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Discussion: OUSA 2019 Proposed Budget

in: Orienteering; General

Jan 1, 2019 4:26 AM # 
On December 23, OUSA President Clare Durand e-mailed clubnet with our budget proposal to request comments. Clubnet is an imperfect to communicate with the membership and the community at large, so I'm posting it here - again with request for feedback.

The OUSA board has prepared the attached proposed budget for 2019. We will be meeting again on Wednesday, January 2nd to approve the budget. Please provide any comments or questions before that date.

This spreadsheet shows primarily discretionary income and expenses. It does not include estimates of restricted donations and fundraising that would accrue to the teams. It does include two areas of restricted funding for which we anticipate major gifts. Currently existing team balances are shown for reference.

The budget shows a deficit of approximately $11,000 for the year. Our current discretionary cash balance is estimated at $112,000 (Bank balances minus restricted and board designated funds to teams).

A detailed budget description and explanation of spending projects is also provided.

Note that whatever budget we pass on January 2 is not set in stone; it can be revised by a board vote. In practice, the OUSA board hasn't historically changed the budget much, but we are eager to get feedback and buy-in from the community, with emphasis on the US community. We are also very aware that OUSA's operations can seem opaque, and we're trying to address this and create better transparency and awareness. The proposal description is one way to make what OUSA does clearer.

So: please post any thoughts you have either before or after the OUSA budget meeting on January 2. Thanks, and Happy New Year!
Jan 2, 2019 3:10 AM # 
1. Never seen a budget before that didn't have at least the current year-to-date for comparison (and usually the previous year's actuals). Plus a statement of balances in various accounts. Are those numbers known but not public, or not known?

2. That said, thank you for furnishing both the proposal for 2019 and the written justifications. The latter often doesn't happen. (Even though it does seem to run out of steam at the end, with no explanation of the website redesign contemplated, for example.)

3. Suggestions. First, regarding money spent on revising EventReg to deal with the Junior Nationals, how about first looking at how that event can be simplified. It's way too complicated, both the structure and the team scoring. Do that and the time required to fix ER will be substantially less. Probably could say the same about much of the other stuff that ER deals with.

The more complicated ER is, the more annual maintenance will cost and the harder it will be to get it done.

Second, since you're having a hard time getting organizers for championship events, why not eliminate the sanctioning fee for any members of the organizing club(s)? Ditto for the non-member surcharge. Might find more willing clubs. And if the result is more attendance at the events, and the host club(s) make more money, that seems like it would be a good thing.

Third, no money for an audit? I would think that would be a good idea.
Jan 2, 2019 12:59 PM # 
Good luck with your budget discussions today folks. If the links are all the information you have to go on I suggest you are pretty well operating in a vacuum. As PG suggests the current year information is usually there for a comparison. The ones I am used to have three columns -current year's budget and actual and next year's budget.
I don't know much about Event Reg but something seems WAY out of whack there. Are you serious that it is proposed to lose $800 on the annual operation and then drop another $30,000 on an overhaul. Should clubs that don't use this registration system subsidize those that do by so much? I don't think so.
There are companies out there that will do the event register service for no overhead and no overhaul cost. The fee goes where it belongs - to the event or to the registree.
Jan 2, 2019 2:46 PM # 
As an organizer who has used Event Reg for many interscholastic / junior championship events, I don't understand what's broken about it. It works great for junior nationals. In fact that's one of the parts of ER that has been meticulously tweaked over the years until it is near-perfect for the needs of that particular event. There are other parts of ER that could be improved to allow registrars more flexibility, but I don't understand why we are using the junior nationals as the excuse - when that is one part of ER that currently works really well (with the exception that it is very slow and tedious for school coaches to have to individually enter a long list of entrants - that could be improved by allowing a spreadsheet or bulk import).

$30k seems like a lot. If $120k is a reasonable annual salary for a designer for this type of program, are we paying said designer full-time for 3 months? Don't get me wrong - I like Ed and I think he's been under-compensated for what he currently does for ER. But $30k seems like a ridiculous sum for re-designing a registration system, that while imperfect, "ain't broke.". I'd like to see a lot more detail about how this $30k was arrived at, and what specifically it will do to improve ER, and who / what will be paid with it.
Jan 2, 2019 10:07 PM # 

1. MTB races use -- it's free to use (racers pay the reg fee).
MTBO races could use Bikereg and maybe gain some new riders?

2. Runners use -- it's free to use (racers pay the reg fee).
Foot-O races could use Runreg and maybe gain some new orienteers?

3. Triathletes use -- it's free to use (racers pay the reg fee)
Adventure Racers could use Trireg and maybe have some new teams?

4. Skiiers use -- it's free to use (racers pay the reg fee)
Ski-O could use Skireg and maybe gain some new skiers?

Not a shill for any of these -- But I've used Bikereg for years to register racers for mountain bike races. All of these "Software as a Service "Reg" services" have been around for years. Where was the research into using existing services for a fraction of the cost?

Yet... OUSA went and built their own?? Why? Is orienteering THAT unique that it has to have its own registration software? Seems like the SportIdent business model has expanded into event registration...

Where is the cross-promotion? Where is the outreach?? THAT is something worth spending money on!!

Has anyone reached out to share events, venues or athletes with USATF, USAT or USAC?? Wouldn't THESE kinds of things be something worth spending money on? Do you think Orienteers only do orienteering and nothing else??

I would bet that 90% of new orienteers belong to at least one other national organization BESIDES OUSA.

Additionally, this budget should about development, development, and more DEVELOPMENT!! At no point should ANY money be spent on something that has:

1. Not been used and approved by at least 75% of clubs
2. Brought back a Top 10 finish overseas (e.g. no more O-Tourism)
3. Increased interest or membership in orienteering
4. Caused new clubs to form

Until then, OUSA should be spending EVERY DIME on bringing this sport back to life! It should be reaching a hand out to Active Military, Law Enforcement, Military Vets, JROTC programs, Boy/Girls Scouts, YMCAs, National Sports Orgs, University Club Sports, Adventure Racers, Obstacle Course Racers -- the list is endless of missed opportunities!!

Case in point -- **Quidditch... QUIDDITCH!!! Quidditch is played at almost every 4-year college/university in a dozen countries now. QUIDDITCH!!!!!!!! OUSA should be COPYING the entire Quidditch marketing playbook TODAY!

(** And if you don't know about Quidditch, you should look it up and start taking notes. Every kid from 16-24 knows what Quidditch is and is actually spending REAL MONEY on this sport!!)

I think what @Gordhun said about OUSA being in a vacuum is true. If orienteering doesn't wake up and realize that it has a lot more in common with other sports -- and starts to spend money to form PARTNERSHIPS with those sports -- it will continue to languish in the backwater world of decreasing memberships.

I think this budget doesn't inspire... and it certainly doesn't seem to be focused on real growth. It seems to maintain the status quo. And in life, there are only two modes of existence: either you grow or you die.

Which one is OUSA doing right now?

I know what my guess is...
Jan 2, 2019 10:43 PM # 
> 2. Brought back a Top 10 finish overseas (e.g. no more O-Tourism)
pure demagoguery, you have no idea what orienteering is.

Preserving identity is a huge value, this would attract those who can contribute to this sport. Blending into a bunch of moronic activities for retards listed above is what I would consider death

>Do you think Orienteers only do orienteering and nothing else?
The answer is pretty much YES.
Jan 3, 2019 5:22 AM # 
Aahhh... the "voice of orienteering" speaks... and what does it say?

1. Keep Orienteering for Orienteers!

2. Don't change anything -- we like how well things are going!

3. If you're younger than me -- stay off my orienteering lawn!

Awesome! You prove my point about why this 2019 budget is not designed to grow the sport, but to keep it doing the "same old same old".

Demagoguery? No. I like seeing OUSA dollars being spent year after year on teams (e.g. MTBO) coming in last year after year. Everyone does not get a trophy even in Orienteering. Praising Last Place teams for "doing their best" on the OUSA dime is not money well spent. Win or don't go.

Preserving the Identity? Orienteering has become the oldest and least hospitable of fringe sports. Even Bocci is more hospitable -- and that's played by retirees!! It's time face the o-music... nobody is coming to your events anymore. Why? Many old-school get-off-my-lawn orienteers don't play nice with others. Youth keeps the sport going and there are fewer coming to meets these days.

Finally, if you think the MAJORITY of orienteers ONLY orienteer, then you are out of touch with Orienteering. Few come to orienteering as their first sport, and fewer still stay with orienteering in the long term. Why? Because Orienteering is not the only show in town, dude! You would have to be really full of yourself to think orienteering has enough pull that orienteers ONLY do orienteering.

The data doesn't lie and facts don't care about your feelings. Orienteering in the US is fading... and if you don't pull your head out of the sand and look around to notice, you might not have much orienteering left to enjoy.

Hope is not a strategy.
Neither is "never change".
Jan 3, 2019 10:51 AM # 
I just brought back a top 10 finish from overseas! Yeah! I'm in!

(Top 10 out of 21 in M55, that is.)
Jan 3, 2019 9:41 PM # 
Your training volume is 0.
Your ranking is 0.
You have 0 splits, etc.

Get some points and credibility than propose constructively to the community.

yurets at least practices the sport before saying something.

Unfortunately all sports experience decline recently with more and more general population going into VR. Volunteers in clubs are doing their upmost to keep orienteering sport afloat. Unfortunately we always will be the niche sport in the USA without any significant government support.
Jan 3, 2019 10:07 PM # 
LOL...yes, AP stats as a proxy for credibility. Well done, way to prove his(?) point.

Orienteering has become the oldest and least hospitable of fringe sports... Why? Many old-school get-off-my-lawn orienteers don't play nice with others.
Jan 3, 2019 10:40 PM # 
O-USA is budgeting revenue of $89,000 in club dues. That is made up of a small flat fee for clubs, a levy on their membership numbers and $1.50 per start at their events. So I'm going to ball park it and suggest that reflects something over 50,000 starts at the various non-sanctioned orienteering events across America in 2018. Not bad and not the sign of a dying sport.
It has been forever that orienteering lacks the marketing pizzaz that is prominent with other recreational sports, Mud Runs and Spartan Races for example.
I sometimes wonder what orienteering would be like if we were run like a road race - staged by a pro organization in the name of a charity with a pittance of the revenue going to the charity, as much of the money coming from sponsors as from entries.
I wonder if the non-profit status of our clubs and the volunteer base holds us back.
I wonder what would be the result if XYZ Sports even contracted with a local club to stage their event. I know you'd find more sponsorships. Pro sports marketers know how to turn over those rocks. (It would work if those same XYZ sports people were enterprising orienteers.)
Jan 4, 2019 12:10 AM # 
Ian, thanks for posting, even though I think AP is equally imperfect for this subject matter.

I haven't read one line of the links but based on some of the comments above, which I find highly credible, this was in need of airing.

dauntless, I wish you would identify yourself, because this would give more weight to your comments. I regret on principle responding to anonymous posting, but I think you raise some important, but uncomfortable truths, and it would benefit US orienteering, and orienteering in general to pay attention.
Jan 4, 2019 12:27 AM # 
Mr Wonderful:
LOL...yes, AP stats as a proxy for credibility.

Lamentably standard here on these types of threads.

for profit

I don't wonder, the for profit navigation sport outfits in my state get more people to their events, despite substantially higher entrance fees. Granted, their frequency may be lower (but not by much), which has made me wonder about more really informal training events and then fewer really well produced bigger events rather than a medium number of lightly produced events.
Jan 4, 2019 1:52 AM # 
Hi, everyone - thanks very much for the feedback. There are many good points, especially that OUSA needs better financial reporting and a better strategy for growth. While I'm only representing my own views, the entire Board is frustrated with this and working to address both of these problems.

On January 2, the Board voted to adopt this budget for 2019; the unrestricted allocations are in column C. A few quick highlights:
  1. Unlike the original budget, the adopted unrestricted budget is projected to be balanced. I wrote the new unrestricted budget by modifying the old proposal, and the changes are highlighted and bolded (red = decrease, green = increase).
  2. Column G has the 2018 Unrestricted budget for comparison. I am working on getting a YTD report. OUSA was under budget for 2018, as some categories (e.g. the 30k IT improvements) were not spent entirely.
  3. The bulk of the 10,885 shortfall was made up for by cutting allocations for technology infrastructure (Eventreg, website) by $10,000. The Board also has some concerns about the Eventreg proposal; the way I phrased it is we need to get commensurate value from the investment. The goal is to improve the registration system such that more clubs will use it for their local events in addition to national events. Both of these line items will be overseen by the technology committee, and the Board still has to approve proposals.
  4. Our allocations to the teams are the same as in 2018, with the exception of a $500 increase to WUOC. $3000 original proposed to the MTB-O team is being reallocated to spend on growing the sport domestically - map grants, materials, promotion, training camps, and so on. There aren't current proposals for this, but it's being set aside in anticipation of them.
  5. The allocation for Youth Initiatives was increased by $1500 to $8500. VP Youth Initiatives Barb Bryant has submitted a detailed budget proposal for about $13k. The shortfall was balanced by reducing allocation for Board meetings and expenses from $3000 to $1500.

A few replies to comments:
@PG: 1 - agreed, our financial reporting is terrible right now. While our previous reporting didn't correctly track restricted, board designated, and unrestricted funds, it was better than no reporting at all. Pat Meehan and I are working to get summaries of 2018 activities asap.
2 - Written description amended. The numbers are still from the original proposal, but I amended the descriptions for the last items.
3 - Agreed that Eventreg is a very large line item and requires extensive scrutiny. Budgeting for it is not equivalent to writing a check, and exactly what we are paying for will be scrutinized. Spending $25k is too much if it will only be used for national ranking events, which as Mike Minium points out is largely adequate. I think the eventual goal is for the event registration system to be used by clubs for their own events, to enable better tracking and reporting of events, and to offer services to club members like tracking all the results, analysis, etc. I envision a system in the US where you can find all orienteering events based on geography and time; consider the UK's system. A unified database of events, participants, clubs, and registration is either necessary or would be helpful. The Tech committee will review the proposals thoroughly before we spend money. If we are not satisfied with the proposals, the money won't necessarily be spent in 2019 or could be reduced and reallocated.

@gordhun - I think the cost of a registration system is easy to underestimate. As I understand, Zone4 (used by Canada) costs $1 per registration. OUSA has investigated other options, including Zone4, IOF's Eventor; certainly a cost-benefit comparison will be made before investing heavily in Eventreg. Racers paying the registration fee is one option, but the better way of looking at it is the cost to the community of registration. If Eventreg can provide comparable or better service at lower cost to the community, I think its use is justified.

Dauntless and Yurets - The data doesn't lie...
What data? Neither of you has introduced any data.

On the teams: It's an oversimplification to say that OUSA is paying for vacations. The Board-designated money usually isn't even enough to cover registration and housing at world championship events, and basically every athlete pays for their travel to world championships and all training in the US. That said, the marginal cost of sending an additional athlete to WOCs is high. We are trying to use the Long Term Athlete Development model - with a broad base of people who participate in the sport and a pipeline to lead them to train to train, train to compete, and train to excel. The significant investment in Youth Initiatives and the Junior Program are major parts of developing talent at a young age. Many of the team budgets (e.g. Senior Team, Junior Team) are also spent on other things besides WOC and JWOC, including training camps, regional coaching, and travel to NAOC and other domestic events. Part of OUSA's mission statement is developing excellence in national teams, and OUSA is the only body in the US which can organize national teams for IOF sports. My view is that we should always send a national team, but the size of that team (with the exception of juniors) should be kept small, with more emphasis spent on domestic development. You don't get much benefit from sending a fifth WOC team member, e.g.

On growth: it's not easy to write a check for growth. There are projects in development for improving club marketing and attracting new people, but it's a hard problem to throw money at effectively. In addition to the unrestricted budget, there is restricted money from the 50th anniversary fund explicitly for club marketing, mapping, and websites. Bob Forgrave also spearheaded experiments with social media advertising, google adwords, and SEO that will be evaluated. If you have specific proposals for how we can "throw money" at the growth problem, please send them to us. Barb Bryant has a very detailed youth initiatives agenda which is a major part of our growth strategy.

OUSA is also working to define and advance a strategic agenda for the coming years. Talk to President Clare Durand if you want to be a part of it.
Jan 4, 2019 4:46 PM # 

Thank you and the board for a thoughtful approach!

One thing I may propose on the planned Eventreg overhaul is to contact clubs and present a detailed plan for the planned system capabilities in regard to registration, result database, result reporting and analysis, and other capabilities.

Clubs are your customer base and you need their nod before implementing.

I may also propose a national RouteGadget database similar to many other national federation databases as being part of the overall national system. Right now USA have about 10 different RouteGadget locations associated with clubs but lacks a national one. See for example Switzerland and New Zealand databases. I found them very useful and convenient. Valerie is kind of trying to cover this gap but having it formal under OUSA would be beneficial. I would at least keep all national ranking and championship events in this national RouteGadget database.
Jan 4, 2019 4:57 PM # 
@Sergey - thanks for the comment. Polling the clubs is a good idea. Our communication with clubs is shoddy at best; even e-mailing all the club presidents is currently difficult. Agreed that we need buy-in.

The routegadget database is also a good idea. Ed has proposed this in the past, and I think he is eyeing our existing technology infrastructure with plans to building up integrated services for users.
Jan 4, 2019 7:58 PM # 
re: clubs use of event reg software
Just a data point from the orienteering outback... Our home grown system is long past being put to pasture and NTOA is already looking beyond OUSA offerings for event registration software to use.

re: routegadget database
A data point just from me, one guy.... I like Livelox so much better. My track auto uploads to Garmin Connect, which auto uploads to Strava, which can then almost auto upload to Livelox. Maybe I'm not taking advantage of RG features that would make using it easier and perhaps there are other considerations I'm not aware of, however, this past summer I found Livelox so much nicer to use.
Jan 4, 2019 8:54 PM # 
@iansmith -- Completely understand what you posted. It makes perfect sense if you're looking at the problem from the perspective of a committee member that is being tactical, not strategic.

As you said, "Polling the clubs is a good idea. Our communication with clubs is shoddy at best; even e-mailing all the club presidents is currently difficult. Agreed that we need buy-in"

This one profound statement proves @gordhun point about the 2019 Budget existing in a vacuum -- the comment that set this whole thread off.

I would like to counter your point about not being able to write a check for growth. I think you misunderstand what I mean about funding growth. I see outreach to new customer segments (e.g. Active Military, Law Enforcement, Military Vets, JROTC programs, Boy/Girls Scouts, YMCAs, National Sports Orgs, University Club Sports, Adventure Racers) as needing to be a LARGE part of the budget. Maybe the LARGEST part.

But I'm just a voice crying out from the wilderness. You can take or leave any of my suggestions as you see fit. I know I'm not alone in these opinions. And I think -- deep down -- you know there is a grain of truth in them too.

You wanted data. Here's a data point: MTBO has been supported by OUSA for 7 years with nothing to show for it. No wins, no development, no outpouring of clubs creating events. So way fund it now? Time to use their money to expand outreach into customer segments that could improve OUSA membership. OUSA should have created an environment for MTBO years ago. They didn't. Why start now?

Want some more data to consider? The International Quidditch Association held their first tournament in 2012 with only five countries participated. By 2018, there are 29 countries registered to play Quidditch in the international competition. Orienteering took 60 years to reach 70 member countries within the IOF. Quidditch has almost HALF of that in 6 years! What's the difference? Why is Quidditch taking over the world? College and University involvement by students interested in forming club sports.

Seen many Collegiate Club Sports for Orienteering? Why not? Why is there not an army of OUSA reps going to college campuses and starting orienteering clubs? THAT wouldn't cost that much -- $200-$500 per school. Pick 50 schools and start campaigning and promoting. Find orienteers that have degrees and send them back to help start university clubs. THAT would be worth spending $30,000 on!

How about this data point: In fall 2016, total undergraduate enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions was 16.9 million students, an increase of 28 percent from 2000, when enrollment was 13.2 million students. I just 10-percent of those kids started orienteering, that would be over 1.6 million new starts. That would be a far better investment than in a buggy software package that OTHER companies have already created for a fraction of the price.

Yet, no one is thinking about these kinds of things. Why?

I think it high time that Big Orienteering goes back outside. You all -- those that think Orienteering is "fine" need to go outside of your own bubble and have a look around. I see a different story being told. I see those that come to orienteering for the first time NOT coming back. I see people being put off by just how un-friendly the sport has become.

And no, It doesn't need Government support. It doesn't need ANOTHER home-grown database. It doesn't even need that silly magazine (a point for another time but it's time for OUSA to be blogging, using video, and podcasting -- it's 2019 already!!).

What it needs is PEOPLE!

Quit focusing on the tools and start focusing on the people.

Yup. I'm just one voice. I'm just one opinion. But I've seen into the heart of American Orienteering... and I don't like what I see.

Take this with a grain of salt... or ignore me. Either way, Adventure Racing is starting to look fun these days. I think I'll go back to doing that.
Jan 4, 2019 9:12 PM # 
I have moved around a bit and every club has their separate way of doing things. Some clubs will post events from other clubs in close vicinity on their calendars. Some clubs do no pre-registration, some use a homegrown system, some use (because it's free and supports group entries). No matter what, it's always a learning curve when you're in a new area and not conducive if you want to hit up a new area/club if you're traveling.

I don't think that using one of the thousands of separate registration systems available is a good idea as every area has their 15 different registration systems. I also hate the exorbitant hidden fees which I have ran into with all of these other systems as they're for-profit commercial entities.

One idea I would like to see a unified event registration system, calendar, results posting for the entirety of the US where one can look at see All of the OUSA events (National, Regional, Local, Rogaine, MTBO, Ski O, etc.). Meanwhile, if it can support registration of groups (think schools) while collecting waivers somehow I think that would be the ultimate system.

I have heard multiple times, 'what does OUSA provide to clubs?' I know there are multiple ideas in development but here is another. Since OUSA clubs pay dues for memberships and starts, this registration system would be provided for free to all OUSA clubs and for a small price for other affiliated groups. Funding for maintenance would be allocated in the budget.

To do something like this, the holes would have to be plugged, it created, and then clubs would have to use it.

I remember when Event Reg materialized and it did great things for orienteering.
No matter what, we should have a precise vision for what we want out of the next iteration of an event reg system in the long term and solicit multiple bids.

Who wants to work with me on defining what we want?
Jan 4, 2019 9:58 PM # 
One idea I would like to see a unified event registration system, calendar, results posting for the entirety of the US where one can look at see All of the OUSA events (National, Regional, Local, Rogaine, MTBO, Ski O, etc.). Meanwhile, if it can support registration of groups (think schools) while collecting waivers somehow I think that would be the ultimate system.

This system basically exists already in several other countries and I see no reason to reinvent the wheel.
Jan 4, 2019 10:17 PM # 
It's worth keeping in mind that some clubs have well-established registration systems that include functionality not available in Event Register (Cascade OC's version, which allows using volunteer points to pay for entries and has a very nice coach/team interface for WIOL registrations, comes to mind as one example). One size may not necessarily fit all, and I don't think we should force clubs to accept something that doesn't meet their needs.

For the various team trials events (WOC, JWOC, WUOC), I would love to see some functionality that allows athletes to identify if they are eligible and interested in trying out for the team *before* selection of course/class, with checking the "yes" box ideally funneling them to elite course registration appropriate for that team trial event. It's really frustrating from an organizing and selection committee perspective to have to chase down individual athletes and find out their intentions. It would be very helpful to have this part of the registration system, whatever that may be.
Jan 4, 2019 10:37 PM # 
I looked at some Adventure Racers outfits, out of curiosity, a couple nearby, checked their facebook pages, activities, photos.
My opinion – they suck. Their offerings are extremely primitive. One has to pay like $70-80 for running in a group along some scenic trail, with “medals given to the best”, and food/drinks provided, plenty of it. Sometimes they give you USGS maps surveyed in 1940s. What best orienteering clubs do is already hugely superior. If one needs to jump over obstacles or swim in a mud pool to get excited, then no hope this one will be able to appreciate orienteering EVER, even if you hang 100-dollar-bill on each control.
Jan 5, 2019 1:33 AM # 
Cristina is right - the national implementation of Eventor will do all of this (assuming that a check-box will meet the legal requirements for a waiver in the US?). Not cheap - the annual fee we pay for it in Australia is around US$20,000 - but we consider it worthwhile. To get the most out of it as a participation/membership database, though, you need to have most/all events with results uploaded into it - even if the entries weren't originally collected online; we've only just reached that stage after ~5 years of operation. If you just want an online event registration system, there are probably better options.

(The license fee is in tiers based on the number of entries per year - we're now in the highest tier, but you probably wouldn't be, at least in the early stages).
Jan 5, 2019 1:38 AM # 
@yerets -- Huh... you're from Virginia? That's Quantico Orienteering Club territory. QOC is one of the biggest orienteering clubs in the country. Almost every adventure race in the Virginia area includes QOC members, QOC maps -- heck, even the O-Punch technology from QOC events IS the O-Punch tech to several Aventure Races. So either you're not familiar with what the Orienteering Clubs in your own backyard are doing OR you're a keyboard activist with nothing to add to this conversation.

There are so many Adventure Racers that have helped keep Orienteering alive. They have a deep appreciation for the sport of orienteering considering that they can not only Foot-O, but can also Paddle-O, MTBO, and Rogaine -- sometimes all at the same time -- and often IN THE DARK!

Maybe you should know what you're talking about before you start in on Adventure Racing and what your 5-minute Google search told you. And, for the record, All Adventure Racers ARE Orienteers... not all Orienteers are Adventure Racers.
Jan 5, 2019 1:39 AM # 
I am led to believe there will soon be a link to Livelox and the OMaps database.
Jan 5, 2019 10:48 AM # 
With the focus of this thread switched around to event registration I want to share with you what we are doing in Florida where a very high percentage of our entries come from JROTC teams and would be chaos if we were doing 'on-the-day' entries.
Someone came up with the idea of using Google docs for JROTC registrations That link is to our next event with some 300 entries in six classes to handle. The two important sheets are the registration and the JROTC master. The master lists can be imported via Excel in to the timing program. The Results lists can be imported into the ranking list. It's beautiful and very inexpensive, like free.
I suggest clubs try this for their group entries.
Attempts to herd the public registrations on to Google docs have not been successful but for local events they are manageable on the day.
Jan 5, 2019 11:50 AM # 
@gordhun - check out Texas is using it and it seems to be working pretty well for a similar group makeup.
Jan 5, 2019 12:38 PM # 
Jordan, how do you work around that system's inability to take credit card payments? (At a quick glance it looks like a pretty useful system otherwise.)
Jan 5, 2019 5:13 PM # 
LAOC has been using eventregister for local events for a number of years. It's inexpensive - currently $15 per event. We like it because it allows people to register and pay online (but they can also pay on site) and downloads easily into OE. We are using it this weekend for the Area 11 NJROTC Champs.

In looking at the other options suggested so far, I don't see anything that's clearly better, just different. The people who use eventregister have been suggesting improvements for years, that's what OUSA is working on.
Jan 5, 2019 9:02 PM # 
Yet... OUSA went and built their own??

NOPE! This is what happened...

The developer -- Kent Shaw -- who had set up his local club's (DVOA) website and results processing/ranking/posting system -- either at the club's request or on his own initiative, set up an online registration system for the club's national ("A") events. At the time, the club was doing 1-2 per year, including many national championships, so it was not intended as a one-and-done. I'm not sure if any compensation was involved, but if there was, it was probably minimal, and the project was essentially a volunteer effort.

After a few years of use, people who had used the system as registrants inquired about using it for national events being organized by their own clubs -- to which Kent agreed. Use of the online A-event registration system expanded to clubs across the country (eg, HVO in 2007, COC in 2008, OCIN in 2010), as developer-configured on a per-event basis; at some point it got a name: o-signup.

In the early 2010s, o-signup's use became extensive enough that Kent decided to make it user (registrar) -configurable. At some point it went under the auspices of OUSA, with a new name: Event Register, aka EventReg, or just ER.

In 2014, Kent worked with me to develop the extensive Interscholastic competition features. It was first implemented for the 2014 Interscholastic Champs (I was registrar; IC was not included).

In either 2015 or 2016, Kent retired from being EventReg developer, handing off the responsibilities to Ed Despard, who had applied to be his successor, and had been selected by the OUSA Board.
Jan 5, 2019 11:46 PM # 
GAOC uses

Handles flexible course option list (WYOSBrGRBl, Score, Relay, whatever); multiple races per runner per meet; multiple runner entries per cart (e.g. family, carpool, school, or whatever); club member entry fee discounts; free entry coupons; club volunteer coupons; epunch entry or rental; online annual waiver database; printable waivers for signature, if needed; printable entry forms; direct entry download into OE, O-Lynx and Or; Paypal online payment (Paypal user account not required); etc.

Entries open the week before the meet. Last online entries 5 or 6 am the day of the meet.

Also online club membership and annual waiver entry and renewal.

Friendly 24/7/365 support.

Jan 6, 2019 12:47 AM # 
+1 on RacerPal. Most of the local trail and mountain bike races also use the same system, so that gives GAOC events visibility to a wider community of outdoor athletes.
Jan 6, 2019 1:13 AM # 
> In looking at the other options suggested so far, I don't see anything that's clearly
> better, just different.

In my opinion, this right here indicates that OUSA should not be in the software development business.
Jan 6, 2019 1:41 AM # 
Wow, RacerPal sounds almost perfect. I'll be checking it out for RMOC's local meets STAT.
Jan 6, 2019 1:42 AM # 
Concerning event registration, to summarize:

A community effort from Kent Shaw and now Ed Despard has been a valuable tool for event registration in the US. It's chiefly been used for national events (need the totals over the years), and has probably saved clubs, consumers, and the federation a lot of money. We have approximately 6000 national meet starts per year; even Zone4 or Racerpal, which I think would be nearly the cheapest, would charge $1/registrant and possibly provide less functionality than we receive now. Boris Granovskiy and others looked into bringing Eventor in the US. I believe their conclusion was that it was not a cost-effective solution without complete buy-in from all clubs.

Some people (for example, Ed) have a vision of where Eventreg could be. Jordan also spoke to this - imagine if every orienteering event in the US were on one platform, with central results and registration. We would have a single database from which we could see the state of orienteering, look for patterns in popular events and cater our schedules differently, provide a better access point to everyone, and provide better services for the members like performance summary and results progress. I think the question for us is (1) do we try to keep Eventreg at its current scope, (2) do we build the infrastructure to that comprehensive end goal (Eventreg+), or (3) do we try an entirely different third-party solution? And how much will all of these cost?

Also, will anyone use these products? If we build the comprehensive Eventreg+, how many clubs will want to use it? How much will it cost? Personally, I've directed two national meets, and Eventreg was fantastic - easy to use, intuitive, gave helpful reports, and really simplified the registration process for us.

Thanks all for the discussion and feedback.
Jan 6, 2019 2:53 PM # 
@ fossil - we have it so they have to do online payments separately (we have the non-profit paypal with buttons from our event page. The registrar selects paid after they check on the system.

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