$25USD/yr on the honor system.

List of 2015 donators HERE.

Daughter's College Updates
(a.k.a. Tracking your investment)

Our daughter Audrey's SMU-themed VAF cap, safety glasses and lab coat.   A. Reeves photo.



In the lab...

Dec 2014:
Audrey's fall grades are in:  3.8 overall (3.9 in her major)

Nov 2014:
Audrey currently has a 3.9 GPA at SMU.

Sept 2014:
Yesterday we got a text from our daughter Audrey, a sophomore at SMU majoring in Biochemistry, saying she starts training for a lab job this coming Wednesday.  The Lippert Research Group (web link) is working with chemiluminescence in the body.  She will start out helping to analyze chemicals found in saliva to look for trends between stress and depression.  Some of the other research involves using widely available smart phone technology, for example an iPhone's camera, to test for lung cancer.

Summer 2014:
  Freshman year GPA calculated: 3.896

12/16/2013: Tracking Your Investment
...Audrey Reeves Fall 2013 grades.  1 semester down.....7 to go!  3.85 GPA after her first semester at SMU.


 


Why I don't fly much, or go to fly-ins, and flew 25 hrs last year (less this year)

  Regular 'ol Cashflow 101.  Daughter in college.  The current plan is biochemistry major / world languages minor at SMU, most likely with graduate school. In other words, more expensive than our house.  No, 'm not doing OSH, or SnF, or really anything for the next ten years. And I'm OK w/it.
  I can pretty much guarantee that if you send in a donation over the next few years, it will be spent on helping this wonderful young woman become a productive member of society. Then we start it with the Tater....


1996 w/tail kit.


Senior portrait

Latest Reeves Family News:
11/13/2013: 
   Two pages of notes from our daughter's freshman Biology class at SMU.  She did this at home on a Saturday "pre-studying".  [ed. I can pinpoint the moment when I realized my daughter was smarter than me.  It was seeing these...  dr]



 

How to Donate(you might be exempt, read on....)

In One Sentence
Pay $25USD yearly if you use it - our family will convert that into food, shelter & clothing most likely college tuition for the next few years.

In One Paragraph
Is this site, and its forums, part of your regular internet scan?  Then please pay for the goods and services you regularly use by sending in a yearly honor system donation of $25USD - an amount less than (1) cup of Starbucks a month.  This site is a small business in every sense of the word (one employee), and this one family has everything riding on it.  We're not going to flood you with emails, snail mail, or pop-up ads.  Bandwidth, servers (and raising a family) isn't free.  To those who donate, thank you.

PLEASE do not start threads in the forums along the lines of 'People should donate!'  Donate if you think VAF is a good product, don't if you don't.  God Bless You either way.  Thank you.  dr

 

  • VAF is our family's stab at American Small Business.  It provides about 95% of our family's total income.  As far as I know, I'm planet Earth's only full-time Van's RV online community provider.
  • Our family has entered 'the college years'.
  • Ads on the site do not pull in what you might suspect.  I WISH I made what some folks on the internet think I do.  It always cracks me up to read occasionally on other boards how some person has a problem with me asking for donations.  Funny how most of the time those folk's I.P. addresses resolve to this site on nearly a daily basis.  They must think the servers and bandwidth are given to me out of the goodness of my internet provider's heart, and that groceries magically appear in my kitchen. ;^) 
  • Over the 18 years this site has been online in various forms, best I can calculate is I've spent over $130,000 USD bringing it to you.
  • Between April 2000 and June 2014 I pushed out over 3,500 M-F daily editions of the site.
  • No fly-ins or events attended this year (or last) or planned for foreseeable future.  Family budget rules.

Food for Thought

Kindly imagine walking up to the magazine rack inside a bookstore, and grabbing one off the shelf - one targeting the Van's RV community.  One that is published over (250) times a year.  You do this every weekday for a year, never paying once.  The pages have ads, because without them, magazines fail.  One day, an employee of the store asks you if you've enjoyed the last 12 months of magazines.  "Absolutely!", you say.  They then suggest that if you've received value from these that you make a donation of $25.

If I just did advertisers only, or just donations, I'd have declared bankruptcy long ago.  A few of the smaller mom 'n pop advertisers here have had to close up shop and/or curtail their advertising budget in order to stay in business in this down economy.  Donations are more important than ever. 

I hope you will adhere to my wish that folks NOT start threads in the forums along the lines of 'People should donate!'.  It's very important to me that this site raise funds the EXACT OPPOSITE WAY thousands of organizations do it.  I'd ask that you simply read this entire page once a year or so, ask yourself if you think you are my target audience, and decide for yourself. 

Tip: I encourage folks to use their birthday as a when-to-donate reminder.  Why?  Here is the chart showing 2014 credit card donations broken out by month.  Hopefully you can see why I encourage folks to donate on their birthday - it spreads the income out over the whole year instead of having to make due until the 'lump at the end'.  I'll take it however I can get it, but December tends to be an accounting marathon (not to mention January-November a budgeting challenge). ;^)

I'll never put a single thing in your inbox or mailbox asking for money.  Ever.

●  Jump right to the How to Donate Money section.


Perception vs Reality:

  • Perception: I work an hour each morning, then spend the rest of the day napping on a pile of cash.
    Reality: That would be awesome, but it's not really what happens. 
    In 2007 I bet my house and family's future on the success of this web site - just before the start of one of the worst economic meltdowns in our country's history.  So, I pretty much spend every waking second trying to market it and make it better.  Unless I'm asleep, I rarely go more than an hour without sitting down at the computer.  Not having a commute and self-employed means you're working three minutes after you wake up, as well as sixty seconds before your head hits the pillow.  I work every evening, seven days a week.   Even Christmas.
     
  • Perception: We are rich.
    Reality: We are not.  We follow a budget closely.
    There is no other paycheck...just this site, and it is
    enormously expensive and time consuming to run.  I thank God every single day for the advertisers and donators that have helped keep it afloat.
     
  • Perception: You can take off work whenever you want.
    Reality:  Good one.
     
  • Perception: This site will be online forever.
    Reality: I hope so.
    The intent from the beginning was to 'virtually' feed the soul of the ten year old kid still inside each of us that wants to fly more than just about anything else.  You held your hand out the car window as a kid and pretended it was a wing.  You had a cardboard box in your room with a control stick and drawings of instruments on one side, and you sat in it pretending you were upside down over the mountaintops.  You watched every single airplane that flew over your house with rapt, unwavering attention.  Me too. 

    I've taken great pains over the last decade to duplicate some of those feelings here.  To convey the dream and promise of RV flight, a sense of happiness, of accomplishment, of motivation, of friendship, of caring, of compassion wrapped in a
    Christian, positive, civil tone.  In other words, the exact opposite of most websites on the planet these days.  But sadly, the banker man doesn't care much for these uplifting emotions.  The stone cold, brutal reality (the point I need to drive home) is that unless a certain number of regular readers donate $25USD yearly, the site will struggle, and I'll be forced to go get a technology job somewhere to better support my family.  It's just cash flow.  I do love airplanes, and especially RVs, but my family comes first.  Always.  If you are one of the regulars, PLEASE donate yearly.  It literally means the difference between the site staying and going away.



 

How to Donate
I prefer donations in the order below.  However you decide to donate, even if it's a bag of pennies,
THANK YOU!!!

1. Cash.  
$25USD in some scrap paper with your name on it somewhere.
No middleman fees and instantly ready to go back into my local economy at the businesses that offer our family cash discounts - farmer's market, gas station, restaurants, doctor (5%), dentist (10%), optometrist (10%), clothes, etc...  You'd be surprised (
source). 

Local cash discounts slightly outweigh credit card transaction fees (next option).

    
mailing address:
     Delta Romeo, LLC.
     P.O. Box 270321
     Flower Mound, TX 75027-0321

 

2. Credit Card
PayPal takes 3% of the money coming in (4% from outside U.S.), but from a paperwork/accounting standpoint, it's pretty painless for me to track who sent what with a 1-click download.  I know I'll get the spelling right, because it's whatever you typed it.  It doesn't require much manpower to stay on top of, and if you can get some air reward miles, even better.

You can use a credit card from pretty much any country, and you don't have to have a PayPal account, making it the easy choice for those outside the USA.  90% of eBay purchases use PayPal (eBay owns PayPal).  It's secure.

 

3. Check made out to 'Delta Romeo, LLC' (if you're in the USA)

    
mailing address:
     Delta Romeo, LLC.
     P.O. Box 270321
     Flower Mound, TX 75027-0321

 

*Why does VAF use an honor system business model?

Exempt from Donating:
picture courtesy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jointcolors.jpg

  • any United States citizen who has EVER been in no-shit, bullets coming at you combat.  You know who you are, and I will never be able to thank you enough for protecting my way of life.  Please enjoy the site free for the rest of your life.
  • anyone currently serving in the United States Armed Forces
  • police officers (past or present)
  • current Kindergarten thru grade 12 teachers.
  • firefighters (salaried or volunteer - past or present)
  • anyone employed by Van's Aircraft
  • anyone acting as a moderator in the forums
  • My Mother-in-law.
  • anybody currently unemployed
  • the (2) renters at 'theVanCave'

The simplest explanation I can offer is because it's less work for everyone involved, it keeps the non-corporate vibe intact, and it helps preserve my sanity.  Forcing anyone to pay just to view or post introduces another colossal layer of complexity, and changes the vibe.  Hello unintended consequences.  I WANT this site to be different from everything else.  The non-corporate vibe thing is very important to me - it has to do with the 10-yr old inner child in me that I want to protect.

Also, when I have to go look up my username and password for some website just to see a dang site, I want to put a shoe through the monitor.  I vowed to never make this site be that. 

Three more reasons...

First, as a United States citizen who is VERY appreciative of those who defend(ed) my freedoms, the 'exempt from donating' category at left is of primary importance to me.  Who would setup and maintain the list of thousands of free combat veteran accounts?  How do you verify their credentials? This all implies employees, and an office, and status meetings, and peer reviews, and a thousand other things that a) gets us off topic and b) killed large parts of my soul in a previous corporate life.  I'd have to charge much more to cover the increased overhead, just so I could net the same amount.  It becomes an episode of ‘The Office’ every day. Thank you, but no. I do it this way for my own simplistic, sanity-preserving reasons.

Second, it releases me from the ‘I paid my money so this is the direction I expect you to go with the site’ back and forth. If you don’t feel you got $25 in value during the past 12 months, don’t pay.  On the other hand, if you visit often, post, saved or earned money on something in the classifieds, don't fit in one of the exempt categories and still choose not to pay, well, I don't even know what to say to that.

 Joke:

Q: Ever hear how copper
     wire was invented?

A: Two pilots got in a fight
     over a penny.

 

Third, this honor system business model allows those who are on the fence regarding getting into the hobby to virtually ride along, for years if that’s what it takes. The soft sell approach gets people involved in the hobby and sells kits.  Having to pay just to see what’s inside right there at the beginning, right when you're just getting interested, is a major buzzkill.

Thanks to those that ‘pay their tab.’

Things I'll never do with VAF:
You'll never have to click through a pop-up ad to see any page.  There will never be an ad that moves your screen over to the side and starts talking to you.  When you go to the front page, it won't start singing, or dancing around, or try to get you to buy some car or cable service.  You'll never have to login just to see the dang story.  I'll never start a VAF wine club, or put together a VAF lawn tractor discount.  It's focused only on RVs and the people who fly and build them.

$2.08 a month.   I don't think anyone can argue that isn't an outstanding value!

2014 Donation lists: (Cash/Check - Credit Card)  2013 Donations: 2,624 (cash/check - credit card).  2012 Donations
(previous years:  2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008)

Thank you for supporting our family's small business,

Doug Reeves (and family)
  

 

Lifetime Donators:
(worked out a barter deal with something I was hunting for...)
 - Clements, Jon  - Dalton, David   - Karpayev, Vlad   - Redmond, Robert  10yrs  - Rosales, Paul   - Schoen, William   - Settle, Curtis (Bill)  - Thorne, Mark   - Webster, Tom

Lastly, in the 'Rolling the Eyes' category...

I appreciate the resourcefulness of sending me some insignificantly small amount in order to get your name on the list of contributors.  Having said that, I only actually list and consider those names of people who donated at least $25/yr.  In other words, if you sent ten cents via PayPal, your name will not appear on the site as someone who donated.  Yes.....it has happened...by a couple of people with 1,000+ forum posts.  They each used a credit card to send ten cents.  What they don't realize is that PayPal took the entire ten cents for their processing fee, so in reality they just spent a few minutes typing in their credit card information for nothing.  Well, they did spend some of their money....just not on me.