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Ideas for supporting The Long Format Club

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  • Ideas for supporting The Long Format Club

    This was originally posted on the 2 tier thread but I thought it deserved a thread of it's own. If you support the long format please read this. Bold text added by me.

    Originally posted by rivenoak View Post
    Cindy, thank you for name-dropping us.

    Sadly, I don't think the Long Format Club has had much of an impact. We had hoped to, but it too is in danger from lack of support.

    We wish we had more folks donating so that we could pass that money along to the organizers, and show them that even if the entries aren't always there, that eventers DO want to see the classic format continue.

    Unfortunately, we have received no donations for the 2010 season. With the first Classic coming up shortly, we have nothing to offer that organizer.

    The LFC is at a crossroads. LFC's future? Unknown.

    While the directors firmly believe in the idea, we have not been able to garner the financial support necessary for our mission.

    If any of you out there believe in what the LFC is trying to accomplish, please, please, please: make a donation, purchase merchandise, or ask how you can volunteer to help LFC help the organizers.

    We would like to be the LFC to be a force in supporting Classic eventing. You can help us make it happen.

    Thanks, Amy
    I know times are tough, but this just blows me away. If this board is any indication there are a huge number of people out there who support the long format. They are downright passionate about it. And now we have this great organization to funnel all of that support into. An organization that can channel that support, organize it, and make sure it counts by getting it out there to the organizers running these events. We finally have a means to do more than just piss and moan about the loss of the long format and nothing is being done?! It's a little unbelievable.

    Rivnoak, I'm hoping maybe this is a case of out of sight out of mind. The long format is mentioned and discussed on this board almost daily but I rarely see The Long Format Club mentioned. And the few times I have seen it mentioned it is usually along the lines of 'what ever happend to that Long Format Club?'. Someone may or may not come along and post the link to The Long Format Club site, but that is the extent of it. I don't think enough people know about the club. Have you ever considered having a designated PR/'marketing' person? Someone who could troll this board and others and every time people start bemoaning the loss of the long format said PR Person could jump in with a post of 'hey guys, check out The Long Format Club, we are out there helping to save the long format by doing x,y, and z and Three Day Event ABC being held next month really needs some funds so they can spiffy up their water complex. Said PR person could also start threads on the board to raise awareness for specific events. 'Three Day Event ABC Entries Open Today' and in the post mention items on that events 'wish list'. This person should also be the one to start the Roll Call and Event Report threads for any long format event and any other thread regarding Long Format Club news. These are just a few ideas.

    I really hope that we Eventers can step up the plate when it really counts and as the old saying goes put our money where our mouth is. The VA Classic Three Day Event will have at least my measly $20 of support. It's not much but it's all I can give at the moment. The fact that this was the first donation of 2010 is depressing. I'll be there in May to volunteer. And I did the only other thing I could at the moment to help keep the long format alive, which is to post this thread. Please folks, lets step up to the plate.
    Last edited by BarnBrat; Mar. 4, 2010, 12:37 PM.
    LFC...Pass it on!!
    PRESTO: Foolsih Miracle x Salute the Truth

  • #2
    I can't speak for the organization, but there are quite a few monthly contributors, so presumably there is some money trickling in every month. That of course is not going to add up fast!

    It is fairly easy to set up monthly contributions through Paypal (although it kicked me out once and I had to jump through some hoops to re-set it). I started a year's worth of small contributions (in lieu of membership in Equine Canada) since I wasn't eventing and that organization certainly deserves my support less than the Long Format Club!

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


    • #3
      Oooh, great idea!!

      And... that's something that I've been meaning to do... get on here and brag about the LFC and encourage people to go to the site and donate or volunteer! But...sadly, with work and riding, and job stress and the loss of my baby pony stress... I haven't done it.

      But.... thanks for reminding me!!

      And... as a friendly reminder...there are some great articles on there!! I'm heading to FENCE April 2-4th to help out (and run regular training) so will be available to answer any questions or help out whoever needs it. And... I should have some great pics and another article for the website then too!


      • #4
        BarnBrat, thank YOU for the education!! I know all about the Training 3-Day and it's campaign, but not the LFC. So.... I did a quick web search. If anyone else out there didn't know about it (like me), check out: http://longformatclub.com/ They also have a FaceBook site which is linked on the website. Count me in!!!


        • Original Poster

          I'm glad at least one person now knows about The Long Format Club that did not before. I really meant to include the link in my orginal post! Oops! Glad you were able to find it with a search. I really think this is such a great resource to have and its disheartening to see it not getting the support it needs. My big dream is to one day ride in a long format three day. I bred my now coming six year old for that purpose and with the way things are going I'm afraid there won't be one around by the time I get to that level.
          LFC...Pass it on!!
          PRESTO: Foolsih Miracle x Salute the Truth


          • #6
            I donated $250 last year, but haven't gotten any sort of "hey, time to renew" note..maybe it's time to create an email list and shoot out e-blasts? I haven't the faintest idea how to do that, but it would be a good idea!

            I support the Long Format to the extent that I put on the IEA T3DE and steer my students to them.

            Gina Miles, Bonnie Mosser, and Dorothy Crowell (forgive me if I'm missing someone) all attended the T3DE meetings at the convention. Perhaps we could get one of them as a spokesman?


            • Original Poster

              LAZ, thanks for supporting the Long Format! The fact that you, and I would assume others who donated last year as well, have not received a 'time to renew' email really shows that there is big gap in the 'outreach' area for The Long Format Club. I think some sort of semi-regular news letter would be a great step. The news letter could also be posted here on the board. Just something to keep the club in the front of people’s minds. Of course it would be awesome for the club to have a well known visible spokesperson like Bonnie Mosser or the others you mentioned. But even just a newsletter and someone to serve as the virtual voice and presence of the club would be great! Maybe the club could even have its own user name here on COTH for the rep to speak thru. What does everyone think? Rivnoak, Is this something the club has considered? Does the club already have an e-mail list of some sort or is this something that needs to be organized? Is there anyone here who would be interested in helping out with this? I think I will update the title of the thread to better reflect the direction of the thread, and maybe we will get more input.
              LFC...Pass it on!!
              PRESTO: Foolsih Miracle x Salute the Truth


              • #8
                Just a quick check-in; I'm limited by my real job as to how much I can post during the day.

                Thanks, BarnBrat for giving this a thread of its own.

                I promise I'll get back with a comprehensive reply to all of your questions/ideas.

                In terms of how often LFC is heard from here on the boards, please keep in mind the no-advertising rule:
                "It is OK to post announcements for charitable horse-related (or BB-related) causes, within reason. If donations are being solicited, the recipient organization MUST be a registered charity with the IRS. Again, please post only in the forum that is most appropriate, and please don't abuse this privilege by posting more than a "reasonable" number of times. (The definition of "reasonable" is up to the moderator.)"

                LFC is not yet a 501(c)3. More on that topic later. So, we tread lightly, as by our existence, we are asking for $.
                ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~


                • #9
                  LFC Support

                  BarnBrat - thank you so much for your efforts here to generate interest in the Long Format Club!

                  The LFC has been a labor of love for it's Directors (rivenoak, myself and Gue). We have donated 100's of hours of time and $1,000's of dollars for website development, inventory, letterhead, communications materials, mailings, strategic planning, etc.

                  Let me try to tell you a little bit about what we have experienced in the year that we have spent developing the LFC.

                  What people often don’t understand is the amount of time and money it truly takes to put these wonderful ideas into practice. To be blunt, the LFC has had very poor luck with relying on volunteers. For whatever reason, when it comes time to actually commit the time or dollars, the support vanishes.

                  As an example, one of our volunteer groups was actually tasked as part of their involvement with providing email contacts, writing articles, keeping the LFC in the forefront of COTH and other internet groups, etc. Unfortunately, at this point, none of that has happened. Personally, it has become a second full time job to keep the website updated, monitor all the internet sites and try to post about the LFC, constantly communicate with volunteers to organize them and get them to do what they are asked to do, attend meetings, travel etc. My travel budget is in the many $1,000’s to attend the annual/area meetings, go to the classic events, show up at functions to talk up the LFC, etc. (So much for a vacation!) I have been running at 150% for an entire year and I am in danger of burning out from the stress of neglecting my job, my family and my horses to try and make the LFC a successful and self-sustaining organization. <end pity party> Welcome to the world of volunteer work! LOL

                  But realistically, the ideas that people come up with (and they are great ideas!) cannot be implemented by three people with full times jobs. Not to mention conditioning our horses for a T3DE/P3DE and managing our equestrian assets. As another example, putting together mailing lists (think Constant Contact) and designing professional monthly electronic newsletters is a huge project – time wise and dollar wise. People casually agree to help, but they either end up disappearing or don’t have the skill set necessary to produce a professional product. And that is just one “action item”: there are no less than 20 “action items” on the LFC Director “to do” list right now.

                  As another example, let me use our website. I will be the first to admit that it is a work in progress. I have a list at least 3 pages long of improvements we want to make. Several people volunteered to work on the website, but only one person ended up helping me with it (thanks Amber!!). I had never coded a line of HTML in my life and I have no professional training in website development or design – but the website was critical as it was the LFC’s main communication interface. So I put in quite literally 100’s of hours and www.longformatclub.com was born. The bids I got from professionals to create the website were way, way, way out of my and the LFC’s reach financially. Remember, that the LFC is committed to having 100% of donations go directly to the organizers. So either the Directors have to personally donate the funds to accomplish something, or they have to do it themselves, or we have to find someone who has the expertise and is willing to donate their services.

                  I would love nothing more than to be able to have monthly e-newsletters, a column in USEA or other magazines, a physical presence at each long format event in the country, ads in all the major publications, a booth at the annual meeting, etc. But there is a huge disconnect between coming up with the ideas (you should see the minutes from the Director’s meetings of things we would like to do!!) and finding the time, money, volunteers, & expertise to get it all done. The LFC budget could easily reach six figures if we did all the things we want to do to increase awareness of the long format and support the organizers who offer classic three-day events. Our donations have barely hit four figures and that counts all the money the Directors have contributed as well! And the donations cannot support an operating budget at this point – all donations are going to supporting the organizers of the long format events to encourage them to keep offering them until they become profitable.

                  It is very difficult for an organization to rely heavily on volunteers because volunteers are just that, volunteers. People are extremely well meaning but when family issues or finances or work issues come up, the volunteer commitment is the first thing to go. And that is completely understandable – but it leaves the LFC in a very precarious position when a deadline is missed or a project is not completed because our resources vanished. I am very grateful for the donations we have received to date and the volunteers that have come through for us. People such as PhoenixFarm that helps with PR and marketing ideas – people like Amber who helped us with the logo/website. And I am grateful for the “big name” people who came forward at the USEA annual meeting and are willing to donate their ideas and lend their name to the LFC (more to come on that soon).

                  I wish I had unlimited resources to donate to the LFC. I wish I could quit my job and run the LFC full time. I wish we could afford a professional to market and run the LFC. But we have to work with what we have available to us.

                  Oh and LAZ – since the LFC was formed late in 2009, we won’t be asking for renewals until later in the year. Don’t worry, you will hear from us! LOL
                  Last edited by seascout3; Mar. 4, 2010, 03:28 PM. Reason: the inevitable spelling errors!
                  Director, The Long Format Club, Inc.
                  Supporting the USEA Classic Three-Day Event Series!


                  • #10
                    any way we could set up a merch booth at events?? even if no one ends up buying anything it would be another way to publicize the idea. I'll be at SPHT 1 with a bunch of students and would be willing to help out with shifts at such a booth??


                    • #11
                      or not even a Merch booth necessarily, but an information booth- giving out sheets of paper with a mission statement and information on how to contribute, website, etc?

                      I'm a monthly contributor- my $8/mo isn't much, but it's something. Just think of AAAAALLLLL those people out there that "support the long format". If everyone just contributed that little bit, it would go a long way...


                      • #12
                        Having a LFC booth at the long format events!

                        Greetings Breakthru!

                        Believe me, your $8/month contribution is definitely something! The LFC appreciates it very much! I agree, if we could just get 100 people to donate $10/month - that's $1,000/month or $12,000/year. It would be a good start.

                        Keep in mind that there are 17 Training and Preliminary long format events on the 2010 calendar. Giving each event even $1,000 (that's $17,000 right there) barely makes an appreciable dent in the organizer's operating budget. To make a significant impact on the event's profitability, the donations would need to be even larger! It's a daunting task...

                        Having a physical presence (a booth if you will) at each long format event is a big goal for the LFC. It's a ginormous task to organize, and we would LOVE for someone (or multiple someones) to step up and take over this "to do" item. If we had one volunteer point person that was the overall incharge LFC person for each long format event, then we could go a long way to having representation of each event! These volunteers would be our "regional representatives" and would be recognized as such on the website, etc.

                        Here's what needs to happen (17 times!):

                        Someone needs to contact the organizer and get permission to have a LFC booth (for free!). Then I need to ship the LFC banners and informational literature and merchandise to the point person. That person needs to find the tables/chairs/whatever and actually get the booth set up. That person needs to be responsible for all that stuff and ensure it's return back to me in a timely manner. That person needs to have the booth staffed by responsible people who are knowledgeable about the LFC and long format eventing to field questions, etc. Funds from merchandise sales and donations must be safeguarded as well as the merchandise, etc. The booth needs to look somewhat professional as it is the visual representation of the LFC. All donations received need to be forwarded back to me along with unsold merchandise, the banners, unused brochures, etc.

                        In addition, I would ship prizes to the point person who would be responsible for getting those to the organizer and probably act as the presenter of the prizes. Photo opportunities, press releases, any kind of PR coverage is a real plus. There is also information to be included in competitor's packets and banners to display that need to be moved from dressage to x/country to show jumping (with organizer's permission). Oh yeah, and there are advertisments to get in the program (preferably for free!) by the printing deadline.

                        See how quickly it turns into something more than just "sure, I'd be happy to show up for a couple hours and help staff a booth"?? Don't get me wrong, we need exactly that: people who volunteer to show up for a few hours and staff a booth. But what it takes to make that happen: THAT is where we really need volunteer help!!

                        And we need to think outside the box too! For example, I have been playing around with the idea of having a mobile LFC booth (basically a traveling golf cart that has the LFC banners, merchandise, promotional info, etc.). There are many events I attend where I have to be out on cross country or elsewhere and can't sit at a booth - it would nice to be able to represent the LFC while I am doing my other duties at an event.

                        Originally posted by breakthru View Post
                        or not even a Merch booth necessarily, but an information booth- giving out sheets of paper with a mission statement and information on how to contribute, website, etc?

                        I'm a monthly contributor- my $8/mo isn't much, but it's something. Just think of AAAAALLLLL those people out there that "support the long format". If everyone just contributed that little bit, it would go a long way...
                        Director, The Long Format Club, Inc.
                        Supporting the USEA Classic Three-Day Event Series!


                        • Original Poster

                          All I can say is WOW. What a daunting task you all are undertaking. I was never under the impression that running such an organization would be ‘easy’ but I did not fully appreciate all of the challenges you are up against. I really don’t know where to begin. Let me start with a huge huge THANK YOU to seascout and Rivnoak and the other directors who have sacrificed and worked hard to get the club to where it is today.

                          Obviously the directors cannot continue carrying the weight of the club indefinitely. The question is how do you find volunteers who are willing and capable of accomplishing various tasks for the organization? Talking about the problems and coming up with ideas and solutions is the easy part. Finding someone willing to follow thru with the solution is the hard part. And I am just as guilty as the next person. I’m doing it right here in this thread.
                          I came up with the great idea of putting together a newsletter for the club, and having club news posted here on the BB. But I didn’t step forward and volunteer to write that newsletter or post on behalf of the club. I don’t think I have the skills or time that would be necessary to do so. I guess I am hoping that someone else will, and together this board can figure out how to make it happen.

                          So here are my thoughts on the matter. I think that in order to get people to step up and help out they need to be given well defined tasks that they feel they can accomplish relatively easily. Obviously many of the tasks that it takes to run an organization do not fall into the well defined and easy to accomplish category. But some do. For example, it may be a large task to write an entire newletter every month or even every other month, but writing just one section of the news letter is much more manageable. It is something I would be willing to commit to. Of course, having a newsletter written by 10 different people may not make for a very professional and cohesive effort. And you would still need someone in charge of putting it all together in some sort of presentable format. Obviously there are many obstacles, but it may not be an impossible undertaking.

                          I guess my point is that in order to get people to volunteer there needs to be someone out there letting the masses know what exactly it is that the club needs. I am thinking of posts being made on COTH and other BB’s along the lines of “Attn: LFC is in need of someone to write a 3 paragraph article on XYZ’ or “Attn: LFC is looking for someone with website building skills to create a X section on our website”.
                          Maybe the directors could go through the ‘to do list’ and come up with a list of tasks that could possibly be handled in this manner? I think it would be really helpful to have a ‘volunteer coordinator’ to be in charge of taking that list and posting the items on the BB and finding people who are willing and able to complete those tasks. Of course that would require someone to volunteer to take on that not so simple and easily accomplished task. But just maybe there is someone out there willing to take it on, and you will never know if you don’t ask people for their help.

                          I hope some of this has been helpful. It is entirely possible that the directors of the club have already been over this and have come up with a million reasons why any and/or all of the above ideas won’t work. I only hope that getting people talking about the LFC on this thread is productive and helpful in some way.
                          LFC...Pass it on!!
                          PRESTO: Foolsih Miracle x Salute the Truth


                          • #14
                            Barnbrat your participation in this thread has been of great help! If nothing else, maybe people will start to comprehend what a tremendous task it is to run a nonprofit organization, even a small one.

                            You are right, just the time to discuss what needs to be done can often end up taking up most of a day (kind of like today!). But it is absolutely critical to do - both to define what needs to be done and to do a "self check" about what we are doing, and why, and how we do it, etc.

                            My posts are not meant to whine or complain or make people think our task is impossible. But I do want people to know what we are up against, especially in this economy, and the realities we have encountered so far.

                            When people like you post, it keeps me from throwing in the towel when things look bleak. So thank you!

                            I think the overriding thing to keep in mind is that, at the end of the day, if we don't get the donations, we will not survive. Even if we get 100 volunteers that we can count on, if we don't have the money to print brochures, design advertising, buy merchandise, and of course donate to organizers of long format events - this is all an exercise in futility.

                            One of my strengths is that I am very detail oriented and can break things down really well. But we do need some people to step up and help share the load - get the information (the to do's) out there and manage the "sign up" and completion of those tasks. Will you help?
                            Director, The Long Format Club, Inc.
                            Supporting the USEA Classic Three-Day Event Series!


                            • #15
                              Is there going to be an info booth at Red Hills?
                              The journey is the destination.


                              • #16
                                Let me just add one more thing to this discussion. Just because you are not an expert in an area doesn't mean that you can't volunteer to help!

                                In the last year I have become an able (but not expert by any stretch of the imagination) website designer, HTML programmer, public speaker, T-shirt designer, advertising mock-up designer, creative writer, funds solicitor, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

                                I can assure you I didn't know sh*t about any of those subjects. I'm an accountant! What I do possess is a very anal ability to break down tasks and figure out how to get them done and learn what I need to in order to accomplish the task. I'm not any smarter than the next guy - but I'm probably more driven! hehehe

                                If everyone would just pony up to do one or two specific tasks and absolutely commit (no excuses, army drill sargeant mentality) to getting them done, I think things would move faster and we would see more of an impact from the LFC!

                                Who's up for the challenge???

                                And besides that, everyone needs to give a few dollars. It is so easy to think, "sure I want to help" but then a week goes by and then a month and then... you never did it! So many people said they would donate and they didn't. So many people said they would buy merchandise, and they haven't. So many people said they would volunteer, and they never came through. I know it's a really rough economic climate out there right now. Couldn't think of a worse time to start a narrowly focused non-profit organization!! But the long format needs us! It can't wait! If we all wait around until things get better, there won't be any long format to support - it will have died a quiet death.

                                Clearly, I'm not the best motivator in the world because the LFC has not caught fire as I'd hoped - but I guess I'll put that on my "to do" list and get better at it!
                                Director, The Long Format Club, Inc.
                                Supporting the USEA Classic Three-Day Event Series!


                                • #17
                                  I'm a PayPal trickler. And hope to be supporting one with entry fees some time this year!
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • #18
                                    seascout and Rivenoak-- you have an email-- I am still planning to help out!
                                    Taco Blog
                                    *T3DE 2010 Pact*


                                    • #19
                                      Speaking from a lot of experience, this is a very VERY hard way to go. Creating something and having a lot of babysitting to get it off the ground, and this from non paid, volunteer people -- pretty big mountain.
                                      Great concept, really hard to develop and nuture. That's why people get paid big money to concept ideas and market them.
                                      Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                                      Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


                                      • #20

                                        Give me a list of tasks that you need filled and I will see about getting at least one of them taken care of.
                                        • I am hopeless at computer things
                                        • I am good at motivating people
                                        • I work best when I have to meet a deadline
                                        • I do not want anything to do with other people's money
                                        • I live out in the bushes and shipping things is a problem but I could arm wrestle one of my people into doing it for me, I bet.
                                        • I work more than full time and am self employed, so hours would have to be flexible
                                        Lee Ann

                                        P.S. Good thing you remember when I joined--I couldn't remember and was too lazy to go back through my books.