Ottawa Outdoor Club

Financial guidelines for leaders of multi-day trips (executive resolution, 12 January 2009)

31 January 2009 - 8:05pm -- president
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Our Club encourages people to lead trips. Both the document entitled Day and Weekend Trip Guide for Leaders and Participants as well as this policy are intended to be helpful.

  1. The Club will extend its liability insurance to approved trip leaders. To be covered by the Club's liability insurance,
    • your trip must be approved by your co-ordinator, and
    • the Club's sign-up sheets must be properly filled out and utilized.
  2. The Club offers loans to leaders of up to $500 per trip to decrease the amount of personal funds that leaders need to commit up-front to book accommodation. Application may be made to the Treasurer.
  3. Our Club does not operate for profit, so the entire cost of a multi-day trip will be shared amongst its participants.
  4. All deposit cheques must be made out to O.H.O.C. "OOC" and the leader must send them to the Treasurer. All such deposits will be cashed.
  5. The Club hopes that adherence to the following recommendations regarding managing costs and reducing the probability of trip deficits will prevent the occurrence of most problems and that this will provide the best possible support for our leaders. Everyone needs to know that loans are meant to be repaid. It is expected that multi-day trips will not incur a monetary deficit. Requests for reimbursement of deficits will be evaluated by the Executive on a case-by-case basis and will be evaluated based on the leader's adherence to the following recommendations.

What leaders can do to manage costs and reduce the possibility of deficits

  1. Planning the event
    • Do not design a trip at times of the year where you are likely to get fewer participants, e.g., from just before Christmas to a week or two into the New Year, and off-season times like November or April.
    • Do not begin a trip on a Thursday because often people cannot get that day off.
    • Ask for advice from experienced members or your Executive.
    • Document all financial calculations. Be able to prove your calculations to others.
    • Do your trip planning and advertising early so as to take into account strict refund deadlines your accommodation may impose.
  2. Advertising
    • Attend the OHOC Trip Information Night. You are the best person to explain your trip and convey your enthusiasm. Enthusiasm sells.
    • Advertise your trip in the OHOC Update, on the Hotline, and on the web site.
    • Advertise your trip on outside, physical message boards like that at M.E.C. and the Hostel.
    • Advertise through word-of-mouth (you, your friends, the Executive, relatives, etc.)
    • Advertise by phoning or e-mailing members.
  3. Financial considerations
    • When signing up would-be participants for the trip, never guarantee a specific cost. The trip cost must be portrayed as approximate, and you must describe it as a range that depends on
      • the number of participants who sign up, and
      • an added 'just in case' contingency charge, the amount of which is at the leader's discretion.
    • The deposit you charge should be based on the assumption that the fewest number of participants you think are needed to make the trip viable will actually sign up. Also, the total collected must at least equal the total amount needed to cover the cost of accommodation. Please remember that deposits you collect are non-refundable.
    • If you still have a cost over-run, just add it onto what participants owe. It is, after all, their trip and we must all take responsibility for expenses we incur.
    • Be content to book accommodation for fewer participants than you expect to be able to sign up, so that, if fewer sign up than expected, there isn't a deficit. If additional people are prepared to give you a deposit, simply find out whether your place of accommodation can add more beds.
    • Consider booking cheaper accommodation.
    • Consider booking accommodation that has more flexible policies about refund deadlines.
    • Be prepared to cancel the trip if not enough participants have signed up by the refund deadline imposed by your accommodation. When making a decision about whether to cancel the trip, leaders may consult with their participants to determine whether a higher per-participant charge is feasible.