Building your social piggy bank

Print this articlePrint this article

Written by Chad Budreau View from HQ Column As seen in the August 2019 issue of Model Aviation.

Throughout our lives, we are encouraged to save money in a bank account and to invest our funds. It’s good advice to have a rainy-day fund in the event of an emergency. We at AMA regularly preach a similar message to clubs. Although clubs should have a monetary piggy bank, more importantly, they need a social piggy bank. Clubs can create a social piggy bank by supporting a local charity, hosting a public event, or helping a school’s STEM programming. Each civic act of goodwill establishes the club as a resource and valuable member of the community.

As many of us in the hobby know, clubs and flying sites will face public pressure—whether it’s encroachment, noise, or pending legislation. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Investing in your community allows your club to cash in on your social piggy bank to diffuse conflicts and build support. Your city council, mayor, and community leaders are more apt to advocate for clubs that have a strong social piggy bank.

Working at AMA Headquarters, I enjoy hearing about numerous club success stories across the country. It’s exciting to learn about our clubs and members celebrating the hobby through public events. Following are a few events that were held in June to celebrate and inspire others to build a social piggy bank.

The Fluvanna County Radio Control Flying Club in Virginia hosted its fourth annual Wings and Wheels 4 PAWS fundraiser on June 8. It benefits four animal rescues in Fluvanna County. Although poor weather affected the number of pilots and car registrations, the club raised roughly $4,000 to distribute to the animal rescues. The event received local media coverage including from NBC and CBS. You can watch one of the news interviews at

On the other side of the country, the Case Grande RC Flyers club in Arizona regularly raises money for area charities, educates students regarding the principles of flight, and hosts free public events. The club maintains contact with city officials and its Gold Level Leader Club plaque hangs in the mayor’s office. Above I included a June 17 photo of Alan Friedman, the club president, with the Casa Grande mayor, city manager, deputy city manager, and community services director celebrating the club’s AMA’s Award of Excellence.

in atlanta members were featured

In Atlanta, members were featured in a local magazine showcasing the hobby’s impact in the community. The publication featured two articles about how aeromodeling inspires careers in aviation, unifies families, and impacts local commerce.

The publication’s editor granted permission to share his June issue with our members. During our short conversation, he agreed that the hobby is a powerful force for good and should be celebrated. I encourage members to spend a few minutes reading the articles in June’s 400-Life magazine at

In the Midwest, the River City Radio Control Club in Kentucky wrapped up another successful Wings for Kids event. In June, the club donated $49,082 to Norton’s Children’s Hospital. Throughout the years, the event has raised nearly $350,000 for the hospital and gained the attention of legislators in Washington D.C. If you haven’t already, you can read about the event in the May 2019 issue of Model Aviation.

These clubs have a strong social piggy bank and are recognized as valuable parts of their communities. Don’t feel that in order to have a social piggy bank you must raise $40,000 at an event, gain TV exposure, or get face time with the mayor. Just like your retirement or savings account, you often have to start small.

Host a fun-fly and ask members to donate canned food as part of the pilot fee. Coordinate with your local leaders to conduct a free air show at your next community event. See how your club can help local Scouts earn a badge. Many schools across the country welcome AMA clubs to demonstrate the principles of flight. These efforts add to your social piggy bank.

If you have a great story to share, please let us know so we can inspire others. Be sure to follow AMA on Facebook and Twitter to read about how other clubs are building their social piggy bank.

Happy flying.

Facebook Twitter Share

Add new comment