2013 State of NASPA

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During a recent Advisory Board meeting, it was suggested that regular updates from NASPA, and me in specificity, should be provided to our members. This is the first of what are planned to be monthly messages providing information for our members about what is happening with the organization.

Each January, I plan to offer a “State of NASPA” statement to provide an overview of where the organization stands and plans for the future:

State of NASPA – January 2013

NASPA is at the 3½-year point from the July 1, 2009 date of assuming the duties as the official arm of Hasbro as the administrator of tournament SCRABBLE play. At that time, there were approximately 2,000 active members.

As of this writing, 4,658 people have signed up for NASPA. There are 2,430 members who are current with their dues. If your membership has lapsed, please consider renewing at Membership.

General Communication

In addition to our website, www.scrabbleplayers.org, please join our Facebook page, Google+ page, Twitter feed and/or naspa-pro Yahoo! Group to stay up to date with NASPA; or just look for Social Media in NASPAWiki. To join the Facebook page, go to North American SCRABBLE Players Association and follow the link to join. To follow our Twitter feed, look for @NASPA. To join naspa-pro, send a blank email to naspa-pro-subscribe@yahoogroups.com You will receive an email asking you to confirm. Hit “reply” and “send” to that.

NASPA’s Mission Statement

That statement is located on our website’s homepage and has been there since its inception. The Mission Statement is:

“NASPA is a community of tournament, club and avid home players of the SCRABBLE® Brand Crossword Game. We foster an atmosphere for people of all skill levels to play their favorite game, improve their abilities and above all, meet people who share a similar love of the game.”

NASPA’s Short, Intermediate and Long Term Plans

The short term plan is to continue SCRABBLE tournaments. This has been a huge challenge to all of those involved from NASPA’s beginning to now; this includes all full time workers, part time workers, volunteers, directors and members – thank you to everyone who has been a part of continuing SCRABBLE tournaments!!

The intermediate plan (5 years) from the outset was and is to learn how to run the company that is NASPA. This is every facet from managing people, administering committees (among other things, these committees are involved in producing the National SCRABBLE Championship, overseeing the sanctioning process for clubs and tournaments, testing and certifying official SCRABBLE tournament Directors, providing materials for directors to assist in their tasks, updating the dictionary, maintaining the rating system, maintaining the NASPA website, overseeing the qualification process for special events, officially recognizing and archiving the amazing feats of our players, archiving the history of organized SCRABBLE play, assessing products used in the game, marketing membership, maintaining a membership database and liaising with the world’s SCRABBLE organizations), protecting the SCRABBLE trademark, handling all things legal (contracts, disputes, member actions, member safety, liability, etc.), all things accounting (US tax law governing nonprofit corporations, Texas state law governing nonprofit corporations), compliance with all national and international laws, insurance (liability and otherwise) and communicating with the membership the latest updates in all of these areas.

The long term plan (10-15 years and beyond) is plain and clear. Get Hasbro back to where it was – funding the day-to-day operations of SCRABBLE tournaments as part of their overall umbrella. NASPA is squarely behind John and Jane Williams of the National SCRABBLE Association (NSA) and the incredible job they do continually reselling SCRABBLE outreach to the different Hasbro managers who approve such contracts each and every year. NASPA makes sure we are there whenever Hasbro management is present and we do absolutely whatever is necessary to make whatever project Hasbro or the NSA wants to do happen.

NASPA’s Finances

NASPA’s revenues and expenses are available to any person to view on a fiscal year basis. By federal law, the Form 990 Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax under Section 501(c) must be made available to anyone who wishes to see it. To comply with this law, we post our federal returns on our website.

NASPA is judicious in its use of its resources in an endeavor to build a capital base from which to operate with fiscal soundness and confidence. NASPA’s revenue is primarily derived from dues and participation fees. Among its expenses, NASPA pays on average $8,000 each year in professional fees to ensure that the organization operates properly and legally, approximately $6,200 in liability insurance premiums annually to satisfy Hasbro’s requirement of indemnification to use the SCRABBLE brand trademark, and approximately $3,600 annually in direct advertising of the organization. We also produce and purchase promotional items that show as advertising expenses on the return, thus we had an approximate $12,000 advertising expense for 2012. In addition, as NASPA is still under the Hasbro umbrella, Hasbro and the NSA provide links to NASPA’s site from theirs. That advertising is provided at no charge. By virtue of this budget policy, NASPA has operated at a fiscal surplus its first 4 years of operation.

NASPA is open to spending additional monies on vehicles that will allow for reaching out to a broader group of potential players to encourage them to join the association. Perhaps you can be among those to help us with that as we move forward with strategic planning.

Strategic Planning

This July at the 2013 National SCRABBLE Championship at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, we plan to conduct a SWOT analysis as part of our ongoing strategic planning efforts.

A SWOT analysis is a structured planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in an organization’s operations, and allows the organization to establish achievable goals or objectives through the consideration of:

Strengths: characteristics of NASPA that give it an advantage over others Weaknesses: characteristics of NASPA that place it at a disadvantage relative to others Opportunities: external elements that NASPA could use to its advantage Threats: external elements to NASPA that could cause trouble for its operations

We invite our members to join us at the National SCRABBLE Championship to participate in this strategic planning process and help shape the future of our organization.

Let’s make 2013 a great year for SCRABBLE tournaments and clubs!

Chris Cree