First Misty very well said. I will not quote your post but know that I have read them all. Sorry this is long but as I typed more questions popped into my head.
Second while some serious mistakes appear to have been made, SASS can hopefully get past them.
If everything were good and SASS was a healthy organization I would continue along none the wiser. However after all that has been posted it has painfully been brought to my attention that all may not be well. So now as a stakeholder I have concerns. My concerns have a lot more to do with where all the money is going than what I am getting out of SASS. I say this because I am all for supporting a great organization as long as that organization uses my support wisely. I am not accusing you of wrongdoing so please do not take this personally. I have not been a member all that long but I do know that you just recently took over as CEO. I firmly do not believe you got SASS into this mess. However now that I know it is a mess, I have questions and you are the only person I can ask for answers.
To me supporting SASS is no different than supporting any other organization, charity or cause. Use my support wisely and I am happy. But when I see the possibility that my support is not being used wisely then I start to ask questions and if I am no longer satisfied with the answers; I may decide put my support somewhere else.
I am fully aware that in reality I am just a consumer and not a Member. If I were a member I would have much more say in the organization. I recognize that I have some say but it is more of a sounding board to see if we as consumers are satisfied rather than should or shouldn't we do "blank". Past Wild Bunch unilateral decisions have made this clear and while I may not like all of them; they are part of the package and I am OK with it up to a point. That said I see my self more as a stake holder in that I want to see SASS succeed.
I do not believe that I have any issues with the Payroll and what the staff is being paid. I also know that there is a lot more than just base salaries in payroll. Typically for every dollar paid to an employee, there is another dollar that supports benefits, bookkeeping, taxes, and other overhead. I am willing to trust that it is fair.
The staff does need to travel to perform its duties with respect to Sanctioned events and I understand that.
We cut the Chronicle back to electronic. Not happy but I can live with that as we needed to save money and it is a start. However a printed publication that members could leave in waiting rooms and other places for others to read about SASS could possibly be a membership recruiting tool. Maybe some of the items below should be cut instead as the return on investment in the long may be greater with a printed publication. The quarterly paper copy may get that done.
What I do wonder is, what are SASS' non-essential money drains?
The SASS museum. It might be nice but I have yet to see a small museum that ever came close to paying for its self. Even if we were flush with cash, Museums are not a necessity. I hope I am wrong but I feel that it will never be much more than a road side curiosity and an expensive one at that.
Founders Ranch. Answered that it is actually a gold mine. Interesting.
SASS convention. Nice but this too should pay for itself or nearly so. If it doesn't, then it needs to be curtailed to the point it pays for its self or very nearly so. The administrative functions that are performed at the convention are important and the seminars are valuable. However the rest is nice to have. I have been part of several club boards and banquet committees. My experience has shown that catered events are very very expensive. Throw in live entertainment and they can rapidly become money pits. I know that the convention is now a biannual affair but if finances are so bad why not cancel the upcoming one or curtail the fringe benefits. This far out there shouldn't be a lot of non-refundable fees and it there are, do they add up to more than the money lost having it? If people want to be entertained, wined, and dined; Las Vegas is chocked full of places from inexpensive to over the top. All they have to do is decide how much they want to pay.
EOT. Real nice but in its current venue unless it pays for its self it needs to be restructured so that it breaks even. Better yet why not make it a traveling venue where more members can attend it at least once or twice without shelling out a lot of coin to do so. It should be held in venues where it at least has the possibility to be a recruitment tool. As it is now it is of little benefit except to those members that can afford to attend.
Lawsuit. SASS should have insurance that covers things like this.
I have read almost every post and unless I am mistaken SASS is in dire financial trouble. I get that idea because your are asking for a fee increase to offset a budget shortfall in excess of $300,000. If founders ranch is a gold mine as previously stated them I am even more perplexed as to where all the money is going. I am also perplexed as not long ago I was lead to believe that SASS was 4 times larger than it actually is. There was a really big deal made of breaking 100,000 members. Instead it was really that 100,000 people had tried SASS at least once, but the vast majority are no longer paying customers for a multitude of unknown reasons.
Just asking the membership for more money isn't going to save SASS because the cat is now out of the proverbial bag and no amount of stuffing is going to get it back in.
Love alone will not sustain SASS. A lot of people are complaining about the $20 increase and depending on your situation it may or may not be a deal breaker. To me I see all this as an issue because of the unannounced large increase in dues with the justifications coming only after the customers balked.
I am sure that many of us are concerned because we are now learning that SASS as a sanctioning body is not what we thought is was and an operating budget in excess of ½ million dollars is not enough for it to to function as a sanctioning body.
I know that as a consumer I am not really entitled to answers to the above questions. However as a stakeholder I am asking them because I care about the future of SASS.