Is FAST a “for-profit” business?
When Loren and Steve founded FAST in 2006, it was a small organization, and events were fairly easy to run. As FAST became more popular and events sold out (sometimes in only a few days), it was clear that more people wanted to come out and play! So, we allowed FAST event entry limits to grow… 50 cars, 60 cars, 75 cars… and with each milestone, we were faced with the decision between keeping it small (and turning folks away) or making room for more people to enjoy autocross. As the club grew, so did the work involved in planning the events and ensuring that they meet our strict standards for a safe, smooth running, and fun event.
Our latest growth came in 2013 with our decision to expand to 100-car events. We knew that the only way to run a 100-car event WITHOUT sacrificing quality was for us to take tighter control of the reigns. Now, we know we can’t do it alone. So, we offered compensation to a few trusted individuals who take responsibility for key areas (autocross will always rely on participants to perform a basic work assignment, but we feel that some jobs now are just too much to ask of a volunteer). We also decided that, for the first time, we’d give ourselves a small cut of the profits. Of course, that small cut comes after we take care of others (over 75 event credits in 2013 to those who offered extra help at events), after the overhead of running the club (corporate accounting and taxes), after we pay event site rental and insurance, buy lunch, maintain equipment, and after we periodically add new touches to make events even better and more enjoyable. Then it’s our turn. And, if there’s nothing left — which happens, so be it.
If the idea of someone making money from your local autocross bothers you, please consider a few things: Whether you’re running with SCCA, NASA, or any of the marque clubs, somebody is taking a salary. Part of that salary comes from your autocross entry fees and also membership fees that most other clubs charge. Those fees pay for a full national staff… up to and including their CEO who makes a couple hundred thousand dollars per year! Clearly FAST doesn’t operate at that level, but the officers of FAST put in many hours of work for each and every autocross event.
So, is FAST “for-profit”? Sure, but that is by no means our objective. First and foremost we want to ensure that FAST consistently presents the highest quality autocross events possible, to as many people as we safely can (and we think our history backs that up). It’s a lot of work, and we’d like to think we earn the little leftover money that comes from it.
Fun Autocross Society of Tampa, LLC (dba FAST), is a Limited Liability Corporation. While it has been operated without the explicit intent of generating profit, it is not and has never been a 501/503C “non-profit organization.”