This is an example of trickle down fees.
The fees REC charges EPs went way up. They used to charge 3% of the money they collected. They now charge $5.00 per team at your event even if you waived the fee for the team or they paid you directly or even if it is your own teams.
If you had an event with 40 teams and you waive 10 of them for bringing fields and volunteers, or they are your own teams (not unrealistic) and you were charging $65 and 5 of the teams paid you directly, REC would collect $48.75 last year. Under the new structure, they would collect $200.00.
Under the old structure, you would be giving REC 2.5% of your gross. Under their new structure, you would be giving them 10.2564% of your gross. This is why fees have gone up.
In the above example, one would need to raise the fee by over $6 just to keep things even. If this is the primary fundraiser for a team, they also have to raise more than before because the registration went up by $50 per team. Now, the REC only provides an engineering notebook for the first team, so if the organization has more than one team, the cost of additional notebooks need to be considered.
In the past, we have always encouraged teams to pay us directly. We did this because in the past, it has always taken a long time to get our money from the REC. The best we could hope was to get our money late in the month after REC got paid. There were times, however, that it took much longer to get it correct. I will say, on a positive note, that I got a check in mid August for the team that paid in July.
Overall, it seems as though there has been the opposite of economies of scale. The larger the pool of teams, the lower the per unit cost should be. I just wonder if someone from the REC will come on here and explain why fees all around have skyrocketed creating additional barriers for the poor.
Our REC representative, Dylon Caudill, talked quite a bit about fee changes at the Kentucky Coaches’ meeting. He described the discussions from the Event Partner summit. It’s possible you’ll get more information more quickly by asking your REC rep.
What our rep said is that one of the goals of Dan Mantz, the new CEO and Chairman of the board, was to see to the long term viability of the REC organization. They are doing that by both cost cutting where possible and by raising fees only when necessary. After a review of the current financial picture and plotting of the trends, there was a looming existential crises: The projections showed there wasn’t enough money in REC’s immediate future to pay for basic administration and provide for any staff growth or modernizing of IT infrastructure. They needed both those things to administer programs to a growing number of teams.
After determining that raising fees was a requirement, they then worked to decide how to implement it. For registration fees, the choice was between a gradual increase cranked in over a period of years, or a single increase all at once. My understanding is that Dan Mantz alone made the “rip off the Band-Aid” decision, and he personally stands behind that choice. Concentrated pain versus boiling the frog. Be upfront about what you intend to do, and do it. Take the responsibility for the decisions you make. Those are the things I heard.
Dylon, our rep, further explained that it’s easy to become convinced that REC has lots of money at its disposal, particularly if you look around at Worlds. But the Corporate Giving that funds all that is directed. That means the donated money must be spent a particular way. It generally means it must be spent on students and teams; it cannot go toward administration and day-to-day operations. So, they have money for signs and banners and pizza parties and the fine trappings of a large convention. But they don’t have money to pull new cat6 cable, upgrade a router, or replace a 5 year old computer for a staff member back at the office. Those are different colors of money.
The increase in tournament registration fees was intended to help cover run-rate during the year. If you had always been charging all the teams that entered, the costs would be similar. If you had not been, the costs will go up. For REC, the costs of administering teams exists whether you collected for it or not.
Nobody is ever going to be happy about fee increases. I felt better after hearing all this from Dylon.
@kypyro Actually, even if every team was charged and every time it went through robotevents, the charge would not be similar. 3% of $65 is $1.95. That is over 165% increase. The reality is that I am not aware of any EP that charges every team. The vast majority have their own teams in their tournaments and those teams are not going to be paying through robotevents.
There are some EPs who have all the fields they need and a huge organization with all the volunteers they need so they do not need to waive fees for anyone outside of their own organization. Those are rare in my area and where they exist, those are also EPs who are less dependent on the tournament to raise money for their program.
I get that there needs to be money to operate. The reality is that the infrastructure things you mentioned, though, are going down in cost rather than up. It sounds like what you are saying is that the REC has been mismanaged over the years and now we all have to pay. That is unfortunate.
As a point of comparison, I used to sell real estate. I always gave caution to a buyer who was looking at condos where the fees had not gone up in years. When that was the case, you could be sure that at some point, a new roof or some other major expense was going to happen and the fees would double or triple all at once. It was always a sign on mismanagement.
As an EP, it is frustrating to have such major changes like this happen all of the sudden and without warning. Prior communication is key, in my humble opinion. I know another EP who was questioned about the raise in what he charged. The mentor from another school just could not understand it. That was one of the reasons I made this post. People need to know that the raise in registration fees by the EP is not simply a matter of greed, but rather, an attempt to stay even with the increased costs thrust on us.