Report From the Board – February 2016
The Board of Directors of Willamette Writers holds board meetings every last Tuesday of the month (no meeting in December). At those meetings we discuss the programs and goals of Willamette Writers and how the organization can serve our members better. The board believes Willamette Writers needs to be transparent and open thus I’ll be providing you with a summarized report each month to keep you up to date on our discussions.
We’re moving ahead with our strategic planning. We’ve created the budget, and it just needs to be finalized and approved by the board. In addition, we’re focusing on these goals:
The specific goals for this year include: governance, financial sustainability, connect and better understand members, improve online footprint, and set up organizational systems. We have begun steps to achieve these goals, including:
Marketing/Membership – Currently, 82% of Willamette Writers membership comes from Oregon, 9% from Washington, 2% from California, and 7% from other/unknown. Among the Oregon members, 49% come from the Portland Metropolitan area. However, only a small portion of that 49% attend the Portland meetings. We’ll be looking at ways to better serve all areas of membership, and this demographic information can better enable us to meet the needs of all members.
2016 Budget – We examined the income and expenses for the last three years from Willamette Writers’ various programs and created a tentative budget that will hopefully be approved by the February or March board meeting.
When the numbers were looked at by the board, a realization was made that the The Willamette Writer, the print newsletter delivered via PDF once a month, is a membership benefit that costs Willamette Writers significantly more annually than all our monthly meetings at all the chapters combined. After a spirited discussion, a motion was made and a vote was held to discontinue the newsletter in its current form. Although not a unanimous decision, it still passed by a majority.
We will continue to provide our members with the same valuable information and insight found in the newsletter, just in a different format that is more cost-effective and fiscally responsible for the organization.
A much-deserved thank you goes out to Leona Grieve, the long-time managing editor of The Willamette Writer and amazing Willamette Writers member, for her years of service and her help during this transition time.
Ballots were collected at the December member meeting in Portland and votes finalized for the board members. The board voted in these Chapter Coordinators:
- Southern Oregon Chapter: Kate Hannon and Stephanie Raffellock
- Mid-Valley Chapter: Valerie Willman and Daryll Lynne Evans
- Willamette Writers on the River Chapter: Cristy Brickell and Elizabeth Brookbank
- Coast Chapter: Stacy Johns and Lori Tobias
- Salem Chapter: Kathleen Saviers and Orit Ofri
Book Fair and Book Drive Recap
Since this was our first Book Fair, it provided us and our supporters an invaluable learning experience of how book fairs run.
Over the course of the three days of the Book Fair, customer’s use of Willamette Writers’ Book Fair vouchers raised a total of $1269.24, which was used to purchase more books for Books for Kids, while the Book Drive collected 3,541 books! Thank you, Barnes & Noble!
A list of all of the organizations who received books from Books for Kids during the 2015 holiday season will be available on the website.
Timberline Review, Awards, and FiLMLaB
The Timberline Review is currently accepting submissions through April 15th for Issue No. 3, The Timberline Review Summer/Fall 2016. Look for the Winter/Spring 2016 issue out now. Various readings and events are being held throughout the Portland area, so check out the website for more information.
All awards and scholarships are open for submission, including the Kay Snow Writing Awards, the Kate Herzog Scholarship, and our newest, the Chryl Ann Julia MFA Scholarship.
Also open is the FiLMLaB Contest. Get your short script made into a movie!
Conference planning is moving along well. One of the most exciting changes is the bookstore/coffee shop area that will give attendees the chance to relax and spend time together away from the classrooms and pitch rooms.
Other discussions included:
- Volunteer and employee standards and practices, which will be a continuing discussion at future meetings. This came on the heels of learning that our wonderful Office Manager, Bill Johnson, will be leaving us after the conference. We’ll miss you, Bill! (But we also know that you won’t be too far away.)
- The development by the Communications Committee of a content calendar that will focus on a theme every month. For example, January’s theme was “Submitting Your Work”. February’s will be “Getting Published”, and March’s will be “Finessing Language.”
- The potential for a Willamette Writers conference annex in collaboration with OSU to be held in Corvallis in February 2017.
It is our goal to have boards meeting minutes, summaries, and other organizational documents available on our website; we hope to achieve this goal this year.
You are invited to attend board meetings (please contact the office about meeting time and place).