Our club’s finances are not super complicated, but I wanted to take a moment to explain the “model” we are using. Every club operates a little differently, depending on what resources it has to offer and what their leadership feels is necessary to operate the club. As a member, you have a right to know how your money is spent and what we are doing to ensure that the club is financially sound.
Our club is a “Pay for what you use” club. That allows us to keep our annual dues very low, but it also means that every program or event attempts to pay for itself. There are a few exceptions to this but overall that is the goal. Here are some of the programs and their expenses:
The Race Series Program – This encompasses the racing at Tempe Town Lake, Lake Pleasant, as well as the Governor’s Cup, Ruth Bealls Cup, and the Tall Cactus. These programs have to pay for the lake user fees, fuel expenses, maintenance and upkeep on club equipment, and any expenses like food at social events that might be provided in conjunction with a race.
Birthday Regatta – This is such a big event, that we track it separately. In addition to Lake User Fees and fuel expenses, there are all kinds of other expenses, like catering, speaker fees, facility rental (think Big Tent), and other things that might change from year to year depending on the program. This event is the one that has the biggest potential to impact the club budget if something goes sideways, so we get updates from the Regatta Chairman in the months leading up to the event.
Commodore’s Party – This is one of the exceptions to the “pay for itself” rule. We don’t have a facility to host our own celebration, which adds to the cost of this event (as well as others). The AYC Boards over the years have set a precedent that, in order to keep the price of the ticket reasonable, we would subsidize the cost of the Commodore’s Party. This year there were three options and the venue and budget were voted on and approved by the board.
So where do your annual dues go? These revenues are spent on speakers and general membership meeting expenses, hosting the “Dog Watch” Happy Hours, printing the roster and membership cards, club insurance and membership dues in the Yachting Club of America and the Southern California Yachting Association, burgees that we give to our members, as well as making up any shortfalls in any of the programs when the don’t come up in the black. Any surplus goes into savings for major capital investments. The two largest in recent memory being “The Barge” pontoon boat and the “Wicked Awesome” Whaler.
And that is how it works. No smoke and mirrors, just making every attempt to use club funds to create the best sailing opportunities in the region and provide the most value to our members. Our long-time Treasurer Tony Chapman will be giving a short overview with actual numbers at the September Monthly Meeting so come out and discuss it with us!