Sunday, July 12, 2020

unpopular opinion

At the last Princeton Freewheelers board meeting, I came out hard against having the Event. My arguments are these:
  • It's a LOT of financial risk for what has turned out to be little financial gain the last few times we've had it.We put up the money, and, f it rains or is poorly attended, we're on the hook for that money.
  • One reason given for the event is that it generates new members. But I spoke to the person in charge of memberships, and there has never been a year when, in the two months after the Event, there has been a noticeable increase in membership.
  • This was not one of my arguments, but it is nonetheless true: the Event demands a LOT of volunteers at a time when membership is dropping. From over a thousand members a few years ago, we're down to about six hundred. Of these, a much smaller number are "regulars", and maybe a few dozen can be counted on to volunteer and keep the club running.
I was (and I guess, am still) alone in my opinion. One board member appears not to have heard my point about the lack of membership increase, and spoke about how if I wanted to see membership decline to nothing, ending the Event was the way to do it. Well, membership is declining, even though we are having the Event, and there is still no sign of membership increase after it.

One thing of which I was not aware is that much of the expense in the past came from meals that we prepaid for and would not use if people did not come out for the Event. But for the Event two summers ago, we changed that, and we only pay for meals actually taken. So the financial risk is reduced.

What I had not counted on, though, is that club members, apparently, LOVE the Event. It was clear from the way board members spoke that some of them did, and they spoke about the way other members react to it, and the faces of joy these board members had seen at the Event.

I hold by my statements above: the Event is not a great way to make money, and it is not a source of members (and it is a burden to the volunteers who take it on). If those reasons are why we do it, they do not work. But we apparently don't hold the Event for those reasons; we hold it for tradition and because people love it.

I still don't like it. But enough other people do that the club will continue it. And since this is my club, I will do what I can to support this club decision.

1 comment:

  1. Yup I love the event, a bit confused as to why people don't join my ride where I give it away free. ;-) Although I haven't done a century yet this year, grrrr. I will have the PPP Century this October. I'll see if I can drag Mark back up to a B.