The Funding Question Part 4

The Funding Question Part 4

The Funding Question – Part 4

Continuing the 'discussion' from yesterday

With the following to come:

  1. How can we fund British Orienteering to assure the future?

The discussion so far can be found here

If you know how you are going to vote and are clear about the issues already please return your proxy vote if you are not planning on attending the AGM. If you are not 100% sure of the issues and want to know a little more hold onto your vote for a few more days and find out a bit more about the background to the proposal.


How should I vote at the AGM on the Board proposal to fund British Orienteering?

To date I’ve tried to use this series of articles to provide you with some facts and information setting out the background to the funding proposal presented to members prior to the 2016 AGM. It’s important to me and the Board that our members understand the background to the proposal.

As an employee I don’t think it’s my role to try to convince you about how you should vote – I do think it’s my role to try to help you understand the background and help you be aware of the possible consequences of the decision.

I’ll try to sum up:

  1. I’ve assumed that the majority of you want orienteering to be governed by a National Governing Body that is able to meet the wider expectations associated with this status; and that includes certain functions and responsibilities that would not be required if British Orienteering is only inward looking, the membership and little else. If I’m wrong in my assumption, please tell me or Board members in sufficient numbers so that we can bring this matter to the 2017 AGM and have a full and proper vote on the matter.

  2. British Orienteering can continue with the current level of funding – it will still be recognised by the International Orienteering Federation (IOF); it will be able to service many of the membership requirements but will not have the resources to work with the external partners we currently work with. Volunteers could pick up some of this work but how many volunteers want to and have the time?

  3. I’ve presented facts and figures that demonstrate that if British Orienteering is to act in the wider capacity of a National Governing Body of sport it requires a minimum of £35,000 of additional funding from within the sport from 2017 onwards. And that figure really is a minimum, I think my rationale indicates that to function effectively, but at a lower level than the current standards of service, will require at least £80,000 of additional income. But this is my opinion; my logic may be wrong in which case please tell me.

  4. I’ve rationalised that if income is to be raised in a sustainable way then the only real opportunity to do so is through increases in membership fee and levy.

  5. Increasing membership may have a significant impact on Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales where government funding is allied to membership growth. Membership fees have been £5 since 2012 and are seen as being lower than most other similar member organisations. Raised membership fees may result in a decrease in the number of members.

  6. Increasing the levy may have significant impact on participation particularly at local, level D events; Sport England funding is allied to participation not membership.

  7. To raise £80,000 through membership fees and levy is feasible and I’ve presented a number of options as to how this could be achieved; I’ve provided the Board rationale for proposing the significant increase in membership fees and a lower increase in levy.

  8. I’ve identified that we do have considerable reserves that could tide us over a transition period but that reserves can only be used once. I think that the Board will need to know that members are aware of any plan before using a significant proportion of our reserves to fill a shortfall. The Board may decide to only use significant reserves if there is a longer term solution to the funding problem in sight – otherwise the Board may as well take the hard decisions now.

If my assumptions are correct – and I accept it’s a big ‘if’; the discussion comes down to two points:

  1. Will the discussion and the vote at the AGM be a vocal minority who are prepared to argue their point strongly? Or, will the ‘silent’ majority provide the Board with their views, either in the form of a vote or by communicating them by email, by phone or in person at the AGM?

  2. If we are going to raise the additional income through the membership fees and levy what permutation of increases will the majority of our voting members be comfortable with? It’s already clear from our ‘vocal’ minority that there is a degree of polarisation and we need a compromise that members with the two polarised views can accommodate.

If British Orienteering is going to act in a wider capacity as a recognised National Governing Body of sport and we can agree that to do so requires additional income, then whether the proposal is adopted or not becomes a secondary issue – provided we can gain sufficient understanding of the views of our members that we can come to an agreed, compromise over the way the additional income is generated through the membership fees and levy.


You must decide whether you vote and how you will vote but please do consider the bigger picture and let us know your views on the key questions:

  • Do you agree British Orienteering should maintain the ability to act in the wider role expected of a National Governing Body of sport in the UK?

  • Do you agree that any additional income should come from a combination of increases across membership fee and levy?

  • What balance do you want to see between increases to membership fee and levy – or are you comfortable with the 2012 AGM decision that the budgeted income to be raised from membership fees should not exceed 25% of the budgeted total income to be raised from membership fees and levy?


Whatever the decision:

  • British Orienteering will continue to function, be a member of the IOF and govern the sport within the UK.

  • Plans will be drawn up for British Orienteering to operate at the level of funding agreed.

If the decision is a ‘No’:

  • The Board will take guidance from the AGM and any members views presented to the Board.

  • A decision will be taken about whether to bring back a modified funding proposal to an EGM or the next AGM.

  • If appropriate a decision will be taken about whether to use reserves whilst a longer term solution is agreed.


I’ve been challenged about whether it is appropriate for a Chief Executive to be communicating with members in this way. Personally I feel it is and that it is essential that I do otherwise how will members be informed about the background to such matters?

I’ve also been challenged on whether this series of short articles can be described as a ‘discussion’; probably not in that there is no way for others to join in. In my own mind I think of it as a discussion in that I appreciate a number of views and do find myself ‘discussing’ topics internally. I have brought the views and ideas of other people to the ‘discussion’ albeit in my own words. In this instance I thought it was probably the most effective way to communicate the discussions that have taken place.


Possibly not tomorrow but Sunday or Monday: How can we fund British Orienteering to assure the future?



Mike Hamilton


Posted on Friday 18th March 2016