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This is our Tenth Anniversary! We were incorporated and established as a 501c3 nonprofit in August of 1995. Very few internet resources have survived this long, making us one of the oldest online. We've seen many sites come and go, including some which were backed by large financial interests. And we're still here, doing a bit more each year.
(To translate this update enter the URL
"http://www.csac.org/Organization/updates/" and then follow the link on the translated page to this update. This way the entire page/update is translated.)
This email version will summarize and offer lead-ins to things that are new with the Avalanche Center. For more details links to the website are offered. The full archival version (filled with direct links) is still posted online in html:
http://www.csac.org/Organization/update ... 08-09.html
This an unusual summer update, but overdue in many respects. I've done more website work in the past couple months than I have most summers. I'm hoping to be less pressured than usual this fall. Another reason for an update at this time is that I am determined to make a concerted effort before the fall rush to establish more volunteer involvement.
Website Updates and New Features
Have you seen our homepage recently? It's been consolidated to fit entirely on most monitors. You'll like it ... http://www.csac.org/
Visit our new links section, implemented with phplinkdirectory. This is a huge improvement over the old custom hacked system which was neglected most of the time. We can now automatically verify reciprocal links once in a while too! There is still some transferring to do but check out our categories and active links ... http://www.csac.org/links/
The incidents section is caught up, including an unusual number from July. Do you know how many reports and how many fatalities were posted this season? Find out ... http://www.csac.org/Incidents/ (And using the search you can also find out by country or activity.)
Contributors can now log in using a small temporary "quick login" window when they click on the key icon indicating material requiring a login account. This is much quicker and more convenient than in the past. Try it out in the quiz section: http://www.csac.org/Education/quizes/ or for incident reports: http://www.csac.org/Incidents/
The auction is almost up to par to be put into ongoing use. People will be able to post their own items with no listing fee, we'll post used and new items, and the fall fundraiser will hopefully continue as well ... http://www.csac.org/auction/
The Avalanche News section has been brought up to date and cleaned up. It has a section map/index, no bad links, and stories from this spring which hadn't been completely posted. You can also find a version of this list of new features by using the "Whats New" link at the top of the page .... http://www.csac.org/News/
Well, that covers the website changes and improvements so far. I think. Pretty good for off-season work, don't you think? Look for more before the season picks up this fall.
In a nutshell, we need some involvement in various aspects of fundraising if we are to be able to continue to develop and offer free materials and resources to the public at large. Otherwise we'll have to continue to offer more incentives to contribute. So far its contributors that are paying for the overhead costs. (We have no salary or payroll cost.) Industry - very little. Grants - none. Government support - none. This project is by and for winter backcountry enthusiasts.
To begin with at this time we are looking for people to help with any of three things:
The Outdoor Retailer Show - The summer show is this week. A request for involvement was sent to the Utah email lists since the show is always in Salt Lake. We need to develop more of a presence at these, hopefully at an introduction level now and a more functional and visible level at the winter show. If you would like to go to these shows and are in Utah or are going anyway and would like to help us with exposure and networking please reply ASAP.
Sponsorship and Auction Donation Materials - We need to work on materials to present to people to encourage sponsorship, and also fall fundraising auction donations. There are some past materials I made (and I'm no graphic artist, nor a marketer), there is a small grant proposal (which received no interest), and there was at least one offer by a significant contributor for advice on reaching industry. But I can't do these things on top of running the site, especially when the return on the effort is very low for one person. Help us out.
Online Auction Development - With the auction potentially going into a year round function we could use a team of people who know something about auctions to help set policies, recommend improvements, and seek donations for the fall fundraiser.
This is all included in the online html version. Only a quick summary will be included here. Most people probably aren't very interested, although these things represent a lot of time and if people truly support the idea of a free public resource they need to consider what it takes to provide it.
The few items left in store inventory are on sale. We can carry them over to the coming year, but we'd rather sell them for the low prices currently posted and have the cash flow. Contributors can go to the special login page and get the same wholesale prices with no shipping. http://www.csac.org/store/sale.html
Finances - We will make it through the fall and into the coming season depsite a record low budget. There was no travel at all this year, and one of the benefits of dumping iPayment and iTransact is that PayPal has no monthly minimum fee. This helps a lot for 6 months or more of the year. And finally, the budget has been eased by two recent contributions which are large by our standards. Thanks a lot to these two people! You know who you are
Continued banking changes still resulting from last falls credit card problems and a lot of site programming and behind-the-scenes work has taken a lot more time. New software has been installed, some (such as the forums) has been upgraded to a current version, databases have been improved as I actually learn how to do them right (or at least closer to right), and my Perl, PHP, modrewrite, and other software skills keep improving. Often the hard way. These are the things which are often not very obvious but which take up considerable amounts of time.
As you can see, there has been a lot going on even though its summer. And there is more improvement planned. Continued database optimization, integration of the quizzes with logins so contributors who sign in can see their past scores, listing of store products on Froogle for broader exposure and hopefully more sales, and a system of matching any published non-sale price on store items. This constant site improvement is what makes the CSAC the most comprehensive and robust avalanche information site on the internet. For a full ten years. Many thanks to those who contribute in one way or another.
Cyberspace Snow and Avalanche Center (CSAC) 131 NW 4th St Suite 397, Corvallis OR 97330