In late spring, the Long-Range Planning Committee (LRPC) began meeting weekly to put a plan together to present to the VAST Board of Directors to go completely online with our TMA sales system. We did this for a variety of reasons, including that we may be limited regarding face to face selling of TMAs next fall; because it will streamline our system and make it easier for clubs, VAST, and the members, putting more money in the hands of clubs (especially now with the necessary lack of fundraisers); and will allow us to have an overall cleaner and more efficient system.
After we formulated our ideas and went over and over each scenario, we put together two of them for presentations, and for two months held public meetings that clubs and their members were invited to attend, with the warning that on July 27th the VAST Board of Directors (made up of one director from each county) would be voting, representing the clubs in their county, on the proposals. These meetings were announced in VAST e-blasts and on Facebook.
Going all online will offer a seamless point of sale experience for all members and will make sure, for insurance purposes, that we are capturing all signatures to guarantee that folks agree they have read the contractual terms, or had them read to them, and understand them. This important insurance covers Vermont landowners (who actually host 80% of our trail system) as well as all our volunteers, grooming fleet, etc. Many of you may not know that VAST liability insurance is extremely hard to get, and it costs a lot of money (about $200,000 a year); unfortunately, we have to constantly defend coverage. Whenever a VAST member has a snowmobile accident that results in a suit, the insurance cost goes up and the insurance company becomes more reluctant to cover us. Capturing everyone’s signature and agreement on rider responsibilities will help us in the future to fend off lawsuits when the organization is not at fault.
Overall, VAST staff and those folks who found the time to join us at our many meetings and presentations are feeling positive about this change. Next up and beginning in early August, will be meeting with clubs and vendors to get them up to speed about the new program; they will also receive a printed guide. For all of you who have bought online TMAs from VAST in the past, you will not see many changes to the system. All members will be mailed out a membership card with their membership ID so the online system can pull up your records for last year; purchasers’ TMA fields will be populated for each sled they own. Clubs will also be receiving their member’s ID number in case a member loses it. All Vermont club dues are now at a set rate of $30, which will even the playing field and, again, put more money in the hands of clubs.
Please watch the online TMA presentation videos below: