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Membership Review Group Offers Seven Key Recommendations

04/19/2023, 11:00am CDT
By Bryan Wendell

The USA Fencing Membership Review Group, made up of a dozen key stakeholders and staff members, recently completed a comprehensive analysis of USA Fencing’s membership product offerings. Here’s what they found.

Cadet Women's Foil action during the 2023 Junior Olympics. (Photo by Serge Timacheff)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Memberships for USA Fencing clubs and individual fencers and fans offer tangible benefits that help expand enjoyment of fencing. But there’s always room for improvement.

That was among the key findings from the USA Fencing Membership Review Group, which includes a dozen key stakeholders and staff members. The group recently completed a comprehensive analysis of USA Fencing’s membership product offerings and offered their report to the USA Fencing Board of Directors at the April 16 meeting

The review group's main focus was to enhance the experience for club and individual members while addressing liability risks and supporting the growth of fencing nationwide. 

Specifically, the review group put forth seven recommendations aimed at improving the overall USA Fencing membership experience:

  1. Offer One Club Membership Product: The review group recommends merging the current club memberships (Premium and Affiliate) into a single product with a dynamic pricing structure. This change will provide more consistent benefits for clubs and restructure the club rebate program. New clubs still in the start-up stage (identified as the first three years of USFA club membership) will have a $250 price point associated with the single club membership offering. Clubs that operate in a college, high school, or community-based setting will have a price point of $250. Clubs that do not qualify for these criteria above will be given a discount for the upcoming club membership season based on the previous year’s membership count. Proposed to be implemented for the 2023-2024 season.

  2. Combine Non-Competitive and Access Membership Types: To eliminate confusion and streamline membership options, the group suggests combining Non-Competitive and Access membership types, proposed to be implemented for the 2023-2024 season.

  3. Enhance Club Membership Benefits Offerings: The group identified three main areas of focus to add value to clubs: decreasing operational expenses costs, increasing revenue and providing professional business services. This might include club management software, marketing toolkits, fundraising solutions, and discounted accounting, human resources, and insurance services.

  4. Enhance the Individual Membership Experience: The review group seeks to improve each fencer’s experience by decreasing overall costs and elevating participation opportunities. This might include access to member-exclusive experiences, digital benefits, discounts on travel and equipment, and online community-building opportunities.

  5. Analyze Individual Memberships: A comprehensive analysis of the current individual membership offerings is underway by USA Fencing staff. The goal: creating a structure that meets members' present and future needs. This effort includes addressing staff-identified operational inefficiencies and exploring auto-renewal functionality for memberships. The group will continue to meet over the coming weeks to further explore this area.

  6. Implement Club Starter Kits: The group recommends packaging club membership benefits into a "Club in a Box" concept, offering discounted club membership and benefits for the first three years of USA Fencing membership to facilitate new club growth.

  7. Explore Multi-Sport Membership Opportunities: Market research will be conducted to identify potential partnership opportunities with other sports organizations. This initiative aims to broaden the appeal and reach of USA Fencing, though it depends on other organizations' willingness to collaborate.

With these seven recommendations, the review group has set the stage for further dialogue about streamlining and improving the USA Fencing membership experience. As the organization moves forward, we’ll continue to assess and refine our offerings to better serve the needs of members and the broader fencing community.

Members of the USA Fencing Membership Review Group

  • Sean Yao – Secretary, Western Fencing Coalition

  • Brian Kropp – MD, Accenture

  • Benjamin Jackson – Fencer, COO of Innovative Payments

  • Matthew Stone – Strategy Manager, Former Leader of NGB Membership Programs 

  • Mehdi Zara – Fencing Parent, Quantitative Analysis Manager

  • Sarah Thomson – Event Organizer, Project, and Database Management

  • Maria Panyi – Referee and Fencing Parent, Member of the USFA Audit Committee 

  • Alex Gioiella – Referee, Coach and Fencer

  • Scott Rodgers - Paralympian

  • Phil Andrews – Chief Executive Officer, USA Fencing

  • Brad Suchorski – Director of Membership, Service & Growth, USA Fencing

  • Sarah Ross – Membership Services Manager, USA Fencing

Tag(s): Updates