If You’re Not An Access Fund Member, What Are You?

Louder Than 11′s Jordan Shipman:

The sad truth, however, is that less than 1% of the climbing community are members of the Access Fund. There are millions of climbers out there in the US but the Access Fund only has around 10,000 members or so.

Given the number of people who seemed to be very concerned about growth in climbing, overcrowding at crags and environmental impact when it was announced that climbing wouldn’t be in the 2020 Olympics—I find this last fact pretty shocking. I mean, what the f*ck?

Posted In: Access, Asides

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15 Responses to If You’re Not An Access Fund Member, What Are You?

  1. Dave July 22, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    Another guy in boulder trying to make a living from climbing tries to shame others into putting money into a boulder based group that pays guys to make films to promote awareness.

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  2. Dan July 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    As a member four years running I say preach it brother. Also the access fund does just slightly more than make awareness videos…

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  3. Reader July 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    Shipman has a point, but like any blog out there, his audience is limited and his research is lacking. Access Fund needs more than just random bloggers, videos, press releases, and ads to promote awareness of access issues.

    How can climbers be aware of the Access Fund if AF doesn’t put itself out there in the first place? How about a membership drive at local gyms during a specific month, or even handing out basic flyers about being in the outdoors? None of that. For that matter, I’d like to see a breakdown of the NPO’s budget for the last 5 years and see where that money is going to. I just looked at their website and in their mission statement, Education is the last of the 6 key points. I didn’t even know there was something like a Teamworks Program, and I’ve never even seen anything like it in my gym. What have the corporate sponsors contributed?

    In my opinion, in order for AF to draw more members, they need to make a few changes. Make marketing a priority. Re-evaluate the Education program and throw out what hasn’t worked. Do an audit. Request donations from corporate sponsors (that’s quite a list they have there, why aren’t they using it?) and use that money to promote awareness of the NPO and hold membership drives at gyms around the country.

    We can discuss this ad nauseum but really, an NPO is still a business and imho they haven’t been succeeding very well.

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    • Fitz July 22, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

      Reader,
      the Access Fund crew works their butts off. Here in Washington State, they facilitated the purchase of our most beloved and traditional crag, Index. They’ve done it across the country. Most importantly, they just helped win a decade long debate about fixed anchors in National Park wilderness. Pretty cool. It means we will be able to legally replace rap anchors in places like Kings Canyon Sequoia and Yosemite.

      It’s that action that keeps me renewing my membership and volunteering. I use the resource therefore I feel like it’s important to be involved in the group who made it possible. I spent a year working on them with their marketing, so I have a different perspective on their success.

      Look I believe content is king. You can market the shit out of yourself on Facebook. You can talk about all the things you’re going to do, or you can do them. You can wave your hands and get a bunch of new friends, but that’s not sustainable and it doesn’t last. If the marketing isn’t back upped by real work (by content) it doesn’t mean anything. When it comes down to it, the Access Fund’s content is getting shit done. It’s the details of legal ramifications of easements and land swaps. That’s what makes them tick. Which is why they’ve continued to raise corporate money from inside the industry. They’ve been well respected by the people who pay attention. Now they need a little help from the community to promote education. Does that mean they are doing a bad job? I don’t think so. If anything, a very busy organization is growing into its role in the community. That sounds like success to me.

      PS. The funny thing is — you just made your way to their site. You just learned about them. So on some level, Jordan’s post worked. Maybe it’s you who starts the membership drive at your local gym or does and adopt the crag day.

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  4. COCO July 22, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    Reader is spot on the money. My experience with AF was very limited but not so satisfying- they pick their pet projects and run with them, and let go of more difficult ones.

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  5. Morgan July 22, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    why has no one contributed to the Wounded Squirrel Fund?? that is my main question…

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  6. Andre July 23, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    Commenting in a negative way about an organization that’s committed to preserving our climbing resources? Wow, talk about biting the hand that feeds you. What’s next, talking poorly about your local animal shelter because “They just don’t save as many animals as they should”? If after all these years of hard work the Access Fund had only managed to save one crag, they’d still deserve nothing but praise from the climbing community. Obviously they’ve done much more than that.

    If I worked for the AF (which I don’t), it would make me nauseous to read nitpicky comments from the very people I go to bat for every day. To anyone who sees a way in which they could assist the AF, step up. Volunteer to do that membership drive at a gym or hand out flyers about being in the outdoors.

    Be grateful that the Access Fund even exists.

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  7. dredog July 23, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    I don’t think the comments were negative or nitpicky at all. The AF has done a ton of great stuff…and with some business/NPO wisdom, they can do a lot more and continue doing so for years to come. I would read that more as room for improvement, or constructive criticism. I mean, isn’t there always room for improvement/growth?

    In the business world, competition forces companies to stretch and grow and reach beyond what they believe their capabilities to be. With virtually no competition, AF’s drive to grow is based solely on their mission…which is good and all, but they can really be outstanding if they made some tweaks.

    I would say that currently, the AF is great and deserves an enormous amount of praise, but they could be outstanding with some changes.

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  8. anon July 23, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    I want to say emotional blackmail is a poor way to win over supporters to a cause, but unfortunately in todays age its extremely effective and seems to work for most things. Its unfortunate to see Jordan Shipman using it and trying to guilt trip people into donating to the Access Fund and his personal fundraiser, basically calling you a piece of shit if you don’t donate. Is this what we’re going to resort to as climbers to get support for our causes?

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  9. Juan July 23, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    Jordan Shipman has a point but putting that type of hard pressure selling tactics do not work on most people. What a negative an hostile blog. Vulgar too. what the AF probably needs is to pick their ambassadors better.

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  10. Juan July 23, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    Did LT11 make all those videos for free? As a way to cooperate?

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  11. yomama July 23, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Why don’t all climbers have a trustfund, live in Boulllder .. I mean what the f√ck?
    That reminds me,i really need to send my patagucci in for recycling so I can get this years ironic Retro 1980s look to go my wayfarerers and scarf.

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  12. Van July 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Come on guys, Shipman has a good point, even if you find it a little negative. For once don’t think about how much money someone else has, or where they live. Think about what you do. How have you positively affected climbing lately? For the price of an eighth or a few six packs you could easily support a great cause that directly benefits you and your friends pursuit of climbing.

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    • Narc July 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

      This. Personal attacks on Jordan are really missing the larger point that many people are enjoying the benefits of what the Access Fund (or any other local access group for that matter) does without helping in any way.

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