In a state-of-the-union letter sent out to members last week, NATB President Ken Solky asked the membership to consider three alternatives for how the association should look at improving its financial picture moving forward.
“In the past, we’ve relied on a combination of faithful supporters, donors and some assessments,” Solky, a broker and owner of Las Vegas Tickets, wrote in the letter. “How do we raise funds moving forward? Do we have a ‘mandatory assessment’ to all members equally? Do we have a ‘tiered assessment’ amount based on dues structure? Do we continue with limited funds and the voluntary donation format currently in effect?”
Solky told TicketNews that he asked the question “to get a feel for the thoughts of members” as the group prepares for its annual meeting in Las Vegas in July.
“Our dues structure covers the expense of running the trade association,” he said. “But, throughout the organization’s 16 years, it has received separate donations from members, and we’ve utilized those extra funds for various initiatives, such as fighting the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger.”
The association is not necessarily looking at changing its fees at this time, which range from $975 to $1,625 annually, but instead it wants to consider ways of normalizing extra funding, which it needs on a yearly basis.
“The NATB is the only organization that brings together Ticket Brokerages from across the U.S. and Canada,” Solky wrote in the letter. “We help educate the buying/selling public, venues, promoters and legislatures. We provide customers with resourceful information that helps them in making their purchase decision. As well, we stand ready to assist customers should they incur problems with purchases. We need to continue to grow our organization and keep it strong and vibrant.”
Jason Berger, managing director of AllShows.com and a former NATB president, told TicketNews that while the group has some funding issues, “as all trade associations do,” he believes the organization runs a tight ship, and he gives Solky high marks for his efforts at trying to boost the bottom line.
“The NATB has spent a lot of money on things like education, lobbying and public relations, but it has basically no overhead. The money given in dues and donations does go directly to the services being offered. And, when you look at now and the last couple of years, there has never been a time that’s been more critical to the industry in such a short period,” Berger said.
Solky said he has no idea how members will react to the three choices he presented, and he was quick to add that since it’s not his decision to make – it’s the membership’s decision – he does not know which alternative he fully supports.
However, as a broker, he said he leans toward the tiered assessment structure, because he believes it is fair.
“I think membership in the association is equally valuable to each member, large or small, but the larger companies have more financial resources, and they can often take better advantage of what the NATB has to offer than the smaller companies,” he said.