We have been getting a lot of e-mail requests wondering when our next trip will be and why we have been so quiet. There are a few things we would like to address as we start a new volunteer season and restructure our business.
We have been approached with some questions about the the nonprofit’s finances, and I would like to address that here. One of my partners that helps run the business, and myself, have been questioned at work recently with claims that we are “pocketing a bunch of money.” This isn’t accurate. We are a small business. Small businesses have overhead and expenses that your trip fees cover. We have to account for everything from legal advice, website development and maintenance, registration software, taxes, credit card processing fees, charge-backs and refunds, and just the cost of running a small business. The total operating expenses for Airline Vigilantes are over $8,000.00 USD a year and we are bringing in roughly half of that, if not less. No Airline Vigilantes employee has ever been paid for their work here. All the blood, sweat, tears and countless hours spent planning every detail of your trip have been voluntary from our staff. We do this because we love it, this has always been a passion project.
Another concern that was brought to our attention is “we can do this cheaper on our own.” Yes. Yes you can, and we want you to. We want you to come with us, and fall in love with a project and take your friends and family back and share that experience. That’s one of Airline Vigilantes core goals. With Airline Vigilantes you pay for the experience and we provide you with every tool you will need along the way, giving you the most seamless experience possible from the moment you step off the plane.
If you still have concerns and would like a detailed financial breakdown of any trip feel free to e-mail us and we will happily share that information with you.
At Airline Vigilantes it has always been our goal to keep prices as low as possible while providing you with the best experience possible, however, at the end of the day we are still a business. Right now we are taking a loss and none of us want to see this project go under because we’re not making enough to cover basic operating expenses.
Moving forward we have some exciting changes we would like to share. Our Elephant Nature Park trip will happen this year. Usually we host a spring and fall trip,however we got a bit of a late start this year. Keep an eye on our social media and website for dates about Elephant Nature Park.
For other trips this year we would like to start trying something new. Instead of hosting 3-4 large group trips, we would like to explore the idea of sending smaller groups to new places without an Airline Vigilantes leader necessarily being there. There are a million volunteer opportunities all over the world and we get e-mails daily from our partners asking when we can send a group. The reality of that is in the past one of us has always gone on “first trips” to make sure everything runs smoothly. With Wi-Fi and cell phones working everywhere there’s no reason we should have to be on every trip. Out of the 6 or so of us that run this business, 2 are pilots and 4 are flight attendants. We simply can’t be on every trip.
We will still have our centralized trips with large groups, but will also be adding these participant lead opportunities. This will also keep prices down as we will not be providing things like welcome dinners and before and after accommodation.
So as projects come across our desks, we will post them on the website and on social media and take whoever is available to go.
In conclusion, we would like to get some trips on the website as early as this week. As well as posted here, we will also send this out to our mailing list. Feel free to reach out to us at any time and we look forward to seeing you on a future Airline Vigilantes trip.
President and Founder