Board meeting, Minutes, News -

2020 Board of Directors Transition Meeting


Rob Lowe - Membership Director
Tom Howe - VA Advocacy Director
Mauricio Carvalho - Incoming Trail Boss
David Beugelmans - Incoming Vice-President 
Sharon Maloid - Activities Director
Ernie Rodriguez - Re-elected President
Andrew Melito - Communications Director
Bob Caverly - Outgoing Vice-President
Neil Blake - Treasurer
Dave Magill - Re-elected MD Advocacy Director
Eric Crawford - Guest - PVSP Trail Liaison
Elaine Hess - Guest - Family Ride Program Coordinator

Board members and guests introduced themselves, their position and relevant background.

Position Descriptions
Position descriptions for board and executive director were sent ahead for review.  This is discussion lead to the announcement of Steve DonTigny’s resignation as MORE’s Executive Director.  Discussion to change the priorities for the Executive Directors role and responsibilities. Discussion focused on the importance of MoCo Epic, fundraising and back-office support and how advocacy may not be a top priority. Advocacy is very important and often occurs during the day while volunteers are at work. Having the role being both an event coordinator and advocacy director is tough, and we may need to pick and focus on one over the other. A search committee is being organized to try and find a replacement. Another point discussed was salary and our growth which may enable compensation increase if we can tie it to additional benefits for MORE in terms of events, fundraising, membership growth and advocacy.

Action Item: Ernie will form a committee to review position descriptions for presentation to the full board.

General discussion around promotion. Appearances from MORE need to increase. Currently all members and liaisons are already dedicating significant time to the trails and mission, but there is a gap in people showing up at different events and promoting what we do. Sometimes it’s introversion (people who want to dig), but sometimes it’s about lack of time. The board and liaisons should try to get out there and promote us. It was mentioned that making this a part of the role description for trail liaison, but there was also a counter argument that you’ll get people who don’t want to be it because they don’t want that responsibility, which could then hurt progress on the trails.  We want to attract trail liaisons with ease of entry into the position and do not want to overwhelm with additional responsibilities they are not trained for or ready to pursue.

Another idea was to spend money on signage to get the word out there, with standardized signs for trails built/maintained by MORE. The thought is to grow awareness and get more people aware of who really builds and maintains trails. It was mentioned that brand recognition would help with growth.

General question about what a new board member would need to get acquainted with being on the board. Documents on our site (by-laws charter, etc.) should be read. Conversation turned towards how we update these documents and language being used in it.  Action Item: Ernie will form a committee to review our organizational documents to allow other trail users to join and support MORE.

Membership section:
Rob went over membership results and how we measure value from the members. Rob set a goal of growing membership to 1600 by year end. May and October were big months  for membership growth. Rob is hoping for a growth of 200 members a year, and when getting to around 2,000 members, a position should be opened up to manage the members. After all fees are taken out, there is roughly $45k generated from membership. Rob suggested signing up with other member groups to save on processing cost per membership. Currently MORE pays $15 per member join/renew and is able to reduce the amount to $12 per member if we form a state coalition of 5 or more like minded advocacy organizations.  The group discussed various tactics in growth of membership.

Elaine asked why the group only attracts mountain bikers, and the group acknowledge MORE was created to focus on mountain biking because there was no advocacy organization existed for mountain biking. Eric offered a suggestions to focus on trails to accommodate inclusivity for volunteers from other groups.  Discussion did turn to when we allowed Patapsco to use our waivers for trail runners who are also mountain bikers and how that change did not hurt the organization. Overall consensus is our community is made up of supporters who ride, paddle, run, hike and climb. Eric pointed out the Patapsco community shares the same sources (bikers, runners, hikers, padlers) to perform trail building and maintenance. Discussion around emails and need updating to get more responses from the emails like those who are expired. 

Question from Eric about the $15 transaction fee from IMBA. Eric noticed documentation regarding revenue share with IMBA, however that information is outdated and should be updated to identify processing fees as no revenue is shared with IMBA. Rob noted that some folks don’t want IMBA getting money from their membership but they are few and far between. He mentioned that he directs them to donate directly to MORE parks via our webpage, which IMBA doesn’t process or earn fees from. It was noted that membership pays for insurance, fees and member events and some trails. Discussion about progression of member contributions along the continuum of membership, trail support and direct donations to MORE.  It’s our responsibility to develop relationships to support Building Trail and Riding Bikes through advocacy, volunteerism, and donations. It’s a relationship focus and the membership is just the start.

Family Ride Program:
Elaine provided an overview of the Family Ride Program consisting of sMORE’s, women’s rides and clinics.  Organizing ride leaders and management over those programs are key, and this year there has been a focus on adult participation and discussing safety. Organizations like Maryland Interscholastic Cycling League and Trails for Youth both feed and benefit from the programs.

Question was asked about the demand for women’s rides. Women’s rides and biking clinics have been very popular and many women like riding in supportive environments specific for women.  The goal of the Family Ride Program is to lead open, welcoming and inclusive rides for women specific and kids. Women focused groups will help provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for and should yield membership growth and volunteers for MORE.  

In conversation with MICL leaders, they believe MICL riders will grow into the MORE sMORE’s program.  Some sMORE’s grow into MICL and some MICL riders grow into sMORE’s. Trails for Youth is another great partner who lead the bike rodeo and clinic at MoCo epic for a tenth year in a row.  The partnerships with MICL and TYO are driving parents to join the family ride program and become MORE members. Both MICL and TYO have been awarded sponsorship grants from MORE.

A member of the BMX community approached MORE to begin a BMX riding group in Northern Virginia.

The board thanked Andrew for an awesome job in producing graphics and keeping the board on schedule to produce quality communications.  Andrew presented an update to the communications plan including setting expectations. Priority in producing and sending out communications was discussed including Trailhead News, Bike tags, Who is MORE and collateral materials for events.  We discussed sharing content on social media and engaging members to share rides, events and trailwork on social media. Volunteer spotlight has proven to be very popular and will be continued in 2020. The MORE social media accounts should include updates every three days or so.  Reaching out early with event information for planned communications cannot be overemphasized. Andrew has been very active in creating additional content on Instagram and other social media. We need to create a communications calendar with all the MORE events and communication needs for reports.

Communications PPT Link: 

Regional Support, Key Calendar Events and Board Member Expectations:
Went through high-level calendar of events for 2020. Overall ask is that board members be at the main events to show their support as well as the monthly meetings. While it can’t be forced upon members, it’s highly encouraged and understand that 100% is not possible.

We should represent ourselves at the bike swap and events as much as possible.

Major Initiatives and Programs:
Discussion started with trail conditions and when to and when not to ride during and after weather events. MORE will continue to focus on education and guidance for when to ride to best protect our investment in trails.

Discussed different parks and highlighted their progress in MD and VA.  Major accomplishments included Gravity Trails in the Frederick Watershed, new trails and trail reroutes in Patapsco Valley State Park, work beginning on Patuxent River State Park, Bacon Ride and Waterworks Trails, continued work on Fairland Skills Park, Schaffer and MoCo West trail improvements, Gunpowder trail improvements, completion of the Locust Shade black loop, planning for Locust Shade beginner loop, advocacy efforts in Loudoun County and Bull Run Occoquan Trail.

Liaison Vision Land manager Relationships:
Document is being created to talk about successes, facts and future plans from each liaison. This document has helped promote all that we do and gave us an idea of the true fundraising needed to fulfill those plans. A challenge to this is getting information from liaisons and continues to be a challenge, however when we have the information we have successes, like Locust Shade, Frederick, Patuxent and Waterworks.

Continue to work with land managers on projects but need to focus on following through on our initiatives. We should create a perception of what we can do for them to help as opposed to asking for something from them. We should also stay focused on the liaisons and ride leaders who are the ones who are actually doing the work to build our mountain biking community. 

Trail Boss:
Year-end tracking can improve and we’re looking for the new Trail Boss to stay on top of this. Over 15k hours have been logged through track it forward to date for 2019. We need to continue to encourage and support tracking all volunteer hours and rides.

Continue to promote micro-donation through tools like Trail.Care via Strava pass throughs. geofences our parks and gives registered users an opportunity to donate per mile for MORE trails.  

Ride leader:
Potentially holding a ride leader training class from Rob, which will be registration based. Ride leading has its own rules and responsibilities that not all leaders know about or are familiar with.  For example, our liability insurance requires ride leaders and sweeps be MORE members, riders sign and date waivers and waivers are kept for three years.

We need to be better at logging the rides and hours spent on it in addition to saving and keeping waivers.

We have a sMORE’s section on our MORE website with location and ride descriptions.  Elaine will work to add a page with information to expand sMORE’s ride groups. Looking to centralize some of the paperwork that comes with it to make it easier for others to start. There is an idea of creating maps of sMORE ride per level of difficulty. Weekend rides are challenging to have it happen and make them consistent.

For ride leaders, a background check is suggested for ride leaders  This was an idea brought up earlier but has its own issues like who pays for it. They want this to be a requirement for quality assurance.

Board comment to Neil thanking him for his outstanding work to assure quality accounting of funds and controls for MORE.  Neil presented preliminary financials, including total revenues, expenses and transaction details. Discussion included Most Accountable Person (MAP) for expense categories and transaction details. Some highlights we’re online order revenues, MoCo Epic results, corporate matching, etc.  Neil created more categories for expenses for additional granular attribution when it comes to understanding our expenses.

After discussing results Dave M. brought up the success we saw in 2019 and where it could have come from. Some top level contributions included one time grants and donations. Success is attributed to a few donations directly associated with ask’s from key volunteers and the board. We plan to create a complete accounting of where funds were spent in support of trail building and maintenance to help with fundraising.

Also went through the 2020 budget with realistic expectations given a few one off event expenses for 2019. Overall 2020 budget will be less based on 2019 expense factors. 

Financial controls were discussed for expenditures and reimbursements requiring reimbursement expense authorization to be approved by the MAP and submitted to treasuer after approval for payment.  Receipts may be sent via text message or email to MAP.

The board is currently looking for a new accountant. Current estimates are between $4-6k a year. We are trying to improve timing in closing our books and tax filings. Neal is almost ready to close our books for 2019 which is a lot earlier than we did last year. 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published