If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say “people just don’t volunteer anymore” I could have snowchecked a 2020 RMK with the 850 Patriot last spring. Unfortunately, this is more accurate than not. Too many clubs have the same small handful of “inner circle” volunteers putting in the hours, one work party after another. Of course, this is not sustainable; and if clubs cannot sustain operations, trail systems fall apart.
So, here is a list of simple (and fun!) ways to help your club thrive, none of which include cutting brush.
1. Renew, and Renew Early
This first step is the easiest by far! In New Hampshire, snowmobile memberships run from July 1 to June 30, and the dues you pay go directly to club overhead costs to maintain trails and provide the best riding experience possible. And, because so much money goes into trail work during the summer and fall months to prepare for winter, these funds are especially vital during this time. If you can, renew your membership right after it expires in July and set your club up for success.
2. Attend Club Meetings (Post-pandemic, of course)
I get it. In-person club meetings can be a little dull and potentially intimidating – especially if you don’t know many people in the group – but bear with me. It is so, incredibly difficult for a large group of people to function and make important decisions efficiently. If a club went the entire season without ever checking in as a group, chaos would ensue. This workflow is the only way to ensure a smooth, enjoyable (and profitable) season to keep the club and its trail system flourishing for years to come. So please, attend meetings. Get to know people. Hear the qualms that your fellow members have and work together to solve them.
3. Volunteer in Ways That Interest You
Contrary to what you may see posted online, trail work is not the only way to lend a hand. As a member, you should feel empowered to volunteer in any way that you can – I promise, your club will appreciate it. Do you have a background in marketing? Provide some social media tips, or maybe even offer to serve as webmaster. Have a knack for event planning? Throw out some ideas and offer to take the lead on a particular event this season. The sky’s the limit here. And, throwing it back to Step #2, attending meetings is a great way to stay “in the know” and to raise your hand when a volunteer opportunity comes up that interests you.
4. Make a Donation
We all know that monetary donations are incredibly valuable to our small, nonprofit snowmobile clubs – but a donation does not have to be money. In-kind donations can be used for anything from raffles, silent auctions, contest prizes and more. For a club like ours, which has a clubhouse out of which we serve food, donating consumables and other kitchen items is also extremely generous.
5. Engage with Social Content
Can’t make it to meetings? Can’t spare time to volunteer or the money to make a donation? There is still one sure-fire way to help your club. Engage with their social media content! Many snowmobile clubs are making a great effort to have a fun and informational online presence, but building organic reach is more difficult now than ever. Be sure to follow your club on all social channels, “like” posts and comment as often as possible.
The bottom line of this list is that it doesn’t matter HOW you help out, just that you do. Raise your hand. Get involved. Do what you can. We will not have the trails we do for long if we don’t step up!