Introducing BaSCoS.

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Travel costs to CISV events are unfairly unequal. Cost sharing could solve that problem.

During my short visit at this year's European Trustee Gathering (ETG), the topic of variable travel costs came up once again. Does it make sense to host a meeting in central Europe, so that travel costs overall are cheaper? Does a rotational scheme (meeting takes place somewhere else every year) as applied to ETG, AIM, etc really even out the travel costs in the long run? Shouldn't a cost sharing system, as used by NAs like Canada (as far as I know) be applied, instead?

europe-map.gifI fiddled around with an Excel file for a while, to come up with a solution that adapts the participation fee in a way, that people with high travel costs would have to pay less participation and vice versa. It's not as easy as it sounds, because in the end the participation fees will still need to cover the expenses, while nobody should be payed out any money (and I'm no freakin' math genius to turn these criteria into a wonder formula).

Check out the Excel file with my suggested Balcony System for Cost Sharing, short BaSCoS: BaSCoS.xls.

Basically, all you have to do, is a) enter the participation fee that you would take, if everybody had to pay the same b) fill in the maximum fee participants with low or no travel expenses should pay and c) enter all the participants individual travel costs. A little adaption to the maximum fee may be necessary, if the final fee turns out to be negative for some - meaning you would have to pay out money to those with high travel costs, which (I guess) should be avoided. In the end the spreadsheet will tell the host how much participation fee each individual participant will have to pay, so that costs overall are more fairly distributed.

By adapting the participation fee according to travel expenses no extra money transfers are necessary. The system could - in theory -  be applied to everything from national JB minicamps to national board meetings.

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I agree. We have had a similar approach for select events in Norway, and it has worked well. To some degree it is also applied to programmes like Village.

The only "but" in applying this to events like AIM is that travel to AIM for many CISVers is the start of a vacation, and it would be considered unfair if "short travellers" get to sponsor the vacations of "long travellers".

It could also increase overall cost as people might not be so focused on getting cheap flights.

Good points, Lars. With my solution however, those with higher travel costs would still have to pay more, it just wouldn't be so drastic.

Over at FB, Björn reports that CISV Sweden has a cost sharing system, where all travel costs are added up and divided by the participants.

I don't think that my view is unfamiliar to FTB, but I honestly think that one of the biggest steps that we can make in terms of streamlining our AIM is to host the meeting in the same place every year near the cheapest and most accessible airport, which will probably be in Europe. We wouldn't save £30,00 we'd save closer to £100,000. A year. To do this... we need a cost sharing system to be fair.

Without going to extremes ... just thinking about location and sticking to key airports it could still save us a small fortune here and there too. Look at this AIM, it's a bali. Let's say that this costs everyone on average an additional £100 to fly to than Jakarta - that's still £25,000

Hi Nick!
We have being using a similar system in Brazil and its working quite well for the last 14 years... in the end, it increased a lot participation and the quality of the meetings.

A good starting point would be RTFs. Given their locations (one per region at least) and setup (shorter meetings, not likely as "holiday starting point") I think they would fit well.

Who gets the motion submitted for AIM this year to get this seriously discussed? :)

Laura, I think if you take the perspective, how much money could be saved by carefully selecting a location, it makes a ton of sense to spend some energy in this field.

Still, I have a few doubts, that any cost sharing can easily be installed for AIM:
- boards will want to know long time in advance, how much they will save, before approving a travel budget - impossible with the Swedish or Balcony model.
- locations near big hub airports are often more expensive, for that very reason. So in the end you pay more for accomodation, than what you save for travel.
- Any system will have to be fair, but also simple enough to grasp easily - which will be a conundrum.

In the end I do think our current system (rotation fixes everying!?) with AIM is broken. We are spending far to much compared to what we get out of AIM, and the costs are unevenly distributed. Some people (i.e. CISV NZ) will always have to pay way more than Central European ones. If we want to give peripheral countries a chance to prosper we have to support them, and cost sharing for international meetings is a start (cost sharing for camps would possibly be another step).

Also, tracking down travel costs should be a first step, to check how much potential lies in costs sharing models.

I love the idea of using this for RTFs as a trial run. We had way too low participation at RTFs this year across programmes - if they are going to be effective they need to be both more accessible and more diverse. Someone send me a draft motion?


How about, to start, agreeing to donate all the frequent flyer miles that are earned through CISV-funded travel back to CISV?

Daniel: Very simply because it would be impossible. Frequent Flyer Miles are generally not transferable (at least not amongst any of the European airlines), meaning that you'd have to donate an entire ticket or nothing.

Additionally any airline miles ticket requires that you pay the airline taxes in addition to the miles. In almost all cases (except for intercontinental business/first class) you'd be better off buying a discounted ticket rather than to use your miles.

On top of this; who will pay for the IO administrator to administer this. :)

Not an endorsement, but CISV USA has a frequent flier mile number for Delta, and when you buy a ticket Delta will match the miles you earn for yourself on that number. So if you get 300 miles, so does CISV. Then CISV uses the miles for national flights. (Problem is that no one knows about it.) Just an idea for other NAs. I'm sure some of the airlines do this, and it's much more cost effective for non-international flights with much lower taxes.

also cisv italy when flies using skyteam earn miles on an alitalia account. we only need to have a corporate account with one big carrier and to enter that number every time somebody does a resevation with that particular alliance... easy!

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This page contains a single entry by Nick published on May 18, 2011 10:43 AM.

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