[UPDATE: Per the SFBC, "...you should have read Part VIII, lines 1b and 2a, of the 990s for both the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Education Fund."
So, here's 2010:
1b makes sense but 2a is not membership dues so adding them together doesn't help.
Again, 1b makes sense but 2a is not membership dues so adding them together doesn't help.
And here's 2012:
(And the Bicycle Coalition Education Fund 990's don't really factor in all that much, like $10 or $20 grand each.)
So IDK, would you, Gentle Reader, suppose that different strategies were applied for 2010 and 2011 vs. 2012? I would. Because the "non-contribution portions of membership dues" went from $0 in 2010 and 2011 all the way up to $135,933 in 2012. Is there any explanation for this? Did the accountant(?) for 2011 and earlier fill out the 990 forms incorrectly? IDK. Is this kind of a thing a big deal, worth amending a bunch of other recent returns? IDK.
(Did IRS laws on this topic change the past several years? I don't think so, as this guide from 2008 remains unchanged.)
Now when I say "membership dues," what's actually written in there for 2012 is "memberships." Now memberships is a different thing, IMO. Memberships is what the SFBC spent a lot of time crowing about when memberships were actually increasing. But these days memberships are decreasing. Why is that? I ask.
So, what the SFBC is now calling it a 3% "membership income change" I'd call it a 3% membership dues decrease. And this comes at a time when the population of San Francisco is increasing and at a time when SFGov and the SFBC officially "expect" a sixfold increase in the number of trips made by bicycle in San Francisco by 2020, all the way up to 20%. ("20 by '20" or something.) I don't think anybody believes in this fantasy, you know, actually, but, well, there you go.
So, membership dues at the SFBC have decreased more like 3% year over year, rather than 40-something percent.
But if I were running the SFBC and I were as sensitive about giving out my 990's as this...
"The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's annual reports discuss our biggest successes and challenges, and present a broad picture of our income and expenses. If you have specific questions about our finances, please contact Leah Shahum, Executive Director, 415/431-BIKE x306."
...I'd amend my returns so that they would be self consistent, at the very least. END UPDATE]
And by the past year, I mean let’s use the most recent Form 990, the one* that was filed about four months ago, and compare it with the one what was filed for the year before.
Check it. Here’s the 990 for 2011 - $344,663 in reported membership dues:
Click to expand
And here’s the 990 for 2012 – just $185,921:
Now, what could explain this sudden and dramatic drop in “support?”
Well, we had the Chris Bucchere accident in the first quarter of 2012 and some members didn’t exactly approve of the way that SFBC officers dealt with the issue. Perhaps revenue went down in the following quarters?
And we had the shocking SFBC endorsement of Republican-backed Mayor Ed Lee near the end of 2011 – I doubt that paying members would have approved of that had they been given the opportunity.
You know, this guy, the one who always looks up to the formerly-despised Willie Brown:
Of course, people can always do a Barter Membership, but you’d think that dues-paying members would volunteer anyway, right?
Take a look at the numbers on the tax returns, it seems as if the SFBC is just another arm of the SFMTA or, indeed, of SFGov. (Except it’s an agency that can officially endorse Ed Lee for Mayor.)
Anyway, this is why the SFBC no longer boasts of increasing membership anymore.
[UPDATE: Did the 10% discount for SFBC members at Rainbow Grocery really make that much of a difference? IDK. See Comments.]
*There’s also something called the Education Fund, which also gets membership dues – $10k for 2011 and $20k for 2012. But if you throw those numbers in you’re still looking at a 40-something percent decline year over year.