View Full Version : Using SMS Finances to Grow our Organization

Bill Cleveland
April 30th, 2008, 09:56 AM
SMS Leadership:

Thanks for your thoughts on the first email. These have been condensed here to facilitate discussion and prioritizing for a decision. SMS members attending nationals are copied here in hopes they will discuss some of these issues in Austin and respond with some good ideas. SMS has over $11,000 in the bank and we believe it is in the best interest of the organization to find ways to spend a portion of the funds. After this email, the discussion should be moved to our discussion forum on the USMS website: http://forums.usms.org/forumdisplay.php?f=89 where a copy of this email is posted. It is possible to get email alerts when there are new postings on the forum.

Let’s plan a conference call Sunday May 11 at 7 pm. Please advise of availability.

Your thoughts are needed on the following issues:
1. Candidates for the next generation of leadership within SMS as future “board” members. It is especially important to get some names now so we can get them registered for the upcoming convention.
2. Annual meeting: I will be out of the country when the LCM championships are scheduled. Do you want to have the meeting without me or have it at the December SCM championships?

Background thought to consider as we decide on what to do with our modest surplus:
If we had not had significant cash when Katrina hit it would have had a debilitating impact on SMS, so keep at something 1 years worth of registration fees. Ed: can you give an estimate on what this number is?
We should make choices with a strong focus on promoting more participation and enthusiasm around Masters swimming.

To this end, a couple of thoughts for known expenditures this year:
 We should send a couple of delegates to the USMS convention in Atlanta Sept 24-28, 2008. It would be great to get some suggestions for people that would like to attend. I will be unable to attend. Estimated cost is $2,000.
 We have Top 10 awards, etc. to provide to the appropriate folks. I have spoken with Nan Fontenot at Crawfish and they are planning to host the LCM championships July 25-27 and we could have our annual meeting at that time. It would be good to distribute the awards during the meet. It would be nice to have a volunteer to get the awards together. Estimated cost is $500.
Tom Carville has been providing the plaques for us for almost 10 years.
Carco Awards (225) 929-6026 Carco Awards [mailto:carcoawards@bellsouth.net]

For new ideas:
A. Fund clinics and other swimming related events in various areas of our LMSC such as Baton Rouge, New Orleans, the North Shore, Jackson, Lafayette, and Shreveport. Estimated cost is $500-1,000 per clinic.
B. Subsidize participation awards and/or socials at our meets. Estimated cost is $500-$1,000 per meet. keep the entry costs low. From Fay Lachney: “The additional money from the Katrina funds allowed us to provide nice team and participation awards for the Short Course meters meet, as well as providing a very good lunch. I think that we would have had even more participation in the lunch if we could have held the luncheon at the pool. Hopefully for SCM this year, we will be able to use UNO. For some, the costs of meets become an issue when travel is involved. If we can at least keep entry fees low and provide lunch on Saturday, and drinks and snacks during the meet, as well as a nice participation award, people may be more likely to attend the meets. However, I was subsidized by much more than $300”
C. One Day meets, including one that offers just the distance event would be nice. From Vick Buccinoi: “It is very difficult to do best times if all one's events for a given course fall in a single weekend meet. That is the main reason that a majority of the SMS records are set at USMS Nationals. It is because the swimmers don't overdo themselves each day. Going to Nationals is a very expensive proposition, just to get a good time. Sanctioned one day meets, in addition to our LMSC Championships, are a good way to get novices started and a good way to help experienced swimmers achieve personal best times.”
Added to by Dave Miner: “Although attendance at the meets in Cleveland were pale in comparison to those in New Orleans, it did help spark additional interest in masters swimming that persists today. It is a leadership responsibility to continue promoting Masters swimming throughout the two state geography. This can be done in several ways including clinics, exhibition meets with 4 events and a relay on Friday evening or Saturday morning followed by a social, clinic, or lecture. These typically take less than an hour start to finish. There are usually a core of 5 to 10 willing to do a “sanctioned time trial” and make a road trip for a day. For example Biloxi might be fun. There is a new club with a nice 25 yd pool that would love to get something to kick start a masters team. Have 4 events and a relay followed by a brief what is masters swimming session and then head to the casinos. There are similar situations throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. It may be necessary to rent timing systems, pay officials, etc. If you plan 4 exhibition meets in a year with 4 to 5 events at each, you should be able to offer each event at least one time.” Estimated cost: $500-$1,000 per event
D. A special social event not around a meet might also be added to our list - that included spouse or significant other. Est. Cost $500 plus some sort of attendance fee.
E. Send a gift to all members such as a USMS bag tag or something else like that. Estimated cost is $800-1,000.
F. Buy a first class laser to measure pools or have University Engineering schools measure them for us. I would like to get as many pools that qualify for Top 10 times into the USMS pool length database. If we bought a laser measuring device and learned how to use it properly, we could then use it to measure our bulkhead pools after each session. It is very important that we know which pools will qualify for Top 10 times of a meet. Note to Vicki: could you find out if any university has a first class laser or would be willing to share the cost and we could use if for our meets and they could use it at other times?
G. Nominally compensate the registrar. The registrar has become a very time consuming position in the LMSC’s. Baker can give you an idea of the number of hours per year involved. It would not be possible to pay Baker what he is worth, but the time commitment is certainly beyond what one might expect from a volunteer. Remember that when he passes the baton to his successor it will require additional time to get up to speed
H. We have been blessed with free web-site hosting and a volunteer web-master. We may not always be so lucky
I. Participation at USMS Nationals- consider paying entry fees, providing “Southern Masters National Team” shirts and jackets, and may be offering a $100 travel card. (Perhaps the “unattached” might be persuaded to attach!
J. Get the coaches registered! Offer to pay the USMS registration fee for all coaches, even if they only have 1 swimmer
K. Promote postal events by offering LMSC awards that encourage participation. One year Elmwood paid for the 1 hour postal tee shirts for any team member who entered resulting in about 15 entries. An alternative would be to provide a financial reward to the team with the most entries or each team that has over a certain number of entries.
L. Provide incentives to increase open water competition- local meets? Help pay expenses to send a SMS swimmer to open water nationals? Sponsor a group to do the Maui channel swim relay?

April 30th, 2008, 12:12 PM
SMS Leadership:

Thanks for your thoughts on the first email. These have been condensed here to facilitate discussion and prioritizing for a decision.
After this email, the discussion should be moved to our discussion forum on the USMS website: http://forums.usms.org/forumdisplay.php?f=89
Let’s plan a conference call Sunday May 11 at 7 pm. Please advise of availability.
H. We have been blessed with free web-site hosting and a volunteer web-master. We may not always be so lucky
I like the use of this forum for these sorts of discussions... makes a great archive which could be very useful to future leadership, as well as being a good historical reference point.
Once you learn the system is is easy to code links like this:
Using SMS Finances to Grow our Organization (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=10675)
... and you can use this to setup posts that archive collections of related topics...

I should be able to make the conference call.

SMS Web Hosting, etc.

SMS Web Hosting

It is unlikely we will loose our free website hosting through USMS, but if we should it is possible to get very inexpensive hosting through a service like GoDaddy (http://www.godaddy.com/). Suitable hosting plans are available there for about $4/mo (this is a typical, very competitive price), so annual costs for web hosting is can currently be estimated at $48/yr. As with everything else in the web/computer industry the services vs. price is very volatile, so you need to check at the time for current pricing... but typically the economy plans of any web host service run about $4-5/mo, they just offer more for your money as time goes on. Our site is currently very simple, so just about any cheap-o hosting plan will do. Again... I don't see us loosing our hosting at USMS anytime soon, if ever, so it is nothing to worry about now.

SMS Domain Name Registration

This item is VERY important and needs to be kept up with.

Costs are typically about $10/yr or less... so hosting and domain name registration can typically be done for $60/yr or less (this is true for ANY web site... it is an incredibly inexpensive advertising and information release medium).

When I started publishing the SMS web I suggested that the person controlling the money keep up with this, apparently that is being done. The easiest way to keep it up is to feed a Credit Card number to the service that you register your Domain Name with. Occasionally you need to login to the account to update the expiration date of the credit card, but other than that it is a no-maintenance issue (unless you change web hosts).

Most Domain Name registration services also provide hosting, so typically you can get these two items done in one place, which tends to simplify things. I do ALL my Domain Name registrations at GoDaddy (same link as above).

You can check/verify the registration information of any domain name by looking it up in the appropriate "Who Is" directory. Domain names are like property and there is a public record for who "owns" them. (Though there are ways to get "privacy" for your registration.)

To look up Who is info I usually start with InterNIC (http://www.internic.net/whois.html).

The full domain name (plus the extension) for the SMS web is:
here are the full Who Is results (http://reports.internic.net/cgi/whois?whois_nic=southernmastersswimming.org&type=domain) for it at InterNIC.

Here is the short story for the results:
Created On:02-Feb-2002 16:17:13 UTC
Last Updated On:23-Jan-2006 01:20:03 UTC
Expiration Date:02-Feb-2009 16:17:13 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:eNom, Inc. (R39-LROR)
Registrant Name:William Cleveland
Registrant Organization:Southern Masters Swimming LMSC

Bill is handling this... we are good till 2-Feb-09.

If this is not kept up we will not loose our web (as long as it is hosted free at USMS), but we could loose the pointer to it... that is why it is important to keep up the Domain Name registration.

SMS Web Publishing

I put a tremendous amount of energy into the SMS web at first, mostly because I had the time. It does not need to be as complicated as it is now, I don't think a lot of the information is accessed very much. I've thought of scaling it back, but since it all works I've just let it be.

Web publishing is not a whole lot more complicated than creating documents in a program like MS Word and then moving them around on your system using a file manager like Windows Explorer. If you understand the fundamentals of text document creation and file management, web publishing is not much of a leap.

I don't see the need for ever having to pay for web publishing.

I don't want to go into a detailed explanation here of how I publish the SMS Web other than to say that I created and maintain the web using very simple and free tools, and I've recently discovered another free tool that is may be even easier.

I've set the web up so that the most common updates are minimal, and mostly all in one place.

I've started a section of the SMS Web dedicated to how to manage it. This post has given me some inspiration to add some additional details. My intention is to provide enough instruction at he web so that just about anyone could take it over.

The SMS Web Management (http://www.southernmastersswimming.org/web/) page is the place to start.

Just for the record...

I currently edit the web pages using Mozilla KompoZer (http://www.kompozer.net/)
This free program is available for a number of platforms including Windows and Mac.
It is very simplistic (the way I use it anyway), but it is very effective.

While KompoZer offers FTP publishing capabilities, I'm more in the habit of using a dedicated FTP client. There are lots of free ones at Download.com (http://www.download.com/). I'm currently using FileZilla (http://www.download.com/FileZilla/3000-2160_4-10308966.html), but have also used Core FTP LE (http://www.download.com/Core-FTP-LE/3000-2160_4-10195752.html) in the past.

The free software I'm considering switching to is:
NetObjects Fusion Essentials (http://www.netobjects.com/html/essentials.html)
This software is a bit more complicated in that it has a lot more options (that can confuse the new user), but it is a bit more "bulletproof" in that it is easier to make the final publish, as well as maintain a consistent look throughout the site.

Again, this is just for the current record... I'll put up more details at the SMS web in the next few weeks/months... as I get a round tuit.

As for me continuing to publishing the SMS Web I'm OK with it indefinitely.

If you find someone local who wants to do it then that is OK too.

I'm enjoying it both for the experience and the prestige (I consider it a nice feather in my cap... and being able to say I do it has opened a few doors).

Recently I've been dragging my feet on some updates because it has been a rain/pour situation lately (PC meltdown, job searches, and possibly having to move within Austin again to name a few), but that can't last forever.

I did not register to swim at the nationals meet here this weekend, but I hopefully will be able to drop by for a visit on a day other than Sunday.

I'll send Bill my (cell) phone number in case anyone want to contact me quickly (or relatively quickly, I'm not glued to my phone).

If anyone wants to e-mail their cell phone number to me you can do that by using the e-mail link associated with my profile here (if you don't already have it). A link to my profile here is available with every post I make.

See y'all later.

Bill Cleveland
May 1st, 2008, 12:12 PM
From Courtenay Murakowski:

Hi Baker and Bill,

I know you all want to move this to the forum page, but I went to it and you have to log in, which means you have to be registered somehow, and have yet another password. I don't have time or memory space in my little pea brain for either. So I hope you forgive me for emailing you instead of putting my thoughts on the forum page. If you want to cut and paste it in for all to see, by all means do so. Just wanted to throw in my 2 cents worth on the use of funds question.

I am very much in agreement with Vickie and Dave. I would love to see some of the extra money go toward sponsoring 1 day sanctioned meets and/or clinics in various towns throughout our area of responsibility. I think the money would be much better spent that way, in making events accessable to all rather than using it to subsidize ideas that only would benefit 4 or 5 people in the entire region. The average swimmer, whom we want to keep interested in the sport, may not have enough time or money to attend even regional events that are long and require hotel stays etc. But more frequent one day meets, especially if the actual events to be timed and pool locations were rotated, would have several

1) more affordable and able to be fit into busy schedules
2) gives people a chance to get official times in various events that they might not try if they can't make it to a 2 or 3 day meet
3) gets people around the region to meet others and be exposed to new venues

I also liked the idea of using some of the money for a social/awards event. Recognition of those who have been working hard is always a great thing. The bottom line is that I think we ought to have more opportunities for people to get together within the region to swim and socialize, and I think one day events are a perfect way to get people on the road within the region.

Warm Regards, Courtenay

CDR Courtenay E. Murakowski, USN
COMM: (504) 678-6451
DSN: 678-6451
FAX: (504) 678-0629

Bill Cleveland
February 9th, 2009, 10:10 AM
Fellow Southern Masters Swimmers:

This string of posts will be used as the basis of discussion and decisions at the upcoming April 24-26, 2009 SMS annual meeting for the best use of the funds we have at our disposal. At the end of 2008, SMS had over $16,000 in the bank. It does not make sense to keep all of this money in the bank when it can be spent to the benefit of current members whose dues have largely created this balance.

This post follows on a previous post made in May, 2008 to inspire a similar discussion. Please read both and use these to shape input and provide new ideas and insights. The following points are from the minutes of the 2008 SMS annual meeting in December in Shreveport. Please use these as a springboard to provide input for ideas on how to fairly and constructively spend the available funds.

New Business: A lively discussion and suggestion session regarding the disposition of SMS funds ensued. Among the suggestions:
(1) reduce the dues,
(2) provide a travel stipend for swimmers to attend meets,
(3) subsidize swim meets,
(4) a “scholarship” or subsidy for 18 year olds,
(5) subsidize small swim meets and clinics,
(6) pay a portion of the fee for swim clinic participants and
(7) grant a stipend to members who attend national meets.

Members were reminded that SMS has accrued this surplus partly because of the Katrina Fund [a fund set up by members of USMS to benefit SMS due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina] and because SMS did not sent anyone to the 2008 National Convention. Convention costs are a large budget item for SMS. After some attempted and aborted motions, Bill Cleveland announced that all of these ideas needed more input from the membership, and that a forum for an online discussion among the members would be developed shortly, so that these proposals could come to a vote at the next meeting.

Vicki Buccino noted that several years ago, in an attempt to elect convention delegates in a timely manner so that they would not have to register late, as was the case when they were elected in August, SMS had decided to hold its annual meeting in March, during the SCY meet. In order to schedule that meet now, and since no venue in New Orleans is available, Bill announced that Red River Masters was prepared to host the 2009 Short Course Yards meet in March. Members present agreed with that suggestion.

Citing the need for developmental meets which seldom make money but serve the local clubs and their members, Vicki Buccino moved that SMS subsidize developmental meets in the amount of $200.00. Kris Baker seconded the motion and it passed.

Along the same lines, Larry Russo moved that clinics be subsidized in the amount of $200.00, Randy Patton seconded the motion and it passed.

March 10th, 2009, 07:56 AM
Hi everyone,

Great suggestions here! I am very much in agreement with two of the major points already listed above:
#1 - doing what we can to make the official events a little cheaper
#2 - doing things to promote our smaller swim clubs

I have found it very difficult to continue swimming as my training has taken me all over the state and many places don't even have pools, much less organized masters swimming! Cost has become a huge issue for me because I am still a student, and I am sure that the current economy has affected others such that even a $40 entry fee for a meet is burdensome. Additionally, if I am traveling for a month on a rotation, most pools will charge me a $15-20 fee to swim just once. Perhaps an exchange program where a masters swimmer could receive a reduced rate to swim at another pool besides their home pool for a reduced fee would be nice for those of us on the road a lot!

I also like the idea of one day meets - It would be much easier to participate if there wasn't the extra cost of a hotel for the weekend and I could be recovered for school on Monday!


March 10th, 2009, 09:55 AM
Maybe using some of the money to further the education and certification of the coaches?

Giving each club a stipend for general use equipment or making one large order of general use equipment to be distributed among the clubs?

March 10th, 2009, 12:09 PM
Great suggestions; especially those suggesting help with entry fees and travel expenses. More clinics and workshops would be great too. All the suggestions are exciting and could only improve the program. Thanks so much!

March 15th, 2009, 07:53 PM
I would like to see the money used for:
#3 subsidize meets. This can help pay for pool time and hopefully allow us to use certain pools (LSU??) that are well maintained, the correct temperature, and fast. Provide a nice lunch for the participants to allow a relaxing, social time so that SMS swimmers can get to know siwmmers from other teams. Provide a nice participation gift.
# 6 subsidize small swim meets and clinics: One day meets can be great for people who can't give up an entire weekend. For others, travel is difficult. Some areas of the country have several meets each season to choose from, while often we only have one of each. However, it is very important that Championship meets be held for each course in a regulation pool. Concerning clinics, as we get older, technique and injury prevention become very important.
While I don't think that the money should be used to send people to Nationals, we should pay for our delegates to attend the National convention if we don't already. Our delegates represent SMS at the Convention.

May 9th, 2009, 01:15 PM
To encourage discussion on how we can best use SMS money in the treasury to "promote and develop swimming for the benefit of swimmers" in the SMS according to SMS bylaws, I recommend: 1) SMS automatically give first time members a $10 (presently a 25%) discount on their annual USMS membership fees for the year 2010 if this can be verified by the registrar and /or treasurer. The SMS should encourage new members through the newletter and the local club coaches/team representatives. 2) SMS automatically reward those who have been members of the USMS for the past ten years with a $10 (presently a 25%) discount on their annual USMS membership fees for the year 2010 if they can be verified by the registrar and /or treasurer. 3) SMS automatically give SMS local club coaches or SMS team representative a $10 (presently a 25%) discount on their annual USMS membership fees in 2010 if this individual can be verified by the SMS president, registrar and /or treasurer. 4) that any SMS team hosting a SMS Championship meet automatically give first time competitive swimmers a one-time-only 50% discount on their entry fee in a SMS Championship meet in 2010 if this can be verified (ie: to first time USMS members or those signing statement for past USMS members testifying they have never competed in a USMS meet). The host club of the Championship meets would be reimbursed by the SMS treasurer for the total amount of the first competitor discounts.