Joined: 19 Sep 2003 Posts: 1510 Location: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:02 am Post subject: New IFPA membership structure proposal
Recently the IFPA Board of Directors has voted to amend the IFPA membership structure. According to the bylaws of the IFPA the new amendment needs to be ratified by the membership (ie. all the IFPA members). Please feel free to discuss the changes and express your opinions and there will be an online vote to ratify the proposed amendment open to all IFPA members shortly. Big thanks to Steve Goldberg and Julie Symons for their work on this!
PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE MEMBERSHIP STRUCTURE OF IFPA:
(1) Justification for Change.
The primary reason for changing the membership structure of IFPA is
to expand IFPA's ability to influence the development of the sport of
footbag world-wide. For the last 5 years, IFPA has been a full
membership-based organization where members were charged annual dues
of US $10.
In its five-year history to date, the IFPA membership roster has
never had more than just a few hundred members. This cannot be
consider sufficient because this number represents approximately 3%
of the available community of footbag athletes (estimated at 10,000
as compared to "hacky sack" players which is estimated in the
millions globally), though in terms of players competing at the very
top levels, the coverage is more like 30-40% (based on approximately
1000 players who compete at major tournaments around the world).
This means the organization risks becoming an "elitist" roster of
only the best and most serious (or wealthiest) competitors, which is
not the primary goal of IFPA.
Secondly, it is apparent that the US $10 membership dues are either
too high of a barrier to entry, or represent the fact that players do
not appreciate enough value in becoming members of IFPA. Either way,
there are many players who simply do not opt into membership, and in
some cases, players don't even compete at sanctioned events because
they would be required to pay an extra US $10 in order to become IFPA
As such, for players registering for competitions that require
membership, the $10 membership dues seem more like punishment for
entering a competition, as opposed to something players would want to
pay because they see some value in it.
This is especially true in poorer regions/countries, and the extra
burden of dealing with payment of membership dues also biases
membership against non-U.S. countries, since dues must ultimately
find their way to IFPA's U.S. corporate bank account.
In addition, the sanctioning process has required organizers in
remote areas to jump through hoops to get their competitors signed up
for IFPA, often resulting in a lag as long as 1 year in getting
people correctly added to the official roster, and resulting in
unhappiness on the part of the player. These hoops include
transferring funds to the treasurer in the U.S. to pay for the
memberships, as well as collecting the "right" information from each
member to ensure that their official roster entry can be
To address these issues and more, this proposal lays out a more
equitable and much simpler system for managing the official
membership roster, and creates a clearer way for IFPA to offer value
in its membership to all levels of footbag players around the world.
It is hoped that, if adopted, this new membership structure will
greatly improve IFPA's acceptance among footbag players, growing its
numbers 3- to 10-fold, thus helping IFPA in its mission to bring
consistency to organized footbag competitions, to educate players
about the sport, to spread the sport of footbag as a healthy lifetime
athletic endeavor from youths to the elderly, to manage, improve, and
extend the official rules and official events as the sport evolves
over time, and to foster amateur competitions and clubs all around
(2) Requirements and Constraints of the Proposed Change.
The last five years have shown us that we need to consider all of the
following constraints in defining a new membership structure for IFPA:
(a) Ease of Implementation (or, "Scalability"). The sport of
footbag is a global sport, but IFPA does not have the resources to
enable physical distribution and connections between all the players
and organizers world-wide. It is becoming prohibitively expensive to
implement the existing membership system given the need to transfer
funds internationally, track and report income from memberships given
international tax laws and considering IFPA's U.S. 501(c)(3) status,
etc. As such, the implementation of IFPA's membership system can be
thought of as requiring:
i. minimal or *no* exchange of funds per player to IFPA before
they are added to the official roster;
ii. minimal or *no* work nor approval required by the IFPA membership
director or any other IFPA director to add individual
members to the roster.
(b) Fast Turn-Around. Members should be officially listed in the
IFPA member roster within no more than a few days of when the
decision is made that they are members (see how that happens in the
full proposal below). This means the same day as someone becomes a
members, they will often be able to use the footbag.org member-only
services without having to wait for their membership to be
"processed" (which historically has taken up to a year). This of
course implies a web-based solution and assumes that anyone empowered
to use the web-based tool has internet access at least on a daily
(c) Parity/Compatibility with Previous Membership Structure. Any
change in the membership structure must accommodate previous members
and must ensure that nobody "loses" benefits as a result of the
change. Furthermore, no existing or past member should feel that
they have been penalized as a result of participating under the
previous structure. For example, if by the new structure, a member
will have to pay US $10 for a lifetime membership, then any previous
member who ever paid US $10 at any point should be retroactive made
into a lifetime member. (This of course would mean all
current/previous members would be added to the roster as a "lifetime"
(d) Sensible Membership Count. The result of any change in the
membership structure should be to preserve a "sensible" membership
count. In other words, it is not the intent of a membership structure
change to "pad" or otherwise grossly inflate, nor understate, the
number of active IFPA members at any point in time. The goal is
instead to have the official roster reflect a more realistic count of
active footbag players and competitors world-wide, who either get
value from, or actively contribute to the goals of the IFPA. This
change should bring the number of active members closer to 100% of
footbag competitors, and 10% of non-competitor footbag players
world-wide. (In other words, one order of magnitude increase in
membership from the current system.) An example of how this
requirement could impact the ultimate structure is in the treatment
of "lifetime" vs. "annual" memberships. Players who compete in
tournaments but who do not otherwise help organize or participate in
committees or give donations to IFPA should probably *not* be listed
on the roster in years when they do not compete or otherwise
participate in IFPA sanctioned or sponsored functions. Thus, there is
a need for annual memberships that expire, by contrast with lifetime
memberships that do not. If all members were lifetime members,
without any concept of expiration, membership in IFPA would increase
monotonically, serving to mask the true nature of IFPA's impact on
the sport each year.
(e) Better Value for the Players. Membership in IFPA should be a
benefit, not a burden, on the players. In short, players should not
be funding IFPA's operations directly, and having no membership fee
for the baseline membership ensures this is the case. However, there
is obviously other work required (outside the scope of this proposal)
to increase member value (both perceived and actual).
(f) Barrier to Entry. Any system we put in place needs to create
at least some barrier to entry, even if it's relatively simple to
overcome. The reason isn't just for (d) above, but also for the
costs of administering and hosting services on footbag.org to support
members. For example, if IFPA continues to offer a free video upload
service to IFPA members so that footbag players can trade videos
online easily, there must be a way to ensure that the costs of such a
service "scale". It would be prohibitively expensive to offer such a
service to anyone on the internet. Obviously we need a way to limit
the number of people who claim to be IFPA members in some way, so
that only "real" footbag players and/or organizers and/or aficionados
of various forms are included on the roster. Similarly, the value of
the membership data is much higher if the players had to go through
some explicit process to register for IFPA membership; i.e., they are
more likely to give their true name, true mailing address, true age,
and true e-mail address, if they have to overcome some barrier to
registration to IFPA. (As a counter-example, anyone can get a Hotmail
account, and so people come and go constantly from Hotmail all the
time; many people have four or five Hotmail accounts, and abandon
them almost as quickly as they sign up. Among other things, IFPA
should be able to ensure that each member is only listed once on the
(g) Adherence to 501(c)(3) Qualification Rules. The original
incorporation of IFPA was as a "Membership Organization", and as
such, the details of membership are part of the corporate
documentation. There are probably multiple ways to treat the new
membership structure if adopted, including redefining the
organization to be a "Non-Membership Organization" or amending the
By-Laws of the Corporation to spell out the new membership structure
within the context of a Membership Organization. Each has advantages
and disadvantages, and must be considered in light of the
qualification standards for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, which IFPA
should attempt to retain.
(3) Scope of the Proposed Change.
This proposal is limited to the treatment of individual memberships,
as set forth in the initial articles of incorporation and in the
initial by-laws of the corporation. It is expressly not meant to
imply any changes to -- nor recommend any changes to -- other types
of membership. For example, there are several proposals on the table
to create other types of membership of IFPA, in particular, corporate
memberships, club memberships, national governing body memberships,
etc. These are all considered outside the scope of this proposal,
which is intended to be interpreted in the context of the official
IFPA membership structure as of January 1, 2006.
Furthermore, to fully implement this proposal, there *may* be a need
to formally amend either the Articles of Incorporation or the By-Laws
of the Corporation with the State of California. This should be
evaluated if and only if the Board of Directors agrees in principle
to this proposal.
(4) Success Criteria.
The proposed membership structure will be considered a success if all
the following statements are true after one year and into the future:
(a) The requirements set forth in section 2 above are met.
(b) The number of annual members consistently exceeds 999 members
each year, excluding lifetime members, for the first two years.
(c) The number of lifetime members grows by at least 25 members
each year. (This will exclude the initial set of lifetime members
that are automatically granted lifetime status per the proposal
below, and is thus only the *incremental* lifetime members after the
initial transition to the new scheme is complete.)
(d) A separate donations drive collects at least the equivalent of
previously-budgeted income from memberships, as the proposed system
will all but eliminate income from memberships. In other words, with
approximately 300 new memberships each year, the IFPA generated
approximately US $3,000 of revenue per year towards its operations
under the current membership scheme. If this proposal is adopted,
IFPA will need to either generate an additional US $3,000 in
donations, or otherwise amend its operating budget to account for the
lower revenue target implied by this proposal.
(5) Proposed New Membership Structure.
Membership in IFPA shall be defined in terms of four "tiers" or
levels of membership:
Tier 0: non-voting member at large. Members of footbag.org are
automatically Tier 0 members, and can access footbag.org member-only
areas of the site (such as member search, adding/editing clubs on the
club list, member forum, etc.). They cannot, however, vote in IFPA
elections, run for IFPA offices, sit on IFPA committees, or be
counted in the official IFPA member roster. Anyone can become a Tier
0 member by registering for a free account on footbag.org. Tier 0
membership does not expire, though members may request to cancel
their footbag.org account and thus cease being counted in the
official non-voting membership count.
Tier 1: basic IFPA membership. Members at Tier 1 have the right to
vote in IFPA elections, participate on IFPA committees, and access
IFPA-member-only areas of footbag.org (e.g., video/photo upload
service, create and participate in online groups/committees, etc.).
Members can attain Tier 1 status free of charge -- by attending any
sanctioned IFPA tournament or festival or by seeking recognition from
a Tier 2 or higher member. Tier 1 members can also pay for a lifetime
membership. (The duration of a membership does not affect which tier
it is at.)
Tier 2: IFPA organizer membership. Members at Tier 2 receive all
the benefits of Tier 1, plus the ability to apply for event
sanctioning, event sponsorship, etc. In addition, Tier 2 members are
able to send e-mails to the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list, add
events to the event list, and access other organizer-only areas of
footbag.org. Most importantly, Tier 2 members have limited access to
update the IFPA membership roster by designating other members as
Tier 1 members, either directly (using a web-based tool) or
indirectly (requesting an IFPA official to update the roster
accordingly). This is normally done in conjunction with tournaments
or festivals they are organizing, but may also include their own club
members and anyone they can "vouch" for or "recognize" who requests
an annual Tier 1 membership. For convenience, Tier 2 members can
have direct access to the membership roster (if such a tool is
available) immediately surrounding a sanctioned event they are
running, usually 1-2 weeks before and 1-2 weeks after the event. All
other times, Tier 2 members must request updates from the Membership
Director or an official empowered by the Membership Director as part
of the volunteer staff of the organization. In general, such
requests will be approved and implemented immediately; however, the
Membership Director has the discretion to deny such requests if they
seem to be frivolous or abusive. Becoming a Tier 2 member requires
paying either an annual membership fee, or a lifetime membership fee.
Tier 3: IFPA director. Members at Tier 3 have all the privileges
of Tier 2 members, but also have direct access to the IFPA membership
roster, as well as board level voting privileges (per the IFPA
Membership dues break down according to the following schedule:
Tier 0 Membership: ANNUAL=free; LIFETIME=free (no distinction).
Tier 0 membership is automatic and free, whenever anyone applies for
footbag.org membership. All current members of footbag.org are
automatically Tier 0 IFPA members (non-voting members at large).
Tier 1 Membership: ANNUAL=free; LIFETIME=$10. Annual Tier 1
memberships are free, provided that the member is unique (members may
not be listed on the roster more than once) and that the individual
competes in any IFPA-sanctioned footbag event (each event attended
extends the individual's Tier 1 membership for 365 days from the date
of the event). In addition, any individual wishing to become a Tier 1
member may simply request it from any Tier 2 member (or above) they
know. A Tier 2 member can thus "vouch" for or "recognize" a Tier 1
member for a period not to exceed one year from the date they are
added to the roster. This means it is also possible for
non-competitors to join IFPA as a Tier 1 member without paying a fee.
(For example, a club organizers who is a Tier 2 member can recognize
all of her club members as IFPA Tier 1 members each year at her
discretion.) The only way to become a lifetime Tier 1 member,
however, is to pay the $10 fee.
Tier 2 Membership: ANNUAL=$25; LIFETIME=$150. Tier 2 memberships
must be renewed each year unless the member pays the lifetime fee.
Of course, any Tier 2 member becomes a Tier 1 member for life the
minute they pay their $25; so even if they let their Tier 2
membership lapse, they will remain a Tier 1 member. (The rule is, if
anyone ever paid membership dues to IFPA, they become a Tier 1
Tier 3 Membership: Elected offices or appointed offices based on
(6) Next Steps.
If approved, the steps to implementing this new membership structure
is relatively straightforward. Here is a road map:
(1) Immediately convert members from the old roster to the new roster
based on the following schedule of membership dues paid over each
(a) current footbag.org members: Tier 0 lifetime (no change)
(b) paid $10 at any point in the past: Tier 1 lifetime
(c) paid $20 or more at any point in the past: Tier 2 annual
(d) paid $150 or previously listed as lifetime: Tier 2 lifetime
Note that because many players' memberships will have lapsed before
we apply the schedule above, the "annual" clock starts on the day of
the transition, and is not affected by the player's current member
expiration date. (In other words, any time we grant an annual
membership, it is for one year from the date of the grant.)
(2) Modify footbag.org's member database to track membership tiers
instead of just having a single membership flag.
(3) Modify footbag.org's administration system to understand new tier
structure; e.g., don't allow Tier 1 members or lower to add events to
the event list. Etc.
(4) Modify footbag.org's membership administration tool to allow Tier
2 members limited functionality; make more "turn-key" and tie up all
(5) Communicate broadly about the new structure, including updating
the online membership system.
(6) Procedural: Amend the By-Laws to account for any implications
this change may have in the formal corporation By-Laws or Articles.
Crafting this change in a way that doesn't conflict with the existing
By-Laws would be ideal. However, as mentioned above, amending the
By-Laws may be required for full compliance with IRS codes and US law.
Joined: 08 Oct 2003 Posts: 88 Location: Nampa, ID, USA
Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:39 am Post subject:
Thank you Jeremy for taking the time to compose this amendment. I think that overall this is an excellent plan, especially considering many people's current opinion of the IFPA. The obvious concern you addressed is to figue out how to make up for this $3,000. I already donate significanly to the IFPA every year myself, so hopefully others will see the value in the IFPA.
Joined: 19 Sep 2003 Posts: 1510 Location: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:20 am Post subject:
I just wanted to say that I can't really take any of the credit for this - I'm just the messenger. Steve Goldberg did almost all the initial work (to my knowledge) and Julie Symons also helped out. - As of course did all the board of directors to some extent.
Good to see there is some strong support. If you're an IFPA member expect the vote to be up tomorrow or the day after (australian est)
Joined: 01 Oct 2003 Posts: 210 Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:32 am Post subject:
getting $3000/year together will be absolutely no problem if the ifpa would start to think about some way to give credit to those companies that support it. receiving money from real footbag companies like freedom footbags but showing google ads for hacky sacks is kind of lame.
but that's just a side note.
Joined: 15 Mar 2004 Posts: 90 Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:51 pm Post subject:
wow, an excellent proposal! i really think that this is a great way to get more consistant and accurate numbers. my only concerne would be the tier 2 people "vouching" for people wishing to seek tier 1 status who don't participate and simply are looking for the benifits of the video/photo upload system. However, i think most footbaggers are going to take this seriously and won't vouch for their friends who are simply looking for a place to host the videos of their vacation to florida. As of right now you pay $10 and get the ability to upload and store videos, which helps to keep non footbaggers from joining simply for the service. i fear that with only the recognition needed from a tier 2 member there is more potential for non-footbaggers to obtain membership and use the service for things unrelated to footbag.
i still will vote yes though!
i also like the words "fundraising drive" that could be alot of fun!
Joined: 23 Aug 2003 Posts: 351 Location: San Carlos, CA, USA
Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:42 pm Post subject:
Andrew Grant (Hacksterbator) wrote:
...vouch for their friends who are simply looking for a place to host the videos of their vacation to florida.
Well, I didn't spell it out in the proposal, but it should be obvious that enforcement and oversight is required, to some extent, and that there are tools in place for such today.
First of all, your photos of your world travels aside, Andrew , we generally already verify all uploaded content to make sure it's footbag related and delete it if not (or tell the person to remove it). Of course it's not perfect but it does work to some degree to avoid abuse.
Secondly, Tier 2 members don't actually get direct control over the membership roster except for a limited time around a sanctioned tournament they are organizing. Aside from that case (which has a limited time-window), Tier 2 members have to ask the membership director or some other designated official (probably via some kind of request form on the web) to add a person. This means they can't add thousands of people, so the possible abuse is limited to a handful of members per malicious Tier 2 member, and we don't think that's a big enough risk to stop us from fixing the fundamental issue of what a member is.
Finally, while it's not explciitly in my proposal, I think it should be obvoius that the IFPA has the right (other places in the by-laws) to deny or cancel a Tier 2 member's membership if they are found to be abusing their position and doing things in opposition to the goals of the organization.
Joined: 01 Feb 2006 Posts: 2 Location: Gloucester, United Kingdom
Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:54 pm Post subject: The vote
I'm please your doing this because i was beginning to think it was a bad idea joining purely of what i thought was elitism. many players in the UK would prefer to go it alone and as such do not want any affilliations, however with these proposed changes it could swing their thoughts.
Incidently were still refering to Hacky Sack as it is thought it and footbag are one of the same.
You could just swing this and bring everyone behind you and we'll do what we can to encourage others to join.
Joined: 23 Sep 2003 Posts: 71 Location: Broomfield, CO, USA
Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:40 pm Post subject:
I see almost no value in this change.
I like the tier membership idea, but I think the $ amounts are all wrong. What's the difference between tier 0 and 1 really? Why would I opt to be a lifetime member in tier 1 for $10 if I can be a free member anually?
What I see happening is a decrease in funds for the IFPA because now it's only mandatory to pay a membership fee if you want to be an event organizer of an IFPA sanctioned event, and then it's only $25.
So, I didn't organize an event this year, but I paid my $10 to be a member (actually I think it's time to re-up). If this change goes through then I have no reason to sign up as a Tier 2 member unless I want to organize an event that is IFPA sanctioned (accounting for what? 3-5% of all footbag events). Even if it increases to 50% that's still not as much money as the IFPA would get through membership fees as they currently stand because only the event director has to pay $25. Frankly, I'd me more likely not to go for sanctioning unless their was more offered to my event. The biggest bonus for events is the tax exemption that sponsors get and sponsors are totally slim even with that.
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