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The Talyllyn - Suggestions

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by ellisteph12, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think 5% is pretty reasonable. Firstly, you could baseline it against donations by cheque, direct debit, cash etc, which will carry an admin overhead for you, so won't be free.

    But more generally, to take our example, we have raised about £100k through JustGiving, to which you can add Gift Aid (not quite the full amount, because some donors don't pay tax - for example foreign donors). Let's say about £118k, for which we have paid a fee of maybe £5k. So that is £113k of income to the railway.

    Now, some of those donations may have been made by cheque. But a large number wouldn't have been made at all - not least those from foreign donors. And while for a large donation of, say, £200 it can be a bit galling that you lose £10 in admin, for a smaller donation of say £20, you lose a pound, and I doubt you could process the donation "offline" for that, especially if you offer any kind of acknowledgement by post. When we have run campaigns, our average "online" donation size has been of the order of £60 - £70 by my calculation, but is lower for the steady state of donations that trickle in online between campaigns.

    My own personal view is that the "extra" donations we have obtained by being online (that would not otherwise have materialised if people had to go through the hassle of donating offline) far outweigh the cost of obtaining those donations. The fact that most charities have moved online suggests that the fundraising managers of those charities must believe that being online is worth the fee charged by companies such as JustGiving.

    The clincher, though, is to ask yourself this: Are you prepared to invest in having online ticket sales, despite the cost of setting up a system and the admin charge you will have to pay to the banks for processing the transactions? (You've already answered "yes" to that question). Because if you consider that the extra ticket sales more than compensates the price you have to pay to obtain them, then why would you not consider that the same argument applied for donations? The administrative and financial process is basically identical, except that in one case I just give you some money online, and in the other case I give you some money online and you send me a ticket in return!

    Tom
     
  2. talyllyn1

    talyllyn1 Member

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    Some really good 21st century fundraising suggestions being made here. Dare I say it, but the TR seems to be "behind the game" on these. There is no such thing as a 100% free donation. Every one has a cost implication when it comes to processing it.
    I do think the Paypal option needs serious and urgent consideration. I have a burgeoning collection of 00 models in the loft, purchased over the last 20 years or so with the aim of building a big layout. Age, and other considerations mean that it will never happen. I've an idea of what they will realise, and I would expect to gain about £4-5000 pounds when it's all gone. It will be going on ebay in small batches, and most purchasers will pay me via Paypal.
    It would be very easy for me to donate a proportion of this to the TR as I go along, but if I were to wait until I had a significant amount, transfer it to my bank account then write out a cheque - well, it just might not happen! I really don't care if Paypal make money out of the service, it's worth it for the convenience. The TR shoud look upon this as an opportunity for extra cash. It doesn't prevent people from donating by other means.
    Cheers
    Dave
     
  3. 48DL

    48DL Member

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    If I remember, the cafe has been a bit of a financial drain, how about renting the facilities to a private company for a fixed rate, part of the agreement being that the cafe is open when the railway is open, with the option of the cafe being open when the railway is closed as well.
    A similar scheme is run at WHHR, I'm sure someone in the know would be able to explain it further.
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Now that's brought back a lot of memories...... great gatherings in those wicker chairs in the Glasshouse. Bring back Hancocks Barleybrite! (Actually, it was pretty awful but we were young and would drink most beer.)

    Sorry. That's not really contributing to the discussion.
     
  5. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    Maybe you guys should contact a few webmasters who do have online donation and see which rates are best? For example, the L&B uses Paypal - I'm sure their webmaster would be happy to give advice?
    Alternatively, make donations items you can buy in the online shop?
     
  6. michaelh

    michaelh Part of the furniture

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    Remember him coming on the Tannoy at about 9 every evening to announce that sandwiches were available?
     
  7. russprince

    russprince New Member

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    Its the under floor heating in the cafe and shop thats the killer. a Luxury that could have been done without in my opinion.
     
  8. Anthony Coulls

    Anthony Coulls Well-Known Member

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    However, the visitors might disagree with you there...freeze the punters and they won't come again. Catch 22 situation.
     
  9. ellisteph12

    ellisteph12 New Member

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    It is a good idea but unfortunately the railway's online shop is for products from the Talyllyn Railway Company, membership and donations are for the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society or Talyllyn Holdings (Charity arm) this does make things like this very difficult.
     
  10. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

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    Does the Talyllyn have any joint marketing/admission schemes with other local attractions? And I don't mean other railways.

    Visitors might be more likely to come from further afield if they could make a day of it. Visitor attractions have successfully linked up to provide discounted/joint admission - this provides "something for everyone" for a mixed group of visitors. For example, a trip on the railway followed by a visit to a historic building, the local Sea Life Centre or whatever.

    Joint tickets with other steam railways are fine, but they are really only going to attract the enthusiasts, not the general public.

    Richard
     
  11. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie Part of the furniture

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    I hope that no-one thought I was trying to mischief-make with the above post, that was categorically not intended. It's just a bit of whimsy, if not necessarily in the right place.
     
  12. ellisteph12

    ellisteph12 New Member

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    Mach has great mainline connections and the connections into Tywyn are frustrating to say the least!

    I hope The Corris do get into Mach, think it will be a boost for the area and all other incumbents.

    Any Google searches will see how close the TR and Corris work together. Not sure how we could support each other financially, it is tricky enough with the way the TR is constructed into three organisations without adding The Corris into the mix (my opinion) :)
     
  13. pete2hogs

    pete2hogs Member

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    I still think you have to start by working out what the market may be. The area around Portmadoc/Pwllheli is still a major holiday area (as to a lesser extent is Caernarfon) - it is easy to tell this by the traffic jams in summer. It would appear this is no longer true of the Towyn/Fairbourne area. There is also a lack of other tourist destinations on that peninsula.

    So you have to rely on people travelling specifically to see the railway, unless you want to end up basically funding the railway through its own dedicated enthusiasts. From that point of view it probably didn't help long-term dropping the Fairbourne from the 'great Little Trains of Wales' ( I do know why! But they should have been reinstated when the person in question was no longer on the scene.) It makes the Talyllyn look even more isolated.

    You have to think - why would the tourists visit our railway instead of any other, given that it is possibly the least accessible of half-a-dozen or more. And if you can't think of a good reason, you absolutely have to switch your focus back to the 'enthusiast' or 'enthusiast-with-family' market, 'cos no-one else is going to drive out there. I suppose some folk do still come by train, but that is also a serious undertaking given the sparsity of the timetable on the Coast.
     
  14. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie Part of the furniture

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    The only way would be full union, in the same vein as the P&DSR and the SDR in times gone by. But that didn't work out. And of course I'm speaking as a total outsider, I'm sure there's a heap of reasons this wouldn't make good sense. As I say, it was a pretty frivolous suggestion, but it is heartening to know that there is mutual aid and good relations between the two railways. Joint advertising may be an opportunity to spread costs? This goes back to a more serious point I made in this or the other thread - the localities government, attractions, tourist boards, towns and people working together to advertise, as currently it is the poor relation of the North in this area.
     
  15. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    So your immediately giving away 20% of your revenue to a demographic which would probably prefer to arrive by train anyway. I wouldn't give away money like that.

    How about making the line easier to get to by rail.

    Is there scope for one or two railtours from key cities to the railway, doesnt need to be steam hauled..just well advertised, indeed some mainline diesel owners would love for the chance to bite at the railtour cherry.. a historic diesel handing (say 100mph Class 50 to Shrewsbury), over to a 97/3.. return in the evening...The railway has always been about enthusiasts and probably needs an injection of younger ones, who may see this steam as more fun than the serious nature of preserved mainline steam.

    In the current timetable it's nearly 5 hours each way from London, not much less from Manchester...due to lousy connections and infinite stops..I am sure that can be improved on.

    Maybe also start thinking about offering packages on the website.. Railway and accommodation... get the local hotel to give you the discount in return for your guaranteed business.. after all people are visiting your website to visit your railway.. it's not as if there passing through and decide to visit.

    As for "value add" events Ive always been a fan of out door BBQ's drinking etc.. and an engine shed area is a nicer back drop to a local pub which you can do anyday
     
  16. GeoffH

    GeoffH New Member

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    5% admin charge doesn't seem too bad.

    What is the cost to the TR of recieving cash. If you cover bank processing fees for cash (normally about 1%), admin charge to count and sort it, and transportation to the bank, you get to not far off 5%.
     
  17. talyllyn1

    talyllyn1 Member

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    There isn't a local hotel worthy of the name, other than the Dolgoch Falls, and the limited accommodation there is usually sufficiently booked up not to need any extra help from another source.
     
  18. ellisteph12

    ellisteph12 New Member

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    Come along to Tywyn this Summer and Im sure those past-times can be accommodated!
     
  19. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie Part of the furniture

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    Whilst possibly not the greatest money spinner in the world, an at least cost covering publicity stunt (advertising being an oft-highlighted opportunity here) would be a series of railtours just as the TRPS used to be famous for. If you have a competitive - but not a loss-making - price, I don't think you would have difficulty filling the seats, and it would be the sort of thing local news/radio/TV might take an interest in, especially if you plug the connection with the specials of old. You wouldn't suffer from the weight restrictions of Barmouth Bridge either - it'd never get there! All of this, of course, hinges on ERTMS becoming more flexible, but you at least have a loop at Tywyn to run round on, which is more than can be said for a lot of NR stations.
     
  20. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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    The TR website already has links to local accommodation (albeit rather widely spread). Whether the owners of said accommodation would be happy to offer discounts is another matter...

    Steve B
     

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