As the year draws to a close, it is a natural time to begin reflecting on the year and thinking about the next one.
The Board kicked this off in early November at our last quarterly board meeting for 2017. It is no secret to those who participate in the Closed FB group– we need more board members.
We also need to fund the organization so we can meet the annual expenses. While we use every free service available, there are ongoing costs that we must pay. Our biggest expense is the Monthly Gathering. It always has been. From the time when we met at the UU church ($45) to the City of Columbus owned shelter house at Whetstone ($120) to the very versatile space at The Space ($100.)
Meet Up also costs us about $200 a year. It is free to the individual members, but cost organizations. Our website likewise has annual costs.
In short, the group must have a rolling annual cash flow of about $2000 to cover just the basics.
So how do we do that? For last few years, we have funded the organization through the occasional lifetime and annual membership and board dues. Mostly Board dues.
When we made the transition from an informal organization to a formal 501c3, it took a certain amount of money. There are multiple legal filings and fees which must be paid, we had to establish a mailing address, and we updated the website and had a professional design our logo, so that we had some branding materials.
This was also the time we knew we had to seek an alternative meeting location, we had more than outgrown the Room. That was a significant financial commitment on top of the fees associated with organization formation.
So we added up all those fees and the cost of seeking a new meeting space and divided by 10. That was the number of people who had stepped up to be the founding members, willing to sign on the dotted line on the legal documents. There was no magic number– other than to figure out what we felt would cover the expenses.
We had to ask ourselves? Does $250 board dues still seem reasonable? Is it too much? Given that our expenses are somewhat less. What other funding models could we look at, that perhaps more aligns with our mission, vision, and values?
So we decided– we need to cover the cost of the meeting and we want there to be a bit more cost sharing. So beginning in January, the Monthly Gathering will have a suggested donation of $2-5 per person. Our goal is to try and make the meeting self-sustaining. We have half-heartedly done this by passing the hat at the end of the meeting, but now we are going to have the hat at the front reception desk and really ask that those coming to the educational meeting, have a hand in helping us afford the space.
Well… we want to make leadership more affordable. We no longer want only those of financial privilege to be able to take on the task of Board Membership/Leadership. It was never the Board’s intention to do that in the first place. We agonized over the dollar figure and we understood it was high, but that is what it cost it get the legal documents filed. Organization formation is expensive.
We are no longer there… what we need now is new ideas, fresh leadership, with a passion to see this organization continue. I am as of January 2018, the final remaining founding board member. I have been nurturing PolyColumbus for about 10 years. I am retiring in June 2018. We feel like board dues of $10-15 a month, would be more than enough, given our new model for the monthly gathering. We need at least four new Board member by June 2018. Board membership is a two-year term, but we can have 1-2 of these broad terms be 1 year in length, to avoid having them all come up for renewal at the same time in 2020.
So in November, the Board had a heart to heart instead of our normal, formal meeting. Something had to happen.
And now we are turning to the members of PolyColumbus and saying– we need you. We need you to support us with your time and talent and less of your treasure! Our financial needs are more modest, so board dues should adjust the match that.
I love this community, so very much. Trust me when I tell you it has always, always been a labor of love. As it should be.
So I am saying today– please, step up, this community needs leadership– of all types to remain strong and vibrant. It is a place that brings us all so much. With Board dues of $10 a month, we think we can make the math work and we can build a board that has the ideas and the passion to see PolyColumbus into the future.
Interested? See me or any board or staff member.