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CAL Board Meeting Minutes – Brainstorming Session 6/28/2014

Attending: Peg Brantley, Denny Dressman, Margi Evans, Christine Goff, Jerrie Hurd, Trina Lambert, Mike Madigan, Michele Morris, Matt Schild
(Underlined sections denote action taken, or a commitment to a specific proposal.)

Call to order @10:30am
Mike asked those members present to give a 30-second “bio” of their background. He outlined the plan for the day to address only critical “old business” in the morning, then move on to Brainstorming, then fully develop “big new ideas” in the afternoon hour.

Board business
Requested change by Trina to minutes from May 19 meeting to remove phrase under budgeting “including budgeting into the red.” Motion to approve minutes, with the deletion, by Margi, 2nd by Jerrie. Approved by 7-0 vote w/Denny abstaining because he wasn’t at May meeting.

Mike said he would ask Michele to remove UNAPPROVED label on May minutes at web site.

Mike gave budget update as last year’s Treasurer. Will finish June $49 negative in net income. But that’s $1,517 positive to budget—very successful year and strategy. CAL has $18,746 in the bank.

There were a number of budget questions (accountant’s answers inserted):

Treasurer’s Report

Trina: What is $300 in Accounts Receivable?
(Linda Lange: The A/R is probably accumulated from unpaid no-shows at program meetings, but I’ll need to confirm. I usually send one reminder that payment is due for reservations, unless canceled within the defined notice. However, if not paid after that notice, I write it off – at year-end. The write off will reduce Program revenue.)

Denny: What are Merchant Fees?
(LL: Merchant Fees are fees charged by PayPal and (previously) other credit cards. It’s lower for PayPal, but not free.)

Jerrie: Where are Printing expenses budgeted?
Mike reminded that general expenses like Printing and Postage are budgeted in and charged to the “department” that incurs the expense. Everyone agreed they preferred to leave it like that rather than split up general expenses by “department.”

Mike: Would it help departments, like Programs, to see an itemized line report each month to track/check expenses? Denny and Chris said it would, provided the description was detailed enough to recognize.
(LL: I can do that as long as the program chair provides the necessary detail. Linda Carlson did a good summary sheet each month. I can provide a simple reporting form for whoever will be collecting the reservations, etc.

The only Postage expense per se is CAL’s PO Box fee.)Newsletter

Mike asked if Matt had received any feedback on the first edition of InPrint? Matt said he had not other than one request to send InPrint by U.S. mail. This launched debate if CAL should supply mailed InPrints to those who ask for it. Mike pointed out that it was only last year that we switched from print to electronic distribution in order to synch with web site and to save money. There was general agreement that if there are a small number of requests for print we can always print-out from the web and will accommodate.

Matt: It would help InPrint to have some photos that are related and recent to tie into articles. Michele said she has a bank of photos, but that someone requested we not post photos without ID. Mike made the request; he said he intended this as a general rule, not a blanket edict. All agreed Michele will post the photos and people who view them can send her ID info.

Mike: Requested that all board members try and take photos at any CAL event or program to offer for InPrint, and that we try and get IDs when possible.

New business – Brainstorming

Jerrie: Finished 2013-14 with 252 members. Update on June renewal month via Linda Lange is that as of June 25 we had 85 renewals and she’s receiving 5-6 per day.
Mike sent e-blast reminder last week, which prompted a surge.

Mike: re Jerrie remark, why would we charge out-of-state members less than Colorado residents? Launched debate, explanation that the out-of-state members are former residents who moved. Jerrie said maybe about 20. Resolved that we “grandfathered” these out-of-staters, and we charged them less because they don’t have access to normal benefits (Programs, Banquet, Holiday Mart, etc.)

Jerrie: Do we want to continue to offer the $20 membership discount to members who refer new members? Discussion ended with agreement that we will continue offer through entire year.
Expects more turnover in membership this year because we increased so dramatically (about 50) last year. Based on this, Jerrie proposed a 2014-15 target of 265 total membership. Board supported this and adopted as CAL’s goal.

Denny presented 2014-15 CAL Programs draft he and Chris Goff built.
6 programs (Sept, Oct, Jan, Feb, March, April); 4 half-day, 2 full day.
Full days collaborate with Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.
Discount for members and early registration. Some fees still to be negotiated with RMMW and RMFW.
Tentative plan to present on second Saturday morning of each month; board jumped on the idea to call the series “Second Saturdays.” Adopted plan.
Denny: key to building attendance assurance is to get word out early.
Michele: ready to post on web as soon as details set.
Mike: we’ll get Publicity Chair Ron Richards involved as soon as details ready to announce. We want to maximize PR on the quality of programs, the series, unique collaboration among Colorado writing orgs, and build attendance.
Matt: suggested tie-in of monthly InPrint feature to the next upcoming program.
Chris: Suggested that we approach early on key media editors and contacts (WestWord, Denver Post, community newspapers, YourHub, etc.) about Second Saturdays and make suggestions for feature stories.

Margi present 2014-15 Courtyard proposal for either Thur., May 7 or Sun., May 10. Thursday more expensive Room Rental, and we can’t get into room on May 10 until 6pm.
Discussion ruled out Sunday date; questioned popularity of a Monday; focused on Wednesday, and Margi will check availability and cost. (Added to minutes on July 21, 2014: Email approval of banquet date: 8-2 in favor of Wednesday May 6th. Denny moved, Trina seconded addition of above.

Mike: Offers to research a summer venue that might equal Holiday Mart as a sales opportunity for CAL authors, and plan/research so that we could stage in Summer 2015. Suggestions: Aspen Literary Festival, Vail event, Colorado Springs. Denny makes point that the key to Holiday Mart is thousands of shoppers come there for one reason: to buy. Side suggestion: Approach libraries about creating a “CAL shelf” of authors and offer to meet with library book clubs. This might have some promise.
Denny: Offers proposal to enlist CAL members to offer local book club contacts, etc. to create a book club directory that members could then use to solicit appearances (sales). Someone makes the point it has been tried before and books clubs chafed at being inundated with proposals. Chris says indy book stores like Tattered Cover would strongly object to attempt to undercut its own book club sales. Discussion that CAL could build/present a list of authors willing to meet with book clubs, but some remark that seems passive, like “build it, they will come.”
Michele & Mike: New member inquired if there are CAL members willing to act as mentors? Could we set up a program or list?
Trina: Raised a similar idea about critique groups? Jerrie: questioned whether anyone had the time.
Adjourned at 1:10pm.Next meeting: Monday, July 21, 6:30-8:30 @ Englewood LibraryWe will not meet in August.(Minutes written/submitted by Mike Madigan)

Minutes amended on July 21, 2014 and submitted by Cheryl Carpinello.


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