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I've been reading (parts of) this thread with interest but also, at times, in utter amazement at the profound lack of understanding of business models and sectors displayed by some posters.

A disclaimer: I do not consider myself an expert on NFP organization and operation, but it has been my livelihood for nearly 30 years. I've served as a board member (and President) on local, state and national organizations as well as having been a CEO of private local and statewide NFP organizations.

I'd like to add a few points for clarification and a few to consider:

1. The terms "non-profit" or "not-for-profit" do NOT mean that an organization cannot make a profit. Indeed, it must, like any other business, make a profit to stay in business. The "Non-profit" distinction is that no "board member/trustee" may profit from his or her involvement in the governance of his or her organization. 2. A CEO is hired by the board, serves at the pleasure of the board, and is charged with implementing the policies set by the board. The board's role is to act as the governing oversight body, not as super-administrator (individually or corporately).

I find DCI to be quite an contradiction here: on one hand, it's board members are paid employees (directors/CEOs) of their respective corps charged with making that corps a profitable business. On the other hand, as board members of DCI, they are to act in the best interests of DCI as a whole. This seems, to me, to open the gates to a broad range of conflicts of interest.

2. Bylaws are essential to the operation of any non-profit organization; they describe how that organization functions. If they become outdated or are found to be detrimental to current situations, they may (and should) be amended -- but, they are the rules under which that organization operates.

A few weeks ago, as this thread was developing, I became curious as to how the recent board/s had been: appointed, elected, operating. I went to the DCI website to find a link to its bylaws but couldn't find any so I wrote to DCI asking for a copy. The website response indicated it had received my request and would respond within a two days. Having received no response, I again wrote to them two days ago with the same request and...got the same result, no answer. I assume they can be obtained from the Indiana Dept. of State which is where I will write next unless someone here can point me in the right direction to obtain a copy. ( I've been involved in drum corps since the 60s as a player, instructor, director and adjudicator but apparently, my interest and request are unimportant.)

3. I find quite curious the argument that DCI should become a for-profit entity; I'm not quite sure how that would work, given that all it's members (corps) are individual non-profit entities, each involved in their own fundraising and unique NFP issues. Could someone explain how that would work, beyond just saying that it should happen?

4. DCI is obviously in trouble and, in my opinion, it needs to look very carefully at the audiences it serves (corps, communities and individuals) and determine what internal changes are required to meet those needs successfully. It should eliminate the obvious conflicts of interest at the board level and build a board of successful/interested representatives from related industries and communities. It should then work to create a compelling strategic (long-range) plan and the more immediate annual business plans (goals) and related budgets that are required to operate a viable business in the NFP world.

Any thoughts?

Edited by sky
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I completely agree with your 1, 2, and 4 so will only provide a response to 3.

3. I find quite curious the argument that DCI should become a for-profit entity; I'm not quite sure how that would work, given that all it's members (corps) are individual non-profit entities, each involved in their own fundraising and unique NFP issues. Could someone explain how that would work, beyond just saying that it should happen?

a) If DCI really wants to be as claimed, a Major League, I suggest following the lead of the PGA where the governing body of DCI would be a non-profit and the performers, ie the individual corps, would consist of all for-profit adult professionals (and as in the PGA there would be rules and guidelines for entry, but no arbitrary limit on the number of entities which can compete during qualifying rounds).

b) Or, if DCI wants to remain a youth activity, I suggest following the lead of the Little League World Series where the non-profit sanctioning body facilitates a youth oriented series for non-profit youth teams (again where there there would be rules and guidelines for entry, but no arbitrary limit on the number of entities which can compete during qualifying rounds).

Edited by Stu
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I completely agree with your 1, 2, and 4 so will only provide a response to 3.

a) If DCI really wants to be as claimed, a Major League, I suggest following the lead of the PGA where the governing body of DCI would be a non-profit and the performers, ie the individual corps, would consist of all for-profit adult professionals (and as in the PGA there would be rules and guidelines for entry, but no arbitrary limit on the number of entities which can compete during qualifying rounds).

The NFL is set up this way too, as a non-profit.

Edited by Kamarag
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I completely agree with your 1, 2, and 4 so will only provide a response to 3.

a) If DCI really wants to be as claimed, a Major League, I suggest following the lead of the PGA where the governing body of DCI would be a non-profit and the performers, ie the individual corps, would consist of all for-profit adult professionals (and as in the PGA there would be rules and guidelines for entry, but no arbitrary limit on the number of entities which can compete during qualifying rounds).

b) Or, if DCI wants to remain a youth activity, I suggest following the lead of the Little League World Series where the non-profit sanctioning body facilitates a youth oriented series for non-profit youth teams (again where there there would be rules and guidelines for entry, but no arbitrary limit on the number of entities which can compete during qualifying rounds).

Thanks, Stu.

I think example a. still has the problem of being a consortium wherein the individual corps would be for-profit. I don't see how they could exist without tax-deductible donations. Is there a market to support the activity without those donations? I doubt it.

Your little league example sounds feasible. I don't know much about it but I could believe that they, and other similar national youth associations could, as you suggest, serve as a good blueprint for revising/re-tooling DCI to help make it grow.

Edited by sky
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The NFL is set up this way too, as a non-profit.

Are you sure about that?

I could be wrong, but I thought that they and other organized professional sports were privately held (but receive some government exemptions/allowances).

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Are you sure about that?

I could be wrong, but I thought that they and other organized professional sports were privately held (but receive some government exemptions/allowances).

The NFL is a 501©6 non-profit association and has operated that way since the 1960s. The individual teams, however, are obviously for-profit.

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The NFL is a 501©6 non-profit association and has operated that way since the 1960s. The individual teams, however, are obviously for-profit.

Thanks, Kamarag, so it's similar to a Chamber of Commerce or Builders Association, a different animal than a 501 ©(3) charitable, educational org.

Edited by sky
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Thanks, Kamarag, so it's similar to a Chamber of Commerce or Builders Association, a different animal than a 501 ©(3) charitable, educational org.

Yep. You can say a lot about the NFL, but "charitable" probably wouldn't be a valid term (at least as far as income goes...they actually pay out a lot to other charities).

Edited by Kamarag
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2. Bylaws are essential to the operation of any non-profit organization; they describe how that organization functions. If they become outdated or are found to be detrimental to current situations, they may (and should) be amended -- but, they are the rules under which that organization operates.

3. I find quite curious the argument that DCI should become a for-profit entity; I'm not quite sure how that would work, given that all it's members (corps) are individual non-profit entities, each involved in their own fundraising and unique NFP issues. Could someone explain how that would work, beyond just saying that it should happen?

I agree with #2. Any Corps that operates knowingly outside of the understood bylaws should be sanctioned or penalized too. Otherwise, what is the point of having established By laws and a proper set of protocol in the first place ?

As for #3, there is no possible way that I am aware of for a non profit youth organization such as DCI to adopt a model that sacrifices its current IRS status for the commercial enterprises shared on this thread by some posters. Therefore, I share your bewilderment on this despite its amusing quality to the proposals set forth.

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Thanks, Stu.

I think example a. still has the problem of being a consortium wherein the individual corps would be for-profit. I don't see how they could exist without tax-deductible donations. Is there a market to support the activity without those donations? I doubt it.

Your little league example sounds feasible. I don't know much about it but I could believe that they, and other similar national youth associations could, as you suggest, serve as a good blueprint for revising/re-tooling DCI to help make it grow.

While the NFL is a Sports non-profit it is far from being charitable it does limit the number of teams; I suggested the PGA because the sanctioning body a) appeals to the local areas by helping local charities via the various tournaments, and b) the body has rules of entry but does not limit the number. As for the 'corps' being adult professional for-profit that could work as in a bunch of Blast type organizations, but is also probably not that realistic.

Check out the Little League World Series, that is my number one choice on a change of DCI structure. (and it gets us away from the 'pretense' that DCI is a Major League).

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