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Author Topic: Hey DX-ers! Vote with Your Donation Money!  (Read 5239 times)
NU1O
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Posts: 2635




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« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2012, 06:22:10 PM »


And if you are donating - ask a few questions before you send your check. That's all - no big deal - but that's what I will do.


Good luck getting any detailed answers if you are writing by yourself!  Most will ignore you or tell you what you want to hear.

Rich, what happened to your movement?  It looks like you called it quits after after one ham said he disagreed with you.

I know there are a lot of hams who agree by reading the DX World. There are also likely many who don't agree or need to be won over.

73,

Chris/NU1O
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 06:24:40 PM by NU1O » Logged
NU1O
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« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2012, 08:51:04 PM »

Full disclosure will raise more questions than provide answers.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

Knowledge is power, my friend.  I believe donors, both large and small, have a right to see a financial statement after an expedition.

I believe the words of Justice Louis Brandeis are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago when he wrote:

If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects.

73,

Chris/NU1O
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W6GX
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Posts: 2443




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« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2012, 10:04:38 PM »

Chris,

I don't argue that knowledge is power.  However I also see some potential issues with full disclosure.  For example, a charter boat operator may cut a special deal with one particular dxpedition.  However the operator may not want to reveal the deal to other potential clients.  This makes good business sense.  So how do you protect sensitive and private information?  Perhaps a better way is to disclose the total amount of donations and how it was spent.  So here's another example of a controversy with full disclosure.  Let's say a dxpedition actually had a large surplus fund.  It's unlikely but certainly possible.  What's the best way to distribute the surplus funds?  I'm sure every donor will have his/her opinion and no matter what is decided no one could be truly happy with the decision.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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NU1O
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« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2012, 12:39:29 AM »

Chris,

I don't argue that knowledge is power.  However I also see some potential issues with full disclosure.  For example, a charter boat operator may cut a special deal with one particular dxpedition.  However the operator may not want to reveal the deal to other potential clients.  This makes good business sense.  So how do you protect sensitive and private information?  Perhaps a better way is to disclose the total amount of donations and how it was spent.  So here's another example of a controversy with full disclosure.  Let's say a dxpedition actually had a large surplus fund.  It's unlikely but certainly possible.  What's the best way to distribute the surplus funds?  I'm sure every donor will have his/her opinion and no matter what is decided no one could be truly happy with the decision.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

I think I told you in our emails I have a degree in Accounting although I never practiced it as I went into business for myself right after college.  What many donors are looking for is an accurate amount of the total monies expended and received. There are different accounting methods available to deliver that accurate report without divulging harmful or "sensitive" information.

In third world countries it is common to pay bribes to cross borders, and for other reasons. Anybody who wants to see what it is like to travel in the third world and in "hotspots" and war zones, should read the book Investment Biker by famed investor Jim Rogers who made an around the world trip on a motorcycle to get a ground feel for investments in countries few had ever invested in after the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

I would not expect to see a category labeled "bribes paid to government officials", for example.  Personally, so long as the team agreed, I would label it as a "miscellaneous expense", or a "travel expense", or any number of other things  There are ways to give an accurate report as to the total money received and spent without labeling each and every expense individually. I read dozens of annual 10'Ks and 10-Qs in a given week and they have broad categories which cover dozens of expenses. For example, if you think you are going to find the exact amount Exxon-Mobil spent on security for its employees in a given year you can forget about it. It is blended into some bigger category. However, most professional stock analysts still have much trust in the bottom line Exxon-Mobil puts out and it is signed by a Certified Public Accountant (Auditor).

I read a comment either here or on DX World where a commentator said he was friends with a person who goes on many expeditions and he wrote that person said people could lose their lives if an accounting statement was made public. That really sounds like a scare tactic to me.  Especially since by the time that financial report is published all operators will be back in their home countries. However, if the person who wrote that post wants to email me and explain how a financial report could cost a member of an expedition his/her life I promise to read the email, keep it to myself, and give it fair consideration.  If he convinces me that an amateur radio operator could actually lose their life over a P&L I will drop the idea.

I think the 7O6T trip was the most dangerous in years. I read they had security and probably local drivers. Why can't security be labeled and accounted for?  We all know that country is bordering on anarchy and al-Qaida is powerful and widespread in many parts of Africa, especially Yemen which is likely why they went to Socatra Island instead of the the mainland of Yemen.

As for the discount on the charter ship I can think of several ways to account for it. The simplest is just to lump in under "travel expenses" with fuel and the travel costs of members.  I do not think the exact cost of the charter has to be revealed if a special discount was given which the ship owner does not want others to know about. I am certainly not saying each and every cent has to be labeled under dozens and dozens of separate categories. However, there should be a financial committee and the members could vote on very controversial items. I simply can't believe a group of 10 to 20 hams can not produce an accurate P&L even if on some occasions it means calling an apple an orange.

Please keep in mind this means a big change and change is almost always resisted. Some operators receive a lot of "goodies" from these trips. It looks like HARAOA wound up with some new generators and a few beams, for example, and they still have QSL money which will wind up in their club. Also one ham received a nice 20% discount on a bunch of Elecraft gear which neither you nor I would've received. Actually, none of that bothers me since I knew it happened a long time ago. 

For a whole sort of reasons, many do not want their donors to see a profit and loss statement.  I am only interested in an accurate bottom line. I'm not interested in who got a discount on gear, if cash was needed to make some bureaucrat more agreeable, if they hired locals to install all the antennas and sat on their behinds. Even if everyone of those things happened it doesn't mean an accurate Profit and Loss statement can't be prepared and published.

Jonathan, I think this could be done and should be done, and the scenarios you raised - plus other similar ones - could still be accounted for.

73,

Chris/NU1O
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KY6R
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« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2012, 06:05:21 AM »


And if you are donating - ask a few questions before you send your check. That's all - no big deal - but that's what I will do.


Good luck getting any detailed answers if you are writing by yourself!  Most will ignore you or tell you what you want to hear.

Rich, what happened to your movement?  It looks like you called it quits after after one ham said he disagreed with you.

I know there are a lot of hams who agree by reading the DX World. There are also likely many who don't agree or need to be won over.

73,

Chris/NU1O

The only "movement" necessary is that I ask a couple questions before I send my donation from now on. One of them will be:

"And if you have money left over, where will that go?".

I have a couple more - and if I am ignored, then no donation. Its that simple. I don't need or want a balance sheet, I just won't donate to any more DX-peditions where they don't have these very basic and very important things in place.

Like buying a car - I want the steering wheel along with the rest of the car, or I'm not buying it. I want to know some of the "fine print".
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N3QE
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Posts: 2135




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« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2012, 07:00:08 AM »

I'm fairly new to DX'ing and "donating" beyond a few GS at QSL time.

I have made an active effort in the past few years to support the comparatively small low-band-emphasizing DXpeditions, by donating beforehand where possible. Many of these were just two guys and a pole on the beach so I do not expect any financial documentation to be attached as a condition for my support.

I know that some hams just love doing accounting and bookkeeping (heck one local club has an officer who lives near me, who just gets all super enthusiastic whenever it comes to talking about filing tax exempt paperwork) but I doubt many hams are that much into others financial reports, to figure any of the expeditions or clubs financial reports. Even if the operations were financially transparent.
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NU1O
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Posts: 2635




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« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2012, 08:50:34 AM »


The only "movement" necessary is that I ask a couple questions before I send my donation from now on. One of them will be:

"And if you have money left over, where will that go?".

I have a couple more - and if I am ignored, then no donation. Its that simple. I don't need or want a balance sheet, I just won't donate to any more DX-peditions where they don't have these very basic and very important things in place.

Like buying a car - I want the steering wheel along with the rest of the car, or I'm not buying it. I want to know some of the "fine print".
On Friday December 21, 2012, 03:42:30 PM KY6R wrote:

From now on - before I write my check to ANY dx-pedition, I am going to ask for a full accounting - up front - of the DX-peditions budget, and what the DX-pedition plans to do if they come up short - or have an "overrage".

On Friday December 21, 2012, 04:19:46 PM  KY6R wrote:

"If only 100 hams who actually donate $100 or more to DX-peditions join forces and demand financial transparency and better yet - accountability - I am sure things will change."

Then on Friday December 21, 2012, 05:19:22 PM KY6R wrote:

NU1O: Chris - I like your ideas - a lot, and agree with your points. Count me in.


Rich, my prior posts were all about getting a full accounting from DXpeditions. I wrote that when an expedition solicits money from the general public that what you basically have is a big partnership. I also wrote individual donors most likely do not have the power to demand an accounting and it would probably take a group like the Northern California DX Foundation to demand a financial statement before things would change, unless enough individual donors agreed and formed some kind of group.

You don't even agree with what you wrote on Friday when you were calling for full financial transparency. Now, less than 2 days later you write you are going to be content to ask a few questions and that's it. What caused you to flip-flop?

Just what did you mean when you said you like my ideas, count me in?  Full financial transparency means financial statements. It does not mean asking a few questions such as when one buys a car.

73,

Chris/NU1O
 


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NI0C
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Posts: 2391




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« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2012, 08:56:33 AM »

I feel the way Tim, N3QE, does about this.  My impression is that virtually all Dxpeditions use contributions to reduce the costs to participants, and that there is no profit made by anyone (except the boat captains and hotels, etc.)  I don't want to audit the expeditions I contribute to, nor do I want to burden future expeditions with tedious paperwork. 

Like Tim and Gene, I also enjoy contributing upfront to expeditions, not hinging my contributions on whether or not I made enough QSO's.  In the case of ZL9HR, I made no QSO's, and am still happy to have supported their efforts.  I am sorry that there have apparently been some bad feelings on the part of some of the participants, and I hope that they can eventually reconcile.  I will continue to support selected DXpeditions on an individual basis, as well as through NCDXF, as I am able to afford. 

73,
Chuck  NI0C   
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KY6R
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« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2012, 09:00:18 AM »


The only "movement" necessary is that I ask a couple questions before I send my donation from now on. One of them will be:

"And if you have money left over, where will that go?".

I have a couple more - and if I am ignored, then no donation. Its that simple. I don't need or want a balance sheet, I just won't donate to any more DX-peditions where they don't have these very basic and very important things in place.

Like buying a car - I want the steering wheel along with the rest of the car, or I'm not buying it. I want to know some of the "fine print".
On Friday December 21, 2012, 03:42:30 PM KY6R wrote:

From now on - before I write my check to ANY dx-pedition, I am going to ask for a full accounting - up front - of the DX-peditions budget, and what the DX-pedition plans to do if they come up short - or have an "overrage".

On Friday December 21, 2012, 04:19:46 PM  KY6R wrote:

"If only 100 hams who actually donate $100 or more to DX-peditions join forces and demand financial transparency and better yet - accountability - I am sure things will change."

Then on Friday December 21, 2012, 05:19:22 PM KY6R wrote:

NU1O: Chris - I like your ideas - a lot, and agree with your points. Count me in.


Rich, my prior posts were all about getting a full accounting from DXpeditions. I wrote that when an expedition solicits money from the general public that what you basically have is a big partnership. I also wrote individual donors most likely do not have the power to demand an accounting and it would probably take a group like the Northern California DX Foundation to demand a financial statement before things would change, unless enough individual donors agreed and formed some kind of group.

You don't even agree with what you wrote on Friday when you were calling for full financial transparency. Now, less than 2 days later you write you are going to be content to ask a few questions and that's it. What caused you to flip-flop?

Just what did you mean when you said you like my ideas, count me in?  Full financial transparency means financial statements. It does not mean asking a few questions such as when one buys a car.

73,

Chris/NU1O
 




I still believe in full transparency, but I'm not sure how that should be implemented.

I'm still thinking (and flip flopping) on that part of it.

Why do I flip flop? Because the thoughtful responses in this forum make me think more - expand my mind more and make me realize there are many ways to view and solve such problems. And that the problem is actually (and luckily) the exception, not the rule.

I like the discussion - and the first idea in this realm actually came in a slide deck by N1DG:

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/126736908/N1DG-DXpeditioncosts-Dayton2012

And there is an angle to all of this more important than even worrying about "impropriety" as much as showing the DX World just how much these buggers cost.

Heck - I'd love to see a thermometer on a DX-ped web site - like at school fund raisers or town fund raisers where the thermometer is at 100% when the goal is met.

That way it will encourage the right level of donations . . . .

Still thinking . . .
« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 09:34:39 AM by KY6R » Logged
KD8MJR
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Posts: 2139




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« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2012, 09:05:09 AM »

Wow compare the 1960's to 2012 and then just imagine 30 years from now Shocked
IMO just Trust or don't Trust the people involved, if you don't then don't give any money, if you do then give what you want to.  No need to change the way we treat each other just because we get our fingers burned once in awhile.
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KY6R
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« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2012, 09:12:58 AM »

Wow compare the 1960's to 2012 and then just imagine 30 years from now Shocked
IMO just Trust or don't Trust the people involved, if you don't then don't give any money, if you do then give what you want to.  No need to change the way we treat each other just because we get our fingers burned once in awhile.


I agree - but in the 60's we didn't have the Internet and "social media" . . . . Progress? But you are right - I can only remember 4 big controversies since I became a ham in 1973 regarding DX-peditions. Which means this sort of thing is rare. Airing the dirty details in public is even more rare.

One of the controversies in the 60's was a Navassa DX-pedition done by two guys in a small private boat who went to Navassa. That one did not count:

http://dxccsleuth.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/navassa-island-pirate-of-the-caribbean/
« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 09:20:58 AM by KY6R » Logged
W6GX
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Posts: 2443




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« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2012, 09:24:26 AM »

To be honest I do hope that every dxpedition makes a profit through donations and the profit goes to the operators and also the 'group' so that the funds could be used for the next event.  Without profit or at least only a small deficit no one will be foolish enough to mount a dxpedition considering all the risks (both physical and financial).  Just my $0.02.

As for the financial disclosure discussion I do like transparency and accountability.  I just believe that the negatives outweighs the positives.  We as donors obviously have nothing to lose by demanding the financial statements.  However the operators and suppliers and perhaps many others have their reasons not to disclose the data, not for the reason of financial impropriety but for other reasons I outlined in my previous post.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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W6GX
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« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2012, 09:34:13 AM »

To be honest I do hope that every dxpedition makes a profit through donations and the profit goes to the operators and also the 'group' so that the funds could be used for the next event.  Without profit or at least only a small deficit no one will be foolish enough to mount a dxpedition considering all the risks (both physical and financial).  Just my $0.02.

As for the financial disclosure discussion I do like transparency and accountability.  I just believe that the negatives outweighs the positives.  We as donors obviously have nothing to lose by demanding the financial statements.  However the operators and suppliers and perhaps many others have their reasons not to disclose the data, not for the reason of financial impropriety but for other reasons I outlined in my previous post.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

And to add one more thing.  The greatest risk from the operator's standpoint to publish financial data is the risk of one unhappy individual using the financial data as a tool to commit a vengeful act.  In the days of the internet it's too easy to commit such an act.  The operator has just too much to lose and little to gain from full financial disclosure.  Just my $0.02.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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KD8MJR
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Posts: 2139




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« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2012, 11:49:42 AM »

And to add one more thing.  The greatest risk from the operator's standpoint to publish financial data is the risk of one unhappy individual using the financial data as a tool to commit a vengeful act.  In the days of the internet it's too easy to commit such an act.  The operator has just too much to lose and little to gain from full financial disclosure.  Just my $0.02.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

Very true, we all know how well Hams handle it when they Donate and dont make a contact Wink (in fairness most are OK but some people have no limits when things don't go their way)
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WS3N
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« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2012, 12:28:34 PM »

Natural selection will play a large part in resolving these issues. HARAOA will now have difficulty attracting funding and operators, and first-class operations like Intrepid-DX will benefit.
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