Kudos to the USBGF
Posted By: David Presser
Date: Wednesday, 17 July 2013, at 7:00 p.m.
I have been part of this community for a short period, and I am sure that I don't know all the facts, but I am genuinely surprised from and concerned about the negative critique and lack of support for the USBGF. For this reason I decided to open a new thread which focuses on the positive.
In the past 16 months since I have been around and got to know some of the people who run the USBGF, I was impressed to see people with a vision, people who have a shared goal of promoting the game. For that purpose they run a NON-PROFIT organization. For example, when I talked with Karen Davis about the USBGF, I felt that I am talking with a proud mother about her baby.
As a member I have access to the financial statements, which I looked at. I was surprised when I saw the numbers for the past year. Admittedly, my first reaction was to send an email writing they forgot to mention that the numbers are in thousands, but then I realized it is the actual numbers. That means the organization is running on a low budget. In addition, if there is any doubt that much of their work is done on a volunteer basis, you just need to look at the salary expense and its breakdown.
Yes, in every organization there are things that can be improved, and the USBGF should aspire to that. That is normal and is because we are only humans. I also had the feeling that the people in charge welcome suggestions. So we should definitely do that, publicly or privately, but address it positively (manners never hurt), and better be specific and detailed. Slogans and titles by themselves do not have much value.
Another thing to take into account is that the majority of the USBGF members isn't the peer group of this forum, or top skilled players. It is closer to average skilled players. For those players the USBGF is offering many entertaining and challenging resources. For instance, I enjoy reading the magazine on the train, and watching Phil Simborg's video lessons during my lunch break. I have also noticed that many existing members are not aware of the many resources the USBGF has to offer. For example, the magazine, which in my opinion is one of its best resources, is downloaded by a small portion of the members with access to it (as I was told).
In conclusion, If the member fees are going up, I trust the decision making process in the USBGF. Yes, when you deal with small numbers, any change is high in percentages. However, at the end of the day we pay money and not percent (important concept from a financial perspective), and the increase of 20$/year should be examined from that perspective. Moreover, we can only admire the fact that we were informed in advance and can renew our membership in advance for up to 3 years. That is a privilege that shouldn't be taken for granted.
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