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The Portland Hiking Meetup Group Message Board Odds and Ends › Merrell Newsletter

Merrell Newsletter

Portland, OR
Post #: 26
I'm with Duane and against sponsorship if it means emails and questionnaires. I'd rather pay the fee, divided among ACTIVE members. Who's kidding who, saying we have 2.5k members is just not realistic. Aside from leaders, I rarely see an active member for more than two years in any group, which IMO, is where the bleeding needs to stop. If everyone had to pay electronically, monthly, the stats would be realistic and there would be more accountability ('no shows' for one example) for folks during events. We have a few hundred 'active' members and if we could charge a monthly fee (for the basic website fees, not the retreats) I'm sure it wouldn't amount to much.

I especially didn't like Merrill asking me 'if they sponsor the group would I feel obliged to recommend their products'. I'm sure they make a nice shoe but telling someone they're a good company because they pay my dues would just be dishonest. I gave an emphatic 'No' in the feedback.

As for Meetup, I love the interfaces and prefer it to 'the grass roots' counterparts. Meetup is simply paying bills with the adverts we see on the pages, or getting rich, and I don't fault anyone for building wealth, ethically.
user 8392262
Portland, OR
Post #: 1
I don't have a problem with sponsors for the site. They are related to what we enjoy doing - hiking. If you don't want to go try on shoes at a Merrill retailer, or you don't want to enter their contest for a trip to Peru - then don't! With 2.5K members on this site, maybe some of us do appreciate the information. . .

What if everyone paid $1 for every event they did? That way all active members would contribute and the website/costs of running the group would be covered.
A former member
Post #: 91
I also DON'T have a problem with sponsors for the group. Some people may say I would rather pay the fee but when it comes time to put their money where majority don't. If they did and each person just paid $1 (about .80 after processing fees), sponsorships would not be needed.

I have organized another woman's social meetup group for almost three years and its like pulling teeth to get new members to contribute the $5 ONE time fee requested after attending an event (we are much smaller fluctuating between 80 and 100 active members as inactive ladies are removed if they don't sign in after 3 months). Amazon or Paypal gets about .50 cents for processing.

Half the group never attends and event and of the other half; they don't contribute until I e-mail them and ask and then about 1 in 3 responds. So we average about 25 payments a year which is not enough after fees without one or two sponsorships. Asking members to pay takes up my time and strains the fun atmosphere (yes organizers like to actually sit back and enjoy the events also : ) Its been eye opening as the fee is the cost of a triple latte. I have asked meetup to give Organizers an option of charging a $1 up front to join but they continue to not offer. So in sum, Organizers spend hours of time each year on (not to mention verbal abuse from members about everything under the sun) so they should not have to pay for the meetup fee or even gas to get to the events. Its the least the group can do...
Jessica B.
Yacolt, WA
Post #: 66
From a leader's perspective, my fear is that if we charge for hikes, I am now in the commercial tour guide industry and my liability skyrockets. From folks I have spoken to who have consulted lawyers on this matter, it does seem to be an issue once you start charging. That's why I think its appropriate to ask for donations and nothing more.
user 4250936
Beaverton, OR
Post #: 76
Jessica's comment is dead on a very important issue here (thanks Jess). Our group is large enough that legally, if we started charging to join or for hikes or any other "fee" we would be considered a bussiness. With that comes taxes, liability, registration and a lot of other stuff that will get in the way of hiking. Although this can work for other groups, the activities that we do have inherent risks that start from the moment you get a stranger in your car. The only way to stay out of all that is by just suggesting a donation like we do for gas money. For those who have been to previous monthly meetings, you might remeber that I always bring "the Jar" to pass around.
A former member
Post #: 5
A few adds is a small price to pay if it means that someone thats scraping by can join in a group hike..
I would rather meet more cool people and see a couple adds here and there, than tell someone they cant go because they cant afford the cash to join.
A former member
Post #: 6
I work part time for a guide service. I can verify that if a fee is charged for either membership or for an event that liability is also assumed. Waivers are pretty useless as a defense if someone is seriously hurt. Even asking for donations can leave a small amount of liability in case of an extremely bad injury or death, and not just for the person listed as the group owner, but for the entire organizer team and the specific event leader/planner.
Your better off asking for those donations in the parking lot after the event is done.
The ad that was sent clearly identified itself in the subject line as an ad, and no one even had to open it if they didn't want to. For those who don't want ads, simply change your preferences and come to the group page to read the message boards etc. Personally, I like the format of an email that ID's itself as a sponsor ad. I'm always on the lookout for new and different gear, and this type of ad always has links to catalogs. It's fun to look!
I challenge everyone who pasts or write Claudio that they don't want ads or sponsors to send Claudio a check for $10.00. As the saying goes, put your money where your mouth is. Otherwise, Thank Claudio for doing all the work, and use your delete button.
A former member
Post #: 7
I'm fine with the sponsorship (by Merrell or anyone else). I think it would be cheesy if it came across as an endorsement by the group or the leaders, but I can think critically enough to cope. If the offers, sponsorships, ads, or contests are geared to my interests related to the group that's great.

Nice things cost money. Whether the group uses the site or another tool it still costs money to run. Gripes about are a separate issue.
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