We’d like to talk a little about membership and what it entails for you as a member. It’s an interesting exercise to contemplate why anyone would buy or sign-up for a membership in anything. For instance, Costco memberships? That one seems easy. Where else can you buy two 4L bottles of ketchup and lift tickets to your favourite mountain at the same time and get a screaming deal on both to boot! Many people are more than happy to invest in that membership and often to the tune of $60 annually… worth it! Membership to the gym is another example and ranges between $350-500 per year on average. You haven’t won the lottery (yet) so you don’t have your own squash court or spin studio at home to sweat it out. So really, it’s an investment for your own health and well-being in order to access the equipment and facilities. That makes sense.
So where does that leave your FVMBA membership and what benefits does it actually get you? For starters, you get to vote at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) where you can tell us which direction you think we should be heading. You also get to attend our regional Town Hall meetings where you can be heard closer to home. We are a tiny (but growing) democracy! This year with nearly 1,000 members (and aiming for over 1,000 in 2019), we are getting more attention than ever. Your membership enables us to bring your voice to the many tables talking about trails and bike access and is proof that you are a visible part of the MTB community.
Your membership also enables us to do fun things like host our Social Ride and Fiver Race series’ in your community, which will be even bigger and better in the new year. On top of that, you get discounts at select membership supporter locations that offer deals to FVMBA members. And that list continues to grow with the launch of the program last year. Other benefits include access to trail building tools, education and certification programming (as it comes available), along with prize giveaways and volunteer opportunities galore!
Finally, in order to host these varied and numerous events, your membership entitles you to coverage under our group insurance whenever you take part and allows us to sustain our administrative costs associated with running a growing non-profit organization. However, there is more and more paperwork, bureaucracy and red-tape than ever before in attempting to build new trails or even maintain the existing MTB trails you know and love. And that paperwork takes time, effort and a specific skillset that we can’t sustain with volunteers alone.
In order for us to do the things we love to do, we need the support of staff to take over some of that responsibility. At this time, we have one staff-person who has been an invaluable member of our team. But that has proven to not be enough, so we are looking at our capacity to hire a second staff-person. And if we’re to be successful in our mission of “building a culture of inclusive mountain bike communities and sustainable trail networks” then we’ll need even more after that!
We rely on your membership as our baseline funding, so we can be consistent in our event programming, project planning and trail maintenance. We could try to get into how we acquire additional funding for our events and trail development projects (i.e. sponsors, donations, event proceeds, grant, etc.), but these are not always consistent and can fluctuate year over year. Your membership truly is our bread and butter. So, thank you!
With your membership, you empower and enable our staff and crew of dedicated volunteers to do their magic and build and maintain our amazing trail networks. Without volunteer trail builders, we wouldn’t have trails. And without trails… you get it. That would suck. Without the FVMBA having those builders covered, they would have to worry about land manager permitting, liability insurance, Worksafe coverage, tools and materials… all on an individual basis and the list goes on and on. We aim to free our volunteers from this burden and leave them to work their collective magic for the benefit of the community. They love doing it and we love enabling them to do so.
Annual General Meeting (AGM) for year of 2017 – Volunteer Trail Building Crew
With that being said, our membership rates in 2018 were $30/individual, $50/family, and $250 for a corporate membership per year. After much deliberation, we have decided to raise the rates in 2019 to $40/individual, $70/family and $300/corporate membership. We don’t take raising these rates lightly, but we felt it was important and necessary. Currently, over a third of membership dollars go to insurance costs. On top of that, costs to administer the membership packages are higher since we have continued to add value (i.e. an updated membership system, cards, stickers, and everything else that come along with it). With those added costs, we felt it necessary to raise rates to a level that can sustain our collective plans into the future.
We still think that a membership with the FVMBA provides great value. A single lift ticket (even at Costco rates) is well over $50/person each day. That gym membership is pricey! So, for $40 (or less) per person, you are supporting our efforts to create and sustain several hundred kilometres of mountain bike trails and community events throughout our regions for the entire year. And compared to similar trail organizations throughout British Columbia, your membership covers a lot of land!
Mountain Biking Trail Association Comparisons (2016)
The tricky thing is that there’s no mandatory reason for you to buy a membership. You can ride all the same trails and get most of the same benefits without spending a dime. Whereas, you don’t even get to go into Costco or a gym unless you flash that card. As the FVMBA, we aren’t able to do that on your local trails, nor do we want to either. We’re going on the honor system here. Our hope is that those who utilize the trails are able to give back to the trails in whatever capacity they can – big or small, time or money – since every bit helps.
We hope we’re doing a good job conveying to you the reasons why membership matters. Why an investment in the FVMBA is not only an investment in the trails, but an investment in your community. The path for that investment behind the scenes is often complicated and convoluted, but we try to make that path a little easier with the purchase of each and every membership. We used to say that your membership dollars bought shovels, hammers and nails. While the principle may be the same – today, it’s much more than that. You should know that your membership dollars are actively enriching the lives through thriving trail networks and flourishing communities. We hope it’s worth it.
Our 2019 membership package is now available in advance of the new year. Why not give the gift of giving this holiday season? We are also always looking to add more value to our membership program and your ideas are welcome! We encourage your feedback and will open further discussion at our upcoming AGM to be held on Sunday, February 3, 2019. We hope to see there!
All the best.
Your FVMBA team.