly, we just had our best recruiting drive at the Annapolis Boat Show ever so people are indeed both joining and renewing memberships... I'll be at the Annual Meeting and will be happy to comment here on the reports from the current BOD... I know them all and have great faith in both their skill and ability and their dedication to both cruising and SSCA.
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Re: Why are fees going up 18%?

by michaeloreilly » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:45 pm

That’s good news Scott (re new members). I note, however, the 2018 budget predicts a continuance of the membership decline at a similar rate … unless I’m doing the math wrong.

Question: I appreciate your responses here, but why are we not hearing from current board members? I see the SSCA Forum is lightly used (to put it gently). Perhaps if the board members participated, especially in the “About SSCA” section, it might make the forum more useful for members — just a suggestion from a far-flung member.
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Re: Why are fees going up 18%?

by Nickelbeater » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:56 am

Thanks for your support over the years, Michael. As VP of the organization, I can tell you that it's been a challenging year for SSCA as we adapt to the changing Cruising community. Scott called it, its been at least 7 years since our last dues increase-it was time.
As the membership numbers fluctuate, our financial position does the same, the good news is that New members are coming on board all the time. New sponsors are being introduced to SSCA and you should hear from them on the website shortly. The Annapolis boat show this year saw record numbers of new member sign-ups and renewals and it's people like you and the other folks who renew for multiple years that keep us going strong. Our future looks bright, and we continue to do our best to change where we need to while keeping what made us who we are. You have a great point about board members participating in this forum. Speaking for myself, I'll try to do better. Thanks again for supporting SSCA. Tell your friends!
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