How does this new membership program work?
VMBA and chapters are working hard to implement a new, more valuable membership platform for riders.
Our new model provides exceptional value for riders, supports chapters, develops partnerships, and creates a voice for our riding community. The new membership program is a shift and reflects how much mountain biking has evolved in Vermont. The association is excited to share the specifics of the new membership program with riders. Keep reading!
Our association has focused on three phases of development since the summer of 2012.
Ensuring chapters had an administrative infrastructure was our first priority. To accomplish this, VMBA created an umbrella 501c3 status, insurance, accounting service, a robust media platform and the VMBA trail grant and trail building clinics. Riders, volunteers, builders, and chapter sponsors/partners benefit from these chapter programs.
Developing long-term relationships with state and federal land managers was our second goal. Through strong advocacy work, the association is now working in concert with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation to define the details of a 10-year expansion plan. Discussions with The Dept. of Fish & Wildlife have also led to the beginning of a pilot project that would have been impossible two years ago. We are also now linked to the Vermont Dept. of Tourism and Marketing website. This routes visitors' attention, itineraries, and revenue in a way that supports a thriving recreation economy on which thousands of Vermonters rely. The voice of chapters and our access to each of these public agencies is at an all time high. Through chapters, riders continue to enjoy a wonderful relationship with US Forest Service as illustrated in the Blue Berry Lake and the Chandler Ridge projects (shout out to Patrick Kell!). In sum, all these relationships will take some pressure off private landowners (who are incredible) and lead to significantly more access that is carefully integrated into the state's management plans.
Lastly, VMBA's future relies on YOU, the riders. With administrative infrastructure in place and the state committed to our success, we now have the bandwidth to bring riders an amazing Vermont riding experience that is only going to get better. Chapters united through a high value, statewide membership collaborative is a major step forward for the association and riders. This year, individual membership is $49. That number is split 50/50 between chapters and VMBA. The portion going to VMBA is used to produce a meaningful trail grant and can be used for professional design work, tools, and materials. Through our partner relationships, the potential exists to maximize this funding with additional grants.
$49 is not an increase in membership dues. Last year, VMBA membership was $30 for chapter members and $60 for those riders not affiliated with a chapter. The average chapter membership was ~$25. If you were a chapter member and wanted to support VMBA, the price tag total was $55. If you wanted to support additional chapters, the price quickly jumped.
We've worked hard to also add even more value to your membership. Last year, the VMBA membership benefit book included 38 deals (a pretty good value). THIS YEAR riders will receive 80 deals -- doubling the number of benefits!
Starting this year, riders can support additional chapters for only $24.50 - 100% of this goes to the chapter. For example, a Brewster rider who also enjoys Fellowship's trails on occasion can add Fellowship for only $24.50 and feel great that she has supported the locations enjoyed the most. Riders are encouraged to select their home chapter on the membership page and support other areas they ride frequently. Note: 100% of the member benefits are included with chapter membership.
Our association has a strong foundation in place. State and federal land managers are excited about our progress, but they're also looking for us to rally around this new model. Chapters will always retain their strong, independent voices -- while enjoying the benefits of professional administrative support.
Most importantly, we're expanding riding opportunities all across Vermont -- and there's no one more important to that effort than you!