October 21, 2021

RSPBA offers 50% rebate on 2022 member renewal dues; launches new website

The board of directors of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has elected to provide renewing member bands a 50% reduction in 2022 dues in light of a non-existent 2021 competition season.

Non-Juvenile bands that are paid-up members for 2021 will be charged only half of the normal £210 (approximately CAD$340) plus taxes rate, or £105 (CAD$170).

The association said that 2023 members renewal dues might also be cut by 50%, “if association finances allow.”

Renewing Juvenile bands in the UK would pay £95 plus tax, and adult non-UK bands that want to compete at an RSPBA competition would pay £52.50, non-UK juvenile bands, £47.50.

The RSPBA relies on membership dues and competition licensing and entry fees for almost all of its revenue. With both the 2020 and 2021 competition seasons cancelled, the association has strongly encouraged bands to pay their dues to help sustain “general overheads and running costs, as well as the balance of staff costs which fell outside the furlough scheme” that the UK government implemented during the pandemic.

We hope that you understand the need to support your Association through the payment of these Registration Fees in order that we can continue to function as an organization.

“We hope that you understand the need to support your Association through the payment of these Registration Fees in order that we can continue to function as an organization as well as support and administer the membership of the bands and our volunteers as we prepare to run the five Major Championships in 2022 and beyond,” the organization said in a public statement to members and potential members.

Bands that let their memberships lapse in 2021 are not eligible for the 2022 discount, and those that are not paid up for 2022 would not receive the possible 2023 rebate.

The association also quietly launched a long-planned refurbished website that was delayed due to the COVID-19 situation.

No details were forthcoming about the cost of the website redevelopment. At publication time, RSPBA Chief Executive Ian Embelton, Chair Kevin Reilly, and Marketing & Media Convenor Kathleen Robertson had not responded to queries from pipes|drums regarding the budget and the priority of the project during a period of financial difficulty.

Several other sources from within the organization, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that they did not know the answers to those questions.

Most pipe band associations around the world have worked creatively to deliver online competitions, workshops, and seminars for their members during the pandemic, striving to provide value for their annual dues. The head office of the RSPBA has been relatively quiet for the last 18 months, leaving its branches to come up with creative approaches.

“Some UK Branches have, themselves, agreed to suspend their Branch Fees for the 2021/22 season to help reduce the costs to their Branch bands,” the statement read. Typically, member bands must pay a membership fee to the parent organization, plus an additional fee to their regional branch.



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