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Show me the Money!, where's it going - everyone read and let me know

1510 Views 52 Replies 30 Participants Last post by  ericl
This is a little long but please read it all the way through and I hope no one is pissed when they are finished.

I too have made a contribution to the cause, to keep afloat. And hopefully I am not off base on this one. This will also test how open this board really is, can we question the powder that be? Sorry this is kind of long, but no one is asking. This runs along the same lines as what happened to all the money raised for the 9/11 tragedy.

First I have a suggestion instead of everyone posting here "oh I gave here and I gave there" why don't we just set up a contributor thread accessible only by Eric B and have him just post the names of the folks who he has received contributions from there.

Seems to me it would save a lot of disc space and band width by doing it that way and then people would know you received their payment.

And now the question (second shoe dropped): At the ECG, this last year, I think it was number 7, I've gone to so many I am starting to lose count, Eric Bowden got up and said how 3Si was in good financial shape and that we were thinking about providing money to anyone putting on a Gathering and a few other thing that we might finance. Just wondering how did we go from being real good to where Eric Lotter has to spend his own money, out of you pocket, to keep everything running.

I know that we collected one dollar per person that went to at the dinner that night of OCG7, (at the Embers) and no one seemed to mind. Plus it made make change a lot easier can you imagine howmany ones we'd need so to go from $29 to $30 made things much easier. We had over 150 people in attendance. We also collected $10 per car at the show and only had a trophy for first place winners (but we did have some very nice give a-ways, some were donated) and we had over 100 cars in attendance. But yet a much smaller show like the one in PA, PA Gathering had a trophies for 1st - 3rd, did here anyone say they lost money or what happened to the profits. Again I don't know how the organizer did financially on either one but after hearing Eric B speak at this last OCG Gathering, just makes one wonder what happened from then to now. We no longer host pics, not even just signature pics. And did any of 3Si money go to support any gathering this year?

Now I realize this might not be taken well, the questioning of what happened to the money but since you guys are asking for money I think we should get a little accountability for our contributions.

And yes for those who care I have worked as an Auditor and currently work as an Accountant, and I am sure we aren't getting ripped but we are getting to the point that now we are dealing with a fairly large amount of cash, here folks. If you don't think so just start to add up what everyone said they contributed, and not to even getting into the merchandise or membership sales. And I world not even be asking but to go from where we ( were willing to finance Gatherings to "help were going down the tubes" from May to Nov of the same year, should create just a little concern. Maybe it's just me, I hope not, as everyone can see I've been a member from the start, see my 3Si number 62. And I do really love not a day goes by that I don't check in on what's going on. You guys that run this site please don't be pissed, I do think you guys are doing a great job and you are all are my friends, but I also think that if everyone could see what is happening financially then you would get more contributors.

I mean you see 3Si black hole written about, when some one sends money, this is not good and conveys maybe a little shady things are going on. I just think if the accounting is a little more open you won't have to ask anyone for money, maybe.

Hope I didn't loose any friends just think this need to said to help contributions and not cast undeserived suspicions.

Dave Best
(No my car doesn't look like the little red "x", it's not even red. Can I get my "x" to match my car?)

Thanks guys.
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Dave Best said:
Just wondering how did we go from being real good to where Eric Lotter has to spend his own money, out of you pocket, to keep everything running.
I may be completly wrong but I think what happened was Techdroid (the ISP for this site) stopped giving Eric the insane discount he was getting since the bandwith useage just got to be too much for them. This site uses massive amounts of bandwith I think they said what 30 Gigabytes/month in one of those other threads? That's not cheap.
Thanks Dave :) I was wondering the same thing, It would be nice to see a breakdown of all the costs involved in keeping the site up. Afterall those who gave money are partial partners :D
I sort-of agree BUT we have to look at the way 3si is set up... is it a "partnership" or is it a business? Or is it a hobby?

If it's a business (and I'm tempted to think it is-- or at least it should be) then nobody has to be accountable for anything... he can spend the money the way he sees fit, IMO. If he makes a profit, GREAT, because he spends a LOT of time here and he deserves it. But if he loses money, he can't expect us to make up for it. Of course, at some point the business wont' exist anymore so it's in our BEST INTEREST to support it.

If it's truly a "partnership" then the entire organization needs to change. We need to get a board of directors (or at the least a consulting board) and EVERY DOLLAR spent needs to be accounted for INCLUDING A SALARY FOR THE PERSON SPENDING THE TIME RUNNING THE DAY TO DAY OPERATIONS. If we expect accountability then WE SHOULD PAY HIM FOR HIS WORK. The other part of this is IF THE PARTNERSHIP LOSES MONEY then the partners are OBLIGATED (not "asked") to make up for the deficit.

If it's just a hobby then again, there should be NO accountability BUT if the hobby loses money then that's not our fault. On the flip side TO GET MONEY COMING IN, it would be a "Good Idea" to let us know where our money is going.

I want to make ONE THING perfectly clear: Even if Eric was making $50,000 per month profit on this website/organization THAT'S FINE WITH ME. He found a niche and is filling it. There's nothing wrong if he makes some money.

Dave, your post is taken in good faith... you do make some great points but I personally don't think (at least the way the organization is set up right now) that there's any accountability required. But, as I said earlier... it's easier for someone to give money to an organization if they know where it's going.
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3SI is a nonprofit organization, hence the It should take in enough money to support itself and its functions, part of which may be a salary for the Officers in charge of the maintaining and updating the site, planning the gatherings and whatnot.
Let me state my saying I am NOT privy to the financial information of But, I do have a feeling for where the money went. bandwidth aslo known as per month hosting fees.

at the peak we used almost 200gig a month transfer :eek: and that is not cheep. Even with the discounted rate stephen got us(I dont know that rate). 200g for several months = probably $100-$200 per month for thoes months. That will destroy you bank balance in a heart beat.

To combat this we closed the image archive and stephen and others(akira for one;)) are trying to find other options.

But, 3si needs to recoup the money spent and possiable even reimburse eric for some out of pocket.

Personnaly I'm for full disclosure on where the money goes. I think it would make it easier at times like this.
If 3si is truly a not-for-profit corporation then the records are public record anyway. (by the way .org does not necessarily mean it's not-for-profit)... I don't know the financial organization but if it is legally NFP then anyone can see the books. I doubt, though, that the IRS would give NFP status to an organization such as this.

I again say that unless it's REQUIRED by law, there's no responsibility to show the financials... but as has been stated, it DOES make it EASIER for us to give/pay to the organization.
I've never meet Eric, but my gut feeling is that hes and honest and works hard for the site. If he comes out and says he needs money to help keep it running then I'll make a donation to help. It would be nice to have an idea of the income and expenditures associated with keeping this place up and running. Its not necessary, but out of curiosity.
YogsVR4 said:
I've never meet Eric, but my gut feeling is that hes and honest and works hard for the site.
I have met him and I agree with your opinion :D
As long as I get my membership number and sticker some time in the next decade, I could care less where the rest of the money is. None of it will be out of my pocket.
I sent in my $8 and got my # really quick. Problem is, I lost all my info D'oh!
Alan92RTTT said:
I have met him and I agree with your opinion :D
I'll third the opinion. :D
No I am not attacking Eric, I agree with your opinion on him. I like Eric, I am not attacking anyone, but my main point is how did we go from where we ( - Eric Lotter) was talking about being able to fund Gatherings to we're broke - from the first weekend in May until now. And having more open books would help a lot towards fund raising when everyone can see exactly where we stand at any given time. And I did make a contribution; because 3Si has help me and I do have a lot of friends here.

Let's face it if everyone took the approach that, "I gave my $8 and I am not going to give any more" we won't be around a year from now. I know that, and those who have been around for more than six month should have learned something here to make it worth while to maybe send in $8-$10 a year, I mean what the heck is $10, little more than a six pack. Most folks should have save that much reading something here that helped them or maybe got some good love life advice.

I am not making this personal, my main point is maybe if we would have know earlier that no one would have to put anything out of their pocket to support this page.

Dave Best
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I dont think anyone is attacking you for your opinion/ideas. At least I know I am not, I was just voicing my observations. I am interested to read what Eric has to say if he gets a chance to respond.
Ive been on the board's for a while and while I havnt contributed financially it doesn't mean I wouldn't be willing to I just have no clue where it'd go what it would be used for how much is needed ertc. I guess info is the key in this situation and everyone just wants more of it so we can feel more secure or at least have a better idea about the condition of this community and the well being and current situation is in.

I am curious too:confused: !!! Show me the $$$:p
I am sure the bandwith will cost him a lot... and personally I think he should put an add on the main forum so he can afford to bring back the image hosting stuff. I am sure somebody would host the forum for free if you put some adds one it. I know some of the gamer forums that get like like 40 pages a day and the adds pay for itself to be hosted in an oc 12 data center and pay for massive processor's and RAID equipment. Off course adds and images dont bother me cause I am broadband.
for those unfortunate slow individuals theres way to have the website WAIT to load any image till the rest of the website is IE anyhow
The thread is not ignored

Hey all,

I've been without internet access for a couple of days and I am physicaally on the road as I type this, wireless internet at 14kb, but...

When I get to the office on wednesday I will review this thread and reply aas appropriate.

In short this site has become too expensive to maintain as a hobby and is is in serious risk of leaving my hands.

3si never had any money to support gatherings, it was a goal to be able to provide such a thing. A serious membership to a car club would be the only thing to be able to upport that, check out to see how we can start to get chapters in line. This was a prototype and is still being tested.

A local chapter gathing dues and puting into a 3si kitty wwould keep things running...

More on that when I have a stable connection.

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I've said it elsewhere but I'll say it here. I think we should have voluntary dues. I think the site should remain free for users and whatnot, but for people that want to be members (and get to participate in gatherings, or just simply want to support the site or whatever benefits we could swing) have them voluntarily pay dues. The dues don't even have to be fixed ... just make them at least $20/year and let people contribute over that whatever they can. Heck even if you only get 100 people who are willing to only contribute $20, that's a quick $2k per year to keep the bandwidth rolling. I know I'd personally probably contribute much more than that and I would hope others would who could (but certainly aren't required to). Whatever surplus money arose could be kept in an account so that in the future if less people pay dues then we can keep the site going off of it. We might even be able to raise enough money off of voluntary dues so that we can get the picture gallery back and revel in our excessive bandwidth that we all paid for. As long as the paying members get recognition and whatnot I think this model can work. If you can't contribute don't. If you can contribute some then do. If you can contribute a lot and are willing then do that then do that. But with a structured dues system people will be reminded to do this and it will keep the money coming in consistently.

Just an idea.
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