These notes are meant to capture key discussion points, decisions made, and next steps or action items.
Burlington Writers Workshop (BWW) Community Meeting Notes
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Submitted by Candelin Wahl
Overview & Intros – Eva Gumprecht gave background on why the BWW community is meeting. The decisions membership needs to make are “What do we want to offer?” and “What will it take to support that?”
Communication challenges – what structure will serve us best?
Members’ Authority to Make Decisions – Discussed at December Annual Meeting: all significant decisions will be made by membership. Annual meeting voters approved this change in an amendment to the bylaws. It and other changes will be codifed into the original BWW bylaws and presented to voters at Sept. 2019 annual meeting.
We’re operating without an approved 2019 budget. Today’s meeting is about getting approvals to move forward for this interim period.
Financial Overview and Vote to Empower Finance Committee – Wendy Andersen She was a Founding Board member. Board has always tried to put together a “rainy day fund” of $10,000 (in case we lose our meeting space suddenly or face other kinds of crises).
Financial information is always available in binders at BWW office.
2019 Budget Projection – Line items were scaled back to include just workshops; does not include Retreats, Anthology, Master Classes – Income: $16,648 Expenses: $17,110. Finance Committee (Partridge Boswell; Erin Post, plus others to be named) between now and September – lean budget, no new projects included. Those can be added as finance and other committees see what cash flow is this year. General consensus that Finance Committee should interact with members, easier now that we are collecting member contact info, including emails.
Book sales – very few in 2018; don’t have anyone to attend book fairs or market the books.
Mud Season Review turns a profit from submission fees & manuscript reviews;
30 sustaining members; a number of members give by check, but not counted as sustaining members. Cash box is another option at Workshops. Donations fell off in 2018 – no fourth quarter membership drive. We need to get a better handle on donations, and look into other options for giving than PayPal.
Members will now be asked to fill out a membership form so we have emails and contact information. Meetup doesn’t give BWW that information, so there’s no way outside of Meetup to contact members (weather cancellations, other last minutes updates).
Suggestion from the floor to seek some board members who aren’t BWW members to connect us out into the community and raise our visibility.
Put BWW books on Amazon – fundraising committee (or programming?)
Digital assets committee – Stephen Kastner shared a thorough Inventory and Report; he offered to make urgent fixes and updates; he is knowledgeable and experienced with WordPress, our website platform. Members asked for a group to work together on vital maintenance and other issues. New communication platforms and tools are options to be discussed and decided in the future, with input from Board (blog, self-publishing from Workshops, for example). The digital assets committee is empowered to make mechanical changes, not content changes.
Keeping communication channels clear; public outreach and messaging is for Communications/PR Committee? Sue Parente (BWW member) submits events Seven Days calendar.
Opportunities & Announcements used to be published weekly – now lapsed. Natasha willing to take that on. Another question is: How to coordinate logistics of information shared on various platforms/social footprints. Communications committee?
BWW challenges: We need to focus on what needs to be done immediately & what can be done in the future?
How will decisions be made? Small committees/working groups need a way to report in to the larger group. They need to define who they are and what they’re doing. A committee is considered an ongoing body; a working group can be formed for ad hoc or shorter term projects. For now, expectation is that point person from each committee will report to Board and larger membership. Unclear at this point how that will happen.
Other Business? – none
Committee/Working Group/ Small Group Discussions – Those interested and willing to serve on committees broke into small groups for about 30 minutes. We met each other; shared experiences; traded contact info and created a Committee member list; named a point person. Set date for each Committee’s first meeting; Mission and tasks to be determined at that meeting.
Committees & Working Groups
Finance Committee – Support treasurer; perform bookkeeping tasks, if needed; help with budget, long-range financial planning, and clear financial reporting
Fundraising Committee – Communicate BWW costs to members; encourage donations from members; research and apply for grants; develop other fundraising initiatives
Communications (Internal and External) – Create BWW’s messages and voice to members and wider communities, work with digital assets group and others
Digital Assets Committee – Focus on the web platforms BWW uses, their interfaces, and functionality; consult with board, committees, and members about web needs
Programming Committee – Encourage creative use of BWW center; solicit workshop ideas from members; determine interest in master classes, open mic, retreats, anthology
Membership Committee – Define benefits and responsibilities of membership; welcome and educate new members about BWW; create and maintain member database
Workshop Committee – Determine workshop leaders’ needs; develop workshop guidelines, policies, and practices; mentor workshop leaders; help solve problems
Governance/bylaws Working Group
– Focus on BWW’s governing structure: codify and suggest any changes to existing bylaws; or research and suggest different models