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SASS Membership Fees


Misty Moonshine

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August 25, 2015

 

To all SASS Members:

 

Introduction

The Single Action Shooting Society® takes great pride in providing the highest quality product and services to our members- and has for over 30 years. Price increases are a fact of life at certain points in the economic cycle; and while nobody likes them, no one company can stem the tide.

SASS® and its members operate by a certain code; something we refer to as “The Cowboy Way”. In the spirit of full disclosure to our members, it is with this code in mind that I address your concerns regarding the membership rate increases- with honesty.

SASS® is a business, and that business has been struggling through the dismal economy for some time now. As a multi-faceted organization, our expense streams are extensive; and many of those expense streams have been sustained for over 30 years without a counter income stream to cover them. The result has been a thorough depletion of membership revenue to cover the costs associated with club affiliation and sanctioning fulfillment items.

SASS® tackles consistent challenges regarding membership recruitment and retention, governing and sanctioning fulfillment, club affiliations, industry partnerships, value and quality of products and services, employees, legal issues, licensing and fees, and insurance.

The fact of the matter is, SASS® is faced with a steady decline in revenue and rising numbers in the cost of doing business. Despite valiant efforts to reduce expenses across the board without compromising the quality of our products and services, SASS® still faced significant financial shortfalls. The decision to increase membership dues, along with the introduction of a club affiliation fee and the recent implementation of a per-shooter sanctioning fee isn’t about profitability, it is about sustainability.

 

SASS’ transition to a Non-Profit Corporation

As previously stated, SASS® is in the process of transitioning to a Non-Profit Corporation. You may have also caught the term “Not-for-profit” corporation in a few instances. Since both terms have been in use, it makes sense to ask “what is the difference between a nonprofit and a not-for-profit?”. In a technical sense, it's probably correct to say there is no significant difference between the two terms. State "nonprofit" or "not-for-profit" corporation statutes sometimes use both terms side by side to suggest they are synonymous. The IRS does make one distinction though. In some publications, the IRS explains that for them "not-for-profit" refers to an activity, for example, a hobby (like shooting). In contrast, "nonprofit" refers to an organization established for purposes other than profit-making. Note: nonprofit does not necessarily mean "charitable." SASS® is consulting with business attorneys on retainer to ensure the transition is successful. It has yet to be determined which of these two designations SASS will best be categorized as. I apologize if my exchange of the two terms has caused any confusion.

A lion’s share of the work associated with the transition to Non-Profit has been to “sharpen our pencils” and clean out all the corners of the corporation. A detailed examination and evaluation of all aspects of the business has been and is being conducted. It is this scrupulous investigation that has brought to the surface multiple concerns regarding the services and related revenue and expenses.

The transition is in progress. The process is lengthy and tedious to ensure that SASS is positioned for success.

 

 

SASS Membership

SASS is a membership organization at its core. Annual SASS Members are the lifeblood of the organization, and annual SASS Membership has been in a steady decline for years. Added to that, historically membership revenue has been utilized to cover costs of other SASS expense streams; ie: Club affiliation support and sanctioning services- services that had been undervalued and offered at no charge for over 30 years- essentially depleting membership resources and leading to the organization’s inability to grow the benefits of the membership program.

 

Member Stats (as of 8.25.2015)

 

Membership Type- Description- Total #

Annual – Active Annual, renewing annually members: 19867

Corporate- Corporate members:7

Endowment- Non- renewable, no revenue impact:97

Life- Non-renewable, no revenue impact: 7568

Patron- Non- renewable, no revenue impact: 53

Military- Membership “on hold” while on deployment: 9

Inactive- Inactive members: 67750

Invalid- SASS #’s marked as invalid; skipped #’s that were not issued:41

None- “None” is a classification for members who do not want to be contacted by SASS:3328

Deceased- Deceased SASS members (upon notification to SASS HQ, the members profile type is marked as deceased:1768

Unknown- Variance in un-issued SASS numbers:2722

TOTAL 103210

 

The Cowboy Chronicle

The Cowboy Chronicle ceased being offered in a printed format after April 2014. SASS management anguished over the decision for months; but with the publication losing approximately $24K a month due to a significant drop in advertising revenue, we were faced with few options. 2015 has reflected an upward trend in the economy and print media market for publications, leading to SASS’ optimism regarding the re-launch of The Cowboy Chronicle as a quarterly publication in January 2016. The upward trend is promising, and gives us hope for the re-launch to be successful. However, hope doesn’t pay the printing and mailing costs. A secondary reasoning for the increase in membership rates is to help cover these costs. Printing and mailing costs are estimated at $30K per issue.

 

SASS Sanctioning Fees

Lovingly referred to as the “SASS fee” or a “SASS tax” by many of our members, SASS Sanctioning fees were implemented in 2013 for SASS Sanctioned State Championship matches. Regional Championships were brought into the structure in 2014, and 2015 includes the Divisional Championships. Sanctioning of a shooting match by the parent organization ensures the event will meet the highest standard of safety and consistency- and by hosting a sanctioned event you communicate that to your customers/members. The implementation of sanctioning fees beginning in 2013 was a necessity in order for SASS® to continue to provide the highest level of quality support, awards, and prizes to these host clubs without continuing to deplete declining membership revenue in order to do so.

 

SASS Club Affiliation

Club affiliation and the benefits and support it entails is another SASS expense stream that has historically been absorbed by dwindling membership revenue. Upon detailed evaluation of the expenses associated with this service, it became clear that it could no longer be offered at no charge to the club. Consequently, the recent incorporation of an annual SASS Club affiliation fee was announced. The collection of the nominal associated fee takes some of the pressure off of the already weakened membership revenue and can begin to rely on some of its own revenue to maintain and grow the SASS Club affiliation program and support packages.

 

SASS Membership Pricing History & Future

Initial reactions may be that the increase of $20 per year per member translates as extreme. But considering that membership rates have remained untouched for 10 years, the increase translates into a $2 increase per year over 10 years that happened to come at once, despite our best efforts to do everything in our power to keep rates down.

A financial analysis of our membership revenue and expenses reflected the immediate need for a $16 increase to cover basic membership expenses. The determination of a rate increase of $20 per member is in preparation of investing that additional $4 per member back into the Membership program; elevating the quality of membership materials and expanding member benefits.

The implementation of sanctioning and club affiliation fees to cover their own expense streams takes a significant amount of pressure off the membership revenue long term. These elements help to reduce the possibility of increases to the SASS membership pricing well into the future.

 

SASS Operating Expenses

I have covered income concerns and shared with you the steady decline in SASS membership. Now I would like to outline a sampling of SASS’ Expense listing.


Payroll & Benefits

- Wages & Salary

- Payroll Processing

- Employee Benefits/Health Plan

- Contract Labor

- Payroll Tax

- Workers Compensation

- Employee Education

 

General Expenses

- Insurance

- Property Tax

- Taxes, Licenses & Fees

- Legal & Accounting

- Amortization & Depreciation

- Merchant Services

- Bank Charges

- Association Fees

- Rent

 

Event Expenses

- Site Prep

- Food/Provisions

- Hospitality

- Equipment Rental

- Labor

- Entertainment

- Advertising

- PR/Marketing

Operations Expense

- Computers & Software

- Repairs & Maintenance

- Equipment Rental

- Printing/Art/Film

- Postage, Shipping, and Supplies

- Utilities

- Website Design & Maintenance

- Office Supplies

 

Awards & Prizes

- SASS Stock – pins & badges

- Sanctioning Fulfillment

 

Membership Materials

- Membership cards

- Envelopes

- Decals & Promo items

 

Business Development

- Advertising

- Dues & Subscriptions

- Promotions

- Marketing

- Travel Expenses

 

Club Support

- Club resource materials

- Fulfillment expenses

 

 

As you can see from the outline above, the expenses associated with being in business are significant. SASS has made every effort to reduce expenses wherever possible without compromising the quality of the products and services we provide.

 

Accountability

 

SASS® ranks stewardship of funds at the highest of priorities. Yes, there have been some gambles in the past that didn’t have the anticipated result. For example, in 2005, large amounts of SASS money was spent on a TV series “Cowboy Action Shooter”; that was a resounding “flop”. Along the way some advertising and membership campaigns have been a bust.

SASS® pays its employees a fair wage, and provides health coverage. There are no exorbitant salaries or bonuses. When SASS® relocated its World Headquarters to Edgewood, New Mexico in 2009, the total staff at the facility dropped from 15 to 5.

Revenue is expended with the upmost care; to ensure SASS’ good standing in the industry, cover operational costs, and provide the highest level of quality in goods and services to its members.

 

Closing

 

We cannot do this without you. Despite our efforts to “right the ship” and position SASS in a manner that will ensure its future for generations to come- if we do not have the support and confidence of our members… we simply will not make it.

The mission statement of SASS®, circa 1987, is “To Preserve and Promote the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting™”. It is that common goal and activity that ties us all together and forms the SASS membership organization. Our mission is supported by our members who surround it joined by a common interest to honor and celebrate the traditions of the Old West. We have not lost sight of that mission. SASS® has led the charge in the Shooting Sports Industry; setting the gold standard for safety and consistency in shooting competitions worldwide.

It is my sincere hope that every SASS member is proud to be a part of this fantastic organization and that each of you are willing to stand with us during this crucial transitionary time. Together, and only together, we can ensure SASS’ viability for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.

 

Respectfully,

 

Misty Moonshine

Chief Executive Officer

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Thank you!

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Wow - I'm concerned that SASS is a dying sport - Business decisions to keep the bottom line, but with limited to decreased benefits seem to me to be a sure sign of trying to prolong what looks to be a failing business.

 

I like the sport, and that of course is what it is, a sport. The cost increases will more then likely move me to limit my participation, and payment of my annual membership fees. I fear you will just drive away members, and compound the problem. We need an influx of cash into the organization, and that means corporations with advertisement. I would encourage SASS to look at it's core and realize what this decision will get us.

 

Just for comparison - USPSA $25 or $40 annual fee, IDPA $40 annual fee.

 

Thanks for the good times -

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So much for the Huge membership increase brought about by the move Large & Close , Faster is better .......

 

 

Did life membership go up and when does the increase take effect ?

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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One on the most agonizing decisions a business needs to make is to increase it prices for goods or services. The business usually exhausts its option trying to increase sales of product/services as a first option and cutting expenses is a tough call as a second choice because it may effect the quality of the end product.

It appears SASS has exhausted the easier solutions and an increase in fees is at hand. Customers will be lost. But I doubt if enough will be lost that it will cause the revenue stream to decrease.

 

The only part of Misty's detailed explanation is that "advertising and membership campaigns have been a bust."

Not once, in the several years that I have been participating in this organization" have I been exposed to any advertising or membership campaign, with the exception of extra Chronicles and a few, in my opinion, useless stuff from SASS Mercantile. Perhaps SASS would be better served in this area if it supported clubs and member wishing to increase the membership/revenue with ideas and plans for advertising and promotions.

SASS has an untapped source of knowledge in its membership of advertising ideas if it would only ask. Cowboy Action Shooting is exciting compared to other disciplines. SASS needs to learn how to use that "excitement" before it fades into the western sunset.

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Thanks Misty for the explanation of the dues increase. I still fail to see why a basic membership renewal will be $65.00! From my saddle I get a paper card, a decal and a thank you letter, for $65.00????? :wacko: If I go to a state shoot or above I still have to pay for the shoot and meal. I don't see what my $65.00 is doing for me other than my alias and my right to say I am a SASS member. I still say a 44% increase is excessive! Will I renew, yea, but grudgingly!

 

Rye

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Well put misty. Keep my printed chronical s I prefer digital PDF version as previously stated. Send them to someone that wants the printed version but can not afford it.

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Misty,

 

In contrast to SASS, please consider what a member gets from the Garand Collectors Club:

 

They provide a color quarterly magazine, sponsor shooting events, provide membership cards, provide documentation for CMP club affiliation for rifle purchases , support education and about two years ago sent everyone a free DVD about the M-1 Garand .

 

All this for $25.

 

This may be why many of us are surprised to see a price increase along with loss of the mailed Chronicle. The perceived benefits do not justify the cost.

 

The pinned response from Misty may help with our perceptions. Still many questions remain though.

 

 

In fact, this is the first time I have seen any disclosure of the "business side of SASS" . Better late than never

All in all, I have come to understand that this is not a member driven organization but is really a business.

Is this a fair statement? For example--there are no elected officers with financial oversight or am I wrong?

 

Is the membership really a "membership" or are we "customers"?

 

Can we see the financial statements? ( I didn't see any numbers on the outline) Maybe we can't know this because it is "corporate private"

 

If so---are we just customers?.

 

At the end of the day and with the admitted decline of SASS as we now see it revealed what is the plan going forward?

 

I will need to make a decision about renewal but would like to know if I am making a membership choice or a consumer choice.

 

In order to save SASS ---Maybe it is worth considering a dramatic change to dissolve the business and create a member based organization if only to register our alias.

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Howdy,

That list of benefits didn't include the Wire and didn't include the Classifieds.

Both buying and selling on the Classifieds is very valuable IF you do much at all.

Ads can be very detailed and include many color pix and reach a very interested

target market.

The only downside is other buyers getting something before I even get to see it.

Best

CR

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Misty, Thank you for the excellent explanation of the logic for the increase. However, this does not change the fact that in the last year my income has decreased 60%. If I had not signed up long ago as a Life member, I would not be able to afford the new membership fee. I have already had to cut down on my ammo purchases and attendance at major SASS-sanctioned events. I don't think I am alone in being in a similar situation. I hope everything goes well, but my experience with other organizations that have had similar increases has shown that the opposite is usually the case.

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Thanks Misty for all the info you supplied for us..

I happen to be a life member.. And so is my wife Lacey Corsette..

And yeah... We're old and yer losing money on us now...

But... Could you please send us a freebie ??

 

Two (2) of the new SASS decals..

I'm hopin' you (SASS) has saved enough $$ by not sending me the old ones over the past 12-13 years..

 

Rance ;)

Thinkin yep may not be the right timing or place ta ask..

But hey.. We're both lifers.... :)

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Thank you for the explanation Misty. I think that is still a bargin for providing consistency to this sport that I love. Without the sanctioning body we would not have the great world wide sport that is SASS shooting. If $65 is too much I sure wouldn't be able to afford the guns and ammo to participate.

MCJ

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Howdy,

Your post went up while I was typing.

Three more went up while I typed this.

Guess I gotta type faster.

I use all ten fingers, maybe toes would help???

Best

CR

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While I have read Misty explanation, I still have some questions regarding membership costs and expenses. What proportion of staff salaries, building maintenance, communications/computer support and other expenses are appropriated for a typical annual membership? When I consider only membership related expenses, is would seem sufficient. I wonder if some SASS activities are also receiving membership funding support. In a quick review of the Operating Expenses, the category of Event Expenses develops questions for me. Are annual membership funds actually expended in this category or are events self supporting? If not,,, why not? What proportions of all other budget categories support Event Expenses? What portion of membership costs are to be used to support the new, quarterly Chronicle? Is there a general agreement within the members that the cost is appropriate?

I do not believe this subject just arrived at the WB overnight. I wonder why this need was not raised to the membership in the recent past? The math alone to determine the increase took some time and discussion. I wonder that alternatives might have been considered but were not? While I am no Harvard-trained cost accountant, this subject develops far more questions than answers. And the potential for unintended consequences are real. Sagerider

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Hold on Misty,,,,tis not gonna be an 8 second ride.... :huh::huh:

 

look at it this way all, wud yu rather SASS go under??? The Wild Bunch sure never made it rich from SASS, and I know of one that had more than one mortgage on his house to keep it going at times...

 

count the cost,,,,, is it worth it to have SASS alive and well.

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Howdy Misty,

 

Thank you for the detailed explanation. However for me, it was not necessary. After 13 years of CAS & SASS, I trust that SASS has and does exist in accordance with their mission statement. Thank you to the Wild Bunch & all the supporting staff for the years of dedication. I'll gladly pay the yearly fee of $65.00 ( $1.25 / week).

 

Hasta Luego, Keystone

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Well written summary of the state of the union os SASS. Simple solution. More members, obvious from post. SUGGESTION: find a way to provide renewal or new member info packets (with application forms) that clubs can use to solicit non member shooters or renewals for members that quit paying for say 2 yesrs to sign up. This by far is the most fertile area for members, much higher rate possible than new shooter rate. How about a positive incentative such as giving the club say $5 or $10 for each new member signed up via this process. This makes more sense than what looks like a club tax to the clubs.

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While I have read Misty explanation, I still have some questions regarding membership costs and expenses. What proportion of staff salaries, building maintenance, communications/computer support and other expenses are appropriated for a typical annual membership? When I consider only membership related expenses, is would seem sufficient. I wonder if some SASS activities are also receiving membership funding support. In a quick review of the Operating Expenses, the category of Event Expenses develops questions for me. Are annual membership funds actually expended in this category or are events self supporting? If not,,, why not? What proportions of all other budget categories support Event Expenses? What portion of membership costs are to be used to support the new, quarterly Chronicle? Is there a general agreement within the members that the cost is appropriate?

I do not believe this subject just arrived at the WB overnight. I wonder why this need was not raised to the membership in the recent past? The math alone to determine the increase took some time and discussion. I wonder that alternatives might have been considered but were not? While I am no Harvard-trained cost accountant, this subject develops far more questions than answers. And the potential for unintended consequences are real. Sagerider

Count me in this camp also I would like to see the expenses broken down by percentages.

 

As you already know this was handled VERY VERY badly. While the explanations are coming the way this has been unfolding there seems to be a whole lot of crisis management happening right now.

 

From my experience whenever an organization ends up in full blown panic mode in less than 24 hours things are a usually going to get a whole lot worse before they get better.

 

Too late but a little communication up front could have avoided the stress SASS HQ is experiencing right now.

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If I may pose a question, what's the income to expense ratio for the big hunk of dirt in New Mexico including the lawsuit??

 

if founders ranch was a separate business from sass with no cross revenue, would it support itself?? Would it be profitable?? would it be able to cover its own legal expenses??? It's own up keep?? It's own staff???

 

Are these questions SASS are capable or willing to answer??

 

If the answer is no to any of the above questions, then what value is founders ranch to the "average" sass member?

 

And before anyone answers with "EOT" using the easy numbers "currently active" of just under 20,000 and knowing that EOT had around 500 or so participants, that means over 19,000 members paid to support founders ranch with no personal gain (assuming founders ranch is not 100% self sustaining)

 

And most of the successful matches around the world in many shooting sports are held on public ranges (Uspsa nationals, ATA world shoot, winter range, superstition mystery mountain 3-gun, and many others)

 

I pose this question out of honest interest, but don't expect an answer

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Love SASS. I'll pay it. No problem. But I have to admit I'm not getting a real good feeling from HQ that I'll have the opportunity to keep paying it in the future. Desperation, whether real or perceived, never looks good coming from the home office.

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I couldn’t help but notice that most of the people who support the new membership fees are already life members, and have been members for quite some time. As an annual member who has only been around here for a few years, I’d like to offer a different perspective.

 

As a young family with medical concerns, CAS is an expense we meticulously plan into our budget because it is something we love. Some members are fortunate enough to be able to see the increase as a mere $20, but it isn’t that simple. My husband and I debated long and hard this year on whether or not to renew our memberships. That money ($80 total, I think) could have been used on other more practical things. Ultimately, we renewed for the privilege of participating in a specific SASS sanctioned state match that meant a great deal to a close friend. While we had a wonderful time at that particular match, this year we are looking at $120. That’s a 50% increase in price for something we struggled to justify before.

 

I’m not telling you these things to evoke an emotional response, but rather a rational one. Yes, cost increases are to be expected, but a 50% increase is quite dramatic. From a consumer standpoint, what is it that we receive for $120? A couple decals, the privilege of participating in a select few events, the quarterly chronicle which I barely have time to read and dibs on our aliases at SASS sanctioned events. Honestly, I feel I’d get a better value by investing that money in my local clubs where I could see an immediate return.

 

Other members have commented on the absence of numerical figures in the expenditure list, and the member vs. consumer question is a valid one that raises other questions. Will we be shown the actual figures that correspond to the expenses listed? Are our membership fees being used to subsidize the “Events” expenses, or are they covered by the events’ entry fees? How will the SASS affiliation fee affect local club members, particularly new shooters? Could member feedback/voting have made a difference in the way recent changes were handled and implemented?

 

With SASS membership declining, perhaps alienating new and younger members with intimidating fees is not in the organization’s best interest. CAS is supposed to be one of the most inclusive activities around – it’s got something for everyone, right? My husband and I have been working quite diligently at introducing new people to the sport and people love it. The trouble is, it’s already discouraging for new shooters to learn the initial cost of the firearms alone. Compound that with (increased) entry fees, costume pieces, gun leather, ammo and $65/year for what amounts to the right to a unique alias, all of a sudden your inclusive sport seems awfully exclusive to an outsider. With life members being impacted so marginally and new shooters so noticeably, it’s no wonder CAS is a dying sport.

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SASS is a secondary shooting hobby for me. I shoot only a few matches each year. My primary is USPSA (only 35/year). I don't know if I want to pay the extra to SASS. When renewal time comes I will be looking hard at what to do. Many of my living expenses (sewer, garbage, heat and water for example) have taken jumps this year. I am retired and on a fixed income. Right now my income is adequate, but everyone wants a bigger bite out it. How long before I have to start dropping hobbies?

 

Then there is the increase in .22 ammo ($10/brick) powder (about $5/lb) etc. I don't want to stop shooting. I may have to be more selective. :(

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One of the things about "the cowboy way" I often like to joke about is our warped sense of value for money. And, I do joke, let's lighten up.

 

We spend thousands on firearms, leather, clothing, reloading equipment, supplies, travel to shoots, hotels and meals.

 

Then try to sell a cowboy a $10 meal and they throw a fit. Now, that's funny.

 

It's less a matter of money and more of principle, and it is clear that mistakes were made. Let's just move on. I'm sure everyone has been heard.

 

Think about SASS dues next time you drop $400 on a keg of powder, 5,000 primers and some lead.

 

I'll pay my share and hope we can all work to increase the active members. I think I'll start by trying to get shooters who use their old SASS alias and have stopped paying membership to renew. I'll also be sure that all members of my local club are members of SASS as well.

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I am retired. My income dropped 60% when I hit the time clock the last time. Health insurance costs me $6000.00 a year now, up from $1800.00 a year when working. Property taxes have gone up, food costs have gone up. Medical expenses have gone up. I can make ends meet, but with little in the way of frills. I have mostly stopped shooting local matches, due to transportation costs, ammo costs and the fact I spend about 10 hours traveling to and from a match plus the time there.Yes I do have fun there, but somehow the level of fun when balanced against costs leave a question of worth. When I pay for something as a consumer, I like to know what I am getting. With my SASS customer purchase, I am given a number, a positive hold on an "alias" and the ability to shoot State and SASS regional and national matches. I do not shoot any of those due to the costs and my budget. Local matches can be shot without a SASS customer purchase, so that is of no value in the SASS purchase. I do think it instructive that about 77% of the customers who signed up with SASS as annual customers have not kept their dues current. Whatever the reason, the interesting question for the SASS owners, "Have you considered why you have only 23% customer loyalty number?" Renew or not is one's choice. For me, like SASS the economics dictate my future actions.

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I couldn’t help but notice that most of the people who support the new membership fees are already life members, and have been members for quite some time. As an annual member who has only been around here for a few years, I’d like to offer a different perspective.

 

As a young family with medical concerns, CAS is an expense we meticulously plan into our budget because it is something we love. Some members are fortunate enough to be able to see the increase as a mere $20, but it isn’t that simple. My husband and I debated long and hard this year on whether or not to renew our memberships. That money ($80 total, I think) could have been used on other more practical things. Ultimately, we renewed for the privilege of participating in a specific SASS sanctioned state match that meant a great deal to a close friend. While we had a wonderful time at that particular match, this year we are looking at $120. That’s a 50% increase in price for something we struggled to justify before.

 

I’m not telling you these things to evoke an emotional response, but rather a rational one. Yes, cost increases are to be expected, but a 50% increase is quite dramatic. From a consumer standpoint, what is it that we receive for $120? A couple decals, the privilege of participating in a select few events, the quarterly chronicle which I barely have time to read and dibs on our aliases at SASS sanctioned events. Honestly, I feel I’d get a better value by investing that money in my local clubs where I could see an immediate return.

 

Other members have commented on the absence of numerical figures in the expenditure list, and the member vs. consumer question is a valid one that raises other questions. Will we be shown the actual figures that correspond to the expenses listed? Are our membership fees being used to subsidize the “Events” expenses, or are they covered by the events’ entry fees? How will the SASS affiliation fee affect local club members, particularly new shooters? Could member feedback/voting have made a difference in the way recent changes were handled and implemented?

 

With SASS membership declining, perhaps alienating new and younger members with intimidating fees is not in the organization’s best interest. CAS is supposed to be one of the most inclusive activities around – it’s got something for everyone, right? My husband and I have been working quite diligently at introducing new people to the sport and people love it. The trouble is, it’s already discouraging for new shooters to learn the initial cost of the firearms alone. Compound that with (increased) entry fees, costume pieces, gun leather, ammo and $65/year for what amounts to the right to a unique alias, all of a sudden your inclusive sport seems awfully exclusive to an outsider. With life members being impacted so marginally and new shooters so noticeably, it’s no wonder CAS is a dying sport.

Well said Hattie and may I add that Mad Hattie and Short Wagon are one of the nicest couples you'll meet and dedicated to this sport. Hattie shoots Classic Cowgirl with a .44-40 rifle and .45 pistols! Short Wagon does it all from his chair! ;) SASS is going to ruin this sport from within!

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Great explanation, Misty. I don't think increasing the membership fees by 44% is the way to increase membership, you might get new members, but what about the current members that won't renew? Perhaps some cut backs at the corporate office might be in order. It looks like working in the SASS organization is a cushy job, with all the benefits that the employees have. The place I retired from cut out our health care, saved them a bunch of money, screwed me and the family, but welcome to the real world.

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It's a fine statement -- the trouble being is that it should have been put out in May or June. Credibility is lost when events happen and then, after the fact, are announced. Credibility, once lost, is very hard to regain.

 

I'll more than likely renew. I've been a member for many years and I don't see giving up that membership, but I'm concerned that at least at the local level I'm not really seeing the SASS expense for "support to clubs" that seems to make up such an important part of this message. What support to clubs? A website where the clubs can download rules -- other than that clubs pay their freight for services. I know when I was a match director that we received almost nothing from SASS that we didn't pay for, or that we didn't get sponsors for, and either way the actual dollars left our area and went to the national organization. That's not a bad thing, but it highlights that there is no massive revenue drain on the national organization when it comes to club support.

Declining membership is a problem -- it's possible that the folks who worshiped silver-screen cowboys and hence wanted to shoot in this sort of sport are getting old and inactive and can no longer support a national organization. If so that's a shame, but increasing prices for people who are approaching (or in) their fixed-income years is unlikely to improve matters. It's an example of the Laffer Curve, applied to membership fees rather than taxation -- if fees go up, membership may decline more rapidly depending on where on the curve rates are now. From the "out here in the world" perspective, it's impossible to know where SASS lies on that curve, but nonetheless, it occupies some such point. If membership continues to decline will we see prices increase or decrease? We don't know, but perhaps SASS would have been ahead to do a membership survey to determine if people would quit if prices went up -- and again the time to do that survey was before a price increase. The organizatoin seems to have big strategic goals, but no real tactical plan for achieving those goals, based on the "cart-before-the-horse" nature of this particular rollout.

As a longtime CAS shooter and overall fan of SASS in general, I hope things improve. I'm optimistic that they will as, from this perspective, they almost have to if the organization is to persist at all.

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Great explanation, Misty. I don't think increasing the membership fees by 44% is the way to increase membership, you might get new members, but what about the current members that won't renew? Perhaps some cut backs at the corporate office might be in order. It looks like working in the SASS organization is a cushy job, with all the benefits that the employees have. The place I retired from cut out our health care, saved them a bunch of money, screwed me and the family, but welcome to the real world.

 

Looks like a "cushy job"? "All the benefits"?

 

I am in awe at these comments.

 

Yes, we have a health plan...

 

But we do not have dental, vision, or any type of retirement...

 

6 people here in the office carry the workload of the entire organization. We work hard for a mediocre wage- most living paycheck to paycheck and squeaking by supporting themselves and their families.

 

I'm not complaining- just clarifying.

 

But you know what? We all love it. We believe in SASS and what it stands for; we love our jobs, our work, and our members. I have always said that this job pays in ways that aren't necessarily reflected on our paychecks; and that has always been the pride of belonging to our SASS family; in which our members are truly the greatest people you will ever meet...

 

 

Misty

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Unfortunately for SASS and us the shooters they seem to be in financial trouble or they probably would not be doing this, but as many have pointed out the increases are probably going to hurt more than help with folks not renewing or not joining at all.

 

I don't really see where SASS has done anything to help grow the sport or do anything to help clubs grow the sport, which probably would of taken care of any financial short falls.

 

AO

 

It would be interesting to know if membership fees have anything to do with Founders Ranch ? Lawsuits for FR

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