The flyer thread got me thinking, what DOES work for effective advertising of work days?
( besides offering Chippendales, strippers and beer
The ever-on going issue, how do we entice people to show up? Those of us that have the trail building disease ( ie, we think it's fun, satisfying) have a slightly warped perspective on what constitutes a fun way to spend part of a day..
Long range vs. short range planning
getting the word out - email, flyers, PR- what is effective?
schwag - necessary or not?
free food - necessary or not?
I know what enticed some of my younger DH friends to come out..... "we're gonna need to build some water diversions. If you shape them right, you'll be able to get some airtime!"
It all helps, but word of mouth and others saying how much fun it can be has helped. -
Builder of Trails
Clubs in Texas use the http://www.wvmba.com/paydirtform.htmlPaydirt program, which was borrowed from another club in New England....maybe the one I linked to...not sure.
Free food is always a good idea, and I'd say it is nessesary. It is a small price to repay the folks that come out and put in some sweat equity. I find it is very appreciated.
Historically we havn't done a great job of getting the word out. This year (my first year orgainizing TM's) we've been using our home page, local forums, mass emails to club members, and posting on online calendars. So far we've had great success. I can't wait to see what happens when I actually get my stuff together and start creating/posting flyers...
I'm curious to see what types of press people use (ad in local paper, community bulletins, ect)
The only times we have a decent turnout is when we personally call our buddies and get a verbal commitment from them that they will show - offers for free food or swag seem to be completely ineffective.
Iíve heard that the points thing they do in Texas (referenced above) works well.
I think to look a little more deeply into the club/group history. Why was the group formed in the first place? Was it for social get togethers? Or a crisis such as a trail/region closure? Or a race group or parents and kids? My experience has been with the clubs (rock climbing, moto, and MTB) being formed over a closure of public lands. What forms is a very small group (<10) of dedicated people going to meetings, forming relationships with land managers, and what always what develops is those 5-10 people do all of the work after the 200+ people show up at the first two meetings. Those other 195 pairs of eyes quickly glaze over of the prospect of going to meetings (boring), and don't want to give up their Saturday or Sunday to go do trail work. Soon it seems like all the club does is trail work. Boring!
So how does a group build numbers? I think the answer is in offering diversity. The best asset being people who bring in sass and some good people skills. I'm talking motivation! If I get a phone call or email from the trail coordinator asking me to come to work for them, thats great. If they offer some fun group ride after the work, even better. Its the feeling of inclusion that gets people to do the dirty work.
That first flyer does offer an eyecatch but it ends there. Its a message of fakeness, everyone knows that. But its offering some humor there. Would it be enough to get me to join them on a work day? If I was going to judge the flyer with the group I'd say they are guys in their 20s and 30s doing work on some trails the average joe doesn't really visit. But its Aussies humor too. Gotta remember that that humor is different than what is usually encountered in the US.
As far as food, its a nice gesture but not necessary. And swag... really not necessary. Finally, I'd like to say that if the trail folks are working on has to be some sort of benefit for them. People like to work on trails they ride, not so much some trail built out "there". People will work on that flat road by the forest service building once, but the next trail day better be on someone's most favorite singletrack.
There's a very large west coast (Florida) mtb club called Swamp Club (swampclub.org) that has a excellent program for TM rewards...I don't have a copy of it, but they give out hats for so many hours and coolmax TM shirts for so many hours and end of the year rewards for big hour volunteers like camelbaks and stuff like that. They also do the same for group ride leaders and other tasks! The club is huge!
IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU'RE NOT RIDING (or building)!
Good point! People definitly respond when there are fun projects planned or when work on beloved trails are needed.
Originally Posted by Chalkpaw
One thing we've been doing for the last few years is adopt-a-trail. Where adoptees volunteer to take responsiblity for basic maintainance, ie clearing leaves, blow down, ect., for the trails of their choice. That way maintainance days can be more focused on making the trails better or building new trails, which is the stuff that motivates people to come out for TM days.
That's another great point that is easily implemented down here with shorter sections of trails that are linked together....the sections are named, and we've done the "adopt a trail" to do regular trimming and cleanup, etc. at any time and regular TM days usuallly go to large restorations or building new trail sections and features.
IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU'RE NOT RIDING (or building)!
WAFTA (An SLC Utah group) seems to have garnered most volunteer hours via a closely connected group of people who understand the value of the work. I think it really helps that the work is city-sanctioned but freerider-designed and the workers can be sure that it isn't going to get knocked down or tamed by overzealous beginners.
Another tactic: swag. It is easy for us to explain to the industry folks why the project is important, and that has helped us to have really good product to give away. Last week, every guy at the after-work raffle walked away with something - from socks to stems to jerseys to a Gravity Light crankset. The industry people understand the value of build days, and are super cool about helping us with this product and we really appreciate it. More trails = more riders = more customers.
I only attempt to change the world in the appropriate World-Changing venues and forums.
Hmm...... Thinks we've tried.
Originally Posted by formica
3. News paper articles
4. TV crew (bad weather and they didn't show up).
5. Free food.
6. Bribes (schwag, coupons)
My conclusion is that too many bike riders are selfish compared to other areas of passion. Or at least compared to my involvement with ski clubs, TU, fishing clubs, river runners and other volunteering.
A combination of enthusiasm and guilt trip with individuals we meet seems to get a few new faces each year, but some trail building regulars also move on.
Good luck all.
P.S. We are trying to make things more social again - a cookout or party after work. I hope that will be good for some, and those with kids like me can of course go home and resume that part of life.
Last edited by bitflogger; 05-14-2008 at 02:38 PM.
It all sounds familar
All of this sounds familiar. The best support we have received is from an REI trail day. 200 plus people and 75% were not Mnt bikers. The rest of the time we are lucky to get between 10 to 15. I have come to the realization everyone offers to help but it is the same 5 to 10 guy who work on trail because they like it.
SWIMBA board member and Trail committee chair.
If you ain't hike you ain't Mnt Bikin