Board Meeting Minutes Coffee Party USA

INCITE CIVILITY AND REASON

Month: May, 2012

May 9, 2012

by JKL

CALL TO ORDER AND NOTE OF ATTENDANCE
The Maestro conference call meeting was called to order by President Eric Byler at 5:04 PM PDT. Other directors on the call included Secretary Jeanene Louden, Craig Dunnigan (a little late), Frank Kirkwood, Chris Ritter and Egberto Willies.   Directors not present included Treasurer Eric Whinery, and Jose Gutierrez. Staff present included Executive Director Debilyn Molineaux and Membership Director Billy Sears. We all took 30 seconds to check in. A big check in topic was a cut of the 99% Media video Eric B is working on and had sent to Frank for review. He included a link for the rest of us to view.

MEETING MINUTES
Meeting minutes on our blog are two weeks behind, but each director has received a copy of the drafts of both, and the final minutes will be posted after the meeting.

MEMBERSHIP REPORT
While we are still not meeting our membership goals, I cannot help but feel humbled and very gratified by the numbers of people who continue to participate with us in this important journey toward the American democracy we seek.

One very upsetting mystery was solved this week: Billy got some very negative input about having ignored member requests from more than one person, and was finally able to discover that notes sent to us via paypal are not automatically passed on. After finding the hiding place for these communications, he is making contact with those whose messages we did not receive earlier and making amends.

FINANCIAL REPORT
Even though Eric W was unable to attend the meeting, he submitted a long and detailed financial report that Debilyn reviewed on his behalf. A good deal of the report was calling for bits of information needed to complete the transition from Woodforest Community Bank to US Bank. Many of the answers required were provided by board members. The rest was financial projections through the end of the fiscal year and a proposed budget for next year.

OLD BUSINESS

Strategic Plan
Jeanene and Debilyn are moving ahead with the plan we created last week to complete the strategic plan. Having found that just under 100 of the comments received on the prior requests for input were from members, Jeanene will send out an email by the end of the week, inviting each person to be a member of a focus-panel to review the draft once prepared, and asking if any of them want to be on the project team. The SOD (Strategic and Organizational Development Work Group) is on board and a call is scheduled for next week.

Thank You Calls to Major Contributors
Our Little Green Light free trial has been extended to May 20th. We were all reminded to make our thank you calls before then.

IIWG
Chris gave an update for the Internet Infrastructure Work Group. The new website team is still not completely accessed to our technology, but hard at work. Chris is concerned that once this big push is over, the group will be without a challenge. Jeanene assured him that all projects have a shakedown period, and then an opportunity to seek “elegance”. Meanwhile, the New Coffee Party Story is progressing as promised.

Pathways to Participation
Frank gave us the volunteer program updates. The new volunteer web pages are awesome (we got to see and comment on the prototype.) The sign up form is ready to go and the Volunteer GroupSite looks great.

NEW BUSINESS

99% Media Strategy
We did a lot of brainstorming and idea processing about our 99% Media Strategy. As we make progress we are finding “gaps”, things missing that would make this work more effective or more volunteer friendly. We discussed many ideas, but the ones that made it include:

  • create a single Facebook page for Coffee Talk Radio
  • implement the Editorial Board we discussed in the beginning of this idea
  • take the next step in toward using twitter and scoopit posts for sourcing Facebook posts
  • explore the possibility of using radio show and news teams for coalition building

Debilyn has found a source for “Citizen Journalism” training and wondered if our 99% Media volunteers might find it helpful. She also found a totally unrelated “Coffee Party” Linkedln Group that is having a civil conversation about economics (and included a link for our benefit) that is very interesting. Perhaps we could include an opportunity for a blogging exchange on our website? Egberto asked if we could find help from someone who knows how to get attention from other media, not necessarily mainstream media.

SCHEDULE NEXT MEETING AND ADJOURN
The next Maestro conference call meeting will be held Wednesday, May 16, at 5PM PDT. We all did 30 second check outs and then all mics were opened so we could say Aloha to one another.

Respectfully Submitted:
Jeanene Kay Louden
Secretary of the Board of Directors

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May 2, 2012

by JKL

CALL TO ORDER AND NOTE OF ATTENDANCE
The Maestro conference call meeting was called to order by President Eric Byler at 5:06PM PDT. Other directors on the call included Treasurer Eric Whinnery (a little late), Secretary Jeanene Louden, Jose Gutierrez (a little late), Frank Kirkwood, and Chris Ritter. Directors not present included Craig Dunnigan and Egberto Willies. Staff present included Executive Director Debilyn Molineaux and Membership Director Billy Sears.

MEETING MINUTES
Meeting minutes on our blog are one week behind.

BREAKING NEWS
The Email Blast from today, a petition for Congressional Reform that links to Fools on the Hill got a great response from three organizations this afternoon, but has crashed the originator’s site due to incoming volume. Billy intended to resend a “Wow, we crashed the site” update in the morning, so folks can try again, but the site was back up before the end of our call.

FINANCIAL REPORT

Finances
Our financial position is not improving and, as projected, will falter at the beginning of the next fiscal year if things do not change. Our larger discussion of this is included under NEW BUSINESS / Strategic Plan. We all felt that if we had done a good job of letting members and followers know what the Coffee Party was up to today, we would not be in this financial predicament.

Board Vacancy
The lack of a Development Director was discussed as it pertains to this issue. One idea was to ask a highly qualified fundraiser to volunteer for one month to get us on the right track, and then appoint a board member who could keep the plan rolling.  As it turns out, one of our At Large directors has education and training in this area. We discussed the possibility that he be shifted into this position and our search to fill the board vacancy be shifted to an At Large position. More on this possibility after a little homework on idea feasibility. Meanwhile, any thoughts between meetings about potential candidates will be shared with Eric B.

MEMBERSHIP
Again, because our finances are membership driven, failure to meet membership goals is resulting in our failure to meet our financial goals. Several new membership appeal ideas were discussed. We even discussed the question, should we suspend more membership “drives” until National Coffee Part Week? The Strategic Plan discussion below is also key to this issue.

OLD BUSINESS

Volunteers
The need to funnel volunteers into Work Groups for our current initiatives is essential at this time. The web link will be up and running in a day or two.  We were reminded that Work Group liaisons need to let Leah know what skills are needed in each Work Group ASAP.

Little Green Light, the volunteer and membership management software we have been trying on for size, has extended our test period. We have another week to use it for making thank you calls to major donors and to review the software for value to us. Suggestions were made as to how we might be able to afford another bit of overhead.

Internet Infrastructure
Chris talked to us about the implementation of the new media strategy. The ability to meaningfully connect Big Marker within our network of options was discussed at length. Chris has submitted a request for assistance in integrating it within our system.

NEW BUSINESS

Strategic Plan
We have come to the collective realization that we went 90% of the way with our strategic planning efforts and then stalled. We decided at this meeting to go for completion on this project.

The completion effort will involve taking all the plan comments we have received from our emails sent out from Chicago, as well as the work completed at and since our “non-retreat”; putting our work in a format recognisable as a Strategic Plan; and distributing the final document to members and followers. Parts of our plan are already being implemented, but it is fair to say we have not lived up to our own standard of transparency by having shared what we are up to piecemeal.

Our unique proposition is the combination of local organizing and 99% media. It will take a good strategic plan document to deliver the power of this possibility. It must also include exactly what our money is being spent on so that members understand where their dollars go once they hit “send”.  We want to be transparent about all of this.

We agreed to put this on fast track, to use a team approach, and give ourselves a deadline to release the plan in time for Coffee Party Week. Jeanene and Debilyn will work together to form a team to put all the plan pieces together in an appropriate format. Frank will make sure the volunteer data base will send send team members in their direction. Craig and the SOD (Strategy and Organizational Development Work Group) will be called upon as is possible in this time frame. Other directors and staff will be kept in the loop for input, questions, comment, etc.

This is very exciting!

SCHEDULE NEXT MEETING AND ADJOURN
The next meeting will be held by Maestro conference call, Wednesday, May 9, 2012, at 5PM PDT. We all did 30 second check outs and all mics were opened so we could say Aloha.

Respectfully Submitted:
Jeanene Kay Louden
Secretary of the Board of Directors

April 25, 2012

by JKL

CALL TO ORDER AND NOTE OF ATTENDANCE
The Maestro call meeting was called to order by President Eric Byler at 5:06PM PDT. Other directors on the call included Treasurer Eric Whinnery (a little late), Secretary Jeanene Louden, Frank Kirkwood, and Chris Ritter. Directors not present included Craig Dunnigan, Jose Gutierrez, and Egberto Willies. Staff present included Debilyn Molineaux, Executive Director and Billy Sears, Membership Director.

MEETING MINUTES
Up to date minutes are posted on our blog.

FINANCIAL REPORT

Finances
We have decided that actual financial reports should be given once a month, when updated information is available. Eric W did report that the consolidation of all past and present banking information is almost complete.

New Bank
We opened the new US Bank business checking account today, as Egberto was driving through Albany, Oregon, on his way to the airport in Portland (returning to Texas from a conference). Debilyn (Oregon), Jeanene (Oregon), and Egberto (Texas) are signers. The implementation of the transition from the current bank is underway.

MEMBERSHIP
National Coffee Week is the biggest news on the membership front. The 2010 materials are being updated but additional volunteers are needed to get the job done on time. Meanwhile, Billy is busy with catch-up on membership cards, DVD distribution, and other day-to-day activities that have been sidelined by technology glitches and reduction in staff.

Fools on the Hill, a film about how legislative bills are introduced, altered and not read before they are passed may be our next fundraising DVD. Another film Koch Brothers Exposed about their influence in policy is also available.  Debilyn and Eric B will keep us posted. We discussed whether Facebook or email blasts were the best way to know about this kind of promotion, membership, or any other activity that might have a cost connected to it. We ruled out the Facebook – money connection by the end of the conversation: it appears to work better for information sharing and actions like petitions, but is much less effective for membership drives or fundraising efforts.

Our membership renewal numbers are well below our goals and we need to address the reasons given by those who take the time to tell us.

ORGANIZERS NATIONAL TEAM
The nation wide ONT conference is scheduled for next weekend. The National Coffee Party Week will be announced. Local organizers want to be in action, but are waiting for guidance from us.  As people organize, work together, find solutions, etc, we will encourage everyone to blog, report and tell their own story as we create the Coffee Party narrative for the country.

OLD BUSINESS

Bring It Back Home To WordPress
We all had a homework assignment to read Chris Ritter’s proposal from the Internet Infrastructure Work Group to restructure our net tools and capacity. This is an integral part of the 99% Media Strategy we embraced during our board “non-retreat” in Chicago. The details of the plan aside, the intent is to make our inner workings more accessible to a larger pool of people with the responsibility to respond to requests and changes in the environment. Our current platforms are generally so proprietary that too few people can respond to too many challenges. The result is a clunky, often broken, and difficult to update experience.

The new proposal takes us to WordPress, ScoopIt, and other user friendly domains in an integrated way. It allows for the inclusion of new actors on the horizon, like Big Marker, as well as the incorporation of volunteers into the media management process.

A motion to accept the plan, Bring It Back Home To WordPress, was made by Jeanene, seconded by Eric B, and passed: 5 yes, 0 no, 0 abstain, and 3 not present (Egberto, Jose, and Craig). We were comfortable passing this plan with only five directors present because this was not the first time the plan was made available to us and no objections in principle or detail had been raised prior to today.

The second part of our conversation focused on the website specific to local organizers. While everything else can be phased in, this must be ready for the National Coffee Week effort and must have top priority. A motion to make GROUP SITES job one for IIWG was made by Jeanene, seconded by Eric B, and passed: 5 yes, 0 no, 0 abstain, and 3 not present (Egberto, Jose, and Craig).

Board Vacancy
The saga continues to find the perfect replacement to appoint to the board vacancy. One replacement candidate is now running for public office, so is no longer eligible. We again discussed the need for someone with experience in fundraising to be the director liaison to the Development Work Group. We again discussed our gender imbalance. We again set out to identify candidates between meetings.

NEW BUSINESS

Pathways to Participation Work Group
Frank reported that his group is not quite ready for the SOCIAL MEDIA NATIONAL CALL. Eric B is preparing a video with Jessica English as the subject learning about The 99% Media Strategy. The new web site is almost ready. The volunteer forms are up and running! The radio show hosts are calling out for volunteers for their 99% Media Teams!

Coffee Talk Radio on iTunes
Eric B let us all know that all Coffee Talk Radio shows are now available for free on TUNES!

SCHEDULE NEXT MEETING AND ADJOURN
Our next meeting will be held by Maestro call Wednesday, May 2, 2012, at 5PM PDT / 8PM EDT.  We all did 30 second check outs, then all mics were opened so we could say Aloha.

Respectfully Submitted:
Jeanene Kay Louden