Save Rat City Rollergirls' Home
Who We Are:Rat City Rollergirls, Seattle’s premier roller derby league, is a member-owned and locally-run league that provides athletic training and competition at all levels, from our beginner “Rat Lab” to our internationally ranked, Division I All-Star Team.
Why We Need Your Help:
Our league is in trouble and dangerously close to losing our home. Due to the harsh economic climate and waning ticket sales across sports venues city-wide, we have been having a harder and harder time making ends meet. Our practice space in Shoreline serves the entire local skating community including Jet City Rollergirls, Puget Sound Outcast Derby, Antagonist Roller Derby, Seattle Derby Brats, and Potential Fresh Meat; but our rent is high. Our training programs meet the needs of skaters, from youth to adult; but our dues and drop-in fees alone cannot keep up with the costs of running our business. We have been working hard to evaluate our structure and take steps towards maintaining our community contributions while becoming financially stable in this new environment.
Our Long Term Plans:
We've transitioned back to a fully volunteer-run league, bringing the finances, marketing, and business back to the hands of the skaters. We are also continuing our community partnerships by renting out our home to many other local leagues for both practices and games. We've scaled back our Key Arena productions and are focusing time and energy on making the Rat’s Nest a home for most of our season bouts. We are also refocusing our marketing, sponsorships and fundraising to successful and repeatable campaigns that allow for consistent and year-round support.
How You Can Help:
While we have plans to help our league thrive in the long term, we still need a short term jump start to turn our strategies into reality. We are reaching out to our communities, our friends, and our families to ask for help. As an organization, we have learned a lot from these difficult times. But in order to implement change, and to keep improving and expanding our incredible athletic program, we need short-term financial assistance. No donation is too big or too small.
By helping us out, we want to make you a part of our family. With each donation, we have some special gifts that you can receive, including a limited edition Save Rat City t-shirt!
How to help save Rat City:
Grab a Band-Aid
Write #SaveRatCity on it
Affix, take a photo with Instagram, and share with the hashtag in the caption to spread the word
You can see all our photos at SaveRatCity.com
Hooray, you met and exceeded the goal! Actually a bit in excess. Great opportunity to throw a party! Kudos to everyone.
Hi Jodi! We currently have practices/training/scrimmages at our Nest for not only ourselves, but many derby leagues in the area. We're booked solid on weeknights from 6-10:30 and all day on Saturdays and Sundays. While we love Southgate Roller Rink down in White Center (that's where we got our start!) it isn't available for the number of hours our derby community needs. By making our home at the Rat's Nest, we're providing a derby-centered venue and allowing local rinks to keep providing sessions for the public that are the center of their businesses.
Hello! I live in White Center, aka Rat City. It sounds like to me that you're raising money to support your efforts in Shoreline. Am I wrong? We have a rink here (a block from where I live). Why aren't you here?
Kate: Thank you for your reply, it clarified things for me very well. I look forward to the smaller, more up close, more frequent, Rats Nest bouts. To me that is the best way to view derby.
Hi Jeff! The Nest is definitely a much smaller venue than Key Arena, that's for sure. Capacity is only about 400-450 spectators per game, so we're excited to bring back the up-close and personal derby experience for many of our bouts! Our plan for Season 11 is to produce up to 3 of our bouts at Key Arena, (our hometeam opener is locked in for January 10!) and games about twice a month at the Nest. This gives our skaters more opportunities to skate, and our fans more flexible dates and opportunities to watch! Sellouts at the Nest are likely, but by balancing a few high-capacity Key games with many more "up close and personal" nest bouts, we want all our Rat City fans will continue to get an amazing derby experience.
I strongly support keeping the Rat's Nest (and did make a contribution), but I don't understand how you can make it a "home for most of our season bouts". I attended the 2014 Jet City bouts there and it's a wonderful facility for Roller Derby. You have a great view, you are close to the action, and it has a very friendly, "funky", community feel to it, kind of reminiscent of the Rat City bouts in the hanger. However I don't see how you can modify it to even begin to fit a Rat City crowd of several thousand people into there. Even with much smaller crowds Jet City sold out all their bouts, and presumably could have sold more if they had the space. Am I misunderstanding this? I would be grateful for any clarification. Thank you.
Our season opener at KeyArena is on January 10th.
What date is the KeyArena home opener?
$45,000 is definitely a large amount to be asking for. We do have a high rent to pay, but are also facing a deficit that makes it hard for us to move forward with changes we need to make in our league and structure to ensure this is a one time ask. I know there are concerns about asking for money like this and it being used as a short term band-aid. We have completely overhauled our leadership, making sure we have the right financial people in a position to monitor our P&L, renegotiate contracts, and just have a better finger on the pulse of our business than we have had in the past.
$45,000 seems like an exorbitant amount for a space for just the next month and a half. We want to see you continue and thrive, of course! You ladies are an inspiration to all of us in smaller leagues around the state and nation. However, as a donor, I desire more information - is this rent or mortgage payments? Is this money needed because you are in a deficit? Just a bit more detail and transparency would ease my conscience before donating.
RCRG has been looking into turning into a 501 (c)(3) organization. We are still weighing our options and what makes the most sense for our league, especially taking into consideration timing and resources available to us. Currently, it seems that we may not have enough help/benefits from transitioning just yet, but we will keep revisiting this possibility to see if this is a new direction best to take down the road.
I'm not speaking for Rat City in any official capacity (as a Rat Labber it is my dream to make it onto a team someday) but from my background in non-profit and governance consulting I can say that changing an organization's status can be expensive and time consuming, cash and time being two things Rat City doesn't have right now. Being an LLC makes Rat City more agile (which is why they chose to incorporate that way), being a non-profit can create more logistics to deal with, but also open up different opportunities (while potentially closing off others). There are arguments for and against that I think are really valid (I love non-profits, so you know which way I lean). I personally think it would be great to transition to that status, but even with a strong bias towards going not for profit I think we would have to be in a sound financial situation and be able to budget for thousands of dollars in legal fees and accountant fees before we could do it. Depending on the statutes (every state is different) changing status could be a very lengthy process. Given how long Rat City has been around I feel like it would need to be from a place of strength and be about making us more awesome. From what I've seen (90% of my consulting work has been in Australia, which generally has a speedier bureaucracy) it is not a move that could save us in the short term.
Hi Brandi, have RCRG thought about turning into a 501 (c)(3) org?
We have restructured our league in several ways to cut overhead and expenses as well as ways to help ensure more revenue in the future. Some examples include: a change in league management to return to a fully volunteer run organization, holding more bouts at our Shoreline facility and fewer bouts at KeyArena, creating fund raising opportunities more consistently throughout the year, modifying our league structure to allow for more dues paying members, renegotiating contracts, better utilizing marketing in more grassroots methods, and, just overall, creating a better fan experience that will make people want to be a part of the Rat City family instead of seeing bouts as a one time social event.
If you need 45,000 to keep The Rats Nests for one more month, how will you keep running it afterwards? .
The $45,000 is needed for us to keep the Nest through November, though we still have the need for more to help us get back on our feet. In addition to this campaign, we have other fundraisers and projects in place to help us reach our goal. So even if we fall short, it would still be used to keep our home for one more month and get us back on our feet for good.
Questions??? Do you have a goal that is needed to keep the Nest and if that goal isn't reached how would my donation be used?