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And we are back! My apologies for nearly a month in gap in responding! I was down with the flu for about 2 weeks (yes, I’m human; and sadly I’m still suffering some of the effects from the flu) and then broke pattern with my message about appropriate interaction between members of the club, but now I am back to responding!
Survey response about value of membership: Membership cost was raised a few years ago however it was never clearly explained the expenditures for the increase. It seems the increase was needed to fund a training camp for the elite team.
I suppose I am the best person to answer this since I was Treasurer of the Club at the time the decision was made. I gave a semi-long explanation of the reasons membership costs were raised a few years ago at the 2016 Annual Meeting & Kona Viewing Party, but I know that when I get up to talk in front of the group about finances and numbers, people tune me out. Finances are boring while drinks and raffles are more exciting. I would tune me out too if I wasn’t the one giving the presentation!
When the Board of Directors discussed whether to raise the club dues (the one year membership went from $50 to $60 and the two year membership went from $90 to $95 and we added a $50 “no kit” membership), we looked at two key areas:
- The cost of a membership
- The revenue generated from the various club Programs (NTP, ODP, etc.)
First off, we looked at the cost of a single membership. Every member of the club brings about a variable cost that the Club has to pay: the membership kit (shirt, water bottle, etc), the shipping & handling charges to send that kit, the insurance that the club carries on the members, PayPal fees on membership registrations, etc. In addition, the club has a number of organizational fixed costs that we have to pay: annual tax filings, subscription services (PayPal, Google, MailChimp, and others), USAT memberships, Board of Director insurance, storage fees, and others.
When we looked at these fixed and variable costs that the Club faced, we saw that the Club was actually losing money on a member. It cost us more per member than the price of the membership. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing! That’s why we looked at a second key area.
Secondly, we looked at the revenue generated from the Club’s Programs. These programs, in the past, were major generators of revenue every year. They were volunteer run where people donated their time to make each of these programs resounding successes. A lot of the venues used were either free or super cheap (the space we had at Fresh Bikes for Off-Season Spin was free). So a lot of the revenue generated by these programs supplemented the variable and fixed costs for the club and thus offset the loss we had from the cost of a member.
Putting these together, we applied this analysis to the trends we were seeing in triathlon and in the cost of putting on programs. Triathlon trends showed a slowing (fewer people entering the sport of triathlon, fewer people were racing triathlon, and as such we were seeing fewer participants in our programs, etc.); however, program costs were rising (we no longer had as many people volunteering their time and venues were starting to charge for use of their space [we now have to pay for all the locations of Off-Season Spin] ). So we decided we couldn’t rely on the revenue from these programs to supplement the operational costs of the club.
We took a look at the operational costs and cut back when and where we could and then started running the numbers to find the sweet spot where the cost of a membership covered the fixed and variable costs described above based on changing number of club members. Then we made sure that all programs were designed to at least break even and cover their costs, while any extra revenue from the programs (over the costs of coaches and venues) could be invested back into the Club to put on bigger and better events, invest in the website, give out more raffle prizes at events, etc. This sweet spot, back in 2016, happened to be a $10 increase in the 1 year membership with kit, a $5 increase in the 2 year membership, a $0 increase in the 3 year membership, and the addition of a No-Kit option for those people who have enough DCTriClub t-shirts and water bottles and hats.
I imagine with the rising cost of coaches and venues and items that go into membership kits, etc., that the Club will have to raise dues again at some point in the future. I don’t see it happening anytime soon, but it would be imprudent of me to say it will never happen. The Club has to adapt over time with the changing landscape of triathlon. While we are a non-for-profit club, we are also a not-for-loss club! We cannot responsibly run a club that loses money because we fear the lash-back from increased membership dues.
But having said all this, even with the increased cost of membership back in 2016, I still feel that the value of membership in DC Triathlon Club is way more than the actual cost of membership. The race discounts, the gear discounts, the service discounts, and all other member benefits add up to way more than cost of a 1 year membership in the DCTriClub!
As our Director of Partnerships has said: we are #theclubthatpaysyouback !
President | DC Triathlon Club