Alcor Cost Savings Thread

All topics about cryopreservation costs, membership dues, etc.
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Alcor Cost Savings Thread

Post by Admin » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:51 pm

Many Alcor members on this forum have made suggestions about cutting costs, increasing efficiency, and additional sources of revenue for Alcor. To make it easier for Alcor Officials and Members to consult these ideas and add more, we have created a sticky post to make this an important ongoing thread.

Please post your ideas for cost savings and increased revenue in this thread.

paulwakfer

Re: Alcor Cost Savings Thread

Post by paulwakfer » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:59 pm

My thanks to Admin (whoever it is) for starting a thread, specifically to concentrate this particular topic.

Suggestions:

1. Alcor is effectively several divisions each doing a quite different kind of service. I see these divisions as: facility ownership/maintenance, membership and marketing, CMS and transport to Alcor, cryoprotective perfusion and cooldown to LN2, long-term patient care, and long-term patient care funds management. Currently Alcor's public financial statement (and the only one available to the membership) bundles all these divisions together, so that the individual assets, liabilities, income and expenses of each division are impossible to determine. Before any comprehensive review of Alcor's income and expenses can be done, and so that this can be ongoing, it is imperative that such divisional accounting be implemented and made available to all interested parties. After the detailed divisional accounting is done will be the time, at year end, to merge all the accounts to present for government reporting purposes a unified corporate financial statement.

2. Even without additional information (for which I, Kitty and others have been asking without response as yet) it is clear to me that the number and cost of staff is far too high for the size of the organization. Among many other items of information, the fact that the cost per member far exceeds the yearly income from each new member is a clear indication of this (as well as other cost cutting needing to be done relative to membership). I therefore propose that the current staff be reduced by 2, with the work of those leaving distributed among the remaining 6 as appropriate to their abilities. If this is deemed to be unacceptable, then an alternative would be to seek donations equivalent to the cost of 2 current staff in order to continue their employment.

3. Unless and until the divisional accounting report (with adequate detail) is forthcoming (and of near-current income/expenses), it is impossible for me to make further suggestions, except in a few areas such as LN2 usage - which I am currently researching and will be soon presenting concrete suggestions.

criley
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Affinity Programs

Post by criley » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:10 pm

One additional source of revenue that Alcor should consider is one of the so-called "affinity" credit cards that support Alcor both emotionally and financially through purchases, like this one:
http://www.partnersfirst.com/partners/index.html
Alcor would earn somewhere around 0.5% of each dollar spent. There are plenty of programs that do this, but the one above was the first one I saw.

I don't believe there is any cost to it. ;-)

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Re: Alcor Cost Savings Thread

Post by LazarusLong » Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:23 am

paulwakfer wrote: 2. Even without additional information (for which I, Kitty and others have been asking without response as yet) it is clear to me that the number and cost of staff is far too high for the size of the organization. Among many other items of information, the fact that the cost per member far exceeds the yearly income from each new member is a clear indication of this (as well as other cost cutting needing to be done relative to membership). I therefore propose that the current staff be reduced by 2, with the work of those leaving distributed among the remaining 6 as appropriate to their abilities. If this is deemed to be unacceptable, then an alternative would be to seek donations equivalent to the cost of 2 current staff in order to continue their employment.
I strongly agree with Mr Wakfer on this point. The largest ongoing expense that Alcor maintains is that of Payroll. As such this should be the first that should be scrutinized for cuts. Perhaps a "workload analysis" of the overall organization to see exactly what everybody does would help in the decision in who to cut.

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Re: Alcor Cost Savings Thread

Post by TDK » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:34 pm

LazarusLong wrote: I strongly agree with Mr Wakfer on this point. The largest ongoing expense that Alcor maintains is that of Payroll. As such this should be the first that should be scrutinized for cuts. Perhaps a "workload analysis" of the overall organization to see exactly what everybody does would help in the decision in who to cut.
I've been around a couple non-profit and charitable organizations over the years, and that's one of the common problems. The charity may have millions of dollars in trust, but that money is not always specifically designated for employees. But if they can justify it, they give themselves raises, hire more people, hire their friends, make the organization bigger, get bigger offices, nicer furniture, etc. Alcor has kept that to a minimum, but there is probably still room to cut back. Spending is understandable, because who really wants to work someplace where you sit in a cold warehouse, at a crappy old desk, all alone, or with two other people? It's much nicer to feel like you are part of a big, exciting, growing company. Doing cutting-edge research, etc. The problem is that Alcor doesn't have large enough interest dividends to pay for that kind of stuff yet. They will eventually, but it might be another 40 years before it gets to that level. So for now, it may need to run "lean" and much more simply. Just doing the preservations, and maintaining the dewars. Just collect money, and let it sit, and earn interest. Rather than spending it on new technology, new employees, new offices, research, new perfusion gear, etc... If we decide we want the organization to look cooler, or more professional, get people to volunteer. Or to donate to that specific cause.

southbay

Re: Alcor Cost Savings Thread

Post by southbay » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:49 am

The Alcor folks I have met have been hard-working and were working for below market compensation. It's been a decade since I have been out there, but I will presume this has not changed.

The problem may instead be in the structure, and in assumptions. So long as the volume is going to be 5 suspensions/year, a different structure in terms of full timers and on-call part-timers and emergency staff may need to be considered. Funding for staff to maintain and secure the Dewars can come from PCT though of course if you have full-time staff you want to use the rest of their time.

When it comes to just having a 1,000 member organization, collecting dues, doing complex paperwork to join -- well, there are lots of orgs that size which run on pretty lean budgets.

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Re: Alcor Cost Savings Thread

Post by advancedatheist » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:09 am

I have to wonder about the cost savings from just having a stable management structure for the next several years. Since the late 1990's Alcor seems to have experienced repeated disruptions caused by the rapid turnover of CEO's, troubles with employees, episodes of bad publicity and announcements of a series of alleged projects which you never hear about again after the next turnover in personnel. All this chaos must have generated additional expenses not covered by the budget.

For example, what happened to Joe Waynick's effort in 2005 to gather commitments from members for raising $1 million over the following five years? Refer to:

http://www.alcor.org/cryonics/cryonics0503.pdf

It seems to me that you could save money at Alcor just by having some peace and quiet for awhile, in addition to the usual ways of cutting costs in a business.

Kitty Antonik Wakfer

Re: Alcor Cost Savings Thread

Post by Kitty Antonik Wakfer » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:15 pm

Here is a consideration for the board from me and Paul Wakfer.

Enact a surcharge to the yearly fee for membership anonymity, similar to what the telephone company does for an unlisted/unpublished phone number. There could be an additional surcharge to the cryopreservation fuhding requirement for those who insist on anonymity even after cryopreservation. The use of members' names would greatly add to the reputation credibility of Alcor, while, in contrast, the keeping of its members identities hidden incurs additional cost for no benefit to the organization, and even some dis-benefit as I have argued in my recent post to the separate thread, Anonymity of Forum Members and Cryonicists. The surcharge for those members wanting this anonymity would then be compensating Alcor for the inability to gain from such information (name only or whatever more the member authorizes) dissemination with organization information.

LazarusLong
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Re: Alcor Cost Savings Thread

Post by LazarusLong » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:40 am

Kitty Antonik Wakfer,

Can you please indicate the amount you believe should be charged?

Regards,
Lazarus Long

paulwakfer

Re: Alcor Cost Savings Thread

Post by paulwakfer » Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:07 pm

LazarusLong wrote:Kitty Antonik Wakfer,

Can you please indicate the amount you believe should be charged?

Regards,
Lazarus Long
Kitty is busy with other things right now, but as always we have conferred on this.

The amount of surcharge both to the yearly fee and the funding amount would be effectively a marketing decision and since there is no precedent for it and no evidence of exactly what effect it will have either way (even though I and Kitty are convinced there are sound arguments for it), those amounts will necessarily need to be modified on the basis of feedback from the results of imposing them.

As a starter and purely off the top of both of our heads, we think that that a $100 anonymity surcharge to the yearly fee and $1000 surcharge to the Cryopresevation Funding fee would be in the right starting ballpark. Since it appears that most Alcor members have selected anonymity, It should be obvious that this would actually be done by adjusting the fees downwards for fully open members. If such more enlightened action by the board is forthcoming in this and other areas, I and Kitty will seriously reconsider our current decision to no longer pay the yearly fee - that is how market and social preferencing operates.

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