View Full Version : A USMS Foundation

September 24th, 2004, 09:25 AM
Has the USMS ever consider starting a foundation? Many nonprofit organizations have one so that their members and other intersted parties can give large donations and the organization can use the foundation to help with extensive costs.
Generally, they are very easy to run once they have been started.

Or does the USMS have a donation mechanism connected to the membership? Has anyone ever discussed a true membership drive? I've never seem any type of membership pamphlett or brochure. If the new magazaine is going to be the property of USMS, this seems to me to be a great way to entice more people into membership and making donations. I live in a small town of about 33,000 in west central Illinois. There are two members to CMSA, however, there are other poeple who have swam in college and still swim. When I've mentioned USMS to them, they do not see a reason to become a member -two used to get Fitness Swimmer and didn't know about Swim Magazine.

I generally swim in postal races because trips to Chicago to swim for the day can be very expensive. The organization does offer many benfits to swimmers outside of simply being a link to compettition. Oddly, I don't even know towhom to address this question.

USMS has so many benefits that many people could use. The organization seems ot be very passive though.

September 24th, 2004, 11:30 AM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
Has the USMS ever consider starting a foundation? ....Or does the USMS have a donation mechanism connected to the membership?
Look on your annual registration form. It is supposed to have a place where you can write in a donation to "USMS Foundation". If your's doesn't, your LMSC has removed it for some reason.

Has anyone ever discussed a true membership drive? I've never seem any type of membership pamphlett or brochure.
They are available free in the publications area http://www.usms.org/admin/natoffice.htm.

The organization seems ot be very passive though. ]
Not at the level where growth actually happens. There is LOTS of building activity at the club level. Consider that, over the years, USMS has continued to grow despite annual non-renewal rates as high as 40%. The clubs are doing a GREAT job of registering new swimmers. What they are having a harder time doing is RETAINING them. That's where three critical success factors come into play - 1) service, 2) service and 3) service. Only if the services/$ ratio represents a great value to the swimmer, is continued participation likely. Note that these swimmers may continue to participate in the programs (because the program delivers great value), but may not renew USMS membership if the club doesn't require it (because they may not perceive a great value derived from their annual $35 outlay).

For the non-competitive swimmer, USMS offers something less than a cornucopia of valuable membership-linked services. A membership drive to bring in swimmers that are NOT being serviced by clubs only makes sense if we have in place sufficient services to represent a great value to those we recruit, such that they sign up year after year. Otherwise, its just an exercise in wheel spinning.

September 27th, 2004, 11:07 AM

Your responses to my inquiry about membership drives and a foundation well very much appreciated. I live about 250-300 miles from Chicago, almost everyone I mention CMSA to at the pool where I swim, say to me - why. I try to explain the benefits of the magazine, postals, and the meets. I've tried to get a team started for about 5 years. I continue to swim alone. there are probbly 5 to 7 people who would join a team if they thought that thye could really benefit from it. Unfortunately, they don't see any benefit. Almost all of them swam in college, but now, think that USMS is only about compettition.

Do you know if the organization of USMS has ever tried to reach out to Y's or other fitness organizations. I have found that it is very difficult to reach out to a communiyt through a grassroots level, especially in small towns or rural areas. A collagoation would give local, small teams great support. Collaboration is now for about 5 yeas the buzz word for nonprofit management. Almost all of the master swimmers in Galesburg are linked through the Y. I find that when I do swim with these peole, they are very enthusiastic(sp) about their swimming and are actually lookingfor ways to improve or to work on their strokes.

I wondered about the foundation because I've never seen any information about it in readings. Many membership organizations that have a magazine, run the magazine through foundation becasue it is easier to protect the 501(c)3 status of the membership.

Anyway, thanks for your response,

September 27th, 2004, 04:19 PM
I'm hoping that we'll soon have a better information packet and literature and tools available to address your concerns.
I think the most likely way it will happen is that USMS will come up with guidelines and supporting literature, and look towards the local people to make contacts with organizations.

Right now, there is a fitness comittee, and a "Y" liaison in the USMS. Fitness comittee head is Pam Hamstreet, and the USMS-Y liaison is, if I remember correctly Mel Goldstein.
If you want more specific information about this You can contact them both via the USMS website, from this page:

September 27th, 2004, 04:27 PM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
I've tried to get a team started for about 5 years. I continue to swim alone. there are probbly 5 to 7 people who would join a team if they thought that thye could really benefit from it.

Many USMS clubs started as two people adjusting their schedules in order to train together, perhaps taking turns finding and bringing a workout to the pool. Both agree it would be good to find another couple people to join them (if for no other reason to be able to have a whole lane all doing the same thing during a crowded lap swim time). Over time, if all use consistent word of mouth, they grow this informal group into regular workout group. At some point they might decide to hire a coach to occasionally come work with the group. Later, if the group continues to grow, they might wish to pay for regular coaching.

Unfortunately, they don't see any benefit. Almost all of them swam in college, but now, think that USMS is only about compettition.

USMS is about whatever the leadership of the local group wants it to be about. In a small percentage of clubs it is ALL about competition. In MOST clubs there is a much more even split between those wishing to compete and those who just want to exercise with a group. Generally, the larger the club, the smaller the percentage of people that compete in pool meets regularly.

If you found a couple people to workout with and y'all hired a coach, you'd be in the driver's seat and could set the parameters of the coach/athlete relationship.

A collagoation would give local, small teams great support.

What kind of collaboration did you have in mind? I've heard it suggested that USMS hire coaches on a provisional basis and "seed" pools with them in order to start and grow USMS programs that would eventually become self-sufficient. While, in reality, that's not supportable within the current USMS structure, it does point to a knowledge that the real determining factor to whether programs will grow and endure is the presence of a coach with a passion for working with adult swimmers.

If that coach is a risk-taking entrepreneur type, the chances of growth/success go way up. Unfortunately, I think a large percentage of people drawn to coaching tend to be controlling comfort/status-quo seekers instead of risk takers.

NOW I'm gonna get hate mail.

September 27th, 2004, 11:38 PM
We do have the USMS Foundation on our registration form. When you register for 2005, you can donate an amount to the USMS foundation.

USMS's main focus is to promote swimming, being fit and healthy.
Our objectives of USMS is service, education and membership. Less than 30 percent of USMS members compete.

Look at the fitness link. The fitness committee has done an awesome job in promoting swimming.

You, yes you , can make a difference. You swim for a YMCA. I know that the swimmers don't have to be USMS members to swim on a YMCA masters team but you can promote the fitness aspect of USMS. Then they have to join USMS.

You can e-mail Traci Grilli. We have USMS brochures FREE you just pay for the postage. It is a summary of USMS.
"Masters Swimming, What's It All About" Get a few brochures and leave them in the locker room and at the front desk. That might help get more people interested in your area.

We are focusing on increasing our membership. There are a lot of projects that various committees are working on to increase our membership.

I understand it is difficult to travel to Chicago for meets. I travel 4 1/2 hours to meets in IL. You are close to Madison. They host a few meets during the year. Just because you live in IL doesn't mean you can only compete in IL. Check the surrounding states. Or go South for the winter and swim a few meets in CA, AZ, TX, GA, FL.

I swim alone most of time. If you need help with your training, send me an e-mail. The USMS workouts online are great. If You have a workout planned ahead in writing, you're more likely to be consistent. I set goals to stay motivated.

We have great resources in IL. Contact us.

Bill Volckening
September 28th, 2004, 06:10 AM
Dear Craig,

There have been several notices about the USMS Endowment Fund in SWIM Magazine over the last few years. In fact, we have printed notices about the Endowment Fund ever since it was first established. The latest notice appeared on page 37 of the July/August SWIM Magazine and accompanied the article "Competing until the Very End" by John Feinstein in the July/August issue of SWIM Magazine.

In case you don't have that issue of the magazine on hand, here is the notice:

USMS Endowment Memorial Gifts

The United States Masters Swimming Endowment Fund was designated as one of the recipients of memorial contributions in memory of David Gregg. As a result, several generous contributions were received by the Endowment along with numerous memorial statements about the contributions David made to his family, his team and his community.

The Endowment Fund continues to be a vehicle for memorials, celebrations and considered philanthropy by the swimming community because its good works will serve us all and help keep the spirit and memory alive of people like David Gregg, Doc Counsilman and others in the process. Because of the generosity of Masters swimmers, their friends and families, the Endowment Fund has now grown to over $150,000.00 and grants have been made in each of the last two years to support worthy research.

Information about the USMS Endowment Fund can be obtained from Doug Church, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Endowment Fund, DChurch@cchalaw.com, P.O. Box 10, Noblesville, IN 46061; 317-773-2190. The Endowment Fund is actively soliciting grant requests for the 2004 calendar year.

Please let us know if you would like additional information.

Bill Volckening
USMS Editor / USMS Endowment Fund Board of Governors

September 29th, 2004, 10:51 AM
To all:

This response has been great. Oddly, I read Swim form cover to cover and have never noticed anything about a foundation. What about a mass mailing to members or articles about the structure of the organization included in the new magazine? Professionally, this is of interest to me. Membership-building is so interesting because it truly makes an organization look at what members want. Has USMS ever done a survey of members?

This week, I'm in Urbana, IL. I've been swimming with the UI master team. All of the people (5) in the lane with me were students. Only two were CMSA members. One guy said he saw no reason to be a member because as a student he wasn't able to travel to meets. I pointed out that if he were at a school that had a men's team, he would travel more to mets. One of the females was a member because her parents are also & they pay for her membership.

Where I usually swim there are about five or six swimmers who do intense workouts. Two of us are members, the rest had never heard about USMS until I mention it. There are several older women who have been doing laps together for about 30 to 40 years. This is getting rahter off the subject but through a foundation, memberships can be more easily retained. If peole identify with the foundation, they feel they have a vested inteest for the membership. Membership rolls and foundaiton giving go hand in hand. Many national fraternal organizations have very high donation and retention levels because of this.

As for promoting membership, has USMS ever done any active membership suppoprt activities. I also participate in the President's Challenge. It is what we used to do in grade school but each individual records his/her exercising/work out. It works very simularily to the Fitness Challenge but goes throughout the year. A simular mechanism that would allow fitness swimmers a true connection to the other aspects of the orgganization would possibly promote retension. In the President's Challenge certain exercises get certain pooints. In time once enough pooints are accumalted(sp), the participant can purchase award goods. some have called the program simple, but it is working. The site is one of the most hit adult exercise sites on the internet.

Also, as I have mentioned, most nonporfit organizations funnel money from their magazine into their foundation because foundation money is generally less restricted.

September 29th, 2004, 11:09 PM
Welcome to Champaign-Urbana. I work in Champaign and swim in Champaign-Urbana.

I don't swim with the U of IL Masters team due to practice times don't fit my schedule. I coach HS, work 8-10 plus hours.

I am a USA swimmer too, and swim with Champaign County Aquachiefs on Sunday since that is my only day off.

This year, Nike has set up a grant to help swimmers set up a master's club, help existing clubs with marketing their club.

Mel Goldstein has more information about this grant.

October 1st, 2004, 09:57 PM
I don't want to sound picky, but to say something is an endowment fund does not necessarily mean it is a foundation. Many 501(c)3 call all donations given to them through memorials or in honor of an endowment fund.