Industry supporters in the San Diego area were weary of being asked to donate to every event and sponsorship opportunity that the local golf course superintendents association had. The San Diego GCSA board recognized that industry partners wanted to know what their investment would be for a full year and what their return on investment (incentives and recognition) would look like. The San Diego GCSA board delivered.
What made the San Diego GCSA board decide to look at new revenue sources and change its way of doing business with industry partners?
There were two primary reasons. The first was that there was a shift in industry partners’ needs. This was occurring at the same time that economic conditions were changing across the United States. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 had recently occurred. The San Diego GCSA had just canceled its October 2001 fundraising event. The board knew that it needed to develop alternatives to generate more revenue for the association.
The San Diego GCSA’s fiscal year runs April 1 – March 31. By April 2002, the board had implemented a mandatory sponsorship package for affiliate members. This means that affiliate members must purchase a minimum of one annual chapter membership, plus choose one of four sponsorship package levels (refer to the chart for a detailed look at the package options.)
Options for individual affiliate members
An individual can choose to purchase a one-year chapter membership for $130. The membership is in the individual’s name. The individual affiliate member must also choose one of the four sponsorship package levels.
Options for affiliate company members
An affiliate company can purchase a $260 annual membership ($130 x 2 members), plus must select one of the sponsorship package levels. The two corporate memberships are in the company’s name and remain with the company if the representatives leave. Larger companies can purchase additional memberships for $130 each. For example, one affiliate sponsor currently has six corporate memberships and is a platinum sponsor.
Has this program been successful?
Since its inception in April 2002, the San Diego GCSA has retained a majority of its affiliate members. There have been a couple of individual members who chose not to renew their memberships because they left the industry. A few corporate sponsors chose not participate in the new program. Overall, affiliate members like the program because they can plan in advance and set their budget for the year. They understand that it’s a San Diego GCSA board policy and they must comply. Affiliate companies and individuals also recognize that San Diego GCSA members are often more likely to purchase products and do business with companies who are members and support the chapter.
Has the board made any adjustments to the sponsorship levels since the program was implemented?
The board has maintained the original pricing structure, but is meeting this fall to assess the program. At that time, the board will determine if modifications need to be made to the pricing levels as well as sponsorship and recognition opportunities.
What happens if an affiliate member wishes to join the San Diego GCSA during mid-year?
The chapter works with the affiliate member to provide a la carte benefits. Some sponsorship opportunities (such as the holiday party) may have passed at the time of application. The affiliate member or company will be offered other tangible benefits such as: providing mailing labels of golf course superintendent members (qualified buyers) of the chapter; a business card size ad in the remaining issues of the newsletter; or an insert in the remaining issues of the newsletter. The member’s dues are prorated to catch up with the April 1 renewal date.
Has the San Diego GCSA considered offering multiple year memberships and sponsorships to its affiliate partners?
Currently, one-year memberships and sponsorship packages are offered. It is easier to track for budgeting and recordkeeping purposes, and affiliate members prefer this option.
Are there any other sponsorship opportunities available to affiliate members?
There are other a la carte benefits. For example, affiliate members may wish to contribute to scholarship and research funds.
How do you demonstrate to industry and chapter members the value that’s associated with this program?
The San Diego GCSA is developing an article that will appear in the annual report and will be distributed at the annual meeting in April 2006. The article will include a pie chart that shows a two-year history of association expenditures and investments and the impact of industry dollars to support those efforts.
Submitted by Brenda Warner, San Diego GCSA
association manager. For more information about this
program, please contact Brenda Warner at 760-727-6616
To share your chapter's success stories, please email them to Leann Cooper.