May 11, 2011

Board of Directors Meeting

May 11, 2011
8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Portland Downtown District Offices
Meeting Minutes

In Attendance: Susan Tran, Elliott Teel, Nancy Lawrence, Mary Marsh, Bill Duggan, Chris Busby, Danielle Marks, Stuart Gerson, Joan Leitzer, Sayre English, Stacy Mitchell, Judy Halpert, Jan Beitzer

Absent: Kristen Smith, Joe Gervais, John Rooks

Meeting Commenced at 8:39 a.m.

Minutes from previous April Board Meeting

Stacy noted that there was an error in the last month’s Board meeting minutes in the ‘Walk around the Block’ section.  Amend to “General support for the idea came from the board though direct action items were not developed at this time.”

Downtown Worker Appreciation Day Recap

Sayre reported that 600 bags were distributed at the Spring Downtown Worker Appreciation day and a perfect amount of food was provided.  The budget for the day was $1100 and only $1003 was spent.

Recommendations for future DWADs include:

  • More sign-in sheets;
  • More signs for the food;
  • A start time for the art museum station at 8:00 a.m. rather than 8:30 a.m.  In the past, people didn’t show up to this location as early, but there are new businesses around so the start time should be moved up to reflect this.

Jan received 3 phone calls from people to say thank you for DWAD.

Nancy mentioned that she received 100 coupons that she could attribute to DWAD and encouraged other businesses to do bigger offers and get a bigger return.

Jan also noted that Danielle is their new front office person and she arranged for the Portland High Key Club to stuff bags, which worked out very well because the students were able to learn about Buy Local.

All agreed that the Fall DWAD should fall after Labor Day, on a day when there are no cruise ships in town and that is not a farmer’s market day.

Executive Committee

FY12 Budgeting Process:
Bill distributed copies of the FY12 budget and explained that the left hand column reflects the actual and the middle is the proposed budget.  In his explanation, Bill noted:

  • that costs for the hosting services are at $200 and reflect what we spend for Media Temple website.
  • Membership Committee:  Filemaker costs will be dropped for FY12 and will be diverted to Emma.
  • Website Redesign: the $1200 proposed is the estimated cost of the yearly maintenance.
  • Marketing Directory: $500 is the actual cost

On the revenue side:

  • Overall, $25000 is budgeted for member revenue.  The actual for last year is $23000.
  • Target revenue for the Indie Biz awards is $3000.
  • Anticipate $26000 to spend without adding staff or a contractor.

The Executive, Finance and Membership committee budgets are all well planned based on the previous year’s expenses and it would be hard to find anything to cut.  If there is a need to make cuts, they would need to come from the marketing budget.  $12000 is the proposed FY12 budget and covers posters, stickers, ads and thank you cards.

Chris commented that the marketing budget was increased so that Buy Local can maintain a more consistent presence in local media (Phoenix, Bollard, etc.) as was agreed.

A way to gain more flexibility is to increase our income through dues.  463 members currently (although this number does not reflect people who have not renewed yet for FY12 and will drop off in June if they don’t ).  How many new members do we need to be able to afford other things?

Jan noted that the budget for the directory printing is $0 and nothing is budgeted for it.   Bill explained that no distribution expense is built in.  Jan remembered that Buy Local paid a cost of $36 for distribution last year.  Bill thought that was a small enough expense that it might not have been attributed to the directory costs.

Sue pointed out that Kristin asked to move cover design our out of membership.

Bill closed with some questions regarding possible FY12 expenses including a staff member, more media or contracting out services.

Portland Buy Local Staff

Sue briefed everyone on the conversation about adding staff from the last executive committee meeting and the possibility of adding a part-time staff.  Kristin will be stepping down as the membership chair and Joe does not want the position.  All agreed that the membership activities would be a key component of the job.  At next month’s executive committee, there will be more discussion of a proposal based on today’s talk.

After research from AMIBA and other sources, Sue found that the recommendation would be to skip over a part-time position and go to a full-time executive director who would be a solid presence and constant advocate.  This is not realistic now.

Bill asked if there are comparable IBA’s with staff.  Stacy said that she’ll look into it, but that there are not many that are comparable.  There is a group of leaders and we are there, but are probably the only one without a staff member.  The average membership fee for those groups is $120 per year.

Sue noted that Kristin was spending 40 hours a week on the membership committee.
Sue asked Joan and Mary if the membership committee could spend more time knocking on doors and recruiting if there’s an administrative person to pick up other tasks.  Mary said that part-time help is need particularly in the time period of January-April.

Stuart pointed out that there’s a lot that a part-time person could do not focused on membership.

Stacy added that training on the website would also be a responsibility.  Stacy, Sue and Kristin are the only ones who know the detailed responses.  Bill suggested building a FAQ so that most questions can be answered by anyone and we could systematize the process like a business.

Bill suggested that the potential staff person could work on Membership from January to April; the Directory in May and June and from September-October focus on the Indie Biz.  Jan mentioned that emails and taking the minutes would be year round responsibilities.

Stuart also pointed out that there is a lot of membership work that COULD be done, but doesn’t because of the time.

Nancy questioned that there would be too much work for a 20-hour a week position and hard to find the right set skills and supervision.  Would this person be able to be the face of the organization?  Would people step back from volunteering?

Stacy agreed that these are concerns and that’s why an executive director would be best.

Bill asked what the typical full time salary would be; Stacy/Sue: $50,000 per year.  Bill figured out that we would need to up the membership fee to $400 per year to cover that.

Jan raised the example of PAC as a reason against an executive director.  Administrative help & more grunt work are what Buy Local needs, but an executive director should be doing more high-level work.  Buy Local already has the people with the needed skill sets for running the organization.

Sue pointed out that in this economy, it would be much easier to find a non-profit pro with great skill sets to fill a part-time position.  It’s an employer’s market.

Bill: The board needs to remain the face of the organization.  We need to write a priority list; followed by a job description and a contract.  A contract would remove the liability and costs from the position.

The budget for FY12 does not need to be adopted at this meeting yet, but do we all agree we need a staff member?  Yes, the issue will go back to the executive committee.

Website Analytics
A dashboard of the website traffic was distributed with the April minutes and agenda.  Overall the statistics show that compared to a year ago, the website receives the same # of unique visitors but people are spending more time on the site and viewing more pages.  We’re not attracting more consumers.  How do we fix that?  Member use of the site is up though.  Seasonal or temporary category is getting more hits.

Bill pointed out that another good reason to hold the Indie Biz awards is to drive consumer traffic to the site for voting.

May Lowdown
Include the May 25 mixer at Apothecary by Design (Stacy will go take a photo) and link to the recent Consumer Reports article on Independent Pharmacies, new members and tee-shirts and totes teasers.

Membership Committee:

Should circle back on new member welcome kits to make sure they’re all caught up.

Marketing Committee:

Chris said that this month in Go, the spring ads will run.  Beginning in June, the directory cover image will be in our print ads.  Tee shirts are in process; Stacy and Chris will coordinate on the order forms and will have them ready for the May 25th mixer.  Discussion was had regarding the price of the tee-shirts and agreed at $13 for Buy Local member and $18 suggested retail price.

Meeting adjourned at 10:00 a.m.

Thank you sustaining members!

Aikido of Maine   /   Andrew and Debra Tenenbaum   /   angela adams   /   BENCHMARK Residential & Investment Real Estate   /   The Brand Company   /   Bull Feeney's   /   Casco Bay EyeCare   /   Casco Bay Frames & Gallery   /   Coffee By Design   /   CornerStone Building & Restoration   /   The Fish & Bone   /   Goodwill Industries of Northern New England   /   Green Clean Maine   /   Liquid Riot   /   Joan Leitzer   /   Longfellow Books   /   Marsh Agency   /   Nine Stones   /   Nomads   /   OTTO   /   Peter Metsch   /   Old Port Magazine   /   Port Property Management   /   Portland Downtown   /   Portland Farmers’ Market   /   Renys Department Store   /   Sebago Brewing Company   /   Stacy Mitchell   /   Supreme Clean   /   The SunriseGuide   /   Thurstons Wicked Good Burgers   /   Tsunami Tattoo   /   University Credit Union   /   Vervacious   /   XPress Copy

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