Photo above: RPG Research Muscular Dystrophy Association Summer Camp Program 2016. Painting custom shields, preparing for combat larp "Battle Royale Middle-earth" and TRPG sessions after drum circle. Photo by Hawke Robinson
RPG Resarch has been growing at an incredible pace!
Program demand has grown more than 1,000% this year! While donations are up more than 600% from previous years, we are increasingly short-handed and underfunded for such overwhelming demand. We do all we can to not turn participants away, but at this point we are no longer able to keep up with the demand, which means people who most need the benefits of these cooperative music and role-playing game programs, unfortunately are missing out. This page is an update on what RPG Research most urgently needs, as of December 9th, 2020.
You can help us improve the situation.
Why People Volunteer at RPG Research
You can help us make a real difference helping people get through these times. There is a long training curve (16 weeks for level 1 GMs for example) , so there is a lag-time from when people come on board as training staff, to when they can help serve the community. So the sooner you join, the sooner we can help those most in need.
Also, all staff that works with sensitive populations or data is required to pass a background check before they may do so.
We endeavor to avoid burning out any of volunteers, that is why they stay with us for years, with only just a few hours each week asked. Unfortunately our core staff is getting completely overloaded, so we really need more people to help spread the load and get back to our more usual 4-6 hours per week, per volunteer.
In the past few years RPG Research has grown from just 12 regular volunteers to nearly 150 across 6 continents!
Our programming has grown from 1-2 per programs per week, to more than 10 programs per week, with intense demand for at least 2-3 times more! Due to the administrative overload, we have had to start putting a lot of these programs on temporary hold until we can get sufficient administrative and additional trained staff to meet the demand without burning out our existing volunteers.
The wheelchair accessible RPG Mobile fleet grew from a single trailer, to now include 2 trailers and the RPG Bus, from accommodating just 3-5 people, to now able to handle between 15 to 30 people at a time.
* Our online programs have increased from 70% to 90% of our programming, most of these volunteer roles are available online internationally, though we do need a few local hands-on volunteer staff (read details for each position for specifics).
We urgently need administrative and other staff, donations, and space to keep up with this amazing demand, and to store our equipment, move our broadcast studio to a location with a higher ceiling and decent bandwidth, space for our RPG Museum, and much more.
Our programs are making lives better for thousands of people each year thanks to our incredible volunteers. Everyone at RPG Research is an unpaid volunteer, including all of our founding senior staff. It is wonderful but also overwhelming trying to catch up with the demand between our regular programs, and large events programs.
We ask volunteers to commit between 2 to 10 hours per week (on average 4-6 hours, though our top 3 senior staff are often putting in 20-90+ hours per week right now while juggling full time jobs, family, school, etc.), and thanks to all of these amazing volunteers, RPG Research accomplishes such amazing good improving lives around the world!
Learn more by reading about our About, Mission, Vision, and Impact pages.
URGENTLY NEED WAREHOUSE SPACE!
Our current 1,700 square foot space is stuffed to the gills, and the wheelchair accessible RPG Bus and RPG Trailers keep getting damaged at RV storage facilities (and the neighbors complain when stored at the founders house in the driveway).
We urgently need a 2,000 (minimum) to 4,000+ square foot warehouse with a 12' bay door, for the wheelchair RPG Bus, RPG Trailers.
This would also provide space for the quickly growing RPG Museum.
We had office space downtown, but it was shared with lawyers and they have kept their offices closed most of the year, forcing operations to have to run back at the founder's house.
The warehouse will provide office space, storage for all the musical instruments (for nearly 100 participants), role-playing game community kits, broadcast studio setup, museum storage, and new program space.
This needs to be somewhere in the greater Spokane Washington or Post Falls Idaho region, that is accessible by bus so that those we serve are still able to participate.
Rent for such a facility ($0.40 - $0.90 cents per square foot) ranges between $2,000 to $3,000+ per month (unless we can find someone generous enough to donate space for free (similar to something like the Kendle Yards property owners donate the space freely to Spark Central) or at a greatly reduced rate).
We urgently need this space. We raised a little over $6,000 of this last week thanks through Mindcrack with an 8-hour gaming marathon fundraiser thanks to the folks at MindCrack, but we still need an additional $24,000 for 1 year's rent before we can make the move (or else someone donates space at a free or lower rate). This would also become a new accessible community center (following all safety compliance of course).
Current Facilities Overview
Prior to COVID we were running out programs out of a shared office with lawyers downtown, multiple community centers, libraries, schools, about 70% online, and using our mobile facilities (the wheelchair accessible RPG Bus and RPG Trailers).
The supplies and online resources (servers, studios, etc. are stored at the home of the organization's founder to keep costs as low as possible).
All donations are used only on the program expenses, not a single individual at RPG Research receives any money.
The lawyers have closed the offices (much more than required) most of the year, so we have only been able to handle mail there.
Obviously the schools, community centers, etc. have been on shutdown for COVID.
Now a LOT of people are in urgent need of our services more than ever, connecting socially in a cooperative beneficial way.
We were running about 70% of our programs online prior to COVID (now more than 90% online), through the online studios setup and run at the founder's expense, freely for RPG Research.
For those who do not have access to broadband Internet, computers, etc., we are able to run safe and socially distanced programs using the RPG Bus and trailers, parks, etc.
The studios/storage is about 1,750 square feet currently.
The RPG Bus (22'L x 9'3"H x 8'W) and trailers (26'L x11'9"H x 8.5'W) have alternated between being stored at the founders house/driveway/lawn (neighbors hate that obviously), or various RV storage facilities. The bus and trailers keep getting broken into or vandalized at the RV storage facilities, and the neighbors complain when at the house. The founder purchased with his own funds, and maintains the vehicles and trailers, and freely donates their use to RPG Research.
The founder covers the bus and trailers out of his own pocket and does not receive any money from donations.
Everyone at RPG Research is 100% unpaid, all money goes to support the programs, supplies (pencils, cleaning agents, dice, etc.) that help improve lives for a vast range of populations.
See videos about our programs:
GenCon TV 2020
Begin at 1:15:37
GenCon TV (Indianapolis) 2019
PAX Unplugged East (Philadelphia) 2018
Wizards of the Coast Dragon Talk (Renton) 2018
KREM2 News (Spokane) 2016
WorldCon 73 - 2015
Seattle Children's Hospital 2015
Washington State Therapeutic Recreation Association
ZoeCon - (Seattle) 2014
OPEN VOLUNTEER POSITIONS
Please keep in mind we are overwhelmed right now, so it may take several days or even 1-3 weeks to respond to your application or email, but we are daily working on responding, so please just be patient as we catch up on your message or application.
If you have questions or suggestions, please feel free to Contact Us!