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How does your club fundraise for the hounds?

As we all know, equestrian sports has really taken an economic hit. Fox hunting is not immune, so many hunts in the US are folding every year. Most hunts hold a show or hunter paces in the off season to fill their bank accounts But, my logical mind of numbers says member dues, capping fees, and fundraising events aren’t enough.

What does your hunt do to keep the hounds and kennels running?
What are some of your club’s most creative ways to bring income?
Does your club allow sponsorships for a dedicated hound fund?

I’m just curious how other hunts keep the chase going.

Not a Hunt, but my Driving Club holds an annual auction.
Usually in conjunction with election of officers, so attendance is larger (votes must be in person, no proxy).
Members donate horse-related items, funds go to the club.
Generally around $500 raised & lots of barns get cleared of Why Do I Still Have This items. :wink:

What does your hunt do to keep the hounds and kennels running? I am not “on the board” or even in close proximity to the (anonymous) people who do run our hunt club. The hunt was started almost 100 years ago by two well-off families. Since then, it is my understanding that it is hugely endowed by their estates and families as well as other well-off members who have passed away. Our subscription is small compared to other hunt clubs. As far as I know, no one knows exactly who is on the board or what the financial status of the club is --except a few and members don’t know who they are --at least I don’t and I’ve been a member for 20+ years. There are no open meetings, no voting --nothing. However, if one is unhappy with some aspect of the club, one can “write to the board,” and be assured that nothing will ever change. But the hounds go out, the club land is beautiful (1500 acres next to a national forest), the facilities (80 stalls, two indoor arenas, CC course, track, outdoor dressage rings (2) and a beautiful club house (restaurant and bar --members only). The hounds’ kennel is new and well maintained.
What are some of your club’s most creative ways to bring income? Hunter Pace, Horse Show, Hound Puppy Auction (members can name a hound for a price). I set up a tack sale (members brought in stuff for horses and sold it --everyone donated to the hounds what they made). And the KY Derby Party where we all place bets, watch the race, and one is supposed to split winnings with the hounds --in the past few years, DH has picked the winner (he follows race horses) --and we donate all our winnings to the hounds --others tend to follow suit.
Does your club allow sponsorships for a dedicated hound fund? Does the Puppy Auction count?


Iroquois ?

Color me Surprised at your report of no meetings (therefore no minutes shared), no voting.
How is that a Club, aside from members paying dues?

Sadly sounds a lot like my Club that - while an election does happen - operates pretty much at the whim of the standing president re: Club activities & discretionary spending of dues.
Prez has been in office for over 10yrs, with a brief 4yr hiatus. Those years the office was held by his handpicked replacements who were;

  1. largely a sockpuppet to ex-prez (who became VP)
  2. tyrannical b-word & her mini-me VP who spent her 2yr term alienating longtime members, then got herself re-elected by a mail-in election (COVID year) “winning” by 1 vote over ex-Prez in suspicious circumstances (one member drafted to count ballots refuses to talk about it)
  3. BPrez resigned in a flounce, VP took over grudgingly. When election rolled around Old Prez trounced her in a 69-7 victory

But, @Foxglove it sounds like your Hunt gets along successfully.
My Club seems to be circling the drain :disappointed:

OP, sorry for the hijack.

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@2DogsFarm --The Hunt Club is what it is —The two men who started it (Kellogg --of cereal fame, and Cheff his crony and CFO) wanted to fox hunt so the bought land, hounds, hired staff, and it has been going along for almost 100 years (97 as I recall). There is a board --at one time I was told one can “buy” a seat on the board for more money than I have. Knowing the few people who admit they are on the board, I believe that --but I also think that there might be a couple of people that were “invited” and didn’t have to buy in as they are not in the financial league to buy a seat (neither has a private plane as others do). In a way, I think it works better than any other “club” I have been in --certainly better than 4-H Saddle Club. The people who make the decisions are the ones that allocate the money --or pay for it themselves (happens often --when the club needed a new bridge on our private land over a substantial stream --“someone” paid for it to happen. Quite honestly, I live 90 min away from the club --even if there were “club meetings where we voted on issues,” I wouldn’t go. I was recently asked to join staff --big no. I just want to go and enjoy the riding, the chase, and the hounds. I don’t want to DO anything --perhaps I am the ideal member for this club???


After 7yrs as a member, I’m feeling much like you.
I want to go interesting & different places to drive & that’s IT.
But I’d appreciate meetings (quarterly or?) with shared minutes, a more informative newsletter with member submissions (as there used to be).
I believe both would energize the Club.
Same handful - a dozen at most - show up at the same 2 or 3 locales.
Member-sponsored drives have dwindled to nothing.
BPrez’ relentless censorship killed the newsletter, it has yet to recover. Though as Editor the past 2+yrs, I’ve tried :roll_eyes:
A Club 2+h South of me is more active, sponsoring an annual rated CDE & the Ntl Drive Spring & Fall.
But I can’t make that drive often.
Especially hauling.

This is actually helpful more than you think.
A lot of clubs are circling the drain and recently I I’ve heard of fraud in a couple hunts where boards were stealing money and or not allocating money to hounds.

I guess I’m just trying to grasp what it takes monetarily to keep us going.

I don’t come from a hunt with an endowment or trust. We are mostly member driven and fundraising efforts help, but it’s not enough. All of our territory is privately owned (maybe in a land trust?) and members have no say in decisions towards the club.

Keep it up guys, I love your input.

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I’m too new in my current hunt to know much of the goings-on administratively, but there are two hunter paces and a semi-annual tack sale to benefit the kennels.

At my last hunt, the whole kit and kaboodle, most of the grounds, the kennels with a full time staffer, club barn where you could board and train, etc were all under the auspice of a wealthy elderly benefactor. There was a board that handled logistics but besides capping/membership fees, she funded the whole thing.

She has thousands of acres, and built this amazing hunting cabin deep in the woods. More like a banquet hall, think like Norse hall style. We would ride into the dark and there would be this massive pig roast by roaring firelight in the middle of the forest. Such a cool experience.

It worked out well for me since she was very generous and I when I began hunting I was a broke college kid.


To the original question, some clubs auction off the naming rights to hounds or hound sponsorship.

To the discussion of hunts, boards and meetings. One hunt I belong to has no board and no member meetings. There is no voting. The masters run everything. That is fine by me because it is a very well run hunt.

Another hunt I belong to is the other end of the spectrum. It has masters, hunt staff, a board and officers and voting on issues. It is also a well run hunt.

I think the structure of the hunt doesn’t matter as long as it is well run.


Fundraising efforts:

Spring and fall hunter pace
Half a dozen horse shows May - Sept at a farm owned by a master so no facilities fee required.
Puppy “auction” in the summer that raises thousands. (Six other ladies and I did a syndicate and “bought” a puppy for $100 each, others were auctioned for much more.)
Puppy naming party where people bid on naming rights.
Trail rides in the summer open to public for $20 each rider.
We also own a clubhouse that is available to rent for weddings and other events.


Some examples of fund raising commonly found at UK hunts.

Raffles: at each meet for a bottle of whisky

Tumblers club: money paid into a pot by anyone who falls off with a small prize for the most falls given at the end of the month/season.

Hound Sponsorship: renewed each season, sometimes with a small gift/prize given to the sponsor of best hunting hound at the end of the season.

The 100 club: on payment of £100, up front or a monthly payment, participants have the chance of winning one of three cash prizes each month. This can raise a few thousand quite easily.

Merchandise: clothing, calendars, mugs, jigsaws, badges

Supporters Clubs: people who enjoy the activity but have no intention of ever climbing onto a horse. The social vibe but with far less mud. The Supporters Clubs also can provide a pool of helpful volunteers for hunt-focused activities.

Social events: these are really important to every hunt, not just to raise money but because they build a local community of supporters that is far wider than the people who actually go out with the hunt. So, for example,
Fun rides, open to any riders, in the summer months over private land not normally accessible
Point to point races
Team chases
Christmas Fairs
Online auctions
Supper clubs
Summer cocktails / Winter mulled wine and mince pies etc
The legendary Hunt Balls
Preview Evenings of big events, e.g. the Cheltenham Festival, with local Trainers or Badminton Horse Trials, with local riders speaking of their hopes and expectations
Etc etc

Being clever with the subscription: one of my Hunt’s subscription is fully covered by a set amount paid over ten months but as no one ever changes the direct debit for the last two months of the year the hunt gets additional income! As it is only a few £ a month, and it goes towards care of the hounds, no one minds.

Capping foot followers. Some of my local hunts have a lot of foot followers. But it is a judgement call, I feel.

My old hunt used to do numerous things through the years…

The youths held a Spaghetti Dinner one time.
$100 to name a puppy, anytime we had puppies.
Numerous fundraisers through the years.
A horse show.
Hunter paces.
Hunt Ball w/ big silent auction
Hound walks
Trail Rides

It is useful to understand whether your hunt club is a subscription pack or a membership pack. The MFHA goes into some details about the differences.

A subscription pack is one to which you pay a yearly subscription to hunt. The masters and the board make all decisions regarding the management and running of the club, and they have no duty of transparency to subscribers. If you like hunting with them, pay your yearly subscription, if you don’t, you can try taking your concerns to the masters, or you can just not subscribe.

A membership pack is one to which you join, often paying a hefty initiation fee and then paying yearly fees if you’re a riding member. In a membership pack, you do have a vote in how the club is run, and the masters and board do have a duty of transparency to the members. Membership packs are usually pretty selective about who they invite to be members, because once you’re in, you’re in, essentially a shareholder in the club.

There was a court case about this issue, where subscribers essentially tried to take over a subscription pack because they were unhappy with the board. They lost. The judge actually cited the MFHA definitions in the ruling.

If a subscription pack has a difficult or troublesome subscriber, they may not be invited to subscribe the following year. A membership pack does not have an easy way of ridding themselves of a difficult member.

The MFHA actually recommends the subscription pack structure.

FYI, if your club is a registered 501c7 or c3, their 1099s are public information, and you can review them online.

a bit late to the party, but I love hearing about others’ ideas.

Our hunt seems pretty healthy compared to how many of you are talking. We usually have 20-40 riders out on weekday mornings, and 30-65 on Saturdays (a lot depends on weather and what other horse events are going on locally.

Hunt leadership is very welcoming to newbies and does a lot to attract juniors and young professionals. The community is diverse, but there are a lot of social gatherings that keep people joining and active. (we’re a private/subscription pack)

While not a fund-raiser, nearly all of the hunts (in formal season) are followed by a hunt breakfast. This really keeps the membership tight, as you’re fast friends with all the other members after hanging and eating (and drinking) socially, more so than just riding next to them.

There are several events that bring in at least some income each year:

Blessing of the Hounds/Opening Meet–this is a huge community outreach event where literally a thousand+ spectators come watch (usually about 100 hunt members ride in it), and there’s quite the pomp and circumstance. It’s free to the public, but a few dozen tailgate spots are sold, and not cheap.

Puppy Calucutta-- the new young hounds are introduced before the season opens and “sponsored” by 1-6 members. Bragging rates to the individual/group that sponsored the young hound that is determined to be the best, evaluated throughout the season, and announced at the end.

Introduction to Hunting clinics–people interested in joining can learn about the sport, meet the hounds, participate in a trail ride with the hounds, and get a jump lesson in the hunter trials field. Individuals pay per session, and are granted an invitation to join if they’re interested and riding/horse are deemed safe and appropriate.

Hunter Trials–entries plus tailgate spots. They usually also solicit local businesses to sponsor a division, and they get free advertising.

Fall Hunter Pace–one of my favorite days of the year!

Calendar sales: a compilation of great hound/hunting pictures set on a calendar and sold to anyone who wants one. All proceeds go to the hunt. Similarly, a few dollars come in from hat and other apparel embroidered with the hunt’s logo.

Auction–usually combined with the Hunt Ball

Membership fees–offer a social membership to individuals who hunt irregularly or not at all. Capping fees (limited to 3x caps/season)

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