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chriswelker

USPA Membership Dues& Rating Fees going up?

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Do not want to stir the pot, but there are documents available on guidestar.org
It is a free service but requires to create a free account.
USPA is required to fill out Form 990 every year.
I believe I posted it about 2 years ago, statements from 2004 and 2003 were then available. Now they added 2006 and 2005.

Here's a link to their 2006 statement (compensation is on page 27 :ph34r:)
USPA 2006 Form 990 (938KB) PDF Clicky




They are still pretty vague.
----------------------------------------------
You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

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This is the lifetime member that proposed
"Move to waive instructional rating renewal fees for lifetime USPA members.” at the winter 2006 meeting.

"Lifetime Memberships No Instructor Dues - Chris Quaintance sought the opinion of the Regional Directors about the possibility exempting annual rating fees for Life Members that have Instructional Ratings. The issues discussed were funds possibly gained or lost and the membership’s perspective if any BOD members were also Life Members."

Re "online balloting for the next election is a pet project of mine"
yeah right.
Q you did not review any online voting system. The chair of N&E and I did that. I reviewed 12 different systems. We both asked members and the BOD to 'check this out'.
You know nothing about the pitfalls of online voting. Online voting is not necessarily the elixir to increasing voter turnout that you may think it is. You trade one set of problems for another set of problems.

The PR costs are more than $60k. Pay attention to the budget and the motions in the meetings.

$70k for an ecommerce module is outrageous. The membership software was purchased for $250,000 in 2003. Remember this is the software that cannot put an R to designate restricted after someone's license and cannot put type ratings next to the TI listing. I voted against this software package because it did not appear to do what we needed to do and I said so at the time. Come on Q, you and I both know that it does not cost $70k for an ecommerce package. The yahoos snowing corporate HQs, who in turn snow an ill-advised BOD are the ones making the money.

Oh yeah and USPA has someone that does not even have an email address on their BOD now. I dunno about you, but I'd take a RB kid over that guy. Why did RB toss you under the bus? Melissa could have won if she campaigned earlier. Why did RB dump you?

.
.
Make It Happen
Parachute History
DiveMaker

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This is the lifetime member that proposed
"Move to waive instructional rating renewal fees for lifetime USPA members.” at the winter 2006 meeting.
"Lifetime Memberships No Instructor Dues - Chris Quaintance sought the opinion of the Regional Directors about the possibility exempting annual rating fees for Life Members that have Instructional Ratings. The issues discussed were funds possibly gained or lost and the membership’s perspective if any BOD members were also Life Members."



Yes, this is that Board member. I happen to believe that if people pony up the money to be lifetime members, that it should include rating renewals. Several of my constituents brought it up to me, and I brought it to the Board. The Board said no. Oh, well.


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Re "online balloting for the next election is a pet project of mine"
yeah right.
Q you did not review any online voting system. The chair of N&E and I did that. I reviewed 12 different systems. We both asked members and the BOD to 'check this out'.
You know nothing about the pitfalls of online voting. Online voting is not necessarily the elixir to increasing voter turnout that you may think it is. You trade one set of problems for another set of problems.


Get off your high horse. I checked out a few systems myself and then reviewed and participated in the trial runs that were conducted, including the ones you organized. Your claim that I know nothing about the pitfalls of online voting is both incorrect and laughable. I made my living for many years doing online infrastructure and security at one of the world's largest websites. I'd hazard a guess that I'm far and away the most technically qualified member on the BOD to speak regarding online security.

There are other downsides besides the technical challenges, of course. The impact on turnout is up for debate, and I'm willing to have a reasonable discussion. Perhaps not with you, though.

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The PR costs are more than $60k. Pay attention to the budget and the motions in the meetings.


I didn't say that was the only PR cost. I stated there was a line item for that in the budget that was up for renewal. And I also stated that it was potentially on the chopping block. So don't admonish me to pay attention to the budget and in the meetings.

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$70k for an ecommerce module is outrageous. The membership software was purchased for $250,000 in 2003. Remember this is the software that cannot put an R to designate restricted after someone's license and cannot put type ratings next to the TI listing. I voted against this software package because it did not appear to do what we needed to do and I said so at the time. Come on Q, you and I both know that it does not cost $70k for an ecommerce package. The yahoos snowing corporate HQs, who in turn snow an ill-advised BOD are the ones making the money.


I concur that the ecommerce module is overpriced. Why is it you think I brought that number to light in public? I think it's a damned shame that the Organization spent huge money on what appears to be a pretty crappy piece of software to run the backend. Were I on the BOD when that vote came up, I'd have opposed it, too.

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Oh yeah and USPA has someone that does not even have an email address on their BOD now. I dunno about you, but I'd take a RB kid over that guy. Why did RB toss you under the bus? Melissa could have won if she campaigned earlier. Why did RB dump you?
.


I'm not even sure if I should dignify that with a response, but here you go. I'm disappointed, too, that there was not as much turnover as I had hoped for and anticipated. It would have been nice to see some more fresh faces like Eli and Charles. Far from throwing me under the bus, I had a bunch of great communication with the RB guys and was part of their platform. If Melissa had decided to run earlier, she might have had my slot on the RB platform and she might have won. Bully for her; and if that's what my region wanted, then I would have supported it (and probably been thankful for saving me the trouble of a third term! :). But, the results clearly show that enough people in my region thought I was the guy for the job. So be it.

I'd be lying if I said I was disappointed that you missed the cut. But the people have spoken and such is life. I look forward to serving on a Board that actually spends more time getting work done serving the membership than wasting time on superfluous procedural ruts and the egos of the fragile few. I'm guardedly optimistic that things will get better after a string of pretty nasty and demoralizing Board meetings.

And I hope you have the time to go and actually make some skydives and contribute to the sport in other avenues.

Cheers,
--Q
-----
Chris "Q" Quaintance
ccqquaintance.com
D-23345

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Q USPA is wasting money right and left and you know it! 2 words for ya, PAY CUT. Hey if they don't like let them go somewhere else better.Have ya'll looked at cutting their Health Insurance and bennies?



Do I think the Organization is as efficient as possible? No. But, I don't think it is as bad as you are implying. I like the idea of an across-the-board pay cut, but I'm not sure that's one of the more effective ways out of this mess.

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You might also want to look at postage and printing costs because between that and payroll is where all the money is going according to reports.


Postage is expensive and going up. What do you propose we do about it? Parachutist is currently monthly, and (in response to another post), we budgeted $600k last year for advertising income. By my math, it's a $150k loss as an entity. It has the status of a sacred cow - at my very first meeting four years ago I brought up the possibility of moving to online only publishing and that went over like a fart in church. However, I'm definitely ok with looking at cutting it to semimonthly or quarterly or only online.

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Stop taking the path of least resistance and work at balancing the budget with no dues or rating fees increase.


What is it that you think I'm doing with these posts? I'm soliciting input and gathering ammunition to fight against anything being shoved through in February without proper consideration.

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Q, BTW how much is this next BOD costing the club members this time.



By my math, about $27k. The thought occurred to me that we should consider cutting back to just one meeting per year. But my guess is that it would cause more problems then it would solve in terms of BOD oversight of the staff, etc. I'd love to move to more virtual meetings, but so many of the BOD members are luddites that, again, I suspect it would be more trouble than it's worth to get everyone set up.

Cheers,
--Q
-----
Chris "Q" Quaintance
ccqquaintance.com
D-23345

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Do you think there will be a significant drop in Dues paying members this year?

Do you think an Increase in Dues will affect the number of members we loose?

How much of a difference will an increase in ratings fees make in overall revenue?

With the downturn in the economy and less people making skydives in the coming year, the people holding ratings will possibly be making less than they currently do. How many will just say screw it if and not renew since they will not be making as much money anyway?

Another idea:
Would the Insurance Company reduce premiums if you went with a small deductible plan? The idea would be for the group member to cover the small deductible in the case of a claim.

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I'd love to move to more virtual meetings, but so many of the BOD members are luddites that, again, I suspect it would be more trouble than it's worth to get everyone set up.



A halfway point might be an annual in-person meeting with regular old-fashioned telephone conference calls between. Sure, the phone is not as good as visiting in person, but it would handily suffice for "easy" stuff like routine waivers.

Or a hybrid solution like a WebEx conference with a phone dial-in for the unmotivated.

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$70k for an ecommerce module is outrageous. The membership software was purchased for $250,000 in 2003. Remember this is the software that cannot put an R to designate restricted after someone's license and cannot put type ratings next to the TI listing.
.



Wow... I have written a lot of software in my day. I have purchased a lot of software in my day. That price is absolutely absurd to the point that I wish I could impeach every elected board member who approved it.

Dear USPA. Contact me. I will rewrite an entire custom application that will allow all membership information to be tracked, billed, and reported, specifically for skydiving. Price = something the USPA can afford and can justify, about 10% of what you already spent, likely.... You won't even have to pay until it is delivered and does what it is promised to do.

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Do you think there will be a significant drop in Dues paying members this year?


No, I don't think it will be significant. HQ is predicting a slight decrease in both the number of new and renewing members. They are much better than I ever could be at forecasting membership.

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Do you think an Increase in Dues will affect the number of members we loose?



If we do go with a dues increase, I think the effect will be small on our membership numbers. That is pure conjecture, and I don't have any data to back it up. It may be useful to go back and look at each year we had a dues increase and look at the membership counts. I don't have those data in front of me, so I can't check.

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How much of a difference will an increase in ratings fees make in overall revenue?


Last year, we have budgeted $130k in income from rating holders. A five dollar increase would raise about $30k and a 10 dollar increase would raise about $60k.

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With the downturn in the economy and less people making skydives in the coming year, the people holding ratings will possibly be making less than they currently do. How many will just say screw it if and not renew since they will not be making as much money anyway?


I haven't the foggiest idea. I suspect there will be some contraction across the board.

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Another idea:
Would the Insurance Company reduce premiums if you went with a small deductible plan? The idea would be for the group member to cover the small deductible in the case of a claim.


Interesting thought. Another one of the things we are considering is going to a semi-self insured plan, where the Organization would pick up any claims less than a certain amount. This would drastically reduce our insurance premiums, but expose us to some amount of risk depending on the number of incidents in a given year. Somewhat riskier when we have been drawing down our reserves in the last two years to cover operating losses.

--Q
-----
Chris "Q" Quaintance
ccqquaintance.com
D-23345

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Interesting thought. Another one of the things we are considering is going to a semi-self insured plan, where the Organization would pick up any claims less than a certain amount. This would drastically reduce our insurance premiums, but expose us to some amount of risk depending on the number of incidents in a given year. Somewhat riskier when we have been drawing down our reserves in the last two years to cover operating losses.



The GM`s are the ones reaping the benefits. This policy protects the group members just as much as the individual members. Let them pay the deductible for claims originating from their DZ`s. The result is the USPA gets a drastically reduced premium with minimum exposure to the USPA.

I hope you are right about the membership numbers. I personally think the projections are overly optimistic. Plan for the worst, Hope for the best.


Edit: to correct spelling error.

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The thought occurred to me that we should consider cutting back to just one meeting per year. But my guess is that it would cause more problems then it would solve in terms of BOD oversight of the staff, etc. I'd love to move to more virtual meetings, but so many of the BOD members are luddites that, again, I suspect it would be more trouble than it's worth to get everyone set up.



Every DZ in the country has at least three computer geeks, and they would probably fight over the chance to handle the technical end of a virtual board meeting.

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I haven't the foggiest idea. I suspect there will be some contraction across the board.***


Running a business or association and balancing the budget is not GUESS WORK!

Q ,do you realize that the next BOD meeting is costing 13.5% of our deficit and ya'll want to raise our rates. That is COW CRAP!

USPA is not the Federal GOVT., so stop acting like it.

Chris

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How about increasing group membership dues? Bad news is they have all renewed for 2009 already, so it would take an extra year to have any effect.



There's a good idea...raise it by 300% and I bet things will be substantially better next year. ;)

Blues,
Dave
"I AM A PROFESSIONAL EXTREME ATHLETE!"
(drink Mountain Dew)

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I am not in any way saying that I do or do not feel that the USPA needs to raise rates. I am not informed enough about the budget.

IF (notice the IF) the USPA needs to increase fees, I think it’s the Group Membership fees of only $400 per year that should be reconsidered.

Consider that the USPA were to charge dropzones on a per-jump basis for group membership status. The 2007 Skydiver statistics posted on the USPA website identifies that 2,159,793 jumps were reported to the USPA. If the USPA decides to change group membership fees to a fee that can scale to the size of the dropzone, then no dropzone would have a fiscal advantage over the other in membership fees.

Dropzone owners wouldn’t hurt in the operational price increase because all dropzones would incur the price at the same time, instead jump prices would be adjusted to accommodate the new fee.

The overall benefit here is that money would begin to be coming into the USPA indirectly from tandem passengers, which both reduces the burden on the pockets of Skydivers and provides the USPA with more resources to work with. The USPA would then have a greater incentive to help to promote newcomers to the sport because they would see a direct financial benefit from it.

At the end of 2007 there were 31,264 members. If membership fees went up by $5, this would mean extra revenue of $156,320. The USPA could see the same increase of income by charging group members $0.0723 cents per jump made at their dropzone. The price increase would then be spread out evenly between skydivers, dropzones, and tandem passengers.

Also, this would help to keep the proper people interested in the success of the USPA as a whole.

Consider the mentalities we have (as demonstrated by the voting turn out this year)

- A skydiver who jumps 5 times a year doesn’t care enough about what the USPA is doing because they only jump 5 times per year.

- A skydiver who jumps 500 times a year doesn’t care enough about what the USPA is doing because the $40/yr they’re paying just doesn’t seem like enough money to be worried about where it’s going.

If the USPA turned into a tax based system using dropzones as a ‘tax collector’; and every skydiver knew that every time they made 15 jumps that they just gave another dollar to the USPA, I think that we would have more members interested in what the USPA was doing and thinking up better ways that these things could be completed.
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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Hi chris

I concur that with your opinion that If "USPA " needs to raise money than the GM fees is a likely canidate, and could be based on a per jump basis.

A $400/yr GM fee is totaly out of proportion with the income their making from tandems and strudents.

The unfairness of the GM fee schedule was discussed "back in the day" on rec skydiving and someone mentioned at the time the GN dues of $400day didn't even equal the cost of a cup of coffee/day:S

IMO the fact that the GM dues has already been paid for 2009 :o doesn't mean a retroactive rate increase should be out of the question. Especially due to the present economic climate.

Since USPA is a DZO organization rather than a skydiver org it's unrealistic to expect that the BOD to vote to increase their own membership dues as long as they can increase the jumpers dues.;)

Bottom line: USPA has almost a total monoply on jumping in the US. If you want to jump you have to be a USPA member regardless of the due structure & fairness. So pay your dues, smile & continue to jump.

R.I.P.

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Hi chris

I concur that with your opinion that If "USPA " needs to raise money than the GM fees is a likely canidate, and could be based on a per jump basis.

A $400/yr GM fee is totaly out of proportion with the income their making from tandems and strudents.



If you were to set a per jump fee schedule I guarantee that DZOs would not be honest in reporting their jump numbers.
The idea that $400/anum is "totally out of proportion with dropzones income" indicates you think that USPA should be taxing DZs rather than selling them a service. I think that attitude would spell the end of the gM program fairly quickly.
If you feel that way you should probably form a "socialist skydivers" slate for USPA elections next year, but other than that, it ain't gonna happen.

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A better solution would be to simply eliminate the GM program altogether. USPA is supposed to be a membership organization not a quasi-trade organization that represents businesses. It has been suggested that the program costs more to administer than what it brings in. I do not have the actual numbers to back this up but I would certainly like to see some sort of proof that the program pays for itself or even shows a profit.

Not to mention the fact that anytime a GM is sued and USPA is named as a co-defendant the membership will have to pay the legal fees for defense. There is also the perception that the GM program was the root cause of the whole skyride debacle.

Eliminating the GM program could very well save the membership money in the long run and also remove the need for a dues increase. What benefit is the GM program to the individual member? Are we still a membership organization or have we in fact become an association of drop zone owners?

Some one up thread said $49 a year is a bargain to represent skydivers at the government level and keep us in the air. I absolutely agree and if that was USPA's only mission we could lower the dues since that accounts for only a portion of what USPA spends money on. We spend more on publishing than we do on what the association was founded for in the first place.

The amount members pay in dues each year is not the issue. How the money is being spent is what really counts.
Onward and Upward!

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What benefit is the GM program to the individual member?



At least in theory, to participate in the GM program, a DZ agrees to abide by certain standards: follow the BSRs, instructors hold USPA ratings, etc. So there is some value, for instance, in an individual jumper knowing that the instructional staff is at least up to USPA's presumably high standards.

This line of conversation usually ends up down the rabbit hole of USPA anonymously auditing DZs and publishing the results.

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In theory......

Three of my favorite dropzones are non-USPA GM dropzones and their standards, safety records, etc. are as good or superior to equivalent GM DZ's.

Of course this subject has been discussed many times so no point in beating that horse.
Onward and Upward!

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Andrew

This is the general skydiving forum not SC. Your inflamatory statements and cherry picking my post won't work here.:)

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If you were to set a per jump fee schedule I guarantee that DZOs would not be honest in reporting their jump numbers.



USPA needs to develope a sliding scale for GMDZ' membership fees based on their size. Jump /yr is one way., Number and size of acft is amother.


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The idea that $400/anum is "totally out of proportion with dropzones income" indicates you think that USPA should be taxing DZs rather than selling them a service.



We never called a membership fee for jumpers or dz's a tax. you did to make you point per SC style.

Andrew do you tjink it's fair for the USPA GMDZ's to pay a $400 membership fee per year? and do you think that all DZ's should pay the same fee regardless of size

Give us a simple yes or no for both parts:)

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I think that attitude would spell the end of the gM program fairly quickly.



If the cost of the program is not self supporting and considering the fact that USPA is supposed to be skydivers association, that may not be a bad idea.


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If you feel that way you should probably form a "socialist skydivers" slate for USPA elections next year, but other than that, it ain't gonna happen.



"Socialists skydivers" :S

Even is the a GMDZ fee increase was voted on by the BOD or the general membership it ain't going to happen. And thats a fact Andrew

R.I.P.

FWIW I'm a X USPA member:ph34r:;):):)

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USPA needs to develope a sliding scale for GMDZ' membership fees based on their size. Jump /yr is one way., Number and size of acft is amother.



This is how it is already done. Larger DZ's with multiple planes/turbines have to pay more then a 182 DZ and they have to pay more then a club that does not own an airplane.
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

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A better solution would be to simply eliminate the GM program altogether. USPA is supposed to be a membership organization not a quasi-trade organization that represents businesses. It has been suggested that the program costs more to administer than what it brings in. I do not have the actual numbers to back this up but I would certainly like to see some sort of proof that the program pays for itself or even shows a profit.

Not to mention the fact that anytime a GM is sued and USPA is named as a co-defendant the membership will have to pay the legal fees for defense. There is also the perception that the GM program was the root cause of the whole skyride debacle.

Eliminating the GM program could very well save the membership money in the long run and also remove the need for a dues increase. What benefit is the GM program to the individual member? Are we still a membership organization or have we in fact become an association of drop zone owners?

Some one up thread said $49 a year is a bargain to represent skydivers at the government level and keep us in the air. I absolutely agree and if that was USPA's only mission we could lower the dues since that accounts for only a portion of what USPA spends money on. We spend more on publishing than we do on what the association was founded for in the first place.

The amount members pay in dues each year is not the issue. How the money is being spent is what really counts.





B I N G O we have a winner!!

The numbers are as follows BOD's create no revenue and cost the membership approx. <$54000> every year.

Group membership takes in $71,000 per year and costs the membership approx. <$116,000> per year.
So where do you think that difference comes from? It comes from the regular membership. That's a <$45,000> difference. We pay for the program and we should have a say in what they do with our dues.

Regular USPA members create approx $1,700,000 in revenue and we cost ourselves approx. <$710,000> leaving approx. a Million dollars left to feed the beast.

HQ Mgmt PR/Marketing, General ops and info technologies take in approx. $153,000 and cost us approx. <$980,000>.

Communications which includes "Parachutists" takes in approx. $550,000 and costs us approx. <$840,000>. $290,000 difference. If you want to look at cutting something(s) this must be looked at.

Safety & Training generates approx. $237,000 in revenue with only approx. <$135,000> in expenses.
Good job Safety and Training , keep up the good work because the loosing ass GM program needs your revenue to survive.

Last and not the least is Competition they take in approx $19,000 in revenue and spend <$89,000> that's only a <$70,000> loss. Pay up or leave .

You have a working frame work of the "SYSTEM" now. All of this information is based on the fact that I was a member of the USPA Finance and Budget committee from 2005 til 2006.

Chris

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A better solution would be to simply eliminate the GM program altogether. USPA is supposed to be a membership organization not a quasi-trade organization that represents businesses. It has been suggested that the program costs more to administer than what it brings in. I do not have the actual numbers to back this up but I would certainly like to see some sort of proof that the program pays for itself or even shows a profit.

Not to mention the fact that anytime a GM is sued and USPA is named as a co-defendant the membership will have to pay the legal fees for defense. There is also the perception that the GM program was the root cause of the whole skyride debacle.

Eliminating the GM program could very well save the membership money in the long run and also remove the need for a dues increase. What benefit is the GM program to the individual member? Are we still a membership organization or have we in fact become an association of drop zone owners?

Some one up thread said $49 a year is a bargain to represent skydivers at the government level and keep us in the air. I absolutely agree and if that was USPA's only mission we could lower the dues since that accounts for only a portion of what USPA spends money on. We spend more on publishing than we do on what the association was founded for in the first place.

The amount members pay in dues each year is not the issue. How the money is being spent is what really counts.





B I N G O we have a winner!!

The numbers are as follows BOD's create no revenue and cost the membership approx. <$54000> every year.

Group membership takes in $71,000 per year and costs the membership approx. <$116,000> per year.
So where do you think that difference comes from? It comes from the regular membership. That's a <$45,000> difference. We pay for the program and we should have a say in what they do with our dues.

Regular USPA members create approx $1,700,000 in revenue and we cost ourselves approx. <$710,000> leaving approx. a Million dollars left to feed the beast.

HQ Mgmt PR/Marketing, General ops and info technologies take in approx. $153,000 and cost us approx. <$980,000>.

Communications which includes "Parachutists" takes in approx. $550,000 and costs us approx. <$840,000>. $290,000 difference. If you want to look at cutting something(s) this must be looked at.

Safety & Training generates approx. $237,000 in revenue with only approx. <$135,000> in expenses.
Good job Safety and Training , keep up the good work because the loosing ass GM program needs your revenue to survive.

Last and not the least is Competition they take in approx $19,000 in revenue and spend <$89,000> that's only a <$70,000> loss. Pay up or leave .

You have a working frame work of the "SYSTEM" now. All of this information is based on the fact that I was a member of the USPA Finance and Budget committee from 2005 til 2006.

Chris



I don't think we should eliminate the GM Program, it provides value. I just think it should be restructured so that the value is funded by those who are benefiting directly.
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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USPA needs to develope a sliding scale for GMDZ' membership fees based on their size. Jump /yr is one way., Number and size of acft is amother.



This is how it is already done. Larger DZ's with multiple planes/turbines have to pay more then a 182 DZ and they have to pay more then a club that does not own an airplane.



Aircraft quantity isn't acurate enough. Many dropzones have idle aircraft during many months of the year. A fee based on number of flights would be more realistic and easy to calculate because dropzones are already required to keep these flight logs.
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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