I posted this to sca-west and had it relayed to the Grand Council List. It was my response to some postings that typified some of the myths out there about membership.
I'm not bothering to pretty it up much, except to remove the names of people I am responding to.

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Flieg here --
This is long, but I'm covering a bunch of things. I hope you all
find the information useful. All statements of "fact" are based on my
understanding -- all statements of "opinion" are my own.

Daniel Fenwick wrote:
> To the best of my knowledge, there is no place you can see a detailed
> accounting of costs and income. The information that is available is rather
> vague and, if I remember correctly, not terribly current.

Not hardly current at all. No actuals for 2005 or 2006 and no budget
posted for 2006, 2007 or 2008 (I *hope* there's a budget for 2008...)
[Note that this has now been fixed, and the 2006 and 2007 budgets are up,
even though the 2008 is not.]

That is part of a continuing problem, alluded to by several commentators,
of communication from the Board and trying to figure out what they think
they are saying. Note that it took two additional "clarifications" to
get halfway decent communication in this latest instance, and as far as
I'm concerned it still ain't clear. (They never have explained what the
"goals" of the NMS were as far as they were concerned.)

> Greetings from YYYYYY!
> My own personal opinion is that there should be a requirement to be a
> paying member if you hold some sort of official position in the SCA.
> It just makes sense from a number of standpoints and liability issues.

This is a myth. There are no, repeat, NO, liability issues that are
any different whether we require officers to be members or not.

Really. Not at all.

"Membership" in the SCA is meaningless in terms of the American legal
system. The only reason we have requirements for membership to be
officers is that the Board has put them in. They are not needed for
*any* legal or liability reason. (In my opinion the requirements for
more and more "officers" to be members is strictly based on a desire for
more money by the Board, unless they are also deluded and think that
requiring "membership" is somehow going to help.)

What *is* important in terms of liability and the legal system is a
*current*, *regularly updated* and *correct* roster of officers. That
roster is what will define who is a responsible agent for the SCA and
who is not. Membership is irrelevant to the insurance company and the
courts. (That being said, _because_ our own internal rules say that you
need to be a member -- you do need to be a member. However, that is
*only* because we have the rules in place, not because there is any good
reason behind them.)

The other common "standpoint" that I have heard is that becoming a
member shows your "commitment to the organization." To which I say that
becoming an officer and putting in work shows your commitment to the
organization. Becoming a member shows that you have money that you are
willing to give to the organization. If everyone bought memberships, and
no-one volunteered to work, we wouldn't last long. If everyone worked,
and we didn't have memberships, we'd figure out some way to raise funds
for insurance and other needed expenses -- the SCA populace is
incredibly generous when asked politely and with a noble cause.

XXXX xx XXXXX wrote:
> Unfortunately, the reason that Ducal is run as a joint event is that
> when we investigated getting our own million dollar policy, we could
> not afford it on an event by event basis. Things might have changed
> in the last 15 or so years but........
> While each kingdom incorporating by itself sound nice, I wonder what the
> costs for million dollar polices (so we can rent facilities) would be
> for such relatively small groups

Actually, the cost was moderately large (~$1000 at the time we
looked at it) for a single event, but wouldn't be that bad (per event)
if we were holding lots of events. However, it was a lot of hassle, and
we had the ability to co-sponsor with our donor base, so we did. (At
least that's how _I_ remember it.) Investigations during the 1994
ker-fluffle showed that $1M insurance policies were quite affordable,
and that premiums were (roughly) proportional to the number of events held.

XXXX brings up an important point, which is that "The Insurance"
is needed to rent facilities. It is liability insurance. It covers the
site in case we break things, and the site won't rent to us unless we
have it (or in some cases buy in on their policy).

This brings me to another one of the big myths, that the cost of
insurance is somehow related to the fighting activities.

No. It is not. Not at all.

That's why the fighters sign waivers. That is why we all sign
waivers. "The Insurance" doesn't cover us, it covers the site we're
renting. (Directors and Officers Insurance is an entirely different
kettle of worms, but it is a relatively small portion of the insurance
bill, and I already covered that myth.)

> I have a silly little question. The money that they do get from
> memberships fees and site fees. The money to register a name and a
> device. Where does that go exactly. It was said i one of the
> earlier messages that the costs are going up. What costs exactly.
> I would like to know were could see a report of how the money is
> spent.

Well, as I noted above, the website is a little out of date,
but I can give a little more detailed response than Her Grace did (to
give her due credit, it was an excellent short-form reply).

The College of Heralds charges money to meet their expenses. As [name]
pointed out, the fees for the inter-Kingdom College of Arms
have recently been reduced, and the fees charged by the West Kingdom
College of Heralds have also been reduced. This anomaly is explainable
by the fact that the College of Arms is largely independent of the Board
of Directors, except in theory.

Site fees do not go to the central organization of the SCA, Inc. In
the West they stay with the group running the event. For a Kingdom
event, most of the money goes to the Kingdom, but a portion of the fees
goes to the local group that is acting as host. (NOTE: This process
varies *wildly* from Kingdom to Kingdom. The West is idiosyncratic in
how it runs its events, compared to others, but that's fine.)

The Non Member Surcharge goes directly to the SCA, Inc. where it
becomes part of the general budget of the SCA, Inc.

Membership at the Associate Membership and Family membership level
goes to the general budget of the SCA, Inc.

Subscribing membership includes the subscription money for the
Kingdom Newsletter (and TI if you opt for that). That money is doled out
to the newsletter (in our case, The Page) to pay for printing and
postage. Some of that money stays at the central office to pay for
mailing labels. The rest of the money goes to the general budget.

What are the costs in the general budget (beyond the newsletters)?

Paying the salaries (plus workers comp and all that other good
stuff) of the staff at the office. Office rental. Paying for the
Liability Insurance, the Equestrian Insurance and the Directors and
Officers Insurance. Paying the costs of the meetings of the Board of
Directors. Paying the stipends of the Society Seneschal and the
Society Treasurer and the office expenses of the SCA Officers. Paying
the bookkeeper, the retainer for legal counsel, utility bills, phone
bill, and suchlike. Buying equipment as needed. (Listed in approximate
-- very approximate -- order of magnitude.) (NOTE: THE DIRECTORS ARE
*NOT* PAID, OK? IT'S ANOTHER MYTH! Most of the Directors are more
out-of-pocket than they are reimbursed.)

OK, I've rambled for a while. Now I have to get to work on my
response to the Board. (And to Their Majesties, who wanted my opinion on

-- In service to Crown and Kingdom
-- Frederick (Member number 09310, just in case people care.)

& & & Frederick of Holland, MSCA, OL, OP. etc.
++ +++ ++ Flieg Hollander,

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