View Full Version : GeocachingMaine.og Website/Donating Members



WhereRWe?
01-20-2011, 10:39 AM
Absolutely not! Until the finances are public I discourage folks from making donations. All other non-profits must account for and make their info public. I am NOT accusing anyone of mishandling funds. I do however, think that in order to keep someone in the future from being accused of mishandling funds the info needs to be public.

GeocachingMaine.org does not have any "funds". There are no dues or other contributions required to join or participate in any GeocachingMaine.org functions. Any funds donated via the site are for the use of Rick, the webmaster, to offset the actual costs of maintaining the website (software licenses, server costs, etc.).

Since all donations to Rick are voluntary with the above in mind, I don't think that any accounting for these funds is necessary. Rick has previously stated the costs of maintaining the website (our resident "sleuth" Brdad can probably provide a link...), and I'm pretty sure that he remains "out of pocket" since the costs exceed donations. If there are any funds left over, I have absolutely no objection to Rick keeping them as compensation for the work he does maintaining the site. It's small potatoes, as they say in "The County"...

It was also set up this way to avoid the appearance of a "dues paying organization", which would have tax implications, etc.

(And if you've ever been to one of the geocaching events Rick has hosted (pig roast!), you know he's not getting rich from his association with GeocachingMaine.org)

:D:D

we3beans
01-20-2011, 11:26 AM
Bruce,
I understand what you are saying that gcmaine contributions are just that contributions and not dues paying. And I understand that Rick is probably out of pocket on several expenses.
I don't get how a basic accounting of the finances would make it look like a dues paying organinzation? $ comes in $ goes out. Which would you rather? And IRS agent saying "I see there is a button to press to donate $ on your website...so where is the money?"
A simple table of some sort would be sufficiant
Jan$
Jan expense
Feb $
Feb expense

This may benefit Rick as people could then see how much he is putting into the website and may donate more.
It is called transparency. I'm not sure why that is so objectionable?

WhereRWe?
01-20-2011, 12:34 PM
It is called transparency. I'm not sure why that is so objectionable?

I don't see a need for "transparency". We voluntarily chip in to help Rick with the costs of operating this website. What he does with the money is up to him. I don't believe he needs to account for what he does with the donations he receives. It's up to him.

If membership dues were required to join or be a member of GeocachingMaine.org, I would fully agree with you that the money should be accounted for. But that's not the case.

tat
01-20-2011, 01:53 PM
...
This may benefit Rick as people could then see how much he is putting into the website and may donate more.
It is called transparency. I'm not sure why that is so objectionable?

I'm not sure if this makes a difference, but the site is not a non-profit entity. I give money to Rick because the website serves a purpose and I enjoy it. If Rick makes money, fine. But I doubt very much that he has any chance of being fairly compensated.

RJB43NH
01-20-2011, 02:55 PM
This thread was a good reminder so I just donated. I quickly scanned the member's list and was surprised at how few registered users were donating members.

I really could care less how Troll uses the money, it just seems right that where he has offered us something we find of value that we support the site in some way as well. From reading the posts over the last few months I know a lot of the members contribute greatly in many other ways. The easiest way for me was to make a yearly donation of what amounts to about 3 cents/day. I can afford it. :D

dubord207
01-20-2011, 05:41 PM
While the attorney in me focuses on details, there are some places where critical accounting and financial reports are not needed, and this site is one of them. If the miniscule amounts that are donated need to be the subject of audits and accepted financial reports then my guess is that site might just disappear. This is not a 501(c)(3) folks where your donations are tax qualified. This is more a less a bulletin board that attracts folks interested in all things geocaching. Let's try to keep it that way.

Sabby
01-20-2011, 08:15 PM
This is more a less a bulletin board that attracts folks interested in all things geocaching. Let's try to keep it that way.


I agree. It is a very good site and does not need to have an accounting by Rick. If you don't like the site then don't bother to visit it.

NativeMainer
01-20-2011, 11:07 PM
I myself have no problem whatsoever chipping in some money to help keep this site up and running. It's a great resource and a great way to connect with a lot of members that I don't see. I also found a former school mate of mine through this site who I hadn't seen in 30 years and we were able to get together and catch up a little bit and do some caching at the same time. From what I understand, what Rick receives from us doesn't cover all the expenses (let alone the time commitment) connected with running this site, and while I don't want to be dismissive of your concerns, we3beans, if he wants to take my $10 and go out and have a beer, I have no problem with that.

we3beans
01-21-2011, 09:17 AM
So this is be shorter...

A. I HAVE NEVER ACCUSED RICK OF MISHANDING FUNDS. PERIOD.
B. I know this is not a non-profit organiztion...however, using a 'donate' button implys that it is.
C. Do people know when they 'donate' that the money is used at the discression of the site operater?
D. With increasing talk of outreach, banners, shirts, coins, etc their is additional risk to all involved.
E. not everyone is as honest on their taxes as you are, what if someone claims a big donation to gcmaine...and the IRS audits them, wouldn't it be nice to show them an excel sheet that says 'see look our $300 is small potatos"
F. What if the memebership of blazenet decides they want their 'fairshare' that they deserve? wouldnt' it be nice to say this is what we have this is what we need?
G. We are a message board made up of members who are currently getting ready to vote on a board...if the board is accountable to the memebers shouldn't the finances be
H. I'm not talking about audits and financial reports I'm talking about
Jan x in Jan x out for software, Feb x in Feb x out for license
I. Sabby, that is out of line...I've been here as long as you have and longer than many others. I have donated in the past (several times, remember the ammo can @ Gegahan's...I do)
J. Maybe if the expenses are public people will donate more becasue then they KNOW how much $ Rick is out for all the things he needed to do to keep the site running well.
K. I think everyone owe's Rick a beer (if that is his beverage of choice).

pm28570
01-21-2011, 10:16 AM
So this is be shorter...

A. I HAVE NEVER ACCUSED RICK OF MISHANDING FUNDS. PERIOD.
B. I know this is not a non-profit organiztion...however, using a 'donate' button implys that it is.
C. Do people know when they 'donate' that the money is used at the discression of the site operater?
D. With increasing talk of outreach, banners, shirts, coins, etc their is additional risk to all involved.
E. not everyone is as honest on their taxes as you are, what if someone claims a big donation to gcmaine...and the IRS audits them, wouldn't it be nice to show them an excel sheet that says 'see look our $300 is small potatos"
F. What if the memebership of blazenet decides they want their 'fairshare' that they deserve? wouldnt' it be nice to say this is what we have this is what we need?
G. We are a message board made up of members who are currently getting ready to vote on a board...if the board is accountable to the memebers shouldn't the finances be
H. I'm not talking about audits and financial reports I'm talking about
Jan x in Jan x out for software, Feb x in Feb x out for license
I. Sabby, that is out of line...I've been here as long as you have and longer than many others. I have donated in the past (several times, remember the ammo can @ Gegahan's...I do)
J. Maybe if the expenses are public people will donate more becasue then they KNOW how much $ Rick is out for all the things he needed to do to keep the site running well.
K. I think everyone owe's Rick a beer (if that is his beverage of choice).
I'm really having difficulty understanding one point. You prefer not to donate/contribute to the site for the stated reasons.....certainly valid reasons as you see them....and if this was a wee bit bigger operation/business/entity then perhaps it would be appropriate to ask for a clearer accounting. Like many, you choose not to contribute monetarily, but contribute in other ways such as posting, a feature and benefit of being a GCM.org member. Again, while your points may be valid, the comments border on being accusatory in nature and being stated with vigor. That's the part I just can't understand.

At any rate, I happily contribute to the site to maintain servers, software upgrades, etc and continue to proudly display to GCM.org logo/link on my cache pages.

WhereRWe?
01-21-2011, 11:24 AM
E. not everyone is as honest on their taxes as you are, what if someone claims a big donation to gcmaine...and the IRS audits them, wouldn't it be nice to show them an excel sheet that says 'see look our $300 is small potatos"


This would never happen as GCM.org is NOT a registered non-profit organization - and that is the way it was intended to be.

cano
01-21-2011, 12:06 PM
I would like to see itemized cost of running GCM, just being curious.

brdad
01-21-2011, 01:19 PM
C. Do people know when they 'donate' that the money is used at the discression of the site operater?

Most donations to any entity are used at the discretion of the receiver. It's amazing how many donations to some great causes have a percentage going to fund special interests that have nothing at all to do with the original cause. The difference being, when these entities are multi-million dollar you can often find where these funds go because they are disclosed. With 25 donating members to this web site, I don't think there is to much room for wrongdoing.

That being said, I don't see a problem with those funds being listed except for the fact that it makes more work for Rick, and perhaps he should be compensated for that, and we need more donating members to do that. :p:D:p

Perhaps if you are willing to donate your time (and Rick is willing) he can send you a note when funds come in and go out and you can keep the books updated for the site.

we3beans
01-21-2011, 02:04 PM
Bruce, I understand it is not set up as a non profit. However, the word on the front page is 'donate'. Many folks assume donate mean to a nonprofit. Therefore in their mind they can write off such donation on their Schedule A. If someone lied (and many do) and the IRS audit them, and they say 'oh I made xx donation to gcmaine' the IRS could follow up and then see this can o'worms.

Dave, you're right. Big nonprofits can and do use the funds for lobbying, additional fundrasing and the like (remember the Red Cross wanting to buy computers with the Katrina $?). That is why nonprofits tax returns are on the internet accessible to any Tom, Dick or Hennrietta. A person should check into the nonprofit they are considering donating to before giving said donation and they can find out the information readily (how much is that CEO really making?).

If Rick wants me to keep the books I'm happy to do so. I also know of at least 2 other people on this board with accounting backgrouds and experience if he would prefer them, someone can pm me and I can ask if they are interested.

And I apologize if anyone has viewed this as being too aggressive. I have brought up these points several times and always get blown off. And in this thread and the board nomination thread I felt attacked several times.

If we want to look professional and organized, we need to act professional, organized and also accountable.

brdad
01-21-2011, 02:19 PM
My only gripe with your original post was that it was it's own topic. And it's not all your fault, you could have made that post another day and no one would have responded, and it would have made little impact on the original topic. You can never tell what direction a post is going to take a thread here! Anyway, It is not a bad request whether anything comes of it or not.

One benefit to organizing the finances a bit more is that we would be prepared for the future. The board has briefly discussed allowing gc related commercial entities to make posts and to pay to advertise on this site, and if that ever happened we would have a start.

WhereRWe?
01-21-2011, 05:41 PM
My only gripe with your original post was that it was it's own topic.

Sheesh! That's why I moved the subject to a new thread - kinda... I should have looked further and figured out how to move the entire original comment, not just my response. LOL!

Here's a thread (http://www.geocachingmaine.org/forum/showthread.php?t=3071) from about 3 years ago that discusses GCM.org funding, and Rick tabulated his actual costs in one comment. Obviously they've increased since then.

dufzor
01-21-2011, 06:04 PM
Just my 2 cents worth. I'm still in my first year of geocaching. When I saw the "donate" button, I did not interpret that to mean this is a 'non profit' or 'not for profit' site. My interpretation was: Paying membership is not required to use the site, meaning the site will be available for all users, no matter what their income. I chose to donate because I could. Next time it might be different, but what a relief to know that no matter what my financial status, I can still participate. Thank you Rick and board members for all you do.

dubord207
01-21-2011, 06:17 PM
While I always appreciate folks that volunteer their time for good causes, does anybody here really think somebody else other then Rick should "keep the books" for HIS website? Let's start over. Anybody want to foster the idea that it's a bad idea to actually "donate", contribute, toss in a few bucks to keep this site up and running like it does? Are there really folks out there that would donate to a site like this with the idea that the money they pay would be deductible? Lastly, from my experience as an attorney representing over 500 small business corporations in this state, profit and non-profit, I don't think the IRS looks at the books of companies that folks donate to and take bogus deductions. Doesn't happen, period!

I like this site just the way it is. Remember, if Rick came home today and didn't like the tone of these discussions, he can flip a switch and it all would be gone. If the meager funds that run this are an issue to a cacher, then please don't waste your time here. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Haffy
01-21-2011, 06:25 PM
Thanks Dan, my sentiments exactly!!!!

Gob-ler
01-21-2011, 09:01 PM
Being a donating member for quite some time I have no problem what so ever with giving
Rich the $$$ I do. No question that the meager amount that comes in via this site does not even come close to what it costs to keep it up and running.

Truth be told, the small amount anyone gives here is peanuts compared to what we spend caching. You know, gps, gas, food, internet connection, cell phone etc. Peanuts? Indeed!

Buy the way Rick, thanks for the venue and the great job you do giving us a place to play and hang out.

we3beans
01-22-2011, 11:29 AM
If I'm reading this correctly no one is concerned, disennting opinions are not welcome and I should just gather my things and go (Dubord, Haffy, Sabby).
Way to listen to both sides, have an open mind and be courteous.

WhereRWe?
01-22-2011, 11:38 AM
If I'm reading this correctly no one is concerned, disennting opinions are not welcome and I should just gather my things and go (Dubord, Haffy, Sabby).


I disagree. People may disagree with you, but the fact that there are many comments in this thread means that this is a good discussion, and many opinions have been offered. Your opinion is very welcome, but please don't take personal offense if opposing comments are blunt. :D:D

JustKev
01-22-2011, 11:50 AM
IMHO, anyone who would try to claim a donation made here on their taxes are the ones who need help. This isn't a charitable donation. It's a donation to help run a website connected to a *hobby*. I honestly find it hard to believe that the IRS would go very far beyond asking what the donation supported before they'd disallow the claim.

The only real issue I can see is that the IRS might ask Rick to account for the donations as income for himself but then he can show a greater loss than gain so wouldn't that be a wash as far as the IRS is concerned?

brdad
01-22-2011, 11:51 AM
I am not concerned personally because I'm not the one financially at risk. I am not overly concerned where my donation goes because it is a small amount and I've wasted more than that on a lot less. I am concerned in in the fact I'd like to see the site survive and prosper. That is why I am listening to both sides and even offered one possibility whether it was totally stupid or brilliant. For any of us to say it is or has to be one way is not good for the conversation.

Ultimately this is Rick's decision because he bears the burden. Whether this thread serves any purpose for one side or the other depends on whether he desires to keep things the way they are for now or if he would like to consider it.

dubord207
01-22-2011, 03:47 PM
I don't think suggesting that people DON"T donate to this site is consistent with having an open mind and being courteous. That was you opening salvo that solicited from me a clear and pointed response, ie a dissenting opinion to what you were suggesting members here ought to do. You needn't gather your things and go, just be prepared to defend yourself if you take what I considered a cheap shot to this site. Just because you seem to be in the minority here doesn't mean you're not entitled to your opinion. Trust me, log here enough and you will eventually find yourself on the receiving end of criticism from time to time. I've seen my share and have learned from it. Don't take it personal.



If I'm reading this correctly no one is concerned, disennting opinions are not welcome and I should just gather my things and go (Dubord, Haffy, Sabby).
Way to listen to both sides, have an open mind and be courteous.

pm28570
01-22-2011, 08:06 PM
If I'm reading this correctly no one is concerned, disennting opinions are not welcome and I should just gather my things and go (Dubord, Haffy, Sabby).
Way to listen to both sides, have an open mind and be courteous.
I have to disagree as well. You're correct....there isn't a lot of concern. In my case, I want to hear and from time to time debate, dissenting opinions. And even though I may disagree with a member's opinion, I sincerely am interested at least hearing it and the defense of it.
You may gather your things but keep an open mind......I think you already do.....and hang around a bit. You've been caching a fair bit and I've enjoyed your hides. It'd be a shame not to contribute.

cano
01-23-2011, 02:25 PM
I don't think suggesting that people DON"T donate to this site is consistent with having an open mind and being courteous.

Neither is saying to someone with other opinion to pack his stuff and F off. Just saying.

dubord207
01-23-2011, 04:11 PM
Nobody said anything like that, Cano. Not even close. It seems we3 found some of the responses to be lacking in courtesy. Truth is, the responses were fair responses to his initial post. Nobody even came close to suggesting he pack his stuff..... I hope he continues the discussion and like the rest of us, he's entitled to his opinion and of course the responses he will receive whether in support or in opposition. Isn't that the nature of the game?



Neither is saying to someone with other opinion to pack his stuff and F off. Just saying.

we3beans
01-24-2011, 01:25 PM
If you don't like the site then don't bother to visit it.

This looks like don't dissent.

we3beans
01-24-2011, 01:27 PM
If the meager funds that run this are an issue to a cacher, then please don't waste your time here. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

This looks like twice I was told not to visit.

we3beans
01-24-2011, 01:29 PM
Thanks Dan, my sentiments exactly!!!!

Third time's a charm.

we3beans
01-24-2011, 01:31 PM
The only real issue I can see is that the IRS might ask Rick to account for the donations as income for himself but then he can show a greater loss than gain so wouldn't that be a wash as far as the IRS is concerned?

Exactly, but then again, he doesn't keep any books does he?

we3beans
01-24-2011, 01:33 PM
For any of us to say it is or has to be one way is not good for the conversation.



I didn't, however, as my last several posts show, if I don't like it I can leave.

we3beans
01-24-2011, 01:35 PM
if you take what I considered a cheap shot to this site.

AGAIN, Dan....I said, I DON'T THINK RICK IS MISMANAGING $. I am trying to help keep Rick OUT of hot water. Some of us are good and reliable people, others, who can say? Just because they geocache does not change who the person is. If they lie, cheat and steal in their lives, they'll find any excuse or cover they can.
I work for a CPA, I've seen audits up close and personal. The IRS can delve into anything they want and all it takes is one bad tax return and one curious agent. I realize this would be a longshot. But why expose yourself that way? If anyone knows what CYA means, I thought it would be you. I mean that is the most pleasent way possible...with a :-), really

TRF
01-24-2011, 02:20 PM
Rip Van Winkle could have slept for 20 years and nothing would have changed, IF he were a geocacher.

Funny to take a quick "lurk" and see the same few Contrarians posting away!

LOL

dubord207
01-24-2011, 05:23 PM
Ok, if you're really trying to help Rick out then please, please, don't ever suggest again that people don't donate to the site. That is the only remark you said that hit a nerve with me and others.Coming onto anybody's site and suggesting that others don't support it is never going to be well received. Rick isn't in hot water and should he ever be there are folks with your skills and folks with the skills we lawyers can bring to the table that can help him out.

I have had plenty of non-profits I represent receive IRS letters inquiring about the lack of tax returns. Most of the time a quick note explaining the nature of the activity and a ballpark of the gross of the entity is enough for the IRS to go away. I'm guessing that Rick doesn't even come close to the threshold for reporting requirements.

Nobody is suggesting you tuck your tail here. You seem capable of thoughtful responses, albeit you have taken it more personally then most here. This is a diverse group, but I have yet to encounter anybody here I wouldn't cache with, including you. But for the opening remark, the responses might have been a little less blunt. That's how it goes sometime.

So, are you ready to donate now?;)






AGAIN, Dan....I said, I DON'T THINK RICK IS MISMANAGING $. I am trying to help keep Rick OUT of hot water. Some of us are good and reliable people, others, who can say? Just because they geocache does not change who the person is. If they lie, cheat and steal in their lives, they'll find any excuse or cover they can.
I work for a CPA, I've seen audits up close and personal. The IRS can delve into anything they want and all it takes is one bad tax return and one curious agent. I realize this would be a longshot. But why expose yourself that way? If anyone knows what CYA means, I thought it would be you. I mean that is the most pleasent way possible...with a :-), really

Hiram357
01-24-2011, 07:52 PM
Rip Van Winkle could have slept for 20 years and nothing would have changed, IF he were a geocacher.

Funny to take a quick "lurk" and see the same few Contrarians posting away!

LOL

heh "like button" :D:rolleyes:;):cool:

brdad
01-24-2011, 08:45 PM
Rip Van Winkle could have slept for 20 years and nothing would have changed, IF he were a geocacher.

Funny to take a quick "lurk" and see the same few Contrarians posting away!

LOL

Contrary to what you may... oh, never mind.

fins2right
01-28-2011, 10:08 PM
Just Donated. I donate to this site for the same reasons that I am a premium member on GC.com. I use the site a lot, I helps me to relax and connect, and I really enjoy it. I guess that I spend several hundred dollars a year on coffee and probably more on beer (Thanks for the Noble Pils suggestion Bruce) :D $15 for GIM.org or $25 bucks for GC.com is a small price to pay. As for my two cents (pun intended) about contributing. I recently had the pleasure of attending a conference. One of the speakers was Sue Enquist, an 11 time national champ softball coach for UCLA. Her message?: Love the Game. It doesn't care if you have a bad day or good day, It's the game and you should love to play it and coach it. I love this game. I love the people I've met, the events I've attended and all of the caches (to include the micro's BRDAD) I have been an uber-slacker in the last few months, but I really do love this game. I would pay triple if I had too. Even on a Detective's salary.