By W. Laird Hamberlin, SCI CEO
As the CEO of both SCI and SCIF, I am all about the business side of both organizations, and this happens to be the time of year when we focus sharply on business matters.
For example, as you read this message, the professional staff and volunteer leadership are busily preparing a budget for the coming year. SCI can’t save hunting if the books aren’t in order or if we can’t fund the critical mission programs.
It takes a lot of money to fight anti-hunters around the world, so we do all we can to bring in the maximum amount of revenue while cutting expenses to the bone. Even so, balancing the budget is always a challenge because we always want to do more to further our missions.
Between now and April, we’ll be fine-tuning the budget so that we can deliver a final version to the board of directors before the May board meeting in Washington, D.C. It is at the May board meeting that the final budget for the coming year is approved.
Many members may not know it, but SCI and SCIF are two of the most transparent organizations in the hunting world when it comes to the proper use of funds. Structurally, we have built-in checks, balances and safeguards to assure that everything is on the up and up, so to speak.
At the professional staff level, our accounting department carefully studies every budget line before the preliminary budget goes to the executive committee (EC), where every part of the preliminary budget is reviewed before the EC directs that initial budget to the entire board of directors. Lastly, the budget is reviewed by members of the board before it is voted on.
There are two other things to point out about the budget. One is that SCI has an audit committee that also looks over all of SCI’s financial activities with a fine-tooth comb to assure that all policies, procedures and laws are followed. This committee is a safeguard and is comprised of members of the volunteer leadership who have the well-being of SCI and SCIF in mind.
Thanks to these many levels of checks and safeguards, we continue to experience clean audits from our outside auditor each year. This is really saying something because it means that all the details have been addressed, and that SCI’s and SCIF’s fiscal houses are in order.
This can be a point of pride for all SCI members. As hunters we have to be straight shooters and as two united organizations, we also have to shoot straight because that’s the only way to assure that the future is bright for us and for hunting overall.
As I repeat often, the future of SCI and hunting rests on six pillars: Advocacy, Convention (Event Services), Membership, Hunting, Chapters and Conservation. All those pillars necessarily rest on a foundation of truth and trust.
Thank you for entrusting the day-to-day operations of SCI and SCIF to the professional staff, all of whom report to me, while I report directly to the Board of Directors. We do everything we can every day to assure that SCI and SCIF operate as smoothly and effectively as possible.