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The Fed & USET -- Marketing and Fundraising

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  • #81
    I would also be *very* interested to see the proposed business plan. After all, I am one of their constituents! But I have had *no* luck in getting information from them.

    It seems to me to be very much a private club mentality, and their aim seems to be to secure as much power and influence for their small group of insiders as possible... the rest of us be damned.

    I am open to being proven wrong, but I am a small fish, so I doubt they will bother. Still rubs me the wrong way, though.

    On a brighter note, we have had some fantastic ideas generated here. I hope that more people become inspired to join in. I am a big believer in the value of local circuits (where local means accessible, affordable showing and learning opportunities - not poor footing, crummy jumps, and "under"educated officials!) I was fortunate to grow up on LI, where local shows were really first class. I am a graduate B pony clubber - a feat I was able to accomplish even though I didn't own a horse of my own until I was 15 or 16. I groomed (polo ponies and later racehorses) to make money for lessons and for the opportunities to ride; my club was hugely supportive and helped me find horses to beg or borrow (we stopped short of actually *stealing*) so I could clinic sometimes and to take my tests. I worked hard and loved every minute of it - and it was the best preparation I could have had to ultimately be able to compete at higher levels when I was finally able to afford it on my own.

    I would like to see more standards applied to our industry - certification for instructors, etc - and hope that we can provide more encouragement and EDUCATION to our potential market of consumers.

    The top trainers don't generally "scout" for talent much because they are business people as well as horsemen... it is still a pay for play sport at that level. However, most if not all, are open to people who take the initiative to approach THEM, either with questions or for opportunities as working students and so forth. Waiting for someone to come find you, out of the masses, is not a high percentage path to success. Those who have worked hard, have the background and knowledge to benefit from participating at the next level, need to PROACTIVELY seek out opportunities to do so - not sit around waiting to be "discovered!"
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


    • #82
      Over on the H/J board there is a thread started by someone looking for good h/j posters of big stars. Kind of sad, I think, that they're not readily available.
      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


      • #83
        Dear -----

        I have to ask you to make a special commitment to USET today.

        Will you make three separate contributions of $40 over the next 90 days?

        I've enclosed three envelopes marked July, August and September to deliver your contributions to USET headquarters at the appropriate time.

        Let me explain why I'm counting on you to help USET in this unusual way right now.

        2001 is an extremely important year for USET. We are training and sponsoring many equestrian athletes for both national and international competitions such as the Nation's Cup and World Championships not to mention preparation for the 2002 World Equestrian Games and much more. Our budget for 2001 is $3.64 million and our need for funding is as great as ever.

        But the fact is, in a post-Olympic year we have often seen that some USET members and supporters don't lend the kind of support they normally do, especially during the summer months. It's been having an impact on our operations.

        I've taken a hard look at our budget over the next 90 days. We're facing a potentially serious cash shortfall unless I can count on our most dedicated members like you to help out right now. Here's the bottom line:

        Need to Raise $412,000 by July 31; $323,000 by August 31; $376,000 by September 30

        If you run the numbers, you'll see that our annual budget of $3.64 million is not spread evenly throughout the year. We need the greater portion of that money during the summer months into early fall, when training and funding expenses are greatest.

        If you and your fellow members will help by sending a contribution in each of the next three months, we'll be able to stay on budget, on target and in the winner's circle - this year and in the future. Because everything we do today has an impact long into the future of U.S. equestrian competition.

        As you read my letter, we're identifying and training young athletes who are the future of our sport. This is not something that happens over night. It takes years, literally years of dedication and commitment, to reach the top ranks of equestrian athletes.

        Consider the story of David O'Connor, who won the Gold Medal at the Summer Games in Sydney last year. David and USET have been working together since 1981. That's a twenty year partnership that ultimately led to that Gold Medal.

        USET is working with young equestrians right now who may be the next David O'Connor, the next Debbie McDonald. We don't know which of them might one day carry the U.S. team to greater glory on behalf of our country. But we do know during the next three months, the work we do with them is crucial.

        And the training and support we are giving our established equestrian athletes is something that must be maintained if we are to have any chance of winning the World Equestrian Games, the Pan American Games and, yes, even future Summer Games wherever they may be held.

        I am very excited about the future of our sport, and especially about the leadership role Americans will play in it. The caliber of our athletes, our horses and our trainers has never been higher.

        But they do need your financial support - absolutely! The need it today and over the next 90 days, or everything we're working for in 2001 will be in jeopardy.

        You have been a generous supporter of USET and I am deeply grateful to you for that, as is everyone here. I just hope you understand how critical it is right now that we stay on budget over the next 90 days.

        Thank you in advance.

        Robert C. Standish - Executive Director
        Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

        The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”


        • #84
          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I just hope you understand how critical it is right now that we stay on budget over the next 90 days.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

          Wouldn't have anything to do with all the legal expenses lately, do you think???? Or the USOC scrutiny??

          Of course, large late-in-the-year budgetary shortfalls have been quite common at the USET over the past few years. I wonder if all the people who they've "lost" from the Board recently will result in an inability to make up the shortfall from within the directors' inner circle anymore?

          I am sure this post will sound mean spirited to some. However, it is a fact that huge deficits have been commonplace in the USET budget in years past and that they have been "remedied" by the Directors opening their personal checkbooks to make up the needed funds. The (potential) loss of this support is what Armand Leone obliquely referred to in one debate at the Convention last winter - that several "major sponsors" of the USET would withdraw their support if the USET was not named the NGB.

          Maintaining two separate, dueling organizations is deleterious to the welfare of our sport. I have yet to hear a valid reason why the USET and the Fed should not merge (as the Fed has proposed numerous times) to create the strongest and most effective NGB possible.

          Of course, that would require that personal agendas, ego and control issues would have to be put aside...

          When I got that letter (and others like it) soliciting my support, I sent a letter back saying that if I received either:

          A) a notice saying that for the good of the sport, the USET agreed to merge with and work with the Fed
          B) a reasonable explanation of why that was a bad idea, and why it would be better for the sport as a whole for the USET to continue its efforts to become the NGB,

          I would send another check.

          However, I have never had even the courtesy of a response. Of course, I am one of the "little people" who will never wear the flag on my saddlepad, so I guess they felt it wasn't worth the bother!
          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


          • Original Poster

            Interesting letter. I haven't received it, but then I haven't received any correspondence from the USET in the last few months -- not since I sent my proxy for the Annual Meeting with with Dr. Leone's name marked out and Alan Balch's name written in as the proxy holder.

            I also must admit I am seriously delinquent on fulfilling my pledge for quarterly donations to the endowment fund. I keep intending to send them a letter explaining why. I think I'll copy Lucassb's langauge!
            "I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry


            • #86
              that they are scurrying because they need to show the USOC that they have one the capacity to raise money and two they have a broad base that supports them.

              I'm certain they can cover their shortfall the usual way but that wouldn't look very good if you claim to be broad based and have the support of an industry.

              If you show 1000 people @ $40.00 x 3 that's $120,000 and even though any of the principles might be able to write the check it looks better if there are 1000 separate people.

              They will need over 10,000 people to make that committment to cover what they need. I wonder how that compares with the average year. It seems to me that mostly it is the families of would be talent that has done that sort of thing and I don't think there are that many this year.

              Don't you think by now the other athletes are feeling a little left out since they only mentioned as a success story, David O'Connor. Surely, they are equally proud of some of the others.
              http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


              • Original Poster

                Good points, Snowbird. I don't know what the underlying motivations may be, other than that they apparently need to increase their cashflow in the short-run.

                I wonder that they use David O'Connor as a success poster boy (which he is, of course), so soon after they eliminated any space for him to remain on their Board of Trustees.

                That's one of the really sad aspects of this situation, to me that is. Somehow it became "us" versus "them," when in fact, they are us, and vice-versa. David O'Connor supports the AHSA position in the NGB fight, and he continues to work with the USET as a Young Riders coach. To me, one reason why the merger idea seems to make such eminent sense, and why so many people are frustrated with this situation, is that so many not only have friends in both camps, but they are a part of both camps.

                It's the old Pogo cartoon: "We have met the enemy and he is us." [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]
                "I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry


                • #88
                  This is only about one million and the earlier publicity talked about double that as annual shortfalls. They never went public with such a plea before. They never talked about deadlines when the cash was needed outside of the Board before. They started this whole campaign talking about how self sufficient they were and what a strong base they had of regular donors.

                  It seems to me I remember something in the presentation at the convention that it was the AHSA that would never be able to raise the money how they always had provided all the money.

                  And, you're right of course that David O'Connor is the symbol of a merger. So why use him of all people? Do you think this might be an olive branch? Or do they recognize that he has become the symbol that is most popular and they want a piece of him?

                  I just think that if they really had their ducks in a row and they were as confident as they try to appear neither the plea for funds nor the use of David O'Connor would have happened. So the approach you've all used sounds perfect to me. I think to reply and say that if they choose merger then you will donate is exactly right.

                  I have no objection to welcoming the prodigal child back home and going to work on the changes we need so this will never happen again. I'm not on their mailing list so I can't join you.

                  Portia, in your opinion since the Ted Stevens Act is Federal Law and supercedes the USOC do you see anyway under the present circumstances that the USOC can rule in anyway not in favor of USA Equestrian?
                  http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


                  • #89
                    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SGray (quoting from the USET letter):

                    Consider the story of David O'Connor, .....


                    Yeah, like you considered him when you kicked him off the board. Yes, Mr. Standish, I considered his story very well when I decided not to send you any money. Thanks for reminding me.

                    Snowbird, I think that David O'Connor's name was specificially chosen by USET *because* he is a symbol of the merger. IOW, he is so popular that his name will bring in donations from the rank and file and from people who otherwise do not favor the USET, but do favor him.


                    • #90
                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SGray:
                      I just received a fund-raising letter from USET
                      it said that they needed 200,000 to 400,000 for each of the next three months

                      - it spoke of my past support and I cannot remember sending $s - though might have years ago<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                      please note that that post was from 7/24

                      the date on the fund raising letter is 7/11/01

                      please refresh my memory, what was the date of the board meeting wherein the uset kicked off (oh, sorry, downsized) so many folks?
                      Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                      The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”


                      • #91
                        Snowbird, you mentioned an olive branch. No, I don't think that's what it was, but I will say that no matter how crabby I am about this issue, once the USOC decides, I will throw my whole-hearted support behind the chosen organization, whichever one it is. And at that time, I hope that whichever group is chosen does extend an olive branch to the other. We are, and always have been, on the same side as to wanting what's best for the country.


                        • Original Poster

                          S, I searched and found Weatherford's original thread on the USET annual meeting (remember, she attended the meeting and saw it all). Weatherford started the thread on May 25, 2001, so it wasn't more than a day or so before that.

                          They had definately removed from/eliminated the seat for David O'Connor on the USET board before they sent out this fund raising letter.

                          Here's the link to the thread:

                          Thread on USET Annual Meeting (The Second One)
                          "I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry


                          • #93
                            well I'm sure that there are all kinds of releases that these athletes have signed but I am curious as to whether they are ever asked/informed/given any input/etc when their name/accomplishments/likenesses are going to be used in such mailings

                            not that it matters - just idle curiousity
                            Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                            The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”


                            • #94
                              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
                              Consider the story of David O'Connor, who won the Gold Medal at the Summer Games in Sydney last year. David and USET have been working together since 1981. That's a twenty year partnership that ultimately led to that Gold Medal.

                              What I find especially interesting about this quote is that David O'Connor was the last resident rider at Gladstone... so as they talk about nurturing young talent, they cite the last young talent that they nurtured... 20 years ago!

                              The letter would be a lot more convincing if they recognized that and mentioned how they were going to add similar opportunities for the current young riders.
                              If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                              • #95
                                I wouldn't assume that using David O'Connor was an olive branch or anything like that.

                                He is simply the most recognizable name in the industry right now. Most people involved in our industry don't really know that he isn't on the USET board any more, actively supports the Fed's position, or anyof the other annoying details. They just know he won a gold medal while riding for the USET...
                                Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                                • #96
                                  Teleconference and webcast on Monday starting at 1:00 PM. Marketing and Development!

                                  All members are invited and encouraged to participate. Hope you will all tune in with the good ideas that were floated on our old thread. If you can't be there then please email, snail mail your ideas to USA Equestrian attention: Marketing and Development
                                  http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


                                  • #97
                                    David wasn't a resident rider at Gladstone. He was at South Hamilton which was the eventing training center.


                                    • #98
                                      Thank you so much for posting info on the marketing conference! I will miss it, but hope I can count on you to direct me to where I can find minutes.

                                      "Many thanks in advance."

                                      Speaking of which, the letter from Standish could clearly have been designed to be much more effective - for many reasons (and I too replied by writing Standish a letter borrowing Portia's message, loved it!).

                                      Because of what I have heard about USET and its executives (no formal business management training, or any real management experience to speak of), and I may be up too late again, I'll bet this letter from Standish is partly directed at David and those that would not join the "united front" described on the Kanavy vs. Balch thread.

                                      Before you say I'm bashing the organization again, think of the irony in what someone told me just today, if it's true: Jim Wolf, Special Asst. to the USET's Executive Dir., used to manage (ready for this) Karen and David O'Connor's Barn before he went to become a very big fish in the little pond.

                                      I've also been told he was a surfer (not a bad quality in itself) - the best part - he was hired partly because he had been to Australia to surf and knew the lay of the land leading up to the 2000 Games??? He is said to have ridden in a few low-level events - which, as Standish expressed in Kellerhouse's announcement - also gives him an athlete's perspective... (I've also been told he signs his letters James Wolf, Esquire but has not been to Law School?)

                                      Question is, Jim Wolf, since joining USET have either you, or Standish made a practice of attending executive training, management, marketing, or sponsorship seminars? What professional associations do you belong to? FYI, I'm not talking about equestrian organizations.

                                      Could Wolf have really been hired because Jackie Mars might recognize him at a Gold Medal Club dinner? Was Standish also given his prestigious position - only based on who he knew? With his western background, was he named as a honorary AQHA Vice President before or after he surprised the Team's board members at the 1997 annual meeting by adding Reining as the sixth discipline? Where is his athlete experience, if this is why Wolf and Kellerhouse are so valuable?

                                      Are their "connections" why the USET Executive board deems the executives in Hamilton Farm valuable enough to justify salaries so much higher than the national average of executives at non profits of USET's size (www.salarysource.com)?

                                      Purely as an aside, my web search turned up an executive whom donates his entire salary each year because he is so passionate about his org's cause; and most other executives earning over six figures are making significant donations each year - sadly, not the case in Gladstone).

                                      Speaking of management issues, does anyone on this thread know how to explain the resignations of the 15+ former USET employees listed on the Kanavy vs. Balch thread?

                                      BACK TO THE POINT - my guess, Standish, who I was told today used to manage a race-track and show horses in-hand before taking the Reins of USET - by the looks of it - might have written this letter himself.

                                      Read between the lines, it almost appears as if they are taking credit for David's Gold medal - clearly they are suggesting David couldn't have done it without them.

                                      Arrogant move considering their motivation to remove David from the board.

                                      Moreover, with all that's being said, and written on these boards and within the equestrian press, they would have been wise to MENTION the NGB challenge, taken an opportunity to DEFEND their position - AND - categorically GUARENTEE their target audience, potential contributors, that none of the DONATIONS would be directed toward legal fees (hello???).

                                      With all they have spent on lawyers, are prepared to spend, and are forcing the USA Equestrian to spend, WHY can't USET hire a decent public relations/crisis management consultant???

                                      If they have, please accept my apology because they are obviously not listening to you.

                                      Besides being WAY too long - like this reply -such a letter from USET really does not make ANY business or common sense...


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thanks Bostonian, but I can't take credit where it's not due -- the language came from Lucassb!

                                        Tomorrow will be interesting, and between those of us who can listen I hope we can take notes and post a play by play. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
                                        "I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry


                                        • Apparently I was up too late...

                                          Well said Lucassb.