Sunday, January 26, 2014

Things to Think About When Asking for Money

Derby is expensive, I mean really really really expensive!  Gear is expensive, skates are expensive, league dues are expensive. Derby on the most basic of levels can cost, even if you never ever plan to travel for derby ever, an average of a thousand dollars per season, depending on how long you keep your skates and how much gear you go through.  Seriously though, that's a lot of cash for a hobby.  Now, let's add in traveling for derby.  Hoo boy....I think I just scared my monthly budget to death.  It's great how derby opportunities are growing, especially with the new leagues joining the WFTDA and the ranking system, but it can be extremely draining on both a skater's and a league's coffers. "Come to fill in the blank and play our team!"  I'd love to, but we just don't have the money!  But wait, the interwebs can give us money!

Every day it seems like I see more and more Go Fund Me causes pop up due to a league's need to travel. In fact, you can't seem to swing a dead, electronic cat without hitting one of these websites or appeals for money on FB.  "Our team is traveling to Whosety Whatsit Roller Derby Tournament and we're asking our friends and fans to donate money."  Great.  Good. I'm glad you're traveling and you're comfortable with asking for money from your friends and fans.  Fantastic!  But really, is it? What exactly do your fans get out of you traveling?

Think about it, most of your fans aren't going to be able to travel with you; ninety percent of them don't care that you have to go and play certain teams to gain a position in your ranking. They want to enjoy the spectacle of you skating close by; they may be passing excited for your national ranking, but if they're your true fans, they'll come and see you because they love your team regardless. Asking people who will never see you travel to foot the bill is kind of, unfair, isn't it?

Some teams seem to do it right when they ask their fans for money.  Bay Area asked for money for traveling to Champs, but they gave their supporters a one of a kind designed t-shirt for their troubles.  Leagues that ask fans to fund travel should really consider what you can do to make it worth your fans giving you money so you can play far away. Maybe your league can host a watch party if the bout is being broadcasted, or give them some kind of unique merchandise, or tickets to a home game.  Give them SOMETHING that shows you care, instead of waving from an airplane window, or only thanking them on Facebook.

Just a thought.