A running club with weekly Group Runs in Aurora, IL., Montgomery, IL. and Oswego, IL.
Winter is deciding to get an early start on things, but that is no problem for the Nature Trail Runners! We are all set to keep going strong even with chilly winds and some surprise snow. The photo above is from early winter last year. As you can see, you will have plenty of friends to run with even if you have to bundle up a little bit to do so.
Around this time last year, we did a call out for donations and it was very helpful to the club, with $340.00 being raised. For the next few weeks, we will be taking donations to cover cost for the rest of 2013 and most of 2014.
While most of it happens behind the scenes, the club does incur a few expenses. All donations will go directly towards paying those expenses. Here is a breakdown of what the donations will be used for-
Paying Meetup Dues- Our Meetup Dues are $144.00 per year. Thanks to the donations from last year, we were able to pay dues in a 6 month block, instead of monthly, which saves us $84.00 a year! The dues for the next 6 month block are due end of this month. They will be paid no matter what, as Meetup is our biggest resource for attracting new members and having an easy to follow schedule.
Office Supplies- Printer ink, and copy paper for making flyers/handouts, poster supplies for signs like we had at the Montgomery River Run, various other small things as needed.
Business Cards- I have sent in an order for 500 business cards with some group photos, info about our club, and our Meetup/Facebook links. These cards will be available to anyone who wants some so that when you are chatting up our club with friends or random people you meet places, you can give them an easy-to-use resource to find us latter on! This will really help draw in new people as they are far more likely to check us out if they have a card in their pocket, instead of just trying to remember to Google hours later. I was hoping to have them at the gear swap, but it looks like it will be another week of so before they come in. We’ll just have to do something else fun and get everyone together to distribute them.
Anniversary Picnic/Fun Things- As some of you remember, we tried to have an Anniversary Picnic this year but we had troubles with securing a good location. A big part of that was not having any funds to put a deposit on a shelter or such(The other part was me not realizing how far in advance you need to reserve those things!) Lessons learned, we will be planning on having a nice big, well-planned, picnic next summer so some donations will be set aside to make that happen smoothly. Also, some outings would be easier to plan if there was a small reserve to handle any up-front costs.
Any donations above the expected expenses listed above will either go into a reserve, be used to promote the club(maybe through a booth at a big race/farmers market), or both.
So what’s so cool about our club that you should consider donating? If you are running with us regularly, you already know how much fun you are having out on the group runs. But maybe you only come out once in a while. Consider this-
Last year at this time, we were at around 100 members. This year, we have 264 members signed up in our Meetup group and 207 on our Facebook group! That is double the membership in just one year! Most of that growth came from having a Meetup account and from flyer distribution. A lot of it also came from word of mouth from our great members, which the new business cards will help with a lot. More members = Bigger group runs and More group runs for you! We have right at 18% for online members vs members who regularly come out to events. This is on the very high end of what a new club/small business should hope to see, so we are doing very well.
The club itself is free. We won’t ever charge a membership fee to come out to group runs or just to be a part of the club. All run leaders like Andy Wells, and Harish Pai donate their time to help keep our group runs going all year round and in return you guys come out to the runs and help make the club great.
Between our Group Runs, Social Events, Programs, and Race Day Meetups we have one of, if not the most active clubs in the area. This gives you way more opportunities to come out and run, like on our NEW Saturday Morning runs led by Harish. We want to be able to continue operating at this level and also grow a little year by year.
We suggest a donation of between $5 and $20. If all of our regular members donated in that range, we would have all of our expenses taken care of for the year, with a decent reserve.
Donations can be given in-person to Ellen or Harish at any group run between now and the end of November. However, donations through PAYPAL are much, much preferred as there will be a clear record which makes it easier to thank members who donate and to get an accurate tally of donations. It is also easy to forget to bring a donation to a run, but a computer is around any time of day.
To Donate through PAYPAL- Go to http://www.paypal.com If you do not have an account, you might have to make one but it is quick. Choose the TAB that says SEND MONEY.
Enter email@example.com for recipient, then the amount, and the make sure to choose the option ‘I’m sending money to family or friends’. If you don’t choose this option, we will lose part of your donation to Paypal fees.
To Donate in Person- Bring cash or check in an envelope with your name and ‘nature trail runner donation’ written on the outside to any group run and give it to Ellen or Harish. Please make any checks payable to Ellen Willard and be aware that checks may not be deposited for a week or two.
Ok, that is everything. Thank you very much in advance to everyone who will donate. Once all donations are in for the month, we will post a tally to keep everything transparent and to further thank the members who help keep the club going through their donations.