Usona Esperantisto № 2022:6 (nov–dec)
Board Meeting, December 10th, 2022
Ĉeestas: Filipo DORCAS, Alekso MILLER, David BECK, Jane SHEVTSOV, Fred MEYER III, Margo KEVESS-COHEN, Hoss FIROOZNIA
Ĉeestas sen Voĉdonrajtoj: Vilĉjo HARRIS
A quorum is declared. The revised agenda places two items under old topics: About Tim B discussing information packets, and the board reviewing a list of substantial donors. New topics will include committee names and members, memberships for prisoners, volunteers such as Quintyn, and campaigns for members and/or end of year donations. The agenda is accepted. The secretary, absent from this meeting, is to take notes after the meeting, based on a recording of the meeting, to be followed by the regular procedure for approval of minutes. No objections are registered.
Reminders for annual renewals have been sent out, including paper aliĝilojn for people who cannot access the retbutiko, and the membership list is being put together. It is expected to be sent out by the end of the next week.
The treasurer report has been sent out to the board in advance of the meeting. Per a request in Slack, the financial report shows that we are significantly short (a little over $14000) of expected donations, but the board is assured that donations do come in heavy by the end of the year. Nothing unusual to report.
The president reports that he is able to give more attention to our tasks than he has recently, having made alterations to his work schedule. By the end of the year, he would like to participate in end-of-year campaigns for membership and donations, which should be a multi-venue process, using email, videos, and social media with a consistent message. This will be discussed later, under New Business. Membership will also be addressed in Old Business, with the item regarding Tim B., who is absent from this meeting. Phil also asks whether two recent large donations made it to our financial report. Bill confirms that yes, this is reflected in the current report.
Informational Packets and Membership Committee
Tim B is absent, and Fred missed the last membership committee meeting. Margo is unaware of it but had been looking into updating that. Margo will be in contact with Tim B in reviewing the informational packet for members.
Phil affirms that we should thank substantial donors, naming a few that he is aware of. One member has been sending thank you cards, but they are not necessarily timely. She makes them manually and sends them when she is able. The system sends this member a list of who gave what to which funds automatically for this purpose. Hoss says he and other board members could send this out, provided that we are informed of larger donations and who sent them in. Bill will have the system send a weekly summary email to the board informing them of any donations. If anyone gives more than $500, they get a letter from the CO stating to save this for the IRS. A concern is raised for duplication of effort. Jane suggests this question of reduplication of effort could be handled via Trello, to coordinate who is doing which tasks. It is suggested to ask [member] if she is still doing this, and whether she is okay with us also sending out thank you cards for others. Phil will contact [member] to verify whether she is still doing thank you cards, whether she wants to continue, and how she would feel if we also send thank you cards to some members. Jane offers to send an email thank you on behalf of the board to a particular major donor. Bill confirms that the board does still want the information about donations, which they verify that yes, they do.
The list of committees, email addresses, and email mailing lists for the committees, has all been updated and posted online under the contact page. This allows committees to communicate more easily and allows members to easily contact committees. This information will also be included in the paper member list. The chair of each committee has been listed as a moderator of their relevant committee list. This will allow for continuity of communication even as committee chairs change over time.
Memberships for Prisoners
Brandon has been in contact with the board. Discussions on Slack have been ongoing regarding how to best act upon a vote at the most recent LK, wherein members present voted orally that the board should create free memberships for prisoners. This was enacted as one of the resolutions voted on at the Congress. Discussion has arisen as to how to do this without board overreach. The bylaws require that the Congress has to approve any changes to membership categories, but there remains some question as to whether the auditory vote on this is sufficient. The current suggestion by some board members is to have the board set aside a specific amount into a new Prisoner Support Fund, which would allow us to cover membership dues for prisoners in the short term, with the possibility of creating a ballot item in support of a new membership category to offer free membership to prisoners. Limited income membership is $20, which means that this is unlikely to cost the organization more than $100. Another suggestion has been to offer a limited time waiver for free membership. Bill states that some prisoners do send letters requesting any free Esperanto items we can send them. Phil states that we need to create a clear path for supporting such people. Currently, the CO tries to send them as much free information as he is able, occasionally including a copy of Step-By-Step In Esperanto. Many of them are already fluent in Esperanto.
It is clarified that the reason why the vote at Congress may not suffice per the bylaws is that the bylaws state the dues are to be determined by the board and approved by the Congress, which this case is the reverse. It is also clarified that this item was not announced in advance, in order to allow for people who are not present to know what they are missing, which leaves room for confusion by some members. Discussion arises as to whether the resolutions should be distributed in advance of the meeting, or whether members should be informed in advance that voting may occur at the Solena Fermo and encouraged to attend online or in person. Fred and Phil have previously volunteered to create a document explaining what usually happens at a LK, including sample agendas and the customary order of business. This document will be completed before the January meeting. Hoss will create an official ballot proposal in support of free membership for prisoners, to ensure a long-term solution exists. Hoss recommends that the board meanwhile vote to set aside one or two hundred dollars to fund waivers to give free membership to prisoners. Brandon has also offered to match that amount. This proposal will be put forth in Slack and reported in the minutes of the next meeting. David suggests that Slack votes should be open for one week and an email sent out, to allow all board members a chance to vote.
Volunteers, e.g. Quintyn
Alekso sent out an email to Quintyn, who had volunteered to be a social media manager. Discussion has arisen in Slack as to how to run social media. Should social media be primarily a method to send out information via our official organ of the newsletter, to ensure that it is all information actually approved by the organization? Do we have someone available to create quick announcements for the newsletter? Could that be a job of a social media manager, to create quick anoncoj for the newsletter, with a paragraph and a picture? The answer seems to be that yes, that is something that a social media manager could do, would be to write up announcements for the newsletter, which would then be automatically pushed out to all social media accounts of E-USA. A brief side note is made to clarify a new board procedure to ensure fairness of board voting when done asynchronously. This change will be updated in the board handbook.
The item “Campaigns for members and end of year donations” will be dealt with on Slack.