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Thursday 17 December 2020

Where the registration fees have gone in 2020
(and where we stand financially)

The cancellation of the 104th Four Days Marches this year came as a massive blow. Firstly because everyone was eagerly looking forward to the Four Days Marches, but also for us as the organisers because cancellation of the event comes with various financial consequences. Stichting DE 4DAAGSE’s operations are focused entirely on that one week, the third week of July, and the cancellation has turned 2020 into a lost year for us.
We are glad, however, that despite this blow, we were able to refund a large chunk of the registration fee to over 40,000 participants. As we prepared the accounts at the end of the year, it turned out that we can refund an additional 10 euros to our walkers on top of the previous refund. This additional refund will be paid over the coming weeks. In the end, everyone will have contributed 27.50 euros this year.

1.2 million euros

Despite the Four Days Marches being cancelled, our costs reached nearly 1.2 million euros this year. In a ‘normal’ Four Days Marches year, the costs total just under 5 million euros. Our wage costs (salaries, including social insurance contributions and pensions) make up nearly half of our costs this year. While our organisation would be nothing without the hundreds of volunteers, Stichting DE 4DAAGSE is very much a professional organisation. Our permanent staff work the whole year round to make the next edition of the Four Days Marches as good as and preferably even better than the previous edition.

Overheads

Other major costs include the registration module, which had been running at full steam before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our accommodation, IT costs, office supplies and insurance. All in all, this adds up to just under 200,000 euros. Aside from that, we also incur costs in facilitating and supporting all our volunteers, including the board and the department heads, who perform volunteer work for the Four Days Marches the whole year round.

Costs incurred

Other costs that our organisation had already incurred prior to the cancellation include costs for communications. These costs have continued after the cancellation, because it is important to us to keep in touch with our walkers and partners. Other costs have also continued, such as costs paid for storage locations and for preparations for our medical staff for the next edition. Various partners and suppliers had also already incurred costs for which we have had to reimburse them.

Incomings exceed outgoings

By retaining part of the registration fees, Stichting DE 4DAAGSE was able to secure the income needed to keep the organisation afloat. Along with donations from walkers who decided to forgo a full registration fee refund and sponsorship money and grants that we still managed to obtain, our total income ultimately came in at 1.53 million euros. The expectation just after the cancellation was that, after deducting the estimated costs, we would have roughly 350,000 euros left over at the end of 2020 to be able to cover the initial costs for 2021.

Additional refund of 10 euros

In calculating the amount that we would be able to refund to the walkers, we used the figures and estimations as they were at that time. Over the period that followed, there were several further developments, including the government relief measures that covered part of our staff costs. When we re-evaluated the financial situation and prepared the accounts, it turned out that we can refund another 10 euros on top of the amount refunded in June.

Buffer

We realise that even with this additional refund, we have not returned the full registration fee. However, we hope that everyone can understand that we, as a foundation, have the duty to make the Four Days Marches possible in the future as well. Organising an event of such great scale means that you need a financial buffer. Registration fees, which make up our biggest source of income by far, come in only once a year, and this amount allows us to look ahead several months in terms of covering our costs. And we need to be able to do that to keep the organisation running and organise the Four Days Marches in years to come as well.

2021

Exactly when we will have greater clarity on registration for the 104th edition of the Four Days Marches in 2021 depends on how the COVID-19 pandemic develops and what measures the Dutch government takes in response. You can, however, count on us to do everything within our power to ensure the Four Days Marches goes ahead in 2021! We hope to see everyone on the starting line in good health next year.

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