Archive for the ‘Why?’ Category

Oops!

April 1, 2009

In my previous Dues & Fees Increase post, I listed the one-year renewal for PRO ratings to be $15 and two-year as $35. It was a misprint and should have read that it’s $15 for a renewal without a card or $35 for a renewal with a card. We also posted a full list of prices (including rates for our members living overseas) on the USPA news page.

Dues & Fees Increase

March 9, 2009

By now you may have heard (or read our February 8th news post) what will be extensively reported in the April issue of Parachutist—USPA has raised dues as well as license and ratings fees, effective April 1st. I can guess your initial reaction; no one likes to pay more for anything. And you can bet that the issue was extensively debated at the February board meeting. But the board was faced with the reality that dues and fee increases had to happen. Here’s why. USPA ended 2008 spending just over $500,000 more than it took in. Part of the reason was the stock market. USPA has a rainy day fund of over $1.5 million invested, and most years we’re able to count as revenue the interest earned as well as the increased value of the stocks. But not last year. Add to that the rise in cost of providing basic services. Importantly, 2008 was the fourth year in a row of red ink, so the decision was made to come up with a balanced 2009 budget that doesn’t depend on investments.

But USPA wouldn’t ask you to pay more before we cut expenses first, which we started doing mid-2008. Largely through attrition we’ve reduced staff to 14 full-timers, down from the high of 24 in 1999. We’ve also trimmed other areas so that proposed expenses for 2009 are $161,000 less than what was budgeted in 2008. Not only that, 2009’s proposed expenses are also less than what we spent in 2007 and 2006. Still, we needed to find new sources of revenue in order to come up with a balanced budget for 2009. So, individual member renewal dues were raised by six dollars to $55. First-year member dues were increased by $14 to $65, largely to help recover the cost of PR efforts to attain new skydivers. License fees were increased by $10 and ratings fees and the rating renewal fee were also raised by $10. Group Member dues paid by DZs were increased by 25%. Here are the new rates:

New membership–$65 (paid only one time, ever)
Renewing membership–$55
License fee–$30
New coach rating–$35
New instructor rating–$50
Rating renewal–$30 (for one or multiple ratings)
New PRO rating–$65
PRO rating renewal–$15/35 (no card/new or replacement card*)

New Group Member Dues
Category 1–$250
Category 2–$375
Category 3–$750

Renewal Group Member Dues
Category 1–$125
Category 2–$250
Category 3–$500

* edited 3/31 to change “PRO rating renewal–$15/35 (one-year/two-year)” to “PRO rating renewal–$15/35 (no card/new or replacement card*)”

No discount for no magazine?

October 15, 2008

A lot of people wonder about this, and at first glance, it sounds reasonable. If a portion of my dues goes towards printing the magazine, why can’t I get that back if I choose not to receive the mag?

The answer is the economy of size. Or maybe it’s macro economics, or trickle down something, I don’t know, I nearly failed high school econ. Anyway, the biggest cost of printing the magazine is the setup. The savings in printing 20,000 copies versus 30,000 copies is so small it’s laughable.

The next question is, why can’t I get an online version for less money? Well, not only do we pay just about the same to print the magazine for everyone else, but it actually costs a good amount of money to make an e-version that’s in any way usable, cool or helpful. We could pretty easily put together a pdf or flash page-flippy-dippy thing, but to be honest, those tend toward lameness. We think the quality of photos and layouts merits a decent looking magazine, and we haven’t found a reasonably priced way to do that electronically. Yet.

What we really need at headquarters is YOUR OPINION. Not just yours, either – your friend’s and their friend’s and even those silly 4-way guys over in the corner you mock (but secretly want to be like – admit it). If 25,000 of you would prefer an electronic version to printed, well then, obviously we’d do our best to make that happen for you! Or, do you know of a fantastically brilliant way to make all this happen? Let us know – by e-mail, phone call or comment here.

Why does USPA sell mailing lists?

September 11, 2008

*note: this is in response to the earlier ‘Why?’ blog – post a comment there if you have another question for USPA

A member’s name and address is only sold if the person has indicated they would like to be on a mailing list. There is an option on the membership form where the person can choose not to be included on the mailing list.

USPA occasionally sells the list to those interested in the skydiving market. Para-Gear and Square One are two vendors who frequently request mailing list so they can send members catalogs and other skydiving goodies. Nearly all the requests are from skydiving companies or DZs. All vendors sign a contract stating that they will only use the list one time.

USPA does not sell phone numbers or e-mail addresses of its members.

Over the past year, USPA has made approximately $6,000 in non-dues revenue with this program. This helps keep the cost of membership dues down while providing members with useful skydiving information and tools.

Why?

September 4, 2008

Why does USPA sell its mailing list? Why do BOD meeting minutes take so long to be published? Why are new licenses printed in Parachutist? Why is USPA in Fredericksburg, Virginia? Why can’t ratings be renewed online? Who decides what pictures get into Parachutist and why do they pick the ones they do? Why is the sky blue?

If you have a question about why USPA does some of the things it/we do, fire away! We’re working on a website feature where you can do this too, but until then, post a comment here with your question and we’ll do our best to answer it in a separate blog post.