2017 Annual Fundraising Campaign

As we approach our main fundraising campaign of the year, I first wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has ever given money to OUSA. We are largely a self-funded sport, and without your generosity, we would certainly not have as robust of a sport as we have today…and certainly not quite as much fun!

We are also nearing the time of year that has traditionally been the end of the fall orienteering season in many parts of the country, but if you look at the national calendar, you’ll find two regional events and three national events still to come between now and the holidays, not to mention the club schedules that look as busy as ever. It sure seems like the sport of orienteering is quite healthy in the US. However, there are some areas that we are still working to improve.

We heard from our member clubs this summer when we sent a survey out to assess their immediate needs, and one of the most frequently mentioned issues was lack of volunteers. This is merely a symptom of not growing the sport fast enough over the past few years. Fewer members = fewer volunteers. And that is the main focus of OUSA for the next few years.

We have been working on several projects that will help clubs attract new members, including a marketing program that begins with a how-to guide on how to be ready to welcome new members. Taken from best practices from around the country, we want to make sure clubs are ready when new people show up at their events. We’ve also begun a mapping program to help club members learn how to update existing maps, create city park and school maps for beginner events, and even how to work with LiDAR to create national event-level maps.  In addition, we’ve begun working with some clubs to help them update their websites to make them more user-friendly.

Our newest endeavor is creating the VP of Youth Initiatives position to coordinate all of our different youth programs, including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Little Troll, school programs, JROTC, etc. By bringing all of these programs under one Vice President, Barb Bryant, we’ll be able to share best practices, brainstorm on how to grow, and connect these programs to attract and keep more young orienteers. They are the future of orienteering, and we need to start growing that base more aggressively.

All of this takes funding, though. Through your generosity in giving to the 50th Anniversary Fund last year and the 2016 Annual Fund, we’ve been able to work on all of these projects, in addition to shoring up OUSA’s finances.  As we enter into the 2017 Annual Fund, I hope you can be just as generous as in the past and make a donation for the future of orienteering in the US. You can donate on-line at orienteeringusa.org/support, or look for the donation envelope in the November issue of Orienteering North America.

Thank you!