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Thread: Grrrr Co-ops

  1. #21
    Senior Member Enlightened
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    It seems a little shady to tack on random fees to field trips. Our two co-ops charge a membership fee (each less than $50 for the whole year) and are very transparent about what that goes to: the website, use of the venue for classes, basic supplies, crafts and food for the parties. If there is a little money left that they keep for themselves, I am fine with that because the organizers do a lot of leg week to make it all run smoothly.
    They are also co-ops in the literal sense because every parent is expected to teach, plan an event, or clean up after classes. Field trips range from free to whatever the actual ticket cost is. Often, we pay less than actual ticket price because we get the group rate. However, people still flake even if they have paid $20 for a field trip. We just had a field trip to a fire station, by the way. It was suggested that we drop $1 per person in the donation box there.

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  3. #22

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    That's so tough. I mean, they're out money for the group and I'd feel for them, but then if they want to try and make it up this way, they need to be transparent. Trying to be... sneaky, I guess is the best word... is not going to make for a lasting group.

    I think it's hard because sometimes people don't want to admit what things really cost. Running a group can be expensive.
    Disclaimer: Everything I'm saying is just my own opinion, based on my own experiences teaching and with my own kids and my own life. You should just ignore me if I'm annoying you. I don't mind.

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  4. #23
    Senior Member Evolved BakedAk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFZ View Post
    I might say something. I'm not sure I'm really invested in the group or people in it enough try to make it better. I'm sure they have plenty of people that won't bat an eye. Talking about money is funny. I'm counting every dollar we spend for parking, tickets, and memberships. Other people don't even notice. They might not even be thinking that far into it. Who knows. I just don't want them to ask me for suggestions or advice or anything like that. They already know I'm a former teacher and group organizer. I'm on the radar. Like when you meet someone and you know they are trying to figure out what they can use you for...
    Maybe they can start "using" you as the spokesperson for other homeschooling families in the group who do bat an eye. I mean, you can't be the only one keeping track of spending (I'm right there with you - or would be if I lived close!), and if those folks are not comfortable asking why there are field trip fees all of a sudden, then those members will either have to quit field trips or quit the group. If they want to recoup actual expenses, seems like figuring out what those yearly expenses are, then dividing them among group members and letting members know what the fee is for would be the way to go. If they want to line their pockets or drive out families who are struggling, they should definitely keep up what they're doing.
    Melissa

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  5. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by TFZ View Post
    What's next a fee for visiting the library? Parks? This is all bizarre to me.
    You joke, but I have run into this. I was charged to attend a park day, at a free, city park. I refused, and got a virtual hand-slap by the co-op admin on facebook.

    Transparency with organizations like this is key. If they need to fund web-hosting, they need to state that to the members. Either figure out a fund raiser, say "We will be charging X dollars per year to pay for web hosting services", or move to a free platform, like Facebook.

    They also need to appoint a treasurer, who can account for all the money collected and spent.

  6. #25

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    Definitely needs to be transparency. And like MissLemon says - they chose to use a web hosting service that they need to pay for instead of a free platform. They choose to provide materials, whatever they may be. It's hard to come after the fact and start charging people who were already used to the way things were done before. If you need to charge, do it from beginning or at least be up-front with people and give them notice that there will now be a charge of $x. If you are doing this as a business or to collect a salary, I think you should be upfront about that as well.
    Dorothy
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  7. #26
    Senior Member Arrived TFZ's Avatar
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    The only other group experience I've had is with the Mom group on Meetup. The fee was $10 to join and there was a page that you could go to (as a member) to see the balance and where the money was going. When I got the group we had a $200 surplus so I held pizza parties, picnics, and holiday parties for two years just on that and paid for the site fees with new member dues - $150 I think. Dues went a long way. It almost feels like they don't want to charge an annual membership fee because they aren't committed to the group, ya know? Like maybe they are trying to recoup a year's worth of expenses in the next few months while their kids are Kinder age. Or maybe I'm just paranoid and overly concerned about this. I have had extra time on my hands with DS in camp. Lolol.
    Finishing up kindergarten with my oldest and two little ones always underfoot. Kindergarten was awesome. We used Build Your Library and an eclectic mix for math. Everything else was child led.

  8. #27
    Site Admin Arrived Topsy's Avatar
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    Grrrr Co-ops
    Ever heard the expression "flown the coop?" It works with and without the hyphen.


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  9. #28

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    I don't think we are a co-op, but I am an admin for our local homeschool group. We did run into the problem of people not showing up for free events, which was kind of embarrassing when you are organizing an event and you only end up with half the number of attendees you told the host you would have.

    We considered charging for free events and putting it into our party/supply fund, but we WANT to be able to offer low and no cost events as often as possible. Therefore, we came up with a no-show list. Every one who organizes an event makes a note if someone did not show up after RSVPing. Because we run the entire thing through Facebook, it is easy to look back and see if someone planned on coming and didn't. The first time you're forgiven. After that, you're put on the no show list.

    Essentially, if you're on that list, for six months you are the LAST to be offered a spot at any numbered event.

    Nobody has had to be put on the list yet, but people started showing up, so there's that.
    CJ (Mom)
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  10. #29

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    I would hope that the fee went to you for setting up the trip in the first place. That would be a good way to encourage moms to set up trips and help them along with the time and effort.

    Is there a written policy on fees?

  11. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by DananWhiddon View Post
    I would hope that the fee went to you for setting up the trip in the first place. That would be a good way to encourage moms to set up trips and help them along with the time and effort.

    Is there a written policy on fees?
    Our entire group is run on a volunteer basis. There is no requirement to join, no expectation to organize events, etc.

    We never have a problem filling the calendar. We actually have the opposite problem and often fill more than one day per week.

    People pretty much plan because they want to. I HATE planning events, so I coordinate shows with our local performing arts center, take ticket money, etc. I don't expect to be paid. We do earn free tickets if we fill enough seats and I do use them for our family...or donate them to another family.

    Our policy is written in the information for our group on FB.
    CJ (Mom)
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    Doodle: 2 years old
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