Ĉeestas: Filipo DORCAS, Alekso MILLER, David BECK, Charlotte BURTON, Fred MEYER, Ruth (Margo) KEVESS-COHEN, Jane SHEVSTOV, Hoss FIROOZNIA; sen voĉdonrajtoj: Vilĉjo HARRIS, Brandon SOWERS, Kuo BOBB
The meeting is called to order. The president clarifies that the candidates to the board have been invited, in order to help them understand and become familiar with board processes. A quorum is declared. The minutes of the last meeting are approved automatically per board procedure. Farendaj Agadoj are read out, and each is confirmed as completed. As there is only one topic of old business and no new business, Phil recommends we add a topic of the LKK to New Business. David requests that we add to the agenda a topic Ruth has proposed in Slack, concerning paying for board participation in LK.
Nothing to report. Phil asks about the ballot timeline, and Bill clarifies that, per the bylaws, ballots must be sent out 60 days prior to the Congress, and that is when he intends to have them sent out - both digitally and on paper. He will hold online ballots open until 24 hours before the Congress, including sending ballots to anyone who becomes a member within a 60 day period. Bill is uncertain whether he needs to bring paper ballots to the Congress, or if closing online ballots the day before LK would be sufficient. Phil reads the bylaws as saying that ballots must be in the hands of the director by the close of the first day of the Congress (which would be Saturday), or such other day of the Congress as the board determines. Alex clarifies that voting indeed must be available to new members during the Congress then, and Phil requests that Bill therefore bring paper ballots to the Congress, as the online system has certain requirements in place for security reasons. Bill agrees to bring paper ballots for people who sign up as members during LK, but people who have been previously sent an electronic ballot will not be permitted to vote on paper at the LK, due to the potential for double voting. The deadline is set as the evening of the Saturday of the LK, with an exact time to be announced at the Solena Malfermo. Phil requests that Bill inform the candidates as to their deadline for submitting their information. Bill will be submitting that request within the next week, including informing candidates of a deadline. It is suggested that the candidate biographies should be listed in Usona Esperantisto as well as with the ballots.
The reports have been sent out to board members. Nothing is out of the ordinary for the monthly items, and the year to date is doing better than expected at this time. Investments are up for the quarter, and things are looking good overall. Ruth, Bill, and David have been discussing with Chuck Mays that ESF has only been providing information on our donors quarterly, and we would prefer it monthly or, if possible, weekly, to allow us to thank large donors. David agrees to forward financial reports to the candidates.
The president briefly summarizes the report he sent out to board members (Appendix A). Alex requests that we not delete old board meeting videos. Jane suggests that this is why we have the minutes and that leaving them as unlisted with no end date is a security risk. Action Item: Jane will look into Slack discounts for non-profits to upgrade us to the professional version of Slack, in order to avoid having old messages automatically deleted. Phil goes on to discuss the funds in summarizing his report. Ruth clarifies that the board agreed on a technology budget and that around July, we will get a Zoom account for E-USA, which can be used for regional coordinators, committee meetings, board meetings, and potentially also for local group meetings if requested.
Flyers for an Upcoming Sci-Fi Convention
Will Morton made a flyer to pass out about Esperanto at a Sci-Fi Convention. This process has been going on for a while. 500 copies would cost about $200, and the members at the last LK explicitly added in a line item to the budget for $500 to be spent on promoting Esperanto. Phil suggests that the board not micromanage our committees. The idea of a QR code is brought up, and Jane and Hoss suggest both a link and a QR code. Ruth points out that they now have a link for Esperanto-USA. David recommends that they send us the receipt for this and we reimburse them. Hoss expresses concerns due to a previous interaction with this committee and requests some specific changes, if we are to pay for this. Ruth requests specific feedback, and it is offered. Ruth asks Jane’s opinion as a person who is familiar with sci-fi conditions. Jane responds that, if this flyer were to appear at a convention as-is, it would start fun conversations. Hoss offers to create a specific url for this flyer, which would allow us to track how many hits we get from this flyer in particular, in order to gauge effectiveness. The board agrees to discuss on Slack regarding procedures going forward regarding expectations of board interactions with committees.
Board Expenses for Congress
Ruth wishes to propose that just for this year we come up with a method by which board members may be reimbursed up to $200 per board member to cover lodging, transportation, and Congress fees as necessary. If a board member does not need their $200, that money can go to another board member who does need the $200. If a person needs more than $200, they are to inform Bill regarding this, and all approved expenses would be paid out by the board members and reimbursed by the organization. Alex recommends that we require any board members who accept such a stipend to do work at the LK. David moves that we accept Ruth’s suggestion, and Jane seconds. The motion passes unanimously. A longer term solution will need to occur later, including potentially upfront money offered to people as needed. This will be discussed via Slack.
The meeting is declared closed.
Appendix A: President’s Report
Videos of board meetings
The videos of our board meetings are to assist the secretary in creating minutes and for review by board members, such as those who have missed the meeting. They are for no other purposes. They are generally posted on youtube as unlisted, so that only those with a link can view the video. I suggest that after one month the videos be eligible for removal from Youtube.
Overview of how money in the General Fund and other funds work
The board creates a budget for the general fund, which is not valid until it is approved by a majority of the members at our annual congress (LK). That approval by members grants the board and the CO to spend up to that much money for those accounts. Any money outside of that approval is the board’s responsibility, which must be approved by the board majority.
Any money not spent in a category remains in the general fund for the next year. The board does not plan a budget for the other funds. They already have their money which is managed by the chair or committee of each fund according to the purpose of each fund.
Some reasons why special funds exist
In the recent decades when ELNA was losing money year after year, donors wished to support the projects which could no longer be supported by the budget. So special funds existed for their declared purposes, such as publications, publicity, education, etc. The result is that money continued to flow into those special funds, and those categories of expenditures disappeared from the budget altogether. The budget became the overhead while the funds were what reflected the purpose and vision of the members.
It is my wish that we create a budget that reflects our mission and vision and work to gather donations for the General Fund so that the true mission and vision that we hold in common can again be an integral part of our financial plan. We can do that with courage and without excuses.
I want us to discuss reasonable expenses for board members, so that we can attract board members of all levels of our culture and not just those who can easily afford the cost. It is perfectly legal to do this.
Board members who can afford some travel and registration expenses can repay those expenses by way of donating back to the board. The donations can also flow through the ESF donation system that we now have in place, and some of it up to a point will be eligible for matching funds.
We cannot predict how technology will affect us, help us, or hinder us in the future, but some if it will have a financial cost. One example is Zoom or other online expenses. Who will pay for our Zoom meetings or Webinars? Are we going to hold AMA meetings? Ask Me Anything? Ask the President Anything? Ask the Board Anything? Tell the Board Anything? What will be the cost of our coming campaigns and communications with members? We must plan for growth in a way that helps our technology-savvy younger set without leaving other members behind.
We need to provide needed technologies to our local groups, such as Zoom meetings. We should not make excuses that we don’t need to spend the money because they can use free services that are not as reliable. We can do better than that.
We must paint a picture that we are courageously embracing the future, being radically invitational to the younger set.
We must at the same time raise the bar for communications with local groups and be patient with our regional coordinators. We do not give regional coordinators enough information to pass on to local groups.
We can survey members on various topics and ask regional coordinators to follow up, asking local groups to inspire their members to respond to the surveys.
Recommendations for the next board
- Continue to improve communications and transparency with members.
- Use surveys to ask specific questions of members.
- Organized a themed membership drive starting in November of each year.
- Organize a themed drive for financial donations starting in November of each year.
- Leverage local groups and social media for campaigns.
The deadline for articles for UE is April 15.