by Paul Sweeney
You might have noticed we launched a new group shop recently - and it feels right to offer a few words of explanation.
It's not about fleecing our members for our own benefit; all those who help to make things happen in our group - either within the Admin team itself or the numerous other loyal folk that support us so well - are unpaid volunteers. We do it because we share your passion.
So we have enthusiasm and energy in spades and most of us have to date funded some group activities from our own pockets just to get them off the ground. However that only takes you so far before you have to stump up even more of those hard-earned British Pounds to do things as well we we want to, and it gets difficult. None of us is wealthy.
The group enjoys fantastic support from Phil Allin's Alvaston Press with banners and signs, great graphic design work from Dominic Coleman and brilliant support from several others, not to mention the luxury of sponsorship money from Carole Nash Insurance that has brought us a long way. Nevertheless looking ahead we felt there was a need to raise additional funds - through our own efforts if possible. Nobody likes going cap in hand asking others for money.
What do we need money for? Well just to take one example - mounting a club display stand at the NEC. Firstly, we must have Public Liability Insurance cover or we don't even get in through the door. That alone can cost hundreds of pounds. Once inside, the 'stands' that clubs are allocated by the organisers are in fact no more than an empty piece of floor in a massive exhibition hall.
We find ourselves up against professional outfits who have paid staff and large marketing budgets. Their stands are complete with carpeted flooring, their own electrical supplies, fencing, display screens, lighting, tables, chairs etc etc. Naturally all of that costs money - and anyone who has ever bought a simple meal at an NEC event knows nothing there is cheap.
We arent saying we need all of that fancy stuff, but if you're going to be at these prestigious events you don't want to be a laughing stock either; so there is a middle ground and it has to be paid for somehow.
What else do we need money for? Another example is our web site www.britishmotorvehicles.com. Its been designed & built and is maintained free of charge, but some things still have to be paid for: the domain and the web hosting both cost money every month.
We didnt want to ask our members for money; we felt the only acceptable way forward was to somehow make the group self-funding. We decided to follow the example of many other successful clubs who raise funds by offering branded club merchandise for members to buy - any profits would then help fund our future activities.
Previously we dipped a toe in this water, selling small numbers of club stickers and key rings and that showed there was a demand for such items. However to really make a difference we needed to do that again - but on a bigger scale.
So we went for it, trusting that you would support us. We started with car stickers which have proven very popular. We just added club pens and key rings to the store and hopefully those will go the same way. At this stage of course, your Admin team are risking their own money to get in some stock to sell. If things go well, we should be able to purchase future stock from profits to date and stop needing to raid our own personal piggy banks.
For any members keen to support the group but not interested in buying branded group merchandise, we have also created an option to make a donation - you will find it in the shop alongside the other products.
That's where we are now; we are doing this purely to make this an even better club and to organise interesting and exciting events. We want to do things well and to stand comparison with other well-established clubs out there. We hope you will support us along the way.
You can start by visiting our shop - just click here. Thank you.