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Thread: AMC asking for donations

  1. #1
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    AMC asking for donations

    So how do you feel about donating to the AMC right now during this pandemic. Saw on Face Book today from a current AMC member whom was sent a letter asking for charitable donations. The AMC was crying about how revenues were way down with the Huts being closed. They were asking for donations of $100 dollars or more. Seems to me operating revenue would have to be way down also. Is income to operating expenses that far out of line? How about that CEO that pulls down close to $300K a year?
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Is the CEO still at that amount? I thought they were there several CEO's ago. I thought Andy F. had that for a salary. I'm indifferent to it, I did think the huts were close to break even although I would think PNVC and HC would have done better and maybe if people don't stop at a hut or swing through the lobby of one of the lower elevation operations they don't buy any swag.

    Some occupations have not missed a beat so if those people want to donate, I'm find with that. I'd be more upset if they sent a targeted donation form because data analyst figured out that what your estimated household income was or how much you spend on non-essentials based on FB posts I made. (well, my wife made, I'm not in FB)
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    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    Crying? Why that choice of word?

    ALL non-profits are hurting at the moment.

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    Senior Member Quietman's Avatar
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    According to Charity Navigator, John Judge who is the current president and CEO makes $293K.

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    Like most not for profit organizations, AMC is constantly soliciting donations for one reason or another. (Frankly, in this time of need, I made a generous donation to our local food pantry)

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peaks View Post
    Like most not for profit organizations, AMC is constantly soliciting donations for one reason or another. (Frankly, in this time of need, I made a generous donation to our local food pantry)
    Any non profit bail out bucks heading their way? I’m sure they’ll apply if there’s a ghost of a chance.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    This does not surprise me at all. Non profit huh? I can think of many organizations more worthy of my money. I have never seen eye to eye with the AMC and they keep coming up with more reasons to keep it that way. What a joke.

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    I was talking to a generally reliable source several months ago and his contention was that the Maine facilities in the 100 Mile wilderness were supported by endowments, funds set aside from selling conservation easements and some income from timber operations. The claim was that they "did not need"the revenue from guests. There was a claim from years ago that the white mountain huts did not make net revenue for the club, subsequently it was revealed that the net revenue from the huts was used to offset other non revenue generating programs in the whites so overall white mountain programs were intentionally set up to be a loss to the club.

    The club has spent a lot of money in the last year or two to improve the facilities at Camp Dodge with the intent to expand various programs. One reliable source claims that they have turned youth trail crew training programs into a net revenue maker. Various organizations fund these youth programs and AMC supplies, staff lodging and facilities at Camp Dodge. They also were planning to expand volunteer vacation options where guests pay to volunteer for the week. The club was also shifting staff and functions from Pinkham Notch to Camp Dodge but did not disclose what operations would fill the new vacancies at Pinkham. This was disclosed during the non adversarial permit modifications to the Camp Dodge special use permit a few years ago. I do not know if the upgrade is complete and if the programs were ramped up yet. I expect that like the decision to shut the huts down, this is a net revenue drain if they delay until next year.

    There is also the concept of donor management and fatigue. AMC in the past had a rather poor reputation of repeatedly hitting up their membership for donations. Over the years I have run into many people who are now former members due to repeated calls for donations on a frequent basis, memberships were practically given away as a means of developing a donor list. I know of a couple if people who formerly would make annual donations and then would be harassed for more donations. I hope they are now managing their requests better, but their past reputation is probably hard to live down. An event like CV-19 is a perfect opportunity for a fund raising campaign. One of the tricks to drive major donors to write big checks is make it sound like its a major crisis that can only be solved with help from the big donors. Since the only information most members receive is effectively pro club propaganda approved by management there is not a lot of fair and objective information to the members.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 05-24-2020 at 06:33 PM.

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    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    One reliable source claims that they have turned youth trail crew training programs into a net revenue maker.
    I would agree -- and this has been the case for quite some time. Years ago, a nephew of mine wanted to volunteer to do trail work for the AMC; we were surprised to see how much it cost to, essentially, donate time and trail labor, even beyond simple room and board.

    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    There is also the concept of donor management and fatigue. AMC in the past had a rather poor reputation of repeatedly hitting up their membership for donations.
    Agreed on this, as well. We were members years ago, but let the membership lapse because of constant requests for money. We still get fundraising requests, almost 10 years later. I'll typically respond with a quick note saying that we perform many, many hours each year in volunteer trail maintenance/stewardship, and that's our donation in kind. But, of course, that's exactly why we continue to get these requests.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    I never felt actual pressure from a call or letter seeking donations. A fact that Superpacs saying they are figureheads from one party haven't figured out as they text me saying they will 4X and 5X my donation. Environmental groups and other groups I might consider donating to or the other party and others haven't sent me these texts
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  11. #11
    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barkingcat View Post
    Years ago, a nephew of mine wanted to volunteer to do trail work for the AMC; we were surprised to see how much it cost to, essentially, donate time and trail labor, even beyond simple room and board.
    I found that weird. I did a week on trail crew for the Continental Divide Trail Association. Absolutely free out of pocket; they fed us. Cooks on site, hot breakfast and dinner, trail lunch. Absolutely fantastic. Even had a keg of beer onsite--the CDTA staffer had come down a couple of days early to panhandle around and a brewery donated the keg.

    They went under less than a year later. That sort of changed my perspective on the whole thing.

  12. #12
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    It does cost money to have a "volunteer" program, I expect the overhead is high and much of the money available these days is on a cost sharing basis. Generally the non profit can use payments in kind to offset their cost share. Included in payments in kind is volunteer hours. Anyone volunteering for work for a non profit is generally asked to sign in or do trip report. Those hours are totaled up and doled out to cover payments in kind. I do not know the current hourly rate assigned per volunteer hour but this is important part of the bookkeeping for a non profit. One thing with overhead is usually the cost is lot easier to deal with when spread across more people, therefore expansion of organized volunteer opportunities is logical approach.

    As I have commented and others with trail maintenance background have observed to me, the problem is the general transfer of what were paid or long term volunteer positions to "volunteers of the week" is degradation in the quality of the trail work done. When parties need to be transported back and forth to Camp Dodge or some other base camp on a daily basis, the effectiveness of the time spent and the extent of repairs are going to be far lower than a trained paid crew that sets up in a remote location and only heads out once a week. I expect griphoist 101 is not part of the agenda for youth at risk volunteer trail crew weeks and even expect its not a typical event for adult crews as the level of skill and stamina takes a lot longer than a week to develop. Given my recent redlining excursions in the last few years, its obvious that even basic trail maintenance is lacking in the more remote trails and there does seem to be some inverse connection between the trail conditions and distance from Camp Dodge.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    Interesting conversation about the cost of volunteering.

    I was the trail adopter for the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail for 7 years. I chose to volunteer for the USFS as opposed to AMC for that very reason. I'm not paying to volunteer. I'm happy to donate time, gas, my tool use, clothing, and some skin, but I'm not going to pay money in order to then have the privilege of helping you. I found volunteering through the USFS to do trail work to be very rewarding and I was never asked to pay. I was provided some tools to use and a very healthy dose of gratitude.

    There are costs associated with all volunteer programs. One example is the USFS Trailhead Stewards. Volunteers give their time, voices, and knowledge. But they need tents, tee shirts, and gloves to set themselves apart at the TH and for the minimal physical work and protection associated with set up, clean up of the area, etc.

    There's a cost to those materials. The volunteers don't pay it. To date, it's paid for in large part by people who have been part of a search and rescue in NH and donate to the New Hampshire Outdoor Council. It's a pretty good example of how things come full circle in the White Mountains IMO and how those people using the services in the Whites are paying for services in the Whites, how money given from those rescued is being used to directly prevent future rescues. Anyway, I think it's a sustainable volunteer model. Here's a link to the council's new page. (disclosure: I volunteer to push a pencil for the NHOC periodically since I don't push a volunteer fire rake much anymore).

    https://nhoutdoorcouncil.org/
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    Senior Member Rainman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven View Post
    Interesting conversation about the cost of volunteering.

    I chose to volunteer for the USFS as opposed to AMC for that very reason. I'm not paying to volunteer.

    https://nhoutdoorcouncil.org/

    Just to be clear, no one has to pay to adopt a trail for AMC. I have been doing it for many years, and have never been asked for funds. AMC does provide tools, and will also provide accommodations for an adopter if needed (the night before or after a full day of trail work).
    The pay to play trail work opportunities are for week long “vacations” out of Camp Dodge.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainman View Post
    Just to be clear, no one has to pay to adopt a trail for AMC. I have been doing it for many years, and have never been asked for funds. AMC does provide tools, and will also provide accommodations for an adopter if needed (the night before or after a full day of trail work).
    The pay to play trail work opportunities are for week long “vacations” out of Camp Dodge.
    Thank you for the clarification as you are correct. They only charge some of their volunteers.

    I also found it very easy to volunteer for USFS. Surprisingly, there was not much bureaucracy or paperwork.
    Humankind has not woven the web of life.
    We are but one thread within it.
    Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
    All things are bound together.
    All things connect.
    ~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~

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