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Club Financial Overhaul

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  • #3266
    Doallem
    Doallem
    Member

    When we talked about doing the first art sale a year and a half ago, I did not intend for all of the money to help pay for club members to go to conventions. I had mentioned at the time that some of the proceeds could be used to help promote the idea of going to cons, this is true. However, the art sale was initially designed to help cover club expenses, such as buying a new external hard-drive, and funding the best advertising campaign we’ve had in my time here. There are people who volunteered time at the art sale that did not go to the convention. People who spent hours in freezing winds, and yet it was proposed yesterday at the business meeting that all proceeds go towards helping put even more money towards conventions. Under this plan, people such as Angela who devoted about 10-12 hours in the relentless Kirksville chill during the first week of this year’s art sale, but did not go to Anime Saint Louis, would not see a dime of the money she helped make.

    Alas, I propose a different system. One in which you no longer have need of club dues. It would eliminate the distinction between paid members and non-paid members. Instead you would just have… members. Club financial expenditures in the course of an average year consists within the range of 60 to 100 dollars. Despite suboptimal weather conditions, the art sale made roughly 230 dollars, and that’s with suboptimal weather conditions. The club provided roughly 160 for fuel for Anime St. Louis. Revenues from club dues were around 170 dollars for the year. So: Revenues are at 400, expenses are at 240, using an average annual budget. Your club dues helped cover 10 dollars that could not be covered by the art sale. We could have had club dues be 35 cents and still made profit. Or just not had club dues.

    So what would it mean to establish a system without club dues? It would no longer be required for officers to be paid members, making it more enticing for more people to run for positions. It would allow everybody to participate in the weekly Oh No! hour contests, giving the possibility for more interesting contests and a wider variety of shows. It would also allow all members to vote for ongoing shows and officer positions. Why do this? Why remove the long-standing distinction? Because officers and ongoing shows affect everybody who comes to club every week, paid or not.

    Of course, there are downsides. The art sale has been good to us thus far, however it may not always perform so well. Eventually, we will need to find new people to make art. This year, we expanded into baked goods, which seemed to sell fairly well. Art sale aside, a good point was brought up at the business meeting that if we do away with dues, it would be difficult to reinstate them later on if the need arises. It was also brought up that if we plan accordingly, we can have an art sale in the fall semester as well to help support the budget.

    It was also proposed that we could use the club dues to help fund a subscription to a streaming site, such as CrunchyRoll. Monthly subscription to this site would be 7 dollars. Over an 8 month school year, that would be 56 dollars. Mind you, we have a library, one that nobody uses as of now. Why, pray tell, would we keep dues so that we can pay 56 dollars for another library that nobody will use? The second argument for keeping club dues is so that more money from art sales can go towards paying for living expenses during conventions. The third argument is experience with other organizations who have done away with dues and have in turn suffered financially. However, the previous generation of officers have given you the means to make money in other ways, more than enough to keep afloat financially and then have a roast pig at the end of it all.

    I have rambled enough. I will post an abridged version later.

    #3309
    Barbwire
    Barbwire
    Member

    This post makes some very good observations but I’m still very much against getting rid of dues. We, as a club are in great finical standing, but getting rid of dues gets rid of the only avenue of income that we KNOW we will get. As stated above the art sale could fail, and we could not make any money at all, or even worse something (this could be a variety of things such as fines or the need for equipment if the projector in our room breaks down and Truman refused to fix it) that we could not see coming down the line could come up and we suddenly don’t have money to support ourselves. I’ve was once in a club that got rid of dues for many the same reasons that we are thinking of getting rid of dues and then they were broke in two years (I will not state the name of this club because I have a very good friend that is still a member). They then tried to install dues again and the club fell apart from the inside out. I don’t want to see that happen to this club.

    A note on going to cons. This is the the FRIST year club has ever done this. Of course there will be a few bugs in the system that have to be worked out. An order will have to be made so that members going to the con work the art sale that will fund such a con (or what ever fundraising event we decide to throw) as well as making sure that other members dues are not paying into con funds and going to all member events. From the way it looks like the art sale worked this year and it seems like we made far more then we needed to to fund gas to go to a con and that excess money will most likely be either saved for next year or put back into general funds (when you think about it isn’t that bad of situation either). Once we work out the making sure people going to the con work the table I do not see what the problem is with using the art sale to fund con goings. If we do put into action such a thing then getting rid of dues is impractical because relying on the art sale for all our money every year is shaky hope at best to pay for all club expenses.

    On a last note, I know everyone is a college student living on college student funds and money is tight, but $5 is very cheap due wise. Most clubs dues are in the 10 to 50 dollar range and I would never raise dues to that height. If at most lowering dues to $3 would be a better option.

    Another thing (I swear this is the last one), yes getting rid of dues raises the barrier between paid members and none paid members, but what happens, for example, if we get rid of dues and a new student wins oh-no hour (one of the benefits of paying dues right now is that you do get to participate in oh-no hour) and we never hear from that person again. This happens a lot in other clubs where a person comes one night and then decides that that club isn’t for them. Paying for a membership entices members to come to club more often because they want to get their five dollars worth. Not paying dues can translate into ‘that club is not worth it.’ I’ve seen this happen before. It doesn’t end pretty. And suddenly that aren’t coming to club.

    These are just my thoughts. I hope you consider them.

    #3311

    We should find other ways to make money in case the art sale does fail. As mentioned earlier we have expanded into baked goods this is a good alternative in case we either can’t get any art or the art doesn’t sell, because come on who doesn’t want a cookie. If we have one or two of these art and/or bake sales a year, or whatever else we decide to do to make money, we should be able to collect enough funds for all the great pleasures in life. If we need a few extra dollars for something fancy the officers can pitch in, to be paid back at a later time. If somehow a lack of money becomes an extreme problem I think that there might be other issues than the art/bake sale not working.

    In response to Barbwire’s last paragraph:

    As mascot I would be responsible for the oh-no hour contests. If a contest winner suddenly decide to leave and not contact any one about oh-no hour I would make sure that we have something to watch. I would try to contact them failing that I would either contact the person who got second, third, etc. in the contest or choose it myself if I had to. I will take care of whatever happens in regard to Oh-No hour, because it’s my job, as mascot, to do that. If they decide that this club isn’t for them oh-well, they don’t know what their missing. Also, we don’t want people to come because they feel they have to get their money’s worth. While more people coming to club is nice, we want them to come because they like anime and enjoy the company of fellow otaku. (At the risk of sounding cheesy)A club is about FRIENDSHIP not debt, and while paying for membership may entice some people to stay, it also makes some people who can’t participate feel left out. By removing the dues you are allowing people to participate, which in turn encourages them to stay because they want to come back.

    #3312
    Doallem
    Doallem
    Member

    Okay. So. Here’s the Earth.

    Anime, when created, was not created with the primary focus of paying money for people to go to annual conventions. Then again, it also started as about a dozen people with a common interest. Furthermore, I actually brought up the idea of using funds to help go to conventions after last year’s art sale, and gave the okay to help fund this one. As such, I am not some crazed miser sitting in his tower of gold. Sending club to conventions was proposed by a series of people, it just became your project because that’s where the cards fell. Furthermore, many of the new officers are not opposed to the idea of utilizing club funds to support Anime conventions, so long as supporting fund raisers are supplied, set up, and run by the people it benefits. Which you all understand. We’re on the same page on that one, I hope.

    An interesting point about money: when you no longer have enough, you stop spending it. If the people running club do not manage to put together ideas enough to raise money, they do not get to go out and play. And if somebody manages to squander the current bank account in a short period of time, it had nothing to do with club dues, as noted by Dan of the “N”.

    5 dollars may not seem like much, but there are plenty of other people who apparently think otherwise. There are people I have spoken with who say they do not participate in contests and other club activities because they do not want to pay to become a member. Yes, it is true that we can give something back to people, such as pizza parties. Or we could just take our five dollars and instead of sending it through bureaucracy to get pizza, we could just buy a pizza. In the end, nothing of financial value is returned most times, and it is difficult to find activities to put the money towards that thirty some odd people would want to be a part of.

    If a person is not interested enough in club to make a return trip the next week, they probably will not be interested enough to stick around for three hours to participate in a contest. A contest so that they can show a video they have no intention of showing. Club dues have bum diddly to do with that, it all comes down to the officers and the community they foster for the members, how welcome you all make them feel.

    Favor is growing for this idea. It is only a matter of time before it is brought officially before the club as a whole. I am giving you all an opportunity to consider yourselves the officers who got rid of club dues. Through the help of Jacque and last year’s officers, we have given you the means to implement such a plan. Or you could just let it pass you by. The ball is in your court.

    #3317
    Barbwire
    Barbwire
    Member

    I would like to put forth a very true fact for everyone to think about. This year alone we had forty paying members. That is (if I am not mistaken) almost all if not all of the people that enjoy club. It does not seem like paying dues is creating this 'gap' between paying and none paying members that keeps coming up in these discussions.

    And on the note of Oh-no-hour "Dan of the N" I'm certain you are quite capable to dealing with a problem like that, but if it happens multiple times then we have a serious problem.

    What I'm trying to say is that dues are not there to create a barrier between members, but to feed into club growing as an organization. If we need to come up with something to where dues are used every year for something then that is something the officer team can work on. We CAN NOT rely on a the art sale or any type of fundraiser to provide us with money every year. That is literally leaving club funds up to chance which is not a smart move to do. Like the saying goes never count you chickens before the hatch.

    Even when we don't have to worry about money. If we get rid of dues and five years down the line officers after we are long gone need money and decide to reinstate dues can cause conflict within the organization that I want to avoid.

    Just because we have money now doesn't mean we'll have money down the road. Dues are a safety net for club. Getting rid of that safety net is asking for trouble. What if something happens to the library and we need buy a new external hard drive. What if, what if, what if? The world shouldn't run on what ifs but if you don't cover your all your bases your going to shot yourself in the foot.

    And I will say this again. If $5 is deemed to expensive fore people then the better option is to reduce dues to three or maybe two dollars.

    #3319
    Zorina
    Zorina
    Member

    The money does not matter to me as much as the rest. We have shown that we can make more than our club dues twice within the art sales we have had. Some years will be more difficult than others to make funds so those years we can use saved funds or skimp on our spending or just have more fundraisers to compensate. I understand the need for financial security to cover damages if something terrible were to happen, but I believe that by not allowing the bank account to fall below a certain range would allow us to have that security. We should add a clause into the consitution that states something to the effect.

    Why I object to having club dues has nothing to do with the money. Because we have dues we have allowed there to be a hierarchy, two seperate classes of people within the club. You have the members and the paid members. The paid members who give their money to the club and in turn they are given the right to make decisions about what we watch all semester, what events we have all year and who becomes future officers, things that I believe directly relate to the future of the club. To place the future of our club in the hands of only those who pay up seems backwards. We are not a feudal system based upon who has the money and who doesn’t, but it sure seems like sometimes because our current policies value those who pay club dues over those that do not.

    Does any body know how many new members we have aquired this year that have actually stuck around? I dont have the exact numbers but I can tell you it is not many. When I look around the room in Anime club, I see the same people that were in club last year. I do not want Anime club to become stagnate. I want us to grow as a group and make many more new friends along the way. And in order to grow, I feel that we have to be willing to let go of some of our old policies in order to make new ones to lead us into the future.

    #3320
    Barbwire
    Barbwire
    Member

    I do not believe it is dues that is causing members to leave club. I believe it is more members become bored with watching anime for six hours and have school/life that takes priority. On the note about only paying members being able to vote, isn’t the same as only established US citizens being able to vote in elections. It is essential the same concept. If everyone paying and none paying were allowed to vote we can have people voting that never come to club and don’t have any idea what is going on voting and skewing the vote that way. It’s a double edged sword. Yes you’ll probably have more people come in and vote, but voting alone isn’t going to make everybody want to stay. If club numbers are becoming a issue then I think getting rid of dues is the last thing we need to be looking into to keep members.

    On another note. If we do get rid of dues, how can we prove to CSI how many members we have and not get stuck in a smaller room, because a email list will most likely not cut it with them?

    #3321
    Doallem
    Doallem
    Member

    The system is simple: if you don’t have money, don’t spend it. If that means you can’t go to a convention one year, that’s the way of it. If we have to spend a little less on prizes for costume contests, that will be okay. Several club expenditures arose out of the idea of “I have too much money this year”. Pinata? Back in the day they made their own. Granted, they couldn’t destroy it, but hey. The idea of conventions is also one that has been tossed around with little success until now. Under the direction of officers over the previous two years, and I don’t mean just me because lord knows Emily and the others did more of the leg work, we have had two successful art sales. If you cannot convince a college kid to come by to your table and purchase baked goods or something from assorted buttons, you weren’t trying hard enough and you don’t get to spend money.

    On the note of what may happen in five years, we cannot make an idiot proof system to pass on through the generations. That is not possible, or at the very least would require a much longer club constitution. Why not instead make a system in which they don’t have to rely on money to have fun. Don’t throw the library at the wall, and maybe it will last a while.

    I find it amusing that the idea of US citizens is applied to voting rights in Anime Club. US citizens are given such rights as the result of a system based on “did you pay your taxes this year? Good!” You are effectively relating member dues to taxes. Bravo.

    As for CSI, I’m sure Anime Club will manage. SCA, the Society for Creative Anachronisms, does not utilize a paid membership system. Instead, every year they get a list of names and student ID numbers and submit that. CSI has not gotten upset about SCA submitting an email list for the three years I have been a part of it, I doubt they will start now.

    #3322
    Genevieve
    Genevieve
    Member

    I personally feel better for having the safety net.
    I have spent a year as a unpaid member, two years as paid, and I plan on going back to unpaid member next year. It’s a personal decision. Not everyone has to pay the dues and they ought to know they have that option. But for getting rid of dues entirely? That is asking for trouble. You said yourself, ex-president, the club operates in the red. If we lower our income rate and our expenditures stay the same, isn’t that worse? I know you claim that if we don’t have the money we don’t spend it. I’m seriously laughing at that. Seriously, people always spend money we don’t have and there is no way to tell what will happen in the future. “Let’s create a situation where debt results” ~illphonics.

    #3323

    Debt will only result if the officers are complete idiots, and I would like to think that we are not. Sure we may have to do a little budgeting but that’s nothing that we cannot handle. If we have to cut spending in the area of fancy things then we do, the world will not end. Likewise if we need to have another fundraiser to get a few extra dollars then we can. While fundraisers don’t always bring in wads of cash they will always bring in some because if you can’t get someone to buy a cookie there is something wrong with you. Debt can be avoided if we try to avoid it. Barbwire, The same goes for those who come five years in the future. If they are tight for money they will find another ways to supply it. Don’t worry about those people five years in the future if they have a problem with money, or anything else, it is their own fault not ours.

    #3324
    Doallem
    Doallem
    Member

    I would like to point something out about officer elections, since it came up. In the time that I was brought into office, I was not president at the time I was elected, I was president elect. It was not until the shift in school year that I became president. Ergo, I would still be president, not ex-president, and Lydia would be president elect.

    We do not operate in the red. The one time expenditures have surpassed revenues in recent history, this was fixed via the first art sale. General club expenditures can be covered twice over by club dues. And if the new system is adopted, even if a future art sale makes a third of what was made this year, you would still have money left over. Granted if such a downturn were to occur, it is likely that such events may need to be cut temporarily, such as conventions, but the club as a whole will still maintain. By stating that an organization would likely spend that which they have not earned, you are not giving cause for much faith in current and future administrations. The reason why we have the expenditures we do now is because there was money. If future iterations cannot figure to do the opposite, there is something else at issue, and they would likely spend club dues and then some. Thus it should be noted that those who aim to squander money, will merely have more to squander if we maintain club dues. Somebody who is bad with money, is bad with money, regardless of how much revenue there is.

    Club is doing okay. Looking at the figures, even if we remove club dues, club will still do okay. All current and the only planned expenditures are covered entirely by the art sale we had this year. By saying that club will not be okay, saying that all of the money will be gone, it indicates that you cannot be trusted with the future of this organization.

    #3339

    I would like to refocus the discussion on a topic brought up earlier that I believe has not received adequate attention.

    All decisions we make as an organization should be focused on a consideration of who is affected by those decisions. Currently, paid club members are entirely responsible for deciding the two stable elements of the Anime Club Experience: ongoing shows and elected officers. However, all club members, paid or not, are greatly affected by these decisions.

    A valid point was made that membership dues distinguish those with a commitment to club from casual attendees, and thus ensure the people making decisions are the ones who will be living with them. The problem is that there are unpaid members who attend club every week, or at least more frequently than many paid members. Yet these dedicated club members are excluded from contributing to the most important decisions made by the club.

    I submit that the most important qualities of a club member are a high club attendance rate and a commitment to making Anime Club delightful for all members. Any system of decision making that does not have this principle at its core should not be part of our policy.

    Logically, it follows that we should do away with a payment-based system of decision making because it defies the above Principle of Attendance and Delightfulness. Because the power of decision making is the only incentive for paid membership and because other means, discussed above, exist to adequately meet our primary financial needs, I conclude that there is no reason for paid membership to exist and it would be best for Anime Club to discontinue the policy.

    #3342
    Zorina
    Zorina
    Member

    So Summary about what has been going on facebook>>>>

    Dylan would like to propose this to club on Friday. Then, on Friday May 3rd, club can vote on the matter in order to come to a decision before the school year ends.

    Lydia:   I do not think a vote so close to finals would be a good idea. A lot of people will be busy with other things.

    DylanWell then we do it this week. This needs to be sorted out, or it will not likely be in effect for next year.

    Lydia:  Wait a year then won't be so bad. It's been stated before that this isn't a change that can happen quickly.

    #3343
    Zorina
    Zorina
    Member

    I think this needs to be voted upon within this school year.  If the vote fails, then it fails, but at least we would have given the club as a whole (not just who checks th forum) the opportunity to put forth their viewpoint.  If it succeeds, then we will be able to enact a  new policy at the beginning of the school year  instead of enacting it partially through the year and having to refund club members money.

    Nothing ever happens quickly in this club because we mull ideas over in business meetings for months upon a time, shooting one idea after another down or letting them be forgotten, without giving the club as a whole input into matters that affect everyone. 

    #3344
    Barbwire
    Barbwire
    Member

    My concern with it being so close to finals is that people will be focused on other things then having the time to think about this decision fully. Plus is less time for people to put forth their view point. I propose dropping dues to 1 or 2 dollars next year and then having a vote to abolish dues or keep them to be implemented the year after. This is plenty of time for this decision to take effect and if officers really want to do this then it’s not going to go away next year.

    The point of this forum is to debate this issue, but if we really want everyone’s opinion we need to set up a set date and time to all club members to gather in person and discuss this issue, not rush it into completion because we feel the clock ticking. Rushing it will not help it at all and even less members will vote in one issue because they won’t know where then want to stand, and that will skew the vote to only the people that are actively involved in this debate. Zorina you stated yourself we need to let everyone have input so wouldn’t it be good to let everyone that is busy at this time of the year not have this added to there load.

    Obviously this will be announced in club, but the putting it to vote so soon and at the end of the semester may not be the best idea.

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