Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Geocaching Event Guidelines

My thanks to a fellow geocaching.com reviewer, WGA (from Wisconsin, aka GrouseTales) for posting this in the WGA forums. The information is timely and helpful, so I thought I'd post it here.
I hate archiving caches or events, so here is a little info to consider when planing any events/classes. It seems like a timely reminder since spring is coming soon, I hope :-).

Main points to consider:
# Geocache events are open to all geocachers AND organized by geocachers.
# Fees charged for events need to be justified and close to actual costs. You can't charge a fee unless it costs money to host the event.
# You can't charge a fee that would be used as a forced donation. If you want to ask for voluntary donations, feel free to pass the hat. In that case, don't list a fee on the cache page.

Event Caches
Event caches are gatherings that are open to all geocachers and which are organized by geocachers. After the event has passed, the event cache should be archived by the organizer within four weeks. While a music concert, a garage sale, a ham radio field day or town’s fireworks display might be of interest to a large percentage of geocachers, such events are not suitable for submission as event caches because the organizers and the primary attendees are not geocachers. In addition, an event cache should not be set up for the sole purpose of drawing together cachers for an organized hunt of another cache or caches. Such group hunts are best organized using the forums or an email distribution list.

For geocaching events that involve several components, such as a day-long group cache hunt that also involves a seminar and dinner, only a single event cache covering all components should be submitted.

Event caches should be submitted no less than two weeks prior to the date of the event, so that potential attendees will have sufficient notice to make their plans. Events are generally listed no more than three months prior to the date of the event, to avoid having the listing appear for a prolonged period of time on the nearest caches page and in the weekly e-mail notification of new caches. Exceptions are sometimes made for events that are designed to attract a regional, national or international group of geocachers. Contact your reviewer if you wish to set up such an event, which may be listed up to six months in advance.

Commercial Caches / Caches that Solicit
Commercial caches attempt to use the Geocaching.com web site cache reporting tool directly or indirectly (intentionally or non-intentionally) to solicit customers through a Geocaching.com listing. These are NOT permitted. Examples include for-profit locations that require an entrance fee, or locations that sell products or services.

Charging a fee for an event may fall under "caches that solicit", if somone is making profit off of the geocaching.com website. Even if those profiting are not a "commercial" business.

Example A:
Geocacher organizes a pizza social. Fee of $8.00 is charged to cover the actual cost of food. No probem.

Example B: Geocachers organizes a pizza social and charges $20.00 a head. $10.00 for actual cost of food, and $10.00 will be donated to the WGA. This event could not be approved. It's using the GC.com to solicit money. The event could still be held, just not published on the internet.

Example C:
GrouseTales hosts a "Printing on Paper geocaching class". He gets a room free at the library, but charges each person $10.00 to attend. All money collected will be donated to the friends of the library foundation. No Dice! This event can't be listed because it uses the GC.com to solicit (money for the library).

Example D: (similar to C)
GrouseTales holds the Printing on Paper class at a local restaurant. It costs $50.00 to reserve the meeting room. Printing costs are $20.00. Is it allowed to charge people money to attend? Yes. You would be able to charge enough money to recover the costs of the event. $7.00 a head would cover the cost if 10 people attended. Say 3 people show up, should you charge them $23 each to attend. Probably not. If you cant afford to take the loss, you probably shouldn't be organizing the class to begin with.

Example E:
GrouseTale's Hummer dealership is going to give a class on geocaching. No fee's charged. Can this event be listed? No. Events are open to all geocachers, and ARE ORGANIZED BY GEOCACHERS. Fee or no fee, events are are organized by geocachers.

There seems to be a lot of grey area with the events. No one is trying to discourage having events, but they are mostly designed to be social events. Some classes and other events fall into a grey area. Other times when fees seem excessive, the event will need the OK from the powers at groundspeak.

I see many reviewers around the country are having some questionable events submitted. Hopefully some of the info here might might help event organizers with future planning.

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