You will be stoked to learn that chapters have big plans for trail projects in all corners of Vermont in 2020. Trails are an obvious and tangible outcome of riders coming together, grabbing a tool and getting to work. It is also true that before any digging can take place, a lot of work has already been accomplished. Setting up these memorable days in the woods starts with the unique combination of chapters and the office (together – they make up VMBA). To help keep these trail days happening, the office provides key fundraising, advocacy and administrative services for your chapter(s).
The VMBA office manages the entire membership database, insurances and membership mailings on every chapter’s behalf. The office also facilitates 100% of all add-on membership revenue to chapters (nearly $47,000 in ’19). The office hustles all of your member benefits each year, which has been a big part of growing membership to 6820 riders this year. Our largest chapters receive $49 for each $55 individual membership once a specified membership threshold is met – this is called “the cap.” The office sent an additional $53,000+ in post cap membership revenue to our largest chapters in ’19.
In 2019 your VMBA office also generated an additional $42,500 in trail support through the Naming Grants Program, which is an opportunity for outdoor-minded businesses to develop their own grant criteria and, as an employee team (often VMBA chapter members), select trail projects to support. This program was a huge success in its first year – the future of this program looks solid.
All told, between base memberships, add-ons, Naming Grants and the VMBA Trail Grants – the VMBA office was a central part of directing $354,000 to chapters in trail support.
Beyond fundraising and administrative services, the office staff plays a big role in advocating on behalf of private landowners, protecting them from undue regulation. Over 80% of your trails are on private land. Chapter’s relationship with our amazing landowners is the backbone of your riding. Undue regulation would jeopardize hundreds of chapter/landowner relationships, and ultimately – your riding. The VMBA office invested over 400 hours in meetings/negotiations focused on state land oversight and protecting private landowners in ’19, along with $7,500 in lobbyist services to work on the specifics of Act 250.
The combination of the office providing fundraising, advocacy, and administrative support is a key element of making those trails days – and your favorite trail – possible. While much of the office’s work isn’t as tangible as a new trail, it’s all as much a part of building them as you picking up a shovel. Together, we have created an amazing place to ride.
To keep chapter services up and running and fuel effective/consistent advocacy, we need the support of riders like you. Please consider making a $25 donation today in support of the office’s role in making your trails happen.