Your annual fee is divided into two (or possibly three) parts: in 2011, $29 went to USMS and $8 went to the LMSC; clubs can charge an additional fee if they choose. There are other revenue streams as well: the LMSC, for example, receives income from club registration, one-event registrations, and sanctioned events hosted in our LMSC.
What happens to this money? How does it benefit you, the member?
If you want to get a sense of what USMS does with your money, you can check out the 2011 budget proposal that was submitted for 2010 Convention, as well as the Budget Priorities document. And it isn’t a bad idea to remind yourself of the benefits of membership in USMS.
What about the LMSC?
It’s only an $8 fee, but we hope to do pretty much with it. USMS has developed a Minimum LMSC Standards document with a set of required and suggested items; in 2010 we determined that we already did the vast majority of these things. I am happy to report that, since this report was issued, we have addressed each and every “NO” item on this list (with one lone exception: we still do not have an Awards Chair).
On the USMS website there was an interesting article outlining ways in which LMSCs can improve the quality of members’ experience. The article asks the question: have we invested well in our LMSC? This is really a question that only you can answer. A number of financial documents are available on the website to help answer this question (look at section related to the the 2011 Budget). A few items of interest:
- Coaches. In the past few years we have increased the budget for the Coaches Committee. We routinely award stipends for coaches to attend clinic where they develop further mastery of their craft. In 2011 we sent supported several coaches going to the WAVA Coaching Clinic and also to SwimFest, both of which offered ASCA Masters Coaching certifications.
- Communications. We have revamped our website, added monthly email communication, and made our print newsletter (the Wet Gazette) a monthly publication. Coaches chair Jay Peluso has also started a new quarterly newsletter specifically for coaches in the LMSC.
- Events. We now typically offer 6-7 sanctioned competitions per year as well as several clinics each year. We recently prepared a document and created a webpage specifically to help both new and experienced hosts plan events in our LMSC.
- Officers. To increase the reliability of our service, both Registrar and Webmaster are paid positions.
- Incentives. Memberships for swimmers in the 18-24 age group are significantly discounted.
If you examine our budget history, you might notice that we have been running an annual deficit for the past few years. This was by choice: the LMSC has accumulated quite a reservoir of cash and we made the conscious decision to invest it back into the membership in the form of increased service. But this cannot continue much longer and we will either have to scale back our services or increase our revenue.
There is one thing you can do to help out. Our single biggest expense is the monthly printed newsletter. You can help keep costs low if you are willing to read it online and opt-out of receiving a copy in the mail. Currently about 10% of our membership does this, saving the LMSC about $1200 per year.