November - December 2002
Vol. 13, No. 6 | Contents
The "Players helping
Players" Fundraising Campaign
by Randy Stafford
create a legacy
terms of endearment
download .pdf form
I wanted to take this opportunity to bring you up to date on a few matters of importance regarding the USRA and its need for a major fundraising campaign. I’ve been on the USRA board for only a few months, but I’ve already discovered many interesting things.
Changing economic times over the past three years have had an impact on businesses nationwide, and the USRA has not gone unaffected. Advertising dollars and corporate sponsorship have become very scarce. In response, the USRA has also changed by shifting priorities, becoming more efficient, dropping some programs and striving to become a more dynamic association. They continue to both develop realistic short-term goals and look forward to achieving long-term goals. Unfortunately, reduced budgets do not allow them to continue to support racquetball at the same levels that they have in the past without help from the membership.
So many different hardships have caused us to re-focus our priorities, and at the same time we are more determined to appreciate and sustain our American way of life. Personally, I want to re-focus on the areas that I think are important. I have always assumed that the other person will get the job done, and that has usually been the case. Now I realize that each of us must do our part to be actively involved in the important things or they may just disappear altogether. I see racquetball being pressured from all different angles. First it was aerobics, then biking and cross training. Now, there are so many new activities (not to mention old standbys like football) that have sliced and diced our racquetball population.
Despite all this, racquetball participation the past few years has actually increased. Yes, increased. Even with the pressures I mentioned, racquetball is actually on a slight rise. And I think I know the main two reasons. First of all, and most important, it’s just plain fun and beneficial to the player. Secondly, I believe the USRA’s long-standing programs are finally paying off. For racquetball participation to actually be increasing in these difficult times [up 2.7% just last year, according to the SGMA] is just plain exciting.
For myself, there is one area that I think needs a tremendous amount of work. At the clubs I play in and the tournaments I attend, the players are mostly men, mostly over 35. I remember when I first started it seemed like the sport was evenly divided between men and women, tournaments were four times the size, and filled with young people. It’s not hard to guess what will happen to our sport if we don’t figure out a way to get kids and women playing again, and do this very soon.
I have asked for the USRA’s list of
short-term goals. In the first year of his service as Executive Director,
Dr. Jim Hiser has shown real focus and determination in identifying this
list of short-term goals and promoting racquetball from within. I am real
excited with what I’ve seen and I know with time and money, these goals
will be accomplished. They are:
THE “PLAYERS HELPING
If you will join with me in personally investing in the USRA, I promise to be your representative to make sure these dollars are spent properly and effectively. My dollars will be there too. I’ll also make you another promise: I will work with the USRA to develop a comprehensive long-term plan, then follow-up by approaching corporate and charitable donors to try to sell them on giving to the USRA as well. This will take some time but I believe that, with the right leadership and proper planning, we can achieve both the short- and long-term goals.
Very soon, I will be reporting on the long-term goals and our progress in developing the larger donors. I believe that we need to somehow hire a professional marketing company to sell our sport to corporate America. I think we play a clean, fun sport that companies would sponsor if given the right marketing plan, presented professionally.
The USRA governs and promotes racquetball by whatever means that it can. It has done this important work through the talents of volunteers and staff, funded by companies through their donations. But we are faced with dwindling resources in all areas and if we do not make up the difference from individual donations now, we will see programs shrink even further. They have pretty much already cut all the programs that they could without damaging the integrity of the association. With declining corporate support, we are now faced with the hard choices of further budget cuts and reducing the association to a much smaller format, or raising money from our players to continue our work.
I think that our player base will care enough about preserving the benefits that we have received for so long, for free, that it will realize that now is our time to step up to the plate and lend a big helping hand. Please understand that this is not the time to think about what the next person will do. This is when all of us need to do our part and understand we are in this together. Now is the time to care even more than ever about our sport.
In recalling the old axiom “Don’t throw good money after bad.” I assure you that this is not the case with the USRA, at this point in its history. These donations will be well spent (or invested for the long term), with the main goal of “players helping players.” Please help us help the sport with your tax-deductible contribution, today.
I urge you to contact me if you have any questions regarding this campaign. And thanks for reading such a long article, but I felt it was necessary to explain all the details of what we are trying to accomplish.
I look forward to hearing from you!
of giving ...
This first phase of the fundraising campaign
is truly designed for players, as you can see from the special "gift
list" that offers a great package of benefits, from top to bottom.
When you take part, you'll be supporting the association with a donation
that practically pays for itself in real value, plus it’s
• National event passes entitle the
holder to free entry to any USRA National event (including U.S. Open,
Nationals singles or doubles, National Intercollegiate or Junior
Nationals) for the term noted.
|terms of endearment ...||
FOUNDATION GIVING (RESTRICTED): Gifts
to the "USRA Foundation" will be deposited in a capital fund,
with the intent of building a working cash account which will generate
interest income in the long term. Funds are restricted, and may not be
used or spent directly — only accumulated — for the purpose of
establishing financial stability for the association's future.
PLANNED GIVING (RESTRICTED): You can create a “Legacy of Giving” in a number of ways, through: Charitable Remainder Trust (charity receives assets of trust at the expiration of the trust); Wealth Replacement Trust (used with CRT, replaces value of assets given to charity); Charitable Lead Trust (pays predetermined percentage of trust income to charity); Family Foundation (tax deduction for donations made in future); Donor Advised Funds (immediate tax deduction for contribution). There are numerous other methods of estate giving that your financial advisor can assist you in planning. For more information, contact your financial advisor, or send an email requesting more information, or call 800-234-5396 for a complete list of estate options.
SPECIAL SUPPORT (RESTRICTED): Gifts may be earmarked for specific support (i.e. junior development, U.S. Team, LPRA) in any special-interest area of your choice.
GENERAL FUND (UNRESTRICTED): Gifts to the "general fund" are the most flexible, and valuable, in the short-term. Your unrestricted gifts enable the USRA to work toward reducing a sizable deficit, or it might just help us pay the light bill.
|DONATE ONLINE!||Or use the card enclosed in the mailed November/December edition to give us your instructions [or download a .pdf hard copy of the card]. Please take part in this ambitious campaign to put the USRA on firm financial footing ... for the future of racquetball. Thank you!|
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