Greetings from Texas!
Recent social media posts have highlighted some carryover communication shortfalls that this RFTW Board of Directors is enthusiastic about changing. Many of those posts listed drastically incorrect information, presented as fact, leading others to make more assumptions that eventually spiraled further and further from truth. Others apparently hold serious grudges against the current Board of Directors for incidents they found personally harmful but occurred over 10 years before any of the current members were seated. While we can’t change the past, we are all firmly committed to doing the best job possible for the future of this Run and the Mission.
Just as a reminder, the Board of Directors is made up of Riders from all Routes. They are all dedicated and caring individuals who selflessly donate 1000’s of hours annually in support of RFTW Mission and Objectives. The Board of Director’s key focus is Strategic, in that the actions considered, and decisions made are intended to support and preserve the long-term success of RFTW as a whole. However, consideration of all the things important to the Riders, to the Run and to the Mission as well as the near-term impacts go into those actions and decisions. Sometimes those decisions are unpopular (e.g., loss of the Forum) but I can assure you they are not made without the due diligence of research, consultation with experts and consideration of available alternatives. (Call in to the Town Hall Zoom meeting on 02 NOV for further details on the Forum issue).
As a lead-in to the Town Hall Zoom Meeting next week, I respectfully submit the following. This list of inquiries was sent to me indirectly by an undisclosed requestor. Rather than send this info into the unknown, I thought to publish the unedited questions as I received them and the responses for each. Hopefully the unknown sender is tied into RFTW info streams well enough to see these, but I will ensure the intermediary that sent them to me informs them on where to find these answers.
Here we go…
– The board ask and begs for AAR but why are there not any replies to them?
- The After-Action Report is a valuable tool for feedback to the Board and to the RCs for specific Routes. Every AAR is seen, read, and seriously considered by every Board member and automatically forwarded to the RC of a Route if specified in the AAR. We see hundreds of AAR’s – each one is greatly appreciated and very many of them receive specific and direct replies. It is presumptive to assume that “not any” of them receive replies. Just as the AAR’s are not published nor attributed to their author, neither are the replies.
– CB radios becoming obsolete?
- CB Radios are actually not “becoming obsolete.” However, the mobile, hands-free and motorcycle versions are not as easy to find and expensive to install. The Board and the RCs are feeling the strain of this trend and are considering ways to mitigate the issue. The Central Route has taken the lead to conduct a trial run of an alternate radio system this coming year (May 2024) and we all look forward to hearing of their results.
– When I was researching for another website 1 year ago. Whom am I. I compared it with rftw.us. the site was hosted in another country. Why?
- Not sure what you looked at but a review of whois.com for ownership of rftw.us clearly indicates it is owned by Run For The Wall, Inc administered by our Director of Public Affairs out of Arizona, USA.
– Volunteers will do a lot for a little if they believe in the organization and ask for little or nothing in return. With rftw lots of individual cost; gas hotels food, to and from the run, plus cash donations. Why can hats and patches not be provided. Ie now I have heard outreach hats if used are route or individual. Ie I do sight visits and over night to some place, twice a year, 250 miles 1 way from my house. Yet was asked to use a prior year hat and then didn’t request a state coordinator hat.
- It’s hard to pick out a question there, but I will address the issue of Hats. RFTW has been spending thousands of dollars each year on a new hat for everyone in a leadership position. Every year I hear people talk about how many hats they have and never wear as they revert to wearing the one they already had because it is comfortable and they prefer it. We have recently realized cost savings by making the positional hats the same across all Routes with no year or Run number embroidery – thus allowing us to use any excess purchases for the next Run. The next step of the new process is that the RC assesses the need for new and replacement hats for their respective leadership teams – including State Coordinators. We then purchase only those needed in excess of current stock as coordinated by the RC’s.
– Within the nonprofit world. Donated funds are asked for and give for certain reasons. Ie per route, gas, schools, etc. Designated Funds. If not used for that reason. The funds should be held for that purpose, returned to donor or ask the funder for permission to redirect funds. Why does the board transfer any funds over a certain amount from routes to the board. Upwards of multiple 10s of thousands of dollars.
- All Designated Donations made directly to Run For The Wall are absolutely used as directed. The majority of Designated Donations are to support a specific Fuel Stop on a specific Route and that is where those dollars are spent. All other non-designated funds are used to provide for operations and expenses that support the overall Mission and to keep all Routes active, protected and on the road. To be clear, Run For The Wall is a single operating 501(c)(3) and 100% of the money received is for direct and indirect support of advancing the Mission. Funds remaining at the end of the Run become seed money for next year’s Run and year-round expenses with designated amounts applied to further seed each Route.
– Have board meeting cost gotten out of control?
- Actually, it’s just the opposite. The Board of Directors meets upwards of 2 to 3 times per month year-round – that’s approaching 40 times per year. Almost all of those meetings whether in General Session with the RC’s or in Executive Session with Directors only are conducted on Zoom. In years past, the BoD would hold a semi-annual face-to-face meeting that covered two days of intense meetings spanning 8-10 hours per day at a site central to the geographic spread of directors’ locations. Contrary to some peoples’ characterization, these meetings are not a vacation – that is unless those people like to spend their vacations locked into a windowless conference room discussing the intricate details of logistics and planning for a massive cross country motorcycle event involving people from all over the world. Nor does the BoD pay for spouses or guests to travel to the event – some choose to come along for the weekend, but at their own expense. Finally, as an additional control to rising costs of travel, the Board has decided that the winter face-to-face meeting will this year be conducted via Zoom. That means the same length of time spent in the meetings, but those 8-10 hours will be looking into a small screen rather than the faces of the decision makers planning the final stages of our annual event. It will likely be much less effective than in person but should be an acceptable alternative in light of the cost savings.
– How does giving from one non-profit to another (ie the house project) help the mission of rftw?
- Occasionally, RFTW receives donations that are designated for specific charities or organizations that directly support Run For The Wall or have a Mission similar to ours. Those donations are provided through RFTW by the original donor to show gratitude for their actions in support of the Run and its Mission, e.g. Homes For Our Troops. The regulations governing 501(c)(3) giving stipulate who we can donate to and for what purpose we can donate. A non-profit that is struggling in its mission to support a veteran or educational cause that meets our mission scope is within the allowable donations. To that end, RFTW has made donations to many AM Vets, American Legions, VFWs, and other likeminded organizations that are working very hard to support our mission. In accordance with those 501(c)(3) regulations, the individual Route RC’s will often provide donations from their undesignated funds in support of organizations along their Routes that support them, the Mission or specifically support veterans or veterans’ families, all in alignment with the RFTW Mission statement.
– Why does rftw not provide an annual report to donors, volunteers and the public?
- As a non-profit 501(c)(3) with no actual members, membership requirements or stockholders, there is no actual obligation or requirement for a formal Annual Report. Honestly, the time, cost and effort needed to create and distribute such a report is outside the scope and bandwidth of the volunteer Board already donating 1000’s of hours in support the organization and the Mission. Instead, the Board President provides regular newsletters reporting on the event and issues of interest to the regular participant. All activities of the Board and the annual event are conducted in accordance with IRS and other regulations governing non-profit charitable organizations. Each year, RFTW submits IRS Form 990 detailing the operations of the organization and its financial interactions – please note, it can take over a year after filing before the latest Form 990 is available online. Also, no Director or RC realizes any profit or financial gain from any of the activities of the Board or any Board approved activity.
– Why is the rftw rating 45 out of 100 on Giving.org or charity now.org?
- There are several Charitable organization rating websites out there and we cannot govern the diligence with which they seek to ensure their information is current and accurate. That being said, we have in the past several months been working with Charity Navigator to update and correct their old and incorrect info (they still showed our website as rftw.org). When we get that one straightened out, we will turn our attention to some of the others as we find them (thanks for pointing out those two).
For more information on some of these topics as well as many other ongoing issues, please join the RFTW Board of Directors for a Zoom Town Hall Meeting at 7pm Central, on Thursday, 02 NOV 2023. There will be a question-and-answer session following presentations and comments from the Directors. I’ll look forward to seeing you there!