Tour of Tournament Financials – Part 1


The money that the ITAA has is from the community, and it needs to serve the needs of the community.  This Tour of Tournament Finances is an effort to be transparent about the ways and reasons we spend that money and showing what we get in return for it.  This isn’t an audit trail or forensic review, but it’s a glimpse into the thinking of how the money flows in the organization.  Part 1 will be an overview, and Part 2 will be a deeper dive into the numbers.

Overview of ITAA Finances:

Talking about money is one of the hardest topics in any group, team, relationship, or nation.  Our goal is to create positive archery experiences for folks with a variety of aims and experience in archery.  And while money is necessary, it’s only a means to reach the goal.

Fortunately, our situation is really healthy, and we’re mostly looking for good reliable ways to continue reinvesting that money into the community.  At the end of the day, it’s the community’s money and needs to serve the community in ways that create a positive archery experience for everyone.  Always feel free to make suggestions for ideas that can help grow the community.

Income & Expenses

As with any organization, we have sources of income and operating expenses.  As example the ITAA receives a portion of USAA membership dues and hosts tournaments for income, while having expenses such as hosting a website, maintaining equipment, and some state business fees.  We also contribute to the growth of archery by supporting judge certification training and looking at program advancements in other states that might work for Illinois.

Tournament Financial Goals

Especially for JOAD events, our financial goal is to put all of the event fees directly into that event to make it the most enjoyable it can be.  So as a pattern, the JOAD events tend to run at a loss, and the all-ages events tend to run at a gain to even it out.  ITAA tightly manages the budget to ensure the organization can withstand lean times, while still focusing on stability and growth for the long-term.

USAA Reports

USAA takes notice of the financial health of the state organizations.  We’re required to show that we’re planning events responsibly and running them with sustainable finances.  This is an element of the health of archery as important as the other safety checks like judge certification, drug-testing, and SafeSport education.

Our more strict financial report is delivered at the board meetings and membership meetings.  While that shows the numbers, hopefully this overview shares more of the thoughts behind the numbers.

Areas of note:

Venue Rental

Many of our recent events have been hosted by the DuPage County Fairgrounds.  Every venue choice is a balance of many factors.  We’re not a huge group compared to massive organizations like events that use stadiums like the United Center or convention centers like McCormick Place.  (We have looked their price list as an aspirational goal, though.)  But the staff at the DCFG treat us very well and provide extras that many other places will tack on as extra fees.

Overall, our arrangement with the DCFG is that they’re happy to give us a deal while we grow.  They charge us close to 50% of the public rental fee, and then we add some amount per-archer, so we can grow together without either side incurring a huge unknown risk.

There are a large number of benefits to this venue.  It minimizes our equipment transportation logistics; it lets us in early to setup (the outdoor event setup starts 2-3 days before the archers show up); provides tables, chairs, outhouses, platforms, and tents; and even lends us the big score display television in the rain.  They recognize how we keep everyone safe, and they are understanding if a stray arrow damages their wall.

Many other venues spam us with requests to bring our state event to their sports park, but then they stop answering our emails when they realize that archery requires arrows.

Club-Specific Services

The electronic scoring and online registration for ITAA events are run by volunteers from Kishwaukee Archery.  We use that club’s equipment and their members’ expertise.  For that service, we pay Kishwaukee a few dollars per scorecard.  Kishwaukee uses the rest to pay, upkeep the tablets, provide cellphone data uplinks when the venue’s wi-fi is insufficient, and train for expertise both in running the online registration and running the technology during tournaments.

Our events run faster and more accurately than they ever did before the electronic scoring, even counting the few times the tablets hiccup.  People can follow an event remotely online, and scores are available immediately.  Having a technology chief for our events also frees up other tournament organizers to focus on the archery and the fun.

We’re happy to support clubs when they are contributing excellence to our events.  We have borrowed bales from clubs in the past, and we reimburse them for the wear-and-tear we incur.  Another example of this is the Chicago Bow Hunters cooking lunch for ITAA events.  Having reliable and tasty food available saves a lot schedule stress during an event.  The ITAA would be satisfied with CBH keeping all of the donations.  However, CBH reimburses its cost of supplies, and then donates the rest to the ITAA.

If your club would like to make a similar contribution to ITAA events, we’re happy to consider proposals.


Awards are always a compromise between quality and cost.  The true award is the performance and the result – the payoff of a lot of hard work.  The trinket we hand out is merely a reminder.  Our goals are to have awards that are unique to the ITAA and can only come from our events, but that are also pragmatic and won’t bankrupt an event.  Awards can easily be one of the largest costs of a tournament.

For the 2019 All-Ages Indoor State Championship, awards were earned in 97 categories, plus 2nd, 3rd, and duplicates for out-of-state situations.  With awards for so many categories, it’s impractical to make one giant lovely trophy.  We chose to have a custom medal made, and we’ve been using that for our podium awards when possible.  There are some efficiencies in that type of award, and it meets the goals pretty well.  Those medals cost around $6 each and can be flexibly combined and displayed in creative ways.

With the medals being the baseline awards, that leaves us free to add on special awards for special occasions – high score awards, elimination round champions, special tournaments, etc.


As with any organization, you can spend faster than you can gain.  A “misc expenses” category is always something to keep an eye on.  This category includes improvements like the PA system, wind flags, safety marking signs, repairs to bales and target stands, and other items that are important to the tournament.


Part 2