Q. What exactly is SFAS and what are its goals?
A. San Francisco Audiophile Society (“SFAS”) is the current incarnation of various audiophile interest groups that have operated in the Bay Area going back to 1981 (Northern California Audio Society—1981, and BAAS—1995). SFAS was formed in 2014 as a California nonprofit mutual benefit corporation. It qualifies as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(7), which applies to social clubs organized for pleasure, recreation, and other nonprofitable purposes.
The SFAS Bylaws describe our main activities as follows:
The central activities of the club shall consist of meetings or other events organized for the benefit of club members. The purpose of the meetings shall be to learn about, experience, and discuss music and music reproduction in an environment where members can mingle in a social setting. The club will enable this through regularly scheduled meetings for the members and group activities, in each case open only to members, and designed to facilitate mingling and fellowship of members.
TL;DR: SFAS is a social club that was formed for local audiophiles so that as a group, we can have fun with our hobby.
Q. How many members does SFAS have?
A. As of December 2018, SFAS has about 200 members.
Q. Who runs SFAS?
A. SFAS has a Board of Directors that plans and conducts our programs and other activities. Our nine directors are unpaid volunteers. Meetings of the Board, typically monthly, are presided over by President & Chief Troublemaker Alón Sagee, and Senior Vice President Leslie Lundin (both of whom were instrumental in forming SFAS), but all of the directors contribute to SFAS operations and event planning.
For more about our directors, see https://sanfranciscoaudiophilesociety.com/about/leadership-team/
Q. How does SFAS raise income for its activities?
SFAS collects payments from its members for annual dues ($25) and event registration fees ($10 per person). Our ability to raise tax-free income from other means is limited. Think of it as if you and a small group of friends started an informal club. You would hope to be able to have fun and engage in club activities and not worry about other things like taxes as a result of collecting money from members to run the club. The tax-exemption available to a nonprofit social club is based on the same idea, so long as the club acts within certain bounds.
Q. What are SFAS’s main expenses?
A. Our two main expenses are (1) programs, including cleanup fees, snacks and food, and various other speaker and event costs, and (2) the costs of maintaining and improving our website and its related functions, including membership, event management, and communications. We also organize some great social events for members and guests.
Q. Why does SFAS charge for events where companies or manufacturers are talking about their products?
A. SFAS has ongoing operating expenses. We try to keep program fees minimal at $10 per person, and these fees are a major part of paying for the operating costs described above. Audio companies and dealers speak at our events by invitation, and only if they have topics, demos, or presentations about music that are worthwhile for our members. SFAS’s goal is to make sure that our events address a wide variety of audiophile interests and are both useful and entertaining.
Q. What’s going on with the SFAS web site?
A. This past year (2018) we have upgraded our website in many ways. If you haven’t had a chance to visit https://sanfranciscoaudiophilesociety.com/ recently, please check it out.
Here are some useful links:
General information about SFAS: https://sanfranciscoaudiophilesociety.com/about/about-us/
Sign up for upcoming events:
Buy and sell equipment locally: https://sanfranciscoaudiophilesociety.com/forums/forum/buy-and-sell-locally/
Forums where you can ask and answer questions on any topic or let members know about your new equipment or music:
Q. How do I pay my membership dues?
A. When you sign up for membership on the SFAS web site, you are taken to a PayPal portal that can be used to set up automatic annual payments.
Q. Can you do anything about those automatic dues renewal payments?
A. While automatic payments may not be everyone’s first choice, overall they work quite well for both SFAS and its members. The club directors are volunteers and realistically do not have time to follow up individually with members who forget to renew their memberships each year. Our $25 annual membership fee is low, not much more than a month of Tidal, and if you have any concern, your PayPal account has a section that gives you complete control over whether these payments continue. Please note that if your membership lapses, you will need to sign up again before you can register for a program.
Q. Are guests welcome at programs?
A. Yes, we encourage you to bring guests, family members, and significant others who may be interested in the club. However, only members can sign up guests for programs.
Q. I didn’t like the XXXX event. I wish we could do YYYY.
A. Over the course of each year we try to schedule events that cover a wide range of audio interests, including both equipment and music. We have members who who prefer vinyl, others who are mostly into digital, and others who just want to listen to their FM tuners. (OK, not so many of the latter anymore.) SFAS is planning to conduct a new membership survey that will be asking for input about event preferences. If you have ideas or comments (even complaints) about a program, they are always welcome and will get the attention of the Board. Please feel free to send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Why are many programs now held at The Shops at Hilltop?
A. Due to the efforts of Leslie Lundin, we have access to a large and comfortable meeting room with plenty of free parking. We also have space to set up and demo equipment and recordings. But events are held at other sites as well. SFAS has members from all over the Bay Area and is interested in finding out about locations that might work for hosting our events, including the South Bay, SF, East Bay, North Bay, etc.
Q. How can I help out?
A. We are run entirely by volunteers. If you have some ideas or useful skills, or want to help the club out in other ways, please reach out to anyone on the board. Some ways that you can help are event ideas, volunteering for sys-hops, and suggestions regarding possible venues or new types of club activities.
Q. I found a great new album that I would like to share. Can I submit an album pick for The Muse?
A. Of course! Member contributions to The Muse are always welcome. Besides your music picks, we would love to share your thoughts on new toys, concerts attended, interesting events, and music and hi-fi in general.
Q. Where do I send my comments, suggestions, and questions?
A. Please reach out to any of the Board members at a SFAS event or send an email to: email@example.com.