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3 emails from the Grand Coucil list

We have our Board assigned Topic:

The Board of Directors would like the Grand Council to consider the topic
of _*membership dues with respect to "pay to play", "pay to participate",
"pay to fight", or "pay to...?"*_

We would like the Council to study this issue, and to give us an idea of
the potential problems and pitfalls, the positives and what the council
perceives as the general feeling of the Society toward such a model.

The Directors would like the Council to consider to possibilities of a
tiered membership format, providing potential notions of how a tiered
format might work and how new members might be handled under such a

Please feel free to ask for any clarifications you might need!

Thank you,
Marilee Lloyd
Director, SCA Inc.


I have asked for clarification of the reason why this topic is being revisited, and passed on my personal observations in the process. NOTE THE ENTIRE TOPIC - It is not JUST "Pay to Play"! (Emphasis above is mine). The Board wants to know the issues we see. the Side Topic of the Non-Member Surcharge would seem to be fair game in the context of the issued topic, as it is a form of Pay to Play.

Let us get to work and show the Board we can handle serious topics.

HL Brendan ap Llewelyn


Hi there,

We do know this will be contentious in some quarters.

We want to consider this as we're looking at the larger issues of
membership and what it means to be a member. We have discussed the fact
that people develop loyalty to their local group, their household, their
Kingdom, but not the Organization. Why is that?

We don't want to start a panic by any means, but we do want to seriously
consider this. We want to get a good, solid understanding of several
potential ways to approach this, and differing viewpoints. It is in no way
a "done deal". We are not at all settled on doing this...or not. Please
make it clear to the council that this is the case.

The Board truly is looking to the GC to get a sense of this issue, not as
a fire storm but a real, productive, honest look. We need the input. We
need a studied, professional, business and emotional look. To my mind,
this is one of those broad issues with all sorts of ramifications that is
perfect for the Council as it has representation across the Society. The
less fire storm and more real information we get, the better.

You'll note that I mentioned the impact to newcomers in my original note,
we want to remain open to new folks. So, it's important for people to have
something of a trial time..or something.

The different "pay to..." things in different Kingdoms should be
considered too. Some are pay to fight, some are pay to receive awards,
same are not. How does this impact things...should it be consistent across
the Organization?

The tiered membership is a useful thing to consider as well...a membership
level for students perhaps, for people who want to come and watch, those
that want to participate at certain levels...so that the people could pay
for what they use. What should come with these tiers? All this is on the

There's lot to consider here!
If we were to implement this, it would be with a plan, and with lots of
information sent out. We not anywhere near that point.

Does that help?


This topic is an outgrowth of some of the things that we had discussed at
our long range planning meeting and some questions that have been asked of
the Directors and Corporate staff.

We talked about this from a variety of perspectives:

Should there be a uniform fee structure across all Kingdoms? Would an "A
la Carte" format be more useful for the membership?

Does the NMS help us, or not? Is there a better way to accomplish the same

Membership fees are holding steady, but our costs are rising. There may be
the need to raise fees in the future. (We do, and are, looking at ways to
cut costs.) If we have to raise our fees, are we apportioning the cost
correctly? We have new people, students, experienced members, people who
just come to chat, does "one size fit all" with respect to membership

Is there a better way of handling the whole membership fee thing?

We've also been discussing the benefits of membership -- what do people see
as the benefits of membership, and if we can add to the benefits.

Does that help? It's a pretty far ranging topic, and we're looking for
input from all perspectives.

*We are getting a few comments, mostly from the East and West Kingdoms who
are assuming this is a "done deal". That is unfortunate, as it is
panicking many needlessly, and not contributing to the overall discussion.
I think it might be useful if any comments were to go to the GC (not to
the Directors or Comment lists) list, so that the GC could actually see
them and consider them.*


I'll reiterate, we have no plan to institute this, as we have no idea what
the plan, the goal or the process should be. The goal was to function as
proactive Board, and glean information about potential long term ideas
that may, or may not, benefit the Organization. No more.

PLEASE - If you cross post this make sure people know to comment to a GC member!

(Above emphasis mine)


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 10th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
Given that everyone who attends events pays the event gate fee (and possibly dayboard, feast, or other fees). We're all paying to play already.

Even non-members, who pay the NMS. If that's not "paying to play" then I don't know what is.

If membership is made mandatory from the very first event, there's a good chance that potential new members will be put off.

The SCA is a wonderful hobby, but it's not cheap. It seems to me that expecting people to buy into it from day 1 is a bit naughty -- Allowing non-members to play (at a surcharge) enables them to decide whether or not the SCA is where they want to put all their free time and discretionary income.

I'd been avoiding the SCA for years because I thought it was a bunch of over=testosteroned geeks hitting each other over the head while their ladies watched from the sidelines. Eventually I went to Pennsic -- so I could then tell the friend who insisted I'd love it, that I'd been there, done that, bought the Tshirt and *still* hated it.

In reality I got through Troll, found our campsite, set up the tents then started to look through the books the Troll had given me. And there it was: PENNSIC UNIVERSITY by the time I'd read through the first couple of pages of class descriptions I was hooked.

Now, several years later, I'm an apprentice. I have a period tent. I have feast gear. My garb has gone from primitive to acceptable. I've taken up fencing. Not bad for someone who really wasn't interested :D
Jan. 10th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
Somewhere in what I wrote it says something about the concept of teired memberships. Part of THAT concept is that we'd have to do something for the newcomers so that they wouldn't be asked to pay for a full blown membership to start with. A possibility is that you can come to events but can't fight/enter A&S competitions/get awards etc without being a member. Any way you look at it though P2P is going to be a headache.

But it does work out that the money has to come from somewhere...the question is if not P2P where? No I'm not advocating P2P but I'm not ruling it out yet either.
Jan. 10th, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
But it does work out that the money has to come from somewhere
It already does. It comes from memberships and from the NMS.

It seems to me that people who don't play a lot are losing money if they buy a membership -- it's one thing for someone like me who goes to more than 10 events/year and Pennsic. Being a member saves me money because the cost of membership is less than the assorted NMSs I'd pay. But for someone who lives in an area where there aren't as many events within easy driving distance & thus goes to maybe 3 or 4 events a year, a membership is not cost-effective.

Non-members aren't playing for free, the NMS makes sure of that.

The questions that need to be asked are:

1. How much money is going to Corporate via memberships and NMS
2. Where's that money going after Corporate's got its grubby little hands on it?
3. Why do they need more money (and how much more do they need)?
4. Is there another way to cover these costs*?
5. Would raising membership and NMS by a small amount** provide sufficient funds to meet the needs defined in #3? (Hopefully keeping the current structure but raising the fees would not scare too many people away.)

The BOD is currently a very remote body, shrouded in secrecy. If they want more money, then they need to publish their accounts, and publicly justify their existence. If SCA corporate went away, the tens of thousands of SCAdians would still play. It would require some re-thinking and re-organisation, but it wouldn't be impossible to carry on without the current corporate structure. However, without the "players" the corporation has no "pay"!

*Moving the corporate office to a less expensive location; reviewing other corporate functions which might be better off outsourced; etc. (I don't know enough about how it runs to know where savings could be made.)

**$5/yr on basic membership, $1 more on NMS for example.
Jan. 10th, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC)
Not that I've more than glanced at it but the financials are posted here http://www.sca.org/officers/exchequer/reports/index.html.
Jan. 10th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm... Doesn't really tell me very much, it's basically the bare minimum they need to post to be legal.

I'd like to know much more about (a) how much is raised through the NMS and (b) much more detail of the financial workings of the board -- office rent, reimbursements to board members, payroll, etc. etc....
Jan. 14th, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
pay to play, the dream, or tier
When the dream was first followed in the late sixties, gasoline was 35 cents or less, pay phone was a dime and a letter cost about 8 cents. Today gasoline is 3 plus dollars pay phones are 50 cents {when you can find them} if not replaced by cell phones and letters are 42 cents replaced with lots more e-mail to consume our reading time. These are simple truths that can not be unforgotten. For as we look at the money issue of the Dream we have to remember all that is in the game and all that is out of the game that effects the game. As a father of six children and a player of the game locally and at the kingdom level, I always remember that some where out there is an entity {BOD / Corpora} that has to deal with the U.S. Federal government. Now as far as those who feel that it is too costly to pay to play, my question is have you looked at cost to play golf, work out in a gym, or even the cost for a simple getaway weekend with just the spouse. Yes the cost of a membership is $35.00 plus the cost of the spouse and so on, and on and on. Be it Boy or Girl scouts, youth soccer, football, hockey, baseball or you name the sport all of which have dues, membership fees, and cost incurred or needed to participate in. Now to be involved as an officer or royalty you need to be a paying member yes that goes with out saying, a tier is already in place that if your family’s portion is greater than $60.00 you only pay up to that. The reason for this is not to over burden the larger family at the corporate level, for they pay up to $100 plus per event not to include feast several times a year. So to place tiers into the mix is nothing new.
The truer focus of the question at hand should be what amount of monies needed to be collected from the known world at large, for what purposes are they to be used and to alleviate most of the complaints and “belly aching” a cost comparison to how Corpora’s monies are spent vice BSA or GSA or local bowing leagues and or a dozen or more interest groups that occupy the leisure time of the populace at large. The cost of doing business is always going up. That is why businesses are always looking to cut cost and turn a better profit be it for owners or share holders. In a non for profit or a non “bottom line” driven entity there is less incentive or desire to make the cuts or even to pursue a “better deal “ in any of the “business side” of things, items are purchased or decisions are made based upon convenience be that time or location. As this is to some just a couple of weekends a year {6 to 8 day}, to others it is 1/8 {40 to 45 days} be it two weeks of pennsic and two events a month it is still the dream of each individual who plays. Who draws more “benefit” from a more stable corporate structure the 40 plus person, as well as the person who can “float” in or out? They both do as well as all the people above below and in between.
Now that I have expressed myself and I am sure opened other “cans of worms” I have a few possible ways to look at this.
1. have a place at places like “pennsic” where there is a large cost difference between membership and non, saving money at the gate with benefits thru out the year may boost membership when they see paying $45.00 to the SCA for a couple vice $60.00 to the coopers, they saved $15.00.
2. having membership drives for the person who “recruits or enrolls” the most members in the course of a given year time period {May 2009 thru Apr 2010} gets 1 free entrance to Pennsic 2010 with second place being a 1 year free membership third being a year subscription to TI.
3. look into corporate educational grants or sponsorship programs.
I will talk or discuss these or any other ideas any one may have to continue playing the dream out for yeas to come.

En servicio al sueño y la Corona de Atlantia
In service to the dream and the Crown of Atlantia

Señor Juan-Baptista Ponce IV de Estaponopoly

Coronet Herald for Stronghold of Raven's Cove
Heráld. de Coronet para la plaza fuerte de la ensenada de Raven

Captain of the Black Bird
Capitán del pájaro negro
Scholar of the Academie d'Espee
Erudito del d'Espee de Academie
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


Orlaith Carey

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