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Will EC member EVER acknowledge the financial trends?

Old 07-27-2021, 07:35 AM
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franklin_m
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Default Will EC member EVER acknowledge the financial trends?

We are are fortunate to have an EC member who regularly reads and responds to these threads. He's a member of the much revered AMA Executive Council, the group that per the bylaws is vested responsibility for the "management of the affairs of the AMA." And yet despite multiple opportunities on the pages herein, he has been strikingly silent on the management of the financial affairs of the AMA, as evidenced by the trends in membership revenue, total revenue, total assets, revenue vs. spending, staff spending amounts, magazine financial performance, etc. under his leadership.

Will HE ever even acknowledge the trends below?
Will HE ever comment what HE, as one charged with "management of the affairs of the AMA" is doing about it?

Below are just a few ....











Last edited by franklin_m; 07-27-2021 at 07:41 AM.
Old 07-27-2021, 11:24 AM
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I surmise the silence for the most part is due to AMA executives, and policy, keeping a tight lid on communications to the public. Not uncommon today as most organizations have learned from our own government's practice of locking communications down and keeping everyone in the dark. Trying to genuinely get information is a long and tedious path which most people don't want to travel on.

Of course once you poke the sleeping bear, they know who you are and your identity is moved to the sh*t list. In some cases it is worth the effort, others not so much. Over the years I have landed on a lot of those lists. I don't mind because during the process I drove of a lot of people to do their job and caused a few to lose it.

Many organizations prefer operating in an impenetrable cocoon. Requests for information go round and round with each level passing the buck or ignoring you altogether. Sadly it occurs everywhere today.
Old 07-27-2021, 11:57 AM
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Just curious, does anyone know the non-membership revenue sources for the AMA?

For example, per graph above, membership revenue in 2019 is about 6.5M.

ProPublica states the total revenue is 8.9M. This suggests the membership revenue is only 73% of total. Where does the other 27% come from? https://projects.propublica.org/nonp...ions/520799408

I agree with the initial post... spending has exceeded income for a while, without explanation. But given the opacity with which the AMA operates, it does take sleuthing to find the details!
Old 07-27-2021, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by PopeyeCharlotte View Post
Just curious, does anyone know the non-membership revenue sources for the AMA?
It should be in their 2019 IRS 990 filing. See financial documents at link below then navigate to "2019 AMA IRS Form 990.pdf"
https://www.modelaircraft.org/documents

Originally Posted by PopeyeCharlotte View Post
I agree with the initial post... spending has exceeded income for a while, without explanation. But given the opacity with which the AMA operates, it does take sleuthing to find the details!
They've been selling their investments. Which means less income the next year. As to the explanation, I see two things: staff expense as percent of income is rising rapidly and magazines continues to lose money. They're cutting costs, but not as fast as revenue is declining.

They're unwilling to cut staff. They're unwilling to stick a fork in the magazines. Yet they keep swinging for the salvation of government driven mandatory membership.

Last edited by franklin_m; 07-27-2021 at 01:36 PM.
Old 08-12-2021, 06:29 AM
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AMA_Advertising_Sales_Director.pdf
Want a job at AMA HQ?
Old 08-12-2021, 11:07 AM
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Did you happen to notice that they didn't put what the salary/compensation range would be? With the college and experience requirements, travel requirements and probably having to relocate to Muncie, they have to be looking at over $100K per year and a signing bonus/expenses being paid or no one would want to apply
Old 08-12-2021, 03:14 PM
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Here’s what I have a problem with, “and in other industries that would find value in promoting their products and services to our members”.

I already pay to belong to the AMA for the “service” they provide me. I don’t need them bombarding me with more marketing crap so they can profit on the back end, not to mention adding more expensive staff and overhead bloat.

Instead, They should really focus on increasing the members’ experience and the value they offer members. The more value they bring to members, the more they can charge for dues.

In the technological age that we live in, I am more than capable of sourcing the goods and services I need and desire all on my own, without them being forced on me when I want to relax and enjoy my hobby. Enough is enough!

Astro
Old 08-15-2021, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by fliers1 View Post
If memory serves, once upon a time this was an internal position. When it didn’t generate growth, they went to outside professional ad firm #1. When that didn’t work, for the past few years they’ve gone with professional ad firm #2. Since that didn’t work, they’re going to go back to the beginning and do the same thing and hope for a different result.

Q: When has that EVER worked for AMA?
A: Never; but they do it anyway.

What they just don’t realize across these multiple failed attempts is that companies do not want to advertise with AMA because the audience is small and getting smaller.

Now this. Our “pretty smart” guys on the EC and Hanson/Budreau cabal keep pouring good member money after bad. Staff expenses continue to grow as a percent of membership revenue - and these incompetents decide to spend more!

Last edited by franklin_m; 08-15-2021 at 09:08 AM. Reason: Corrected : “memories” should have been “members”
Old 08-15-2021, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
If memory serves, once upon a time this was an internal position. When it didn’t generate growth, they went to outside professional ad firm #1. When that didn’t work, for the past few years they’ve gone with professional ad firm #2. Since that didn’t work, they’re going to go back to the beginning and do the same thing and hope for a different result.

Q: When has that EVER worked for AMA?
A: Never; but they do it anyway.

What they just don’t realize across these multiple failed attempts is that companies do not want to advertise with AMA because the audience is small and getting smaller.

Now this. Our “pretty smart” guys on the EC and Hanson/Budreau cabal keep pouring good memories money after bad. Staff expenses continue to grow as a percent of membership revenue - and these incompetents decide to spend more!
Albert Einstein: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results

Old 08-15-2021, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
If memory serves, once upon a time this was an internal position. When it didn’t generate growth, they went to outside professional ad firm #1. When that didn’t work, for the past few years they’ve gone with professional ad firm #2. Since that didn’t work, they’re going to go back to the beginning and do the same thing and hope for a different result.

Q: When has that EVER worked for AMA?
A: Never; but they do it anyway.

What they just don’t realize across these multiple failed attempts is that companies do not want to advertise with AMA because the audience is small and getting smaller.

Now this. Our “pretty smart” guys on the EC and Hanson/Budreau cabal keep pouring good member money after bad. Staff expenses continue to grow as a percent of membership revenue - and these incompetents decide to spend more!
Problem solved: STEM Education Archives - Academy of Model Aeronautics Blog
Old 09-08-2021, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by fliers1 View Post
This was over a month ago and we know nothing of the results yet. You would think that the EC would be crowing like a rooster if things had gone well and still we hear nothing.
Has me wondering just how much money was spent compared the the positive results. Once again, we probably won't ever get anything from the EC on this
Old 09-15-2021, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
It should be in their 2019 IRS 990 filing. See financial documents at link below then navigate to "2019 AMA IRS Form 990.pdf"
https://www.modelaircraft.org/documents


They've been selling their investments. Which means less income the next year. As to the explanation, I see two things: staff expense as percent of income is rising rapidly and magazines continues to lose money. They're cutting costs, but not as fast as revenue is declining.

They're unwilling to cut staff. They're unwilling to stick a fork in the magazines. Yet they keep swinging for the salvation of government driven mandatory membership.
I'm more interested in membership numbers, which were going off a cliff. That's the real measure of AMA and whether they've done anything for the hobby.

All the good in AMA comes from the rank and file members who keep it all going. Otherwise, management under Hanson has been a disaster for RC.
Incidentally, Hanson has been on every drone integration committee since 2008, instead of lobbying for protections for the model aircraft hobby.
The fool thought drones were the future of AMA.
Old 09-16-2021, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by ECHO24 View Post
I'm more interested in membership numbers, which were going off a cliff. That's the real measure of AMA and whether they've done anything for the hobby.
I agree that is a good measure of their effectiveness as a leadership team. Which explains why AMA does not report numbers with any regularity or specificity. For a while, it was "total membership" until many of us noted that included a significant number of "free" youth members.

So the best I can do is offer what they do report and then calculate a number that gives us an order of magnitude number. So each year AMA files an IRS990 tax return, and on that form they have to declare how much money they get from member dues. If you take that number and divide by the cost of a full membership in that same year, you get something I call the Full Member Equivalent. Is it perfect? No. But it is a good approximation to the total PAID memberships. Now if AMA wants to share actual membership numbers in each category, that would be a huge help. But mark my words, they won't. And you have to ask why. Answer? It's not a good news story.

Appended below is the data from the IRS990s, the dues that year, and the calculation for Full Member Equivalents. As you can see, membership numbers have fallen precipitously under the current leadership team.


Last edited by franklin_m; 09-16-2021 at 05:10 AM.
Old 09-16-2021, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
I agree that is a good measure of their effectiveness as a leadership team. Which explains why AMA does not report numbers with any regularity or specificity. For a while, it was "total membership" until many of us noted that included a significant number of "free" youth members.

So the best I can do is offer what they do report and then calculate a number that gives us an order of magnitude number. So each year AMA files an IRS990 tax return, and on that form they have to declare how much money they get from member dues. If you take that number and divide by the cost of a full membership in that same year, you get something I call the Full Member Equivalent. Is it perfect? No. But it is a good approximation to the total PAID memberships. Now if AMA wants to share actual membership numbers in each category, that would be a huge help. But mark my words, they won't. And you have to ask why. Answer? It's not a good news story.

Appended below is the data from the IRS990s, the dues that year, and the calculation for Full Member Equivalents. As you can see, membership numbers have fallen precipitously under the current leadership team.

Using that method, the true number also depends on the percentage of park flyer memberships. One thing is certain, 2001-2019 revenue
represents at least a 30% decline in real dollars due to inflation over 18 years, $6,448,031 vs. $6,553,557, all under the same management.

Whatever the membership ratio, it also shows the 2015-2018 spike from the FAA registration rule and AMA's mandatory membership scam
that evaporated after the FAA made it clear in 2018 that AMA membership was not a requirement for hobbyists to be legal.
Old 09-17-2021, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ECHO24 View Post
Using that method, the true number also depends on the percentage of park flyer memberships. One thing is certain, 2001-2019 revenue represents at least a 30% decline in real dollars due to inflation over 18 years, $6,448,031 vs. $6,553,557, all under the same management.

Whatever the membership ratio, it also shows the 2015-2018 spike from the FAA registration rule and AMA's mandatory membership scam
that evaporated after the FAA made it clear in 2018 that AMA membership was not a requirement for hobbyists to be legal.
Yes, It would be great to know percentage of park flyers, seniors, etc. I've asked AMA, but they denied request saying it was a "trade secret." I'm glad you assumed these were NOT inflation adjusted. I neglected to point that out earlier. But your numbers are correct, membership revenue has declined 30% since 2001.

Interestingly, when I pressed the esteemed ED as to why it's been 46 days and still no minutes, I noted that this was despite staff remaining "relatively unchanged." He questions where I got my staff numbers, and I quoted similar data from AMA's IRS filings for the amount they reported as "salaries." As "salaries" have gone UP by 29% over this same period, he said "I question your inflation numbers." I replied that "Well, you question the governments numbers then, because they come straight government CPI."

This is what happens when you hire a marking major for Executive Director. Completely unaware of what the real cost of his staff is ... the sad thing is that it's our money he's wasting.

BTW, have you noticed that BaraccudaHockey has yet to comment on anything in this thread? His silence speaks volumes.
Old 09-17-2021, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
BTW, have you noticed that BaraccudaHockey has yet to comment on anything in this thread? His silence speaks volumes.
He has a track record of not responding to the tough questions. I'm wondering if the AMA AVP's are the flying monkeys of the AMA. They hold the power to vote, yet claim they are not allowed to speak to the membership?

I find it really weird that elected representatives of a member-focused non-profit are not allowed to speak openly to the membership they supposedly represent????

Astro
Old 09-17-2021, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by astrohog View Post
He has a track record of not responding to the tough questions. I'm wondering if the AMA AVP's are the flying monkeys of the AMA. They hold the power to vote, yet claim they are not allowed to speak to the membership?

I find it really weird that elected representatives of a member-focused non-profit are not allowed to speak openly to the membership they supposedly represent????

Astro
I think you're right. BC says "ask your VP." So Mark Radcliff is my VP, and I ask him the questions and he doesn't answer them either. So when you look at history of not answering hard questions, combined with all the EC votes that are rarely close, what you see are indeed flying monkeys. They rubber stamp whatever the Hanson/Budreau cabal want to do. More recently, I questioned Budreau as to some financial stuff, and he did the smoke screen hand wave after my first follow up.

I encourage everyone to not put a lot of faith in the Brady-Ware reports. They're making sure the "i's" are dotted and "t's" crossed and not a lot more. These reports make use of various accounting "methods" (legal ones) to make the organization look stronger financially than it may actually be. The IRS990s are as close to truth data as you can get. When you see a "revenue" number in the 990, it represents actual dollars coming in the door.
Old 09-19-2021, 01:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ECHO24 View Post
Using that method, the true number also depends on the percentage of park flyer memberships. One thing is certain, 2001-2019 revenue
represents at least a 30% decline in real dollars due to inflation over 18 years, $6,448,031 vs. $6,553,557, all under the same management.

Whatever the membership ratio, it also shows the 2015-2018 spike from the FAA registration rule and AMA's mandatory membership scam
that evaporated after the FAA made it clear in 2018 that AMA membership was not a requirement for hobbyists to be legal.

"AMA president Rich Hanson stated that the future of the organization is in new member acquisition. He would like to see more focus on a strategy for new member acquisition. District 2 Vice president Eric Williams stated that if clubs aren’t doing as they had in the past and growing their clubs, AMA needs to find a new gateway to attracting new members. The committee is enthused about entertaining all possibilities and sharing them"
Old 09-19-2021, 07:19 AM
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I bet a million-dollar, indoor flying facility in Muncie would have folks clamoring to join......
Old 09-19-2021, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by fliers1 View Post
"AMA president Rich Hanson stated that the future of the organization is in new member acquisition. He would like to see more focus on a strategy for new member acquisition. District 2 Vice president Eric Williams stated that if clubs aren’t doing as they had in the past and growing their clubs, AMA needs to find a new gateway to attracting new members. The committee is enthused about entertaining all possibilities and sharing them"
If they are serious about it, then they need to make the AMA look a lot more like FliteTest and draw in a younger crowd that has a completely different outlook about the hobby. But as I have said elsewhere, that kind of irreverent, casual and carefree approach to the hobby is totally anathema to the stodgy old baby boomers (like myself) that make up the current membership. We can talk all day about the EC and the magazine and all other would've-could've-should'ves, but at the end of the day, the membership is getting exactly the kind of organization it wants and until that membership finishes aging out, nothing fundamental will change.
Old 09-19-2021, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by aymodeler View Post
If they are serious about it, then they need to make the AMA look a lot more like FliteTest and draw in a younger crowd that has a completely different outlook about the hobby. But as I have said elsewhere, that kind of irreverent, casual and carefree approach to the hobby is totally anathema to the stodgy old baby boomers (like myself) that make up the current membership. We can talk all day about the EC and the magazine and all other would've-could've-should'ves, but at the end of the day, the membership is getting exactly the kind of organization it wants and until that membership finishes aging out, nothing fundamental will change.
I've perceived a subtlety to AMA rhetoric that relates to this point. Specifically, you'll see AMA talking about exposing new members to the other aspects of model aviation, namely the larger, more complex, more expensive, etc. types ... the ones that NEED the AMA club field. I read that as unwilling to accept the new members "as they are" but rather trying to convert them into something most are not.

I predict that AMA will continue to be thinned to just those who need club fields and those who just want the social aspects. Hence the push to get new members into things that require club fields.
Old 09-19-2021, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
I predict that AMA will continue to be thinned to just those who need club fields and those who just want the social aspects. Hence the push to get new members into things that require club fields.
If this is truly the AMA MO, you would think they would offer more support to clubs' flying facilities/fields. What would happen to the organization as a whole if local clubs couldn't self-support their fields anymore?

Astro
Old 09-19-2021, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
I've perceived a subtlety to AMA rhetoric that relates to this point. Specifically, you'll see AMA talking about exposing new members to the other aspects of model aviation, namely the larger, more complex, more expensive, etc. types ... the ones that NEED the AMA club field. I read that as unwilling to accept the new members "as they are" but rather trying to convert them into something most are not.

I predict that AMA will continue to be thinned to just those who need club fields and those who just want the social aspects. Hence the push to get new members into things that require club fields.
I agree with that. I don't think that it a conscious decision to manipulate people towards clubs as much as it is a sincere belief on the part of most rank-and-file AMA members that this is "the way" to enjoy the hobby. The AMA is doing exactly what the vast majority of its members want it to do, maintaining the status quoi as long as possible. And for many of us, myself included, that works OK ... at least for now, but it will be the undoing of the organization.

On the other hand, bringing in new members with new expectations may help the AMA to survive financially, but it will also change it into something the majority of its membership does not want to become. I don't really see a way out of this box. As I have posted before, I suspect that (as you suggest) the AMA will continue to dwindle until it can no longer sustain itself. At that point, it will undergo a radical downsizing of the organization. Then and only then is it likely to reinvent itself.
Old 09-19-2021, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by astrohog View Post
If this is truly the AMA MO, you would think they would offer more support to clubs' flying facilities/fields. What would happen to the organization as a whole if local clubs couldn't self-support their fields anymore?

Astro
I am a member of 3 clubs and all are able to support themselves financially. The biggest problems clubs are having (at least here in the Northeast) is the dwindling supply of open area to operate in. Many clubs are losing their fields which they had leased from local farmers or landowners because there are now much more profitable uses for the land. The other problem is increasing governmental regulations on the public lands. One of the clubs I belong to is losing its field (which it leases from the town) because it turns out to be the nesting ground of some endangered critter. The state EPA says we can lease the land, but we can't mow the grass on the runway anymore!
Old 09-19-2021, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by astrohog View Post
If this is truly the AMA MO, you would think they would offer more support to clubs' flying facilities/fields. What would happen to the organization as a whole if local clubs couldn't self-support their fields anymore?
In the AMA's 2019 IRS 990 tax filing (attached), check out page 10 of the PDF. It's a statement of how AMA spends its money. Note that AMA spent over $236,000 on "office expenses," spent over $250,000 on "conferences" -- while they spent just $50,000 in "grants."
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