Minutes of the Oregon Poetry Association (OPA) Board Meeting of January 17, 2021
The meeting was scheduled to begin at 3:30 pm via Zoom.
Present: Jennifer Rood (President, Historian), Sue Fagalde Lick (Vice-President), Dan Liberthson (Secretary), Rana Tahir (Treasurer), Fall Adult Poetry Contest Chair), Dave Mehler (Membership Co-chair), Dale Champlin (Newsletter and Verseweavers Editor), Lorna Rose Hahn (Membership Co-Chair, Outreach Chair)
Not Present: Susan Morse (Assistant Secretary), Rayn Roberts (At-Large)
I. Jennifer called the meeting to order at 3:04.
II. Approval of Minutes
A motion by Dave to accept the December 15, 2020 minutes was seconded and approved unanimously by voice vote.
III. Officer Reports
A) President’s Report (Jennifer Rood)
Jennifer reported that a member requested we highlight past president Sharon Roso (2006-2009), who died last November. This member sent some photos and a poem Sharon wrote. After discussion, Dale volunteered to put something together for the Newsletter to honor Sharon.
At the end of December, GoDaddy blocked our website for “using too many resources.” Stacy Clements, our web tech manager hired last fall, said it was due to a backup process running. She contacted GoDaddy and they removed the block. Our GoDaddy hosting plan expires in September, and she recommends looking at other options before the plan automatically renews. This will be revisited at a future meeting.
As Lisa Story is redesigning our website, Jennifer gave her the contact information for Stacy Clements so they can discuss the technical side of the website redesign. We will need to discuss at future meetings what changes we want, including an easier interface, font adjustment (Sue says the font is small and needs to be more readable), and more. Lorna mentioned that the Alaska Writers Guild has a nice site to check out for ideas.
Jennifer recommended that OPA purchase a Zoom Meeting Business License for $199.90/year. This would allow us to host our spring events with up to 300 people and two rooms running simultaneously, as we envisioned our April weekend workshops. The plan could also work for readings, open mics, and other events.
B) Vice-President (Sue Lick)
C) Secretary (Dan)
D) Treasurer’s Report (Rana Tahir)
Current OPA funds total $42,214.72.
National Federation of Poetry Societies (NFSPS) dues of $957.00 (based on 319 members as of January 1) were paid.
IRS 990N form was submitted.
Rana submitted the following Budget Proposal for comments and a vote.
Proposed 2021 Budget
She suggested a separate budget section for publications and anthologies and budgeted $1000 for the Cascadia youth poetry contest, which we want to hold again this year after a hiatus last year. Sue made a motion to accept the budget, which was seconded and approved unanimously by voice vote.
Rana is preparing an OPA Treasurer’s handbook based on the recent transition experience.
The exact budget, honorarium, and registration rates for the Spring workshop series must be established.
Purchase of a hard drive is needed for storage of scanned and digitized Treasurer’s files.
Dave remarked that we pay nearly $1000 in dues to the National Federation of State Poetry Societies and asked if we were getting enough value from that investment. Jennifer replied that OPA’s NFSPS membership entitles any poets who are members of OPA to submit to any of the more than 50 NFSPS contests. Rana suggested that we could do more with our membership in NFSPS, like running our own contests. Dave mentioned that because NFSPS failed to pay us the Manningham award we should consider dropping our membership. Jennifer suggested that we might not want to withdraw because one individual, in charge of that award, did not do their job. Jennifer said she will investigate what, aside from contests NFSPS could provide, prefatory to further discussion of whether to remain a member of the organization.
IV. Committee Reports
A) Membership (Dave Mehler)
Current total OPA membership is 325.
B) Contests (Susan Morse)
No report. (It was mentioned that Susan needs us to figure out the timeline for the spring Adult Poetry Contest.)
C) Verseweavers, Pandemic 2020 Anthology, Newsletter (Dale Champlin)
Dale reported that Verseweavers copies are due to her in the mail any time now. Dave has made mailing labels to help with distribution, and copies will be mailed to the winners as soon as the books are available. This 24th edition includes the 2019 spring and fall contest winners. The Pandemic collection should be done in draft in next few days and then will need proofing. Dale thinks it will be printed in February. She asked for material for the newsletter.
D) Social media (Lorna Rose Hahn)
Lorna said that OPA is on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has 871 likes; more would be desirable. The procedure for posting events was discussed: is it OK to post privately posted content on our public Facebook page? Dale suggested putting the material in chat. Jennifer said there shouldn’t be a problem because the events already have been publicly released. The decision was to reach out to the relevant individual or organization before posting their events on our site, which Lorna volunteered to do. Cross promotion with other Pacific Northwest writers and poetry organizations was proposed. Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) has a poetry contest every year, which we could post and promote on our website. Jennifer said this would be in line with our mission to promote Oregon poetry and poets, as would quick posts now and then about other relevant events in the region. Such posts would also generate good will among organizations.
V. Old Business
Rana has requested that we buy an external drive to store the Treasurer’s digital and scanned material. Dan mentioned that such drives can fail and suggested storing the material on line in the cloud. Dave will ask Stacy if she can take care of cloud storage since she is already backing up the website on line. It was decided that both on-line cloud storage and storage on an external drive would be good. Jennifer moved that we approve the purchase of an external drive for up to $100. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved by voice vote.
Potential spring events were discussed at past meetings, possibly including Verseweavers readings, a spring conference, or workshops every weekend. We need to decide on these events. Jennifer suggested inviting poets published in Verseweavers to read in a Zoom event. Dale said we could have 3 winning poets from each of 3 Verseweavers categories at one reading, totaling 9 readers (6 minutes each), followed by open-mic readers limited to one poem (2 minutes), for a total event length of 1.5 hours. As Verseweavers should be out by the end of February, early March would be good for the first reading. Jennifer said we would need to get a Zoom subscription. Hosting the sessions and monitoring/technical support were discussed: Jennifer, Sue, and Rana volunteered for these jobs. It was decided to hold these readings free of charge on the first 3 Tuesdays in March: the 2nd, 9th, and 16th, at 7 pm.
Jennifer asked if we wanted to do weekly workshops on 4 days in April (Poetry Month) or have one conference. Weekly workshops were preferred. Rana proposed charging a discounted rate for current members and full price for nonmembers. Jennifer noted that we would need to work out the details and solicit workshop presenters in February. Workshop cost is yet to be determined.
Dan’s motion to purchase the Zoom Business plan for $200 was seconded and unanimously approved by voice vote. Rana volunteered to purchase the plan.
Dave brought up the need to decide about moving all membership renewals to August or paying for Wild Apricot, which would permit membership terms and renewals to be individually tracked. This matter was discussed in great detail at the December board meeting. Dan moved we purchase Wild Apricot for 1 year (cost, approximately $1000). The motion was seconded and unanimously approved by voice vote. Rana and Sue volunteered to find the original dates of membership for each member, either on Submittable or in Dave’s records, to input into Wild Apricot.
VI. New Business
The Salem Poetry Project invited OPA members who have poems in the Pandemic collection to read in April. We decided to accept the invitation.
The next board meeting will be Tuesday, February 23, at 7 pm.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 pm.
Minutes recorded and prepared by Dan Liberthson, Secretary