Organizer Compensation & Risk

What compensation does the Organizing Team receive?

Our organizers are lawyers, dancers, soldiers, corporate managers, business owners, web programmers, mothers, teachers, and caretakers. Each of us holds a full-time job or spends full-time days doing something other than Fusion.

Each team member spends anywhere from 400 – 1500 hours across an entire year planning FX for you. As full compensation, we receive an All-Access Pass for ourselves, a t-shirt, and a free Dance-Only pass to give to a friend. Each team member is also required to work as a manager for either one day (all day), or one night (all night) during the event. We transport and house ourselves, and fund our own food and incidentals.

Depending upon the required commitment and hours, two to four organizers will also receive minimal compensation, which typically takes the form of reimbursement for travel and lodging expenses. Clearly, we do this because we love it!

We take pride in planning and executing the Fusion Exchange and the only reward we seek is happy, smiling, thankful attendees. If you’ve enjoyed the Fusion Exchange, please take the time to tell the team how much you appreciate their work. It goes a long way and we appreciate that you care.

Where does the profit, if any, go?

Those individuals who risk their money to financially back the event are entitled to the profit. Since FX investors are required to front thousands of dollars to the event and are required to accept the risk of losing tens of thousands of dollars should the event fail, they are also entitled to a share the profit, if any. Nevertheless, in the past, FX investors have never kept 100% of the profits. FX has an established reputation of giving generous tips to instructors, DJs, musicians, volunteers, and team members. This will not change.

Given our tireless efforts to keep our event accessible and efficient, FX investors take on a large amount of risk for the promise of a minimal return. All early registration discounts, all additions of value (beyond our initial promises), all risks, and all tips and bonuses, come out of FX investors’ own pockets. And, if the event goes under or fails to sell enough tickets, they are on the hook for the loss.

What are the risks?

Huge dance events planned a year out are obviously a risky investment. Anything could happen. Just like with anything else, economic recessions, disasters, and changing consumer tastes are part of our risk. However, to bring you the quality, commit early we must.

With over a dozen annual fusion events in this growing movement, the realities of the marketplace are rapidly changing, and increasing our risk. The competition from other events means that attendees will have to choose which events to attend, and it may not be ours. Given finite financial resources for individual dancers, there is a real risk that with increased competition there will be fewer registrants available for each fusion event.

Starting in 2013, FX adopted the strategy to host the event in a hotel that can provide an all-in-one experience. We felt that an all-in-one experience provided extra value and convenience to each attendee by maximizing their interaction with other attendees, maximizing their free time by reducing travel time, and ensuring every attendee has a quality, secure, and safe place to rest.

Does an all-in-one hotel event carry more or less risk than past FX locations? Yes. In order to secure adequate space, FX must commit to a hotel contract 8-9 months in advance of the event. These contracts include commitments to meeting space, a guaranteed minimum of hotel room bookings, and depending on the venue, a catering minimum. Should FX attendees fail to stay at the event hotel, FX must pay for each of those rooms in addition to meeting space rental and catering costs. This translates into significant risk. Cancellation or “failure to perform” penalties range between $50,000.00 and $125,000.00 depending on the time of cancellation.

Though we have sold out in recent years, in actuality, it is still hard for us to predict future attendance. Each year, we increase our size and our budget. Before we open registration, we are committed to an event with a certain price tag that cannot be reduced. If only 250 people register, we still must throw the event, but we will have to do so at a huge loss. But since we are confident that people will register, we do accept the risk of a huge loss. This shows that we put the attendees first by front-loading our risk.

Finally, FX investors advance the money to the Fusion Exchange very early on in the year, then they must wait 3 to 12 months to get it back. They essentially give us a high-risk, interest-free loan each year. A loan like this would usually have a risk premium of 10% – 20%, which is roughly the same as the overall rate of return or compensation on FX’s most successful past events. This seems more than reasonable to us.

Why are we sharing this with you?

While it is not industry standard to publish a budget, we value the community’s involvement and support of FX. We want you all to know the risks we face in organizing FX each year and be as transparent as is reasonable.

We hope that this letter has shed light on how the Fusion Exchange is managed, how its finances are prioritized, and how the event’s meager profits are more than justified.