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USA Fencing’s 2024-25 Budget: 10 Things to Know

05/18/2024, 7:00pm CDT
By Bryan Wendell

Your guide to understanding USA Fencing’s financial landscape and priorities for the upcoming year.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As USA Fencing moves toward our 2024-25 fiscal year, we want our members to understand how the organization's finances are structured and allocated. This transparency, one of our core values, ensures that everyone is informed about how membership fees and event revenues are used to support our sport. 

The latest news is that, at its May 18 meeting, the USA Fencing Board of Directors approved the 2024-25 budget. But what actually goes into how USA Fencing spends the roughly $14.5 million brought in each year?

Below, we’ve gathered 10 key takeaways from the latest budget. (Want to take an even deeper dive? Look at the full budget, included in the May 14 meeting minutes).

1. Budget Addresses Economic and Operational Challenges

The budget addresses significant cost increases due to economic factors affecting everyday Americans and organizations alike, such as:

  • Hotel costs have risen by 4.1% since 2023.

  • Labor fees have increased in unionized locations, affecting contract costs.

  • Air travel expenses for both domestic and international flights continue to climb, affecting our squads traveling internationally as well as our officials and staff flying domestically.

  • Shipping costs have surged by 20%, since 2023

  • Health insurance premiums are also on the rise, 11% since 2023

  • Software expenses have increased, impacting overall operational costs.

2. Strategic Plan Initiatives Remain the Focus

The budget incorporates elements from the 2024-2028 strategic plan, focusing on areas like:

  • Enhancing sport performance and parafencing development.

  • Supporting club equipment needs and holding clinics at various events.

  • Initiatives to grow membership, aiming for 70,000 individual members and 700 clubs by 2028.

  • Increasing engagement through improved communication and marketing strategies.

3. Adjustments Made to National and Regional Events

Changes in USA Fencing tournaments to ensure a balanced budget include:

  • An increase in regional event bid fees from $50 to $75.

  • Implementing credit card processing fees for regional event registrations, ensuring organizers don’t have to absorb this cost themselves.

  • A standalone SJCC event projected to produce revenue into the budget

4. Foundation Becomes Independent Entity

Beginning with this budget cycle, the U.S. Fencing Foundation now operates as a separate entity, with its own budget and reporting system. This separation clarifies the flow of funds and the financial responsibilities between the Foundation and the Association. In this revised structure, Foundation (therefore donation) income is accounted for in the Foundation and no longer appears in the Association budget.

5. Income of Nearly $200K Projected

  • The expected net income for the 2024-25 fiscal year is $196,094.

  • The budget shows a decrease in revenue by 2.9% compared to 2023-24, primarily due to the removal of the Development Department from the Association’s budget and a decrease in USOPC funding.

  • A 3.1% reduction in expenses is also projected.

  • This surplus will begin to address the capital deficit of the Association, which stands at more than $1 million and was primarily built up during Covid-19.

6. Revenue and Expenses: A Deeper Dive

7. Sport Performance Enhancements on the Way

The budget increases help our high-performance teams that travel to represent Team USA and expand the footprint of our sport through medals won on the sport’s biggest stages. 

Changes include:

  • An honorarium increase for referees and coaches attending international competitions — the first such increase in 10 years. This move follows an increase for national-level officials enacted last year.

  • Additional support staff for cadet and junior events, required for compliance with international rules.

  • Since the Olympic Games are spread across two financial years and the Paralympic Games are in September, costs for both events are factored into costs for the 2024-25 budget.

8. Membership Growth Expected

  • Membership revenues are expected to increase by $153,990 from the previous year.

  • A focus on NCAA Collegiate Development and further supporting clubs in an effort to boost membership numbers.

9. Marketing and DEIB Integration Look to Expand Fencing’s Footprint

The budget includes a comprehensive approach to marketing, communications, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB).

Marketing and communications money are spent on tools to help us reach new households through social media, earned media and paid placements.

DEIB funds support scholarships for athletes and clubs as well as programs designed to lower the barrier to the sport.

Meanwhile, income in this area reflects an increase in support from USA Fencing sponsors and partners. This shift is part of our ambitious goal to increase sponsor income and rely less heavily on income directly coming from our members. To ensure this shift can continue, however, it’s vital that members support these partners where possible.

10. U.S.-Hosted International Events Expected

The budget outlines financial projections for USA Fencing-hosted international events:

  • A Junior Saber World Cup

  • A World Abilitysport Parafencing event

For each event, the focus is on managing deficits and maximizing revenue.

Tag(s): Updates