Q & A
Q: So You Donated Money to rvaMORE….Now What?
So you made the decision to join or renew your membership with rvaMORE or maybe you just made a donation to the club. Now what? What does the Board spend your money on? Do they really even vote about these things?
When you donate, what happens with the money?
A.1 To answer this question thoroughly, we had to conduct a little research. This involved reviewing the club’s monthly financial reports for the past calendar year (which are prepared by our Treasurer) and dividing the club’s expenditures into categories (more details on that in answer A.2). If you just want the plain and simple response, our financials show that 96% of incoming funds are spent on program related costs and 4% on administration costs. For you visual folks, see the chart below.
A.2 For those who want a bit more intel, we divided the “Program Related” piece of the pie into five subcategories. These categories are: Tools and Equipment, Materials, Continuing Education, Advocacy, and Fundraising.
Take a look at the down and dirty visual of the subcategories pie chart and what percentage of funds were allocated to each category last year. Then we’ll get to what you really want to know.
Tools and Equipment: At each board meeting, the trail bosses discuss current and future trail projects. If some piece of equipment or tools are required to complete the work, a motion is put to the Board to fund their purchase. Ongoing maintenance of our existing tools (rogue hoes, rakes, pry-bars, grip hoists, etc.) and equipment (mechanized wheelbarrows, chain saws, sickle bars, etc.) is also discussed to ensure our toolset is in good working condition for the next volunteer trail day. One of our larger purchases recently (after much discussion and research) was a trailer in which to house and transport the club’s growing arsenal of tools and equipment.
Materials: The club helps with the construction and maintenance of the local trail systems – not just by providing labor, tools and equipment, but also by providing some of the funding for trail materials (rock, lumber, etc.). An example of this are the bridges that have been and continue to be constructed on the Poop Loop trail. We also recently assisted with the crowd funding efforts for a bike repair station near the skills park on Belle Island. Another example are the large trail maps that have recently been posted on each of the new trail head kiosks. These maps include QR codes so you can download a copy of the map to your smart phone. In addition, we are also assisting other groups with the installation of multi-user water fountains at several trail head areas. (These even provide a water bowl for your four legged family members.)
Continuing Education: The club periodically gets the opportunity to participate in various trail solutions classes to keep our trail builders knowledgeable, current (and certified) in areas like proper chain saw handling, rigging methods, etc. Continuing education costs also include trail building literature for use by the trail care crew. Last year the club helped subsidize a trip for Greg Rollins to attend the IMBA summit where he participated in various seminars relating to IMBA’s role as our parent organization in addition to lectures on other nonprofit topics.
Advocacy: This category received more attention this past year with the plans for the Richmond Regional Ride Center taking shape. The club also occasionally splits funds with other park user groups (such as JROC) who have partnered with us in organizing certain events. We were fortunate to get a visit from the IMBA trail care crew last year and some funds were allocated to hosting the crew who held a conference with local officials in the city and surrounding localities about trail building and its impact in our communities.
Fundraising: We wrapped up one of our annual events in February with Trailicious 3. Despite the snow, sleet and rain that plagued Richmond in the weeks leading up to T3 (and the day of the event), the turnout was great and the event received positive feedback. The club started Trailicious not only as a fundraising event but also as a little party to say “thank you” to all the folks who supported the club and our trail system throughout the year. In 2014, rvaMORE hosted three big events: Trailicious 2, Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day and the Tour de Fall Line. In order to make a little money, however, you need to invest a little. To pull off a successful event, the club has to allocate for items such as: insurance, security (hiring of police officer(s)), ABC licenses, site rental fees (if applicable), beverage (beer) costs, and other supplies like cups and/or pint glasses. Even small items are accounted for, like the green marking tape that was used to mark off the route for Tour de Fall Line (and yes, we realize that green was a bad color choice).
All that said, fundraising events have a demonstrated track record of generating net proceeds 2-3 times our investment, so not only do they pay for themselves but we are able to create more of an impact with your donations and have a great time with the community while doing so.
So there you have it. These are good examples of what the club does with membership dues and donations.
We do post board meeting minutes on the club’s website which will provide you with specifics about what was voted on or discussed at our most recent board meeting and we will aim to do a better job of posting meeting highlights on social media sites.
The take away from this is provide additional transparency to our members, supporters and partners and by allowing you to see how we carefully spend your donations for the betterment and expansion of the trail system, and to provide user groups with a positive experience. I say “user groups” and not just “mountain bikers” because while many of the improvements made to the trails by rvaMORE over the years may have been done by a mountain bike club, at the end of the day, the James River Park System is a public, city park and attracts many different groups. These trails simply cannot be restricted to a certain group. The club recognizes this and works hard to make the best out of the land with which we have to work.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for hanging in there. You can expect more exciting “Q&A’s with rvaMORE” in the near future. If you have a question you would like answered, please email it to: email@example.com and we’ll do our best to respond thoughtfully and respectfully.
Enhancing trail experiences through people, tools and advocacy.