Minutes, Feb. 25, 2021


City Club of Eugene
Board of Directors

February 25, 2021

Call to Order: 5:33

Board Members In Attendance (via zoom):
Scott Coltrane – President; Kitty Piercy – President elect; Skip Coburn – Treasurer; J. Ingrid Kessler – Secretary; Members: Joshua Burstein, Margaret Hallock, Marilyn Milne, Ralph Pledger

Guest: Joel Korin

  1. Approve Minutes (attached) – Accepted as presented
  2. Approve Agenda – proposals added include a suggestion from the Programming Committee and an additional item from the Treasurer.
  3. President’s Report (Scott) — Points of interest were deferred to the time that they arose as the meeting progressed.
  4. Executive Director’s Report (Silver) – Silver could not join us due to a family event. Notes were provided in writing. Viewership is about twice as much on Facebook as it is on YouTube. Overall, viewership numbers look ok. Silver and Marilyn are working on the new work process to add programs to our new website. It’s a bit of extra work but is coming along well. Our last Friday topic on housing got lots of views already. Likewise, housing and some of our topics are getting good attention as podcasts. Those topics are really resonating with our audience. Our membership numbers came up a little bit but we’re still a bit low.
  5. Treasurer’s Report (Skip) – Financials were provided along with a written narrative pointing out highlights. Cash position: The website redesign is now fully paid for. On the year, we have a small deficit, but this is because we had some major expenses to pay early in the year. We will also have Bloomerang, our new Client Relationship Manager platform, to pay for soon, with not as much revenue coming in so far this year. However, this is a matter of timing. Additional funds in the form of sponsorships have come in since the end of January, so our cash position is stronger than what the end of January statement shows, and it is likely that by the end of February the deficit should be wiped out. And, while membership is low, membership revenue is ahead of schedule for now. We’ll likely be heading into some quiet months for membership but Skip remains positive about doing well in the membership category this year. Balance Sheet Review: On the balance sheet, under the equity portion, there are a number of line items describing restricted funds. Skip noted that the “FR” abbreviation means fundraising. These accounts were set up several years ago by the board. At that time, the Civic Education fund and Fundraising Fund lines had no balance. The Executive Director (ED) Fund did have a dollar posted to it. Other than that one dollar, there was no transfer of cash to those reserves, and no checking accounts were established for those funds. The Civic Ed fund was denoted at the time to potentially address issues that arose from the burned down Civic stadium. Over time, there were some advertising expenses paid from that account. Likewise, the FR account did have some expenses run through it. The ED fund was for additional funds set aside for the ED. It is noted that any of these endeavors could be addressed using general funds. It is likely that the previous Board set up separate line items to help steer City Club. Now, Skip proposes to clean up our balance sheet by moving those dollar amounts into the opening equity number. It is important to note that this does not involve the transfer of money. It is simply a matter of accounting. A motion was made to eliminate these three accounts by applying their balances to the general equity number. The motion was properly seconded and then passed. In a final consideration, there is a restricted account to provide students who attend Friday fora in-person with a free lunch. In this case, we had a generous donor make a donation that was restricted to this one use. We could use that category for its intended purpose when we are meeting again in person, especially since there is no urgency to resolve this matter. How did the balance become negative? We received the donation and then overspent it. If there were donated funds there, in order to eliminate that, we would need to get permission from the donor to move those funds into the general fund. It was noted that some nonprofits feature these kinds of accounts to advertise and promote their activities to donors who might like to contribute to particular projects.
  6. Old Business
    1. CRM Update – (Skip) – We have already had our kickoff meeting. Three people from Bloomerang are assigned to us. They are now going into NEON, our current CRM, and reviewing our data. They are making staged transfers of that data to Bloomerang. After each stage they will send us a report to ask us to review it for accuracy. In addition, Skip has started taking some of the Bloomerang training with no issues to report. Smooth sailing so far. May 7th is when we hope to be fully operational with Bloomerang.
    2. Membership Committee Proposal (Ralph & Skip) Ralph previously sent documents for the Board to review. The committee has a number of recommendations: We should have a very inexpensive Student Member category, for example $10. This would have no financial impact on City Club because for the moment we have no student members. This concept would require administration including evidence of the person’s status as a student such as a student id card. Does it need to be a full-time student? The committee did not discuss that point. Overall, the Board felt that this category could include both full time and part time students. The committee recommends one membership fee for both new and renewing members. Our Treasurer, on behalf of the Committee, did a financial analysis of a couple of different proposals to help determine what we would need to charge for membership. The idea is to continue to offer a volunteer membership level but this would also require administration with a more structured approach to volunteers. Skip did an analysis assuming a 90 membership rate with a 60 dollar volunteer rate, and 120 dollar membership rate with a 90 dollar volunteer rate. The former would have a significant loss compared to what we budgeted for in the membership category this year. The latter, more expensive option, would be essentially revenue neutral with only a very small (three hundred dollar) shortfall. In order to be inclusive, we should definitely retain the $5 one time entry fee for when we meet again in person. That way anyone can join us on a single-occasion basis for a very low price. Overall the Board is supportive of the $5 one time entry fee. The hope is that over time if we have more sponsors and donors, we could make memberships even lower than what we can afford to do now. Is our goal to grow membership or to have memberships be a significant income stream? Indeed, the long-term plan is to depend more on sponsors and donors. Would a lower membership fee increase membership? Also, would it help drive those in development to have the strongest possible development activities? One sponsor is equivalent to many membership fees. Could we in the future become an organization that does not have a membership income stream? If so, we would need to make that transition over a couple of years. A motion to adopt in principle a student membership fee of 10, a regular membership fee of 100 and volunteer fee of 70 dollars was proposed. It was restated that this would not be revenue neutral. The motion was made and seconded. Additional discussion included the point that a two digit fee should be considered, for example $99 with a $66 volunteer rate. It was noted that we are going to have to do a better job of policing volunteers. Could Silver lay out specific volunteer duties? Yes. We need to identify specific roles that would qualify for the discounted rate. For example, those who help Silver set up for lunchtime meetings or fulfilling certain office responsibilities could qualify. Or people who call those who haven’t renewed memberships. Or perhaps even a volunteer serving as a volunteer coordinator. We need a lower income or volunteer rate as a matter of access. It is possible to pay membership fees monthly. Development feels that an extra 3 -5 K is possible to raise without adding an undue burden. As it is, development raises funds which are a bit over 70% of our total revenue. While we still rely quite a bit on membership, we do not rely on this income stream nearly as much as we used to. The motion passed and these matters are being sent back to committee for ongoing work. The committee has discussed other concepts such as a family membership and the business membership with those ideas still in discussion. However, a Director made the observation that a lot of categories may not increase membership. All these issues will continue to be addressed by the committee in front of our upcoming May annual meeting.
    3. Continuing Old Business:
    4. Development: The committee is planning for another summer fundraising campaign based on our last year’s success. New themes will be developed this year as we happily anticipate being able to once again meet in person. Also, the committee will be creating new lists and conduits for personal contacts. The new Bloomerang CRM will be helpful with work starting even before that. We are in good shape. Is there progress on a monthly newsletter? No progress yet, it’s still in the works. However, Scott’s Letter from the President went out to members recently. Mary Leighton will be the newsletter editor. Weekly emails about the programs are helpful – very good!
    5. Venue Committee (Mary as Chair, Kitty, Skip, Eric, Joel, Josh) — This committee needs specifics. A subset of the committee will likely do a lot of the work of getting bids. Standard lunch rates are not affordable. Venues are probably thirsty for business. We should ask the venue committee to come up with a plan for re-offering in-person meetings including a start date, so they can then bid it out. Some Directors have heard that it will take the rest of the calendar year to achieve herd immunity. We don’t want to prematurely announce a date only to be disappointed. Should we set it for January 2022? Optimistically we would rather start meeting in person at the beginning of our programming year in the fall. We could get a better deal the earlier we book. What about the Baker Center? It is unlikely to be available. Also the Café Yumm that we used for catering there is now torn down. If we find a place without in-house catering, we’d need a caterer, too. Also we could consider downtown LCC facilities. Would they still have a catering service? Not sure. Also, there are concerns for liability when we reopen. Scott will reach out to the venue committee to discuss all these concepts.
    6. Annual Board Meeting, May 21, 2021 via zoom, with email election. The election can be held in advance with pseudo-nominations from the floor. This was successful last year.
    7. Nominating Committee (Kitty, Marilyn, Joel, Eric, Scott, and perhaps Laural). Is it ok to have elected officials on the Board of City Club? Elected officials are not prohibited if they are below the City Council level. So, there is no conflict for someone who is running for School Board. Eric has already joined the committee. Laural has been invited but has not yet accepted and may not be able to participate due to time constraints. Josh very graciously offered to join the committee in Laural’s place if she is not able to serve. A motion was made to convene the committee as described. It was properly seconded.  There was no additional discussion. The motion passed. Scott’s seat is expiring as is Margaret’s. Is Josh’s term ending? No. However, Skip’s is. Skip hopefully will continue to serve as Treasurer, if approved by the nominating committee.  Two nominees for Board members and one for President-elect are needed .  What time will the annual meeting be? How about the day before, Thursday? And not Friday? The program on May 21st will be the Turtle Awards, so that could potentially serve as a time for the annual meeting as well. People will be asked to vote before the meeting either way, so it is a neutral change in terms of the election. Maybe move to May 20th at 5 pm to be the most convenient for most members.
    8. Announcements
    9. Program committee: (Joel) The program committee would like to ask the Board if we should open up questioning to interested parties who are in virtual attendance at our tapings. For example, at the housing fora there were housing experts who were welcomed to ask questions. However, we had a member object. This is a privilege of membership. Importantly, this is a privilege that remains to members even during this time. If we were to change, it would be a move away from a membership model to a community model. There was support for this idea. As it is, we have a small audience at our tapings. Do we need to perhaps reach out individually to members to encourage attendance? Only a limited demographic seems to be available during the times of taping. Scott has reached out to members personally but it’s hard to know which individual would be interested in each topic. Can the CRM spit out 10 members each week who would receive a special email that would inform them that they have been specially selected to be a questioner? Yes. Also, the new CRM allows us to tag members as to which topics they are most interested in, even though we don’t have that capability now. Could others who are not members ask their questions after members have their turn first to retain part of that privilege as exclusive to members? No, that would be difficult to accomplish. What about having the program coordinator invite interested parties? Yes, that person is usually really interested in the subject and knows who to invite. Would the program coordinator be willing to do that? Yes! Also, this opens us up to a more diverse set of questioners. A motion was made to allow non-members to ask questions as facilitated by the program coordinator. It was seconded and passed.
    10. Next Board Meeting is Thursday, March 25, 5:30pm
  7. Summary of Actions and Plans (Ingrid)

Scott – continue to investigate newsletter production, direct the venue committee to proceed, direct the development committee to proceed including the challenge to raise additional funds, catch up with Laural about the nominating committee.

Skip – Continue to work with Bloomerang, eliminate b/s equity categories

Ralph – return to membership committee with Board’s approval of concepts as described above

Joel – will tell the program committee that the Board voted to allow interested, non-members to ask questions at our virtual taping sessions.

  1. Adjournment (Scott) – Adjourned at 6:57 pm.

Faithfully submitted, J. Ingrid Kessler, DVM, Board Secretary