In A Perfect World: A Cash Flow Primer From NLI's TreasurerSome of you have asked me why we don't "do this" or "rent that" or "pay someone" to get certain tasks completed. I also often get "can we have this" or "when will we build that" type of requests from members. I have to say that in a perfect world, the answers would be yes, and very soon! I want these things, too. I long for a clubhouse that would serve as a place to hold events, to name just one amenity. It would help make Naturist Legacy Park complete.
I started to think about why such suggestions and comments were being made and have developed a theory. Naturist Legacy's board often posts how much money it has raised to date. Looking at that number, one would believe that we have buckets of cash to spend on these suggestions, wants and needs.
If only that were true.
What can easily be overlooked when looking at the big numbers shown in "Our Fundraising To Date" reports in these updates and on our Web site is the fact that the money flows out as well as in. Man oh man, does it flow! The reality is that most of what we've raised to date has long been spent or is designated to be spent in the next month or so. Let me give you a few numbers...
To date, from day one, and in general round figures, we have raised almost $174,000 in membership fees paid forward and a bit more than $23,000 in donations (both members and corporate), for a total of $197,455. This is still well short of the $250,000 we need to complete the park, leaving us in need of $52,545 to get the job done. If that money had already been raised, there would in fact be room in the budget to rent this, build that or hire others to do the hard stuff. In fact, if every member kicked in a grand this year, we would get the entire job done — clubhouse and all!
Now let's look at the other side of the coin — the side that all treasurers like me hate to see active. Just to buy our land (with fees) cost us $86,000 right off the top, which was no cheap haircut. All this just to set foot on the land and start to clear bush! But it gets even better. Electrical cost us $30,700 before the first watt even came off the grid. Water cost us $7,200 just to turn on a tap. Sewage tanks came in at $7,700 just to store, well, let's say "removables." Installing the phone line cost us another $500 (not including bruises). Improving roads and clearing trees came with a cost of about $1000. Buildings are at $10,000 and counting. And this is not to mention just getting Naturist Legacy Inc. itself up and running at a cost of about $2000 when all was said and done. But wait, there's more. Have a look at this year's capital expenses: a pool with fence and deck all ready to splash in at about $30,000; finishing the electrical at another $3000; the volleyball court at another $2500; outdoor showers for $1000, with another $2,500 or so for all the small bits that have to be done.
All totaled, we will have spent around $183,100 of the funds we have raised if all goes to budget without hidden or unexpected costs, which sadly are always the case with a project this large. One just cannot foresee every little thing, and that's why the "small bits" allotment must be $2,500!
By the end of this year we will have about what we budgeted to have, which means we are spending to plan. This is a very good thing. Never to be forgotten in all of this is that everything you see at the park has been paid for up front. There are no loans or mortgages to service thanks to your pay forwards and donations. Beyond the construction, and other than paying everyday bills, we do not owe the outside world one thin dime.
I hope you can now see that we are getting down to the bottom of our "great cash pile." We find ourselves with about $0 left over in real "capital" funds to do any further development. Not much happens for $0!
Now before you freak out, I'm not discussing operational moneys that we do have and will spend. They're not part of this at all, so take a deep breath. Now one more. That's better!
I have to remind you that the big upside of this short term pain is that in the next five or so years, after the majority of pay forward members are reimbursed, we'll have ample yearly operating funds to pay the bills — even if we never get another member past our current number — and gradually pay back "the founders" who have sacrificially provided us with so very much of our funding. When you look at things in those terms, we are in very good shape! We'll be fully sustainable in a very short time by any standard business measure. You can't ask for more than that, especially given what we lost in the recent past.
I hope you can now see why we are hand digging stumps and trenches, why we are raking roads by hand rather than by machine, why we're using paint brushes and not spray guns, and why we're generally going manual with brute strength grunt work everywhere we can because, quite frankly, we have to! We have no other real choice. There is no money to allow us to pay for someone to come in and do the hard work for us, even though that work would get done so much faster and easier. I can tell you that our backs would love it if we could!
And so now you know why we so often need to say "not now" and "not yet" to all the great ideas, suggestions, wants and needs of our members. As nudists without even a pocket to keep our money in, we can only spend what money we actually hold in our hands!
Like I said...in a perfect world.
SOURCE: This article was published in both the members and non-members editions of the May 1, 2012 Naturist Legacy News Update. The Naturist Legacy Inc. treasurer was the author and I was the editor.