Want to contribute to trails around New Zealand but don’t have the time, or inclination, to join a dig? Do your part by joining the Trail Fund committee!
People often say it’s worth taking the road less travelled, but they don’t often mention who builds it.
In New Zealand, many trails worth taking are built thanks to the long hours put in by volunteers and those who support their efforts financially. However, taking a person or company’s desire to support trail building, and turning it into something concrete (or in this case, dirt) isn’t always the most straight forward process.
In 2013, a group of keen volunteers established Trail Fund NZ to bridge the disconnect and provide a simple platform for mountain bikers around the country to contribute to New Zealand trail building.
Fast forward to today, we’ve achieved a huge amount. Since Trail Fund was launched five years ago, we’ve distributed more than 120 grants – totalling more than $300,000 – to a wide variety of mountain bike trails. From Thames to Taupo to Wanaka to Bluff, from Grade 5 singletrack to skills parks, we’ve tried to cater for riders of all abilities around the country.
While the backbone of Trail Fund is the trail builder, the engine that drives its existence is our Wellington-based exec team. And, to sustain and build on the great work we have done, we are on the lookout for some new people to join us.
We are all volunteers; a group of busy people with full-time work, other volunteer responsibilities, partners, kids, dogs and our own adventures to have. We have a good time, enjoy each other’s company and like being up to speed with trail building around New Zealand. We especially like to provide funding for new and exciting trails, and once a year we hang out and ride bikes at the Trail Fund NZ conference😊
It is a very lean operation; our costs are Xero, Shopify, Charities Commission, the odd bit of Facebook advertising, and occasional pizza for our committee meetings.
In particular, we need to fill some key roles which will be open later in the year. Due to increasing work responsibilities, particularly overseas travel, our co-founder and secretary, Nessa, will be retiring at the next AGM in September. She’ll still be around for advice and to take on projects where time allows, but needs to reduce day-to-day involvement.
We are looking for volunteers for the following roles
A secretary – this person probably needs to be based in the Greater Wellington Region, as this is where most of our exec is based. The secretary handles some of our email communication, sets up our meetings (about 4-6 a year), keeps record of action points, writes our annual report, and helps with social media. We all work fulltime and live busy lives, are pretty informal, don’t like long meetings, and our meetings generally take place over lunch or in the pub after work. Commitment varies – some months can be very quiet, while there’s a bit more activity around the time of our AGM. We communicate mainly through a Facebook group.
Grants co-ordinator – our main activity is giving $$ out to trail projects. From 2014-2017, we also managed the MTB portion of the DOC community fund, which was a lot of work. Since that was handed over to the Backcountry Trust, the day-to-day admin has reduced considerably. Some months are very quiet and the work tends to be clustered around the funding claim dates.
After a few years’ experience, we have good and simple systems. This person would be responsible for:
- Keeping an eye on applications coming in via our simple google form (there are three rounds per year).
- Giving a quick read through the applications to see whether within guidelines.
- Sending to the advisory board, and then notifying the applicants of the decision.
- Keeping an eye on progress and receiving the reports, claims and photos of the work.
- Actioning the payment or refund along with the chair and the treasurer.
This is satisfying work and overwhelmingly the interactions with people are positive – it involves dealing with volunteers all around the country and it is great to be able to ride the trails later on and see the work that is done.
This person doesn’t necessarily have to be in Wellington, as the work could be done remotely. It might suit someone who is keen to volunteer but is at home with kids, or can be fitted in with your day job, if like most of us you are on a screen most of the day.
We’d also love to hear from anyone who wants to join the exec as a general committee member or who has other ideas about how to help.
For enquiries please contact email@example.com