LCO 101: 5 Benchmarks for Organizational Health

Categories: LCO 101

Keeping climbing areas open is the kind of work that’s never done. That’s why it’s so important for your local climbing organization (LCO) to have operations that set you up for success instead of holding you back. Here are 5 benchmarks that will create a solid foundation for your LCO.

Running a Local Climbing Organization

  • Transparency - Show your community and donors that you’re accomplishing your mission and using their funds responsibly by publishing your annual IRS tax filings, producing an annual report, and hosting at least one annual public meeting.
  • Continuity – Ensure the long-term success of your LCO by bringing in new blood and sharing the knowledge and relationships that make your organization successful. Term-limits in the bylaws are a good way to pass the torch, relieve volunteers, and bring in new talent. Board orientations and trainings also ensure knowledge is passed down from one board member to another. Institutionalize these practices in your bylaws and make them tradition.
  • Planning - Strategic plans, stewardship plans, fundraising plans—sounds like a bureaucratic nightmare, right? Not necessarily. A simple written plan for the next 3 years for your LCO, for a climbing area, or for a fundraising event keeps your LCO on track, helps your board and the public know where you’re going, and gives you a way to measure progress. They can also help you get grants. Plans don’t have to be written in stone; you can change based on input or need.
  • Consistency - Whether it’s board meetings, partnerships with land managers, trail days, fundraising events or marketing, consistency is essential. A common mistake is hosting an Adopt a Crag, then scrapping it for next year because turnout was low. Wrong. Do it again: consistency compounds success across the board. If you want access, but are told no, show up and (respectfully) ask again next year. If you’re fundraising, never stop asking. And with marketing, tell your story over and over and over so the public knows the good work you’re doing. Whatever it is, don’t stop until you’re certain it’s useless.
  • Measurement - Knowledge is power when it comes to climbing advocacy. Cliché, but true. How many boulders or cliffs are “in your care”? Have you mapped them? Where and how many bolts have you replaced? Who are the landowners and managers? Inventory, track and measure your work to make your LCO stronger and more effective.

Questions? We're here to help. Reach out to us anytime at [email protected].