AGM minutes

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  • #14715

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Jacqui,

    I was just wondering when the minutes of the AGM will be posted on the website?

    Thanks

    Char

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 39 total)
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  • #26817

    Darren
    Participant

    Darren, the point of difference is that your Astronomical Society is not a registered charitable trust.

    That is very good point Trisha, to which I have no rebuttal, although I am not exactly sure what that means in practical terms.

    You said recently you have never heard of the Charities Commission website – maybe check it out. It is a government organisation, but I aa sure you know that.

    The first I heard of the charities commission was when you said that you had looked something up on their website. I will take your advice and add that on to my list of things to do.

    #26816

    Darren
    Participant

    Absolutely Terry, there was never any question of restricting the ability to read the articles, FAQs, and forum. Around the time that we were investigating how to stop the flood of spammers signing up I floated the idea of restricting the ability to write on the forum to financial members, and as I said, that got shot down which didn’t bother me at all.

    #26807

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi all

    This is a fascinating debate and I hope that somehow all these opinions can be merged to give everyone a little of what they feel is needed to make Monarch Trust secure for the future. I don’t mind being referred to as, Terry “Forum friend? or even ?non financial member? as I am not a financial member. I do not expect to receive financial information or newsletters and neither should anyone else who has not paid for them. They cost money to produce after all! If the Monarch Trust decides to give out free material that should be decided by those that contribute as financial members or to those good folks like Darren who gives up his free time to keep the forum running, how could it be any other way? However, I am very pleased that the decision was made not to restrict the forum to financial members only; this would be a disaster as forums are one of the best ways of gaining publicity, and people new to butterflies may stumble across it and want to ask questions, thus encouraging them to try rearing/breeding Butterflies themselves. One final point and this is a real biggie for me. If the Monarch Trust forum “ever” decides to restrict access to paying members only, I would require that my Photo’s and breeding Yellow Admirals document be removed from your site as I have a very strong ethical stance, that as I chose to give access to that Information for free to whoever should want to use it for personal/educational purposes or reproduce it and to distribute it to others for free, it would be wrong for it to appear where it would be restricted in it’s use/access and at a cost.
    My main aim has always been to get the message out to as many people as possible, at zero financial gain for myself, and not to place that info where it cannot be accessed and/or discussed by ?all?, who would like to discuss it.

    #26806

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Oh, Jacqui – apologies – you are indeed a contractor and I should have pointed that out. It doesn’t make a difference in terms of the trust paying someone, though. And the proposal was offered only to you, it seems. No going to market to contract a professional fundraiser.
    I got that information from a post by the Chairman, Norm Twigge, which it seems, now, was far from clear.
    He didn’t mention that part of the proposal to you was that you continue in your volunteer role in addition to this extra task.
    Financial information is available on the Charities Commission website, although many months out of date, of course.
    I look foward to seeing your successes in advancing the trust’s projects – whatever they might be. Hopefully good reasons to renew my membership.
    I didn’t know how many trustees were on board at the time of the decision about your contract.I found out only recently that Charlotte Beesley had resigned, but not when, and no new trustees have been announced.

    #26805

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Trisha – where do you get your information from?

    Firstly, I am not being paid a salary. I am self-employed as a contractor.

    Secondly, I am working a three month contract of AN ADDITIONAL twenty hours a week to advance the projects of the MBNZT. This is on top of the usual voluntary work I have been doing since the MBNZT began.

    Thirdly, all three trustees voted in favour of the proposal, and I did not vote. And if I may say so, I’m very proud of what has been accomplished… more information will be available soon.

    #26803

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Some really good comments being shared in this post and I like it;-)

    Darren it would be great to have other members comments and you do far more than your share of FREE time for the trust.
    We all do it for the love of butterflies.

    Trisha your comments are worth considering.

    What is Plan B when the three month term salary is over?

    I am not sure on this one here and perhaps this can be shared. Jacqui resigned as volunteer secretary.
    Perhaps Jacqui will go back to being the volunteer secretary?

    Cheers
    Char

    #26802

    Darren
    Participant

    Don I’m really interested in your statement “that any organisation discourages interested persons while having a lack of members astounds me”

    I would be very open to constructive suggestions about other ways to encourage interested persons.

    In my spare time I have created a facebook page for the MBNZT and a colouring competition for children. When I could afford the petrol I was visiting the Te Puna quarry park monthly and advertised that in the local papers. Now I can’t afford to do that I am wandering the streets releasing butterflies and chatting to people. I’ve summarised our tagging data and posted the information to the forum to make it more accessible to members and “friends” alike. I’ve looked through the data on how people locate our website using google analytics and have restructured our FAQ pages to better attract those searchers. I’ve also set up a managed emailing system using mailchimp to improve our email communications with members and “friends”. I also have provided my email address on the contact pages to help people who are having problems registering or managing their details. I am currently working on a way to automatically email everyone who ticks the “please send me information about joining as a financial member” box on their mailchimp signup form.

    So I feel I’m doing my little bit to try and encourage people. If there are things we are doing that you feel discourage them I’d like to examine them and see how we can make them less discouraging. And I am sure there are many more ways of encouraging new people than I can imagine.

    I did suggest restricting making forum postings to financial members only, but the trustees didn’t want to go with that one and I’m kind of glad they didn’t. I like the idea that anyone can wander in here and ask for help, and we do what we can to help them. Because I once wandered in here knowing very little and looking for help and people helped me.

    So lets brainstorm and float ideas here. If I have the time and they fit within my meagre skills I’ll do what I can with them. If I can’t hopefully others can.

    #26801

    Darren
    Participant

    To clarify, the password issue was about the AGM minutes – it’s a poor show not to tell the relevant people.

    at the risk of repeating myself, the relevant people were told. It is on their receipt.

    Yes, there is manuals & help pages for wordpress & BBpress, both on their own site & many others.

    Fantastic. let BBpress know. Because on their blog they say “Right, there is no official manual.” (http://bbpress.org/forums/topic/where-is-the-manual-and-instructions)

    in fact they have a little joke when you click on the link entitled “documentation” “Our crack team of documentators is slaving away over hot keyboards to bring you what will be the most typo-fere documentation you?ve ever seen. In the mean time, you?re stuck with me. Follow the links on the right for various pieces of information we hope are useful.”

    But since I don’t use either of these products I have no idea where the change is made.

    I thought so.

    In fact what you fondly imagine to be a “minor wording change” would involve integrating BBpress with our financial data which is in quickbooks, and then come up with some way of displaying that information in the forum postings.

    BBpress’s philosophy is “We’re keeping things as small and light as possible” (http://bbpress.org/)

    Unlike you I have read all their “various pieces of information we hope are useful”. They weren’t. I see no way of implementing such a feature. That is not to say it isn’t there, I may have missed it. Or not understood it. It does get rather technical and I am not much of a programmer.

    feel free to have a look through anytime.

    #26800

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Anna – I agree, 50cents is very cheap, but as you might have read, your 50cents is not enough to keep maintaining and improving the website.
    I WOULD pay for that, but that is NOT the trust’s priority.
    Also, I am sure you realise, the office, salaries you support were agreed by financial members “subject” to sponsorship being secured. Two or three trustees over-threw that decision without any special meeting and began paying a salary. Presumabley Jacqui couldn’t vote because that would be a conflict of interest – but who knows.
    Try looking at the balance sheet and see if you think that is viable. What is Plan B when the three month term salary is over? Jacqui resigned as volunteer secretary.
    Maybe current financial members know. I didn’t find information was freely available when I was a financial member – nor were ideas discussed.
    My decision whether to pay again depended very much on seeing an agenda and minutes of the AGM.
    Trisha.

    #26799

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    To clarify, the password issue was about the AGM minutes – it’s a poor show not to tell the relevant people.

    Yes, there is manuals & help pages for wordpress & BBpress, both on their own site & many others. But since I don’t use either of these products I have no idea where the change is made.

    Robert.

    #26797

    Darren
    Participant

    financial members should be told what a new password is

    They are, it is on their receipt. If you had a receipt you would have seen it.

    I think the technical reasons discussed as a reason for not clarifying types of membership is a weak excuse as making minor wording changes are all listed in the manuals which come with these systems.

    Manual? You mean like a ink and dead tree thing? Yeah I remember those, but I haven’t seen one for years. No manual comes with these systems. But here is the BBpress website:
    http://bbpress.org/documentation/
    You tell me how to make this “minor wording change” and I’ll be happy to do it.

    This is the first I have heard of the 3rd type of membership for helping in research. I thought this came automatically with joining the forum [or vice versa].

    You thought wrong. Many forum members are only interested in talking about plants and have no interest in research.

    #26794

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi all,

    I don’t give a toss personally whether I can or can’t read a meeting minutes on the website as I’m not a financial member. However Don is right that financial members should be told what a new password is. A financial member shouldn’t have to ask for such detail (unless they lost it from previous correspondence).

    I think the technical reasons discussed as a reason for not clarifying types of membership is a weak excuse as making minor wording changes are all listed in the manuals which come with these systems.

    Anna raised the point that the cost was reasonable. Yes I agree. But there is 2 issues,

    1. Is that a financial member has the bonus of receiving 4 newsletters & some discounted trust merchandise for their hard-earned dosh, but that’s it in my experience of an ex-financial member.
    2. The trust has raised thousands in the past, however there is very little to show for it apart from portable information broads, factsheets, newsletters & the website.

    .

    The items I mention above all attract people to the trust, but not retain them. So I disagree with Don that the trust does nothing to attract people. But I do agree with Don that the trust is now starting to appear ‘exclusive’ which will put people off of joining or remaining a member.

    Maybe 2 'special meetings' need to called for (they can be at same time),

    1. To sort out the finances.
    2. To sort out what is a ‘member’.

    This is the first I have heard of the 3rd type of membership for helping in research. I thought this came automatically with joining the forum [or vice versa].

    Robert.

    #26788

    Darren
    Participant

    Am now a happy boy after Jacqui’s kind Phone call, but would still like to see a campaign to encourage those who enjoy the benefits of this site to, become members.

    its a chicken and egg situation Don. It’s hard to convince people to become members when they believe they are already members. So we need ways to distinguish between members and “forum friends”. To do that we need to change the website software. Changing website software is expensive work. To pay for it we need more people to become financial members…

    We have been applying for charitable grants to pay for the software changeover for ages but have been unsuccessful. Some people say that is because we don’t have enough members. But if we had more members we probably wouldn’t need the grant in the first place.

    Also filling out charitable grant requests is a lot of work. It would be great to be able to afford to pay someone to fill out grant proposals, but we would need a grant to pay for someone to fill out grant forms…

    Round and round it goes.

    It’s rather like the “can’t get a job without experience/can’t get experience without a job” conundrum.

    Speaking of job experience, that could be our way out of the maze. We are currently trying to assemble a team of secondary school computing students who would be willing to change the website software over for us. In exchange they get some real world experience to put on their CV. Fingers crossed it works out…

    #26785

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Please don’t get technical Jacqui LOL as it will just go over my head when it comes to the programs on the website.

    I will be watching and waiting with anticipation!!

    Char

    #26784

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Yes, good point, Char. Darren can probably explain this a lot better than I can but because we are not using purpose-built database programs a certain amount of the terminology is not defined by us.

    We use WORDPRESS to run most of the interactive functions on our site. Most corporate websites people can look at the information but they can’t post things. On our site you can e.g. photographs, comments on pages and posts etc. For the forum we use another freeware program called BBPRESS.

    They are limited because they use language that conflicts with that of the MBNZT, the two most evident being the terms “member” and “password”.

    Right now anyone who joins the forum can only be referred to as a “member”. We can’t call them anything else.

    We’re looking at fixing that… watch this space!

    #26783

    Anna
    Participant

    I still think a mere 50c a week for such a great website, and all the info towards helping the butterflies is worth it. It is probably the cheapest subscription around these days!

    #26781

    Charlotte
    Participant

    That’s good Don we would hate for you to be unhappy;-)

    Perhaps we could call the people on the forum “friends” and leave the financial members as “members”. Just a thought.

    Cheers
    Char

    #26778

    DonQuigley
    Participant

    Am now a happy boy after Jacqui’s kind Phone call, but would still like to see a campaign to encourage those who enjoy the benefits of this site to, become members. Thank you Jacqui

    #26777

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Great to see this discussion.

    From time to time we do receive emails from financial members who have paid for the basic newsletter (pdf on a password protected page of the website) and they are unable to read it. Sometimes it’s because they’re on dial up, they may not have the latest software, their system is slow, they have forgotten that the password for the newsletter was on their receipt, or for who knows what reason. We gladly move them to a mailed newsletter subscription. But if they don’t contact us, how can we know.

    I know that the use of the word “member” (forum member, financial member) is confusing and we’re looking at a change, but it’s not as easy as you think. We use standard freeware packages for our forum, and for the website, and they allow us to “password” protect certain pages. Also, those who “join” (for tagging or for forum use) need to have a “password” – so there’s a conflict of terms. It may be easy for some to understand but difficult but not so easy for others.

    Anyway, all, keep the feedback coming, it’s all healthy debate.

    #26773

    DonQuigley
    Participant

    So who would know? I believe I am,my cheque book shows a deduction to Monarch Society,27 08 10
    But that is not the point, that any organisation discourages interested persons while having a lack of members astounds me, as a retired sales manager can I suggest posting a simple message to non members on the lines of “If you are not a member but are interested in our activity why not join and help us in our work to save these beautiful creatures “
    Our local coastguard would on a fine weekend take some 2-300 calls some 15% would be from non members these are handled in the same way as calls from members, partly from the safety aspect but also with the knowledge that a high proportion do in time become members

    #26772

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Why is that funny, Anna?
    You choose to support it, and I don’t – simple.
    It takes it a lot of money to pay staff and run an office.
    What funds get raised to cover those costs and do conservation work? A lot is needed.
    Trisha

    #26769

    Anna
    Participant

    Funny thing is Trisha, some members may be quite happy for the trust to have paid staff, an office, and a garden esp if the staff are happy to raise the funds for it.
    And financial membership is under 50c a week…less than a blimmin postage stamp!!

    #26768

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Don, only a very few in the society will know if you are member of the society or not.
    Did you send them any money after July last year? That is time membership fees start getting collected – if you joined now you would have to to pay again in July.
    Best
    Trisha

    #26766

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Darren, the point of difference is that your Astronomical Society is not a registered charitable trust. You said recently you have never heard of the Charities Commission website – maybe check it out. It is a government organisation, but I aa sure you know that.
    The MBNZT website and forum are the legacy of past and present sponsors and paying members – of course some things should be available free to the public, to fulfil the trust’s aim of promoting awareness etc. Who is “we”?
    Secret society? Yes – where is it told what the actual purpose is of having paid staff, an office and a garden? That is trust’s most recent “publicly” stated priority to further the trust’s work? What work?
    I get heaps more information out of other charities I donate to than the MBNZT ever offered when I was a financial member.
    I would love to pay again when the trust has environmental projects on its radar.

    #26759

    Darren
    Participant

    I have no idea whether you are or not Don. Heck I didn’t even know whether *I* was not a financial member. I had been, I thought I was, but it wasn’t until I couldn’t get the last newsletter to open that I found out I wasn’t. I’m the stereotypical absent-minded scientist I’m afraid. 😉

    My point is that some groups charge for meetings and some charge for newsletters, it depends on the niche the group is in. I belong to two different examples: MBNZT and Tauranga astronomical, with two different financial models, yet neither of them put their AGM minutes and financial reports on the website for the non-paying public to see. Yet that does not make either of them a “secret society”, merely groups that are trying to reward those who support them financially.

    Alan Axelrod, author of the International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders, defines a secret society as an organisation that is exclusive; claims to own special secrets; and shows a strong inclination to favour its own.

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