Should HOWA be a Membership Organization?

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DLTooley

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Bob started the cheap RV living website in 2005. Selling the site was his decision alone to make. I'm sure he talked to people close to him regarding it. The site has changed, but still has some of the same underpinnings. This is why I stick around. I came to learn and help.

The first RTR was in 2010 that was a group of forum members getting together to gather in one piece. It's evolved into much much more. I have never been but it was definitely a group effort. Go back and look at old posts regarding it and see how they talked about it then. And how it became more.

Howa was started in 2018 by a group of members that wanted to help people. They have.

Let's say we all went to the same diner for breakfast regularly for a few years and spent our time there and ate there. Is there a point where we get voting, or membership privileges on how the owner does things? Maybe he's decided it's too much work and is thinking about selling it? Do we get a say?

I honestly don't know the numbers on Howa. But I know they've helped people. And that's what they set out to do. Sometimes that's more than enough. And I'm proud of them.

Sometimes is up to us to find our way to do the same. I'm always open to suggestions on how to help people. I'm not always open to telling me how I should do it.

My .43 cents (.02 adjusted for inflation)
There are some still outstanding issues with the original producer of Bob’s YouTube channel. I’m fact I believe the individual who also started the Van Build tradition.

As to the forum, it is a group of engaged and informed individuals who are NOT respected by the organization.
 

DLTooley

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No, I’m not aware of that. But why does that undermine my point.

My point is that these folks should be involved in the organization. Perhaps the biggest topic is best practice on build technique.
 

Happy Camper

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My point is simply that if you want something done the way you consider right, it might be better to start something yourself that focuses on those things.

A business, non profit (charity), or for profit, is not a democracy. It's run by people who decide how to best run it.

There is a crap ton of build information in this forum. If no one ever posted again, everything needed for just about anyone's perfect build is here. Except for some newer tech and electrical the will surely come out.

You just have to look further than most do, because everyone assumes that the latest builds are probably the best. Not always. Not even most of the time.

There is pirate camp, there is Howa build get togethers. There are vehicle giveaways. There are RTR seminars and workshops for builds. I'm not sure what you're wanting regarding best practices. Everyone's situation is unique. Best practices are the best build for that situation.

This isn't a contest on who has done what. I respect everyone on here past and present. Whether I agree with them doesn't change that.

In the past there have been people here who haven't agreed with the way things were. They made something that worked for them. I respect that.

The forum and Howa are two separate things. Especially since the forum was sold. Cooperation and assisting doesn't make them the same.

I've been reading this forum since well before I joined it. Years in fact. Bob used to post all the time, so did a lot of people that don't post here currently. They are the foundation this site was built on. And the reason people gravitated to it.

I'm glad you feel strongly about helping people in need. Grow your own vision into what you desire. If your prefer people to vote and everyone to have a say, then go for it. Every single person helped is a good thing. But there's no need to trying and change someone else's vision to fit yours. It's working for them. Make something that works for you.
 

txmnjim

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I’m a known constructive critic of the organization and yet I’ve been consistently portrayed as negative, etc.

The closest I’ve come to needing their assistance was engaging one of their vehicle repair experts for a job. We had a price, I bought the parts, and we had a scheduled time, actually three I think.

He was a no show, very personable in his apology but I can’t avoid the conclusion it was passive aggressive.
constructive criticism is a good thing although this sounds like hurt feelings are involved. i wish HOWA could contact
you and "bury the hatchet" so to speak? also, maybe you could let them know you would like to run on the next board
election? i hope this works itself out...jim
 

Carla618

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constructive criticism is a good thing although this sounds like hurt feelings are involved. i wish HOWA could contact
you and "bury the hatchet" so to speak? also, maybe you could let them know you would like to run on the next board
election? i hope this works itself out...jim
You are the voice of reason.
 

Carla618

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My point is simply that if you want something done the way you consider right, it might be better to start something yourself that focuses on those things.
He's just posting an idea. Why tell him he needs to do it himself if he wants change? And, it is not "whining" to post an idea. (Not sure who called it that.)
 

RoamerRV428

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i wish HOWA could contact
you and "bury the hatchet" so to speak? also, maybe you could let them know you would like to run on the next board
election? i hope this works itself out...jim
Is there a ton here on this post in some way alot of us are missing?
bury the hatchet? WAS a hacket there?
hmmmm......just wondering. So this is a personal agenda from the poster that we are not privy to?? I don't know here> :)
 

RvNaut

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My point is that these folks should be involved in the organization.

As far as I know, if anyone wants to be involved in HOWA, all they need do is ask.

..and there it is.. people can be involved if they want to be.

I am now not sure what your post is about... ??
I do object to assertions that they are the voice of the community,

who is making that assertion, I have not seen it...
 

Happy Camper

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It’s about democracy, something a certain generation seems to have lost sense of, and for some reason feel the need to passively aggressively attack those that speak to it.
Carla, this is what I was responding to. He quoted me and said that, so I felt the need to explain further.

I'm not saying shut up and do your own thing. I'm saying if a group of people build something and others decide that group should do it differently, maybe they should consider adding to that in a way that best suits them as their own group. Two is better than one.

Salvation army and Goodwill both have their store and help people. But they help in different ways while overlapping in others. I'm glad they are separate entities. They help so many people. Many more than if it were the Salvation army of Goodwill.

Democracy is great. Just don't expect that everyone gets to have a vote in what people do in their own lives and how to direct their efforts.
 

Ric G

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They do more than that. The mission statement available on https://homesonwheelsalliance.org/ gives the details. A couple of things seem more important than the RTR. They provide emergency funds for homeless. And, they “house” needed people with vans. And, underlying all of this is an accountability protocol with a 3 year contract and escrow account for recipients. It seems to me the RTR is mostly a promotional event to keep HOWA in the forefront of their charity niche. Pretty boring stuff.
Which is not like the PaRTR. Not sure what it does other than what its namesake suggests. But, I’m sure there’s a bunch of kind hearted and generous folk in that group. It’s just not a 501(c)3, which must curtail donations to it, if such donations exist.
However, HOWA’s 501(c)3 tax designation as a charity, does carry some serious responsibility. So, DL, if you have any dirt on HOWA, let it fly. I’m thinking of making a donation, but you could save me some considerable regret if they’re a corrupt organization. I can’t find much information. Since they were active starting in 2019, they are not rated, yet. Can’t be too careful.
Cheers.

I've done a bit of research on HOWA, as well, and none of the charity review organizations, of which I'm familiar, have rated it. I did analyze the two annual financial reports HOWA posted in years past on its website. There are only two, one for 2019 and one for 2020, and they have yet to post one for 2021 which seems to be way overdue. Last summer I contacted HOWA asking when it expected to post 2021 and I was told "soon". I asked on HOWA's YouTube channel in October of last year when we could expect the 2021 Financial Report to be posted and they replied: "We are finishing up our books. Our 2021 Annual Report will be posted soon. " Then 11 days ago I asked on a new HOWA YouTube video for an update as to when to expect the 2021 annual report. Not only was an answer not provided, the post was deleted within a few hours. All of this raises a huge red flag for me due to the aforementioned facts and because the 2019 and 2020 annual reports are not especially good.

Are they not wanting to post another below average financial report? For the two years (2019-2020) combined, the intended recepients (nomads in need) received just less than 50 cents on each dollar donated to HOWA. Most donors to charity, myself included, usually look for non-profits that give at least 80% to the people, programs and services they exists to deliver, keeping expenses to 20% or less. I was hoping that HOWA had significantly improved in this area, but because they haven't or won't post a more recent financial report, we have no way of knowing.
 

RvNaut

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Last fall I happend through the location where HOWA did the fall build and saw a mighty stack of lithium batteries, thousands of dollars worth... they put basic solar systems in a bunch of vehicles... that was a lot of money, let alone all the other materials used to build beds and make the recipients lives batter.... they did last spring, and the fall before, and will do ti this spring... one of the best ways anyone can help is to volunteer to help in these builds if you have the skills, be it carpentry, electrical, or even the person that manages the food during the build process... and then there is the dog sitter person....

Howa is not ... well, they are not great at communications at times... and perhaps this includes tooting their horn as to what they have accomplished.... as far as the financials go... yeah... that ain't good, but it doesn't mean malfeasance, it could just be incompetence or mistakes

HOWA has helped a lot of people, including the person camped next to me that had their vehicle blow up. HOWA bought a brand new all season tent and shipped it to them ... while it is still not great, it is way better than the tent they had .... They have a down payment on a vehicle, and will return the tent to Howa for the next person in need....
 

bullfrog

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I don’t fault anyone for wanting to know where their donation goes but if I understand the link above all funds going to the emergency fund are earmarked for a 90% distribution to those vetted to be in need and a 10% administration fee which is better than most charities right? If you are concerned earmark your donations or give directly to those in need. Personally I’m just glad there are still a group of people left trying to help the increasing numbers of people out here that need it. Thank You to all in the H.O.W.A. effort!
 
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WanderingRose

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And, if you don’t want to give cash, you can purchase items directly for the builds when they post the needs list on Amazon.

If I remember correctly, they start a thread here to alert everyone that a new needs list is in place, you can then purchase what you want and it ships directly to HOWA.
 

Carla618

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There is this link on the HOWA website, listing up thru 5 weeks ago how emergency funds have been spent…


That's not a financial report. (Eg. It doesn't show how much money was received.) Maybe Ric G will post the link to the Financial Reports page. IIRC, it is public info since it is a not for profit.
 

abnorm

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The LINK is right on the top of that page.........


HOWA does wonderful projects......BUT they are an Organization.....they CYA ....they dont "color outside the lines"

No Builds on Public Land.........they Vette and choose the most needy...........They provide the supplies !

PLEASE Don't subject "other" VanDweller builds to the same level of bureaucracy that guides HOWA builds !!!!!!!!
 

DLTooley

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The public IRS form is called a 990 and they are available for any non-profit.

If I have a hard critique of HOWA it’s how they respond to constructive communications, something evidenced in this thread.

Capitalism and Democracy are great because they both have built in feedback mechanisms that can lead to failure and the removal, if warranted, of bad actors.

In this sense we don’t have functional capitalism nor democracy in this country any more. I would hope the nomad community would be a part of the solution.

We’ve had this discussion before on this forum, and I see no change here nor at HOWA. HOWA is more than just a service provider they are leadership for the community and they don’t see responsiveness to our community in spite of their good works.

I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but after 13 years on the road and I think six on this forum I do think I have a voice worth listening to.

Oh, when I first checked on the 990 availability there were none, I think legally they have substantial time to complete and the 2021 reports are probably not late.
 

Happy Camper

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I truly hope that you understand that this forum was purchased and is no longer cheap RV living. The newownership seems to have a desire to monetize the forum, which is their prerogative, and I think the target market has also changed from what I can tell. To some extent at least.

Howa isn't part of this forum. I'm not sure why they would go backwards in a sense by trying to have a larger presence here.

As you said, Bob and others rarely post here. So why post here to change something there? Especially if you know they aren't here. It's a bit confusing.

I do understand how it can be frustrating when people or organizations aren't good or more willing communicators. And I hope that you'll find a way to talk with them to voice your ideas and or concerns.

I do stick by my assertion that if they aren't willing or able to accommodate your ideas or requests, you truly should see if you can build up support to build a better mousetrap, so to speak. That's why there's never just one company in any niche. Everyone has ideas on how to do it better.
 
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