Board Minutes, January 17, 2021

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)

No report

C) Secretary (Dan)

No report

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.

VII. Announcements

The next board meeting will be Tuesday, February 23, at 7 pm.

VIII. Adjournment.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 pm.

Minutes recorded and prepared by Dan Liberthson, Secretary

December Board Minutes

Minutes of the Oregon Poetry Association (OPA) Board Meeting of December 15, 2020

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm via Zoom.

Present: Jennifer Rood (President, Historian), Dan Liberthson (Secretary), Rana Tahir (Treasurer), Susan Morse (Assistant Secretary, Fall Adult Poetry Contest Chair), Dave Mehler (Membership Co-chair), Dale Champlin (Newsletter and Verseweavers Editor), Lorna Rose Hahn (Membership Co-Chair, Outreach Chair), Sue Fagalde Lick (Vice-President), Rayn Roberts (At-Large)

Not Present: All were present, though Rayn joined late(7:35) due to car problems.

I. Jennifer called the meeting to order at 6:35.

II. Approval of Minutes

A motion by Dan to accept the November 10, 2020 minutes was seconded and approved unanimously by voice vote.

III. Officer Reports

 A. President’s Report (Jennifer Rood)

Jennifer contacted NFSPS to get a password to upload to their website, and will write something for their quarterly report.

 B. Vice-President (Sue Lick)

No report

C. Secretary (Dan)

No report

 D. Treasurer’s Report (Rana Tahir)

OPA is in strong financial health. Having started the year with a balance of $27,379.56, we have ended the year with a balance of (to date) $42,470.21. Contributing to this total were increased membership, income from Pandemic Anthology entries, and savings from having a virtual rather than an actual Fall conference. Jennifer suggested considering the best ways to spend some of the money. Rana requested that we email her ideas, as she will be doing the budget. Jennifer suggested reinstating the Cascadia student poetry contest and Rana volunteered to investigate whether any rules would prevent using the $50 prize money that the winner of the Verseweavers New Poets contest wants to donate only in aid of student poets, which the donor requests. Jennifer suggested putting on website a notice that we have money available for high school and college student scholarships, and proposed allocating $500. Susan Morse suggested increasing compensation for contest judges. She finds the membership fee description confusing and volunteered to rewrite it for greater clarity, grouping the nonmember and member fees separately. Sue Lick said verification of membership might be added for those who opt to pay the membership rate. Jennifer stated that fees to join and dues must stay the same for now, as they can only be changed by a full membership vote (e.g., at the annual conference).

IV. Committee Reports

A. Membership (Dave Mehler)

Total OPA membership is 318.

B. Contests (Susan Morse)

Susan has been posting some contest poems (one category per week) to the website. WordPress seems to change the format on some poems, and works best on Word files. The winner of the New Poets category wants to donate her $50 prize, which could be applied to something for students.

C. Verseweavers, Pandemic 2020 Anthology, Newsletter (Dale Champlin)

Dale mentioned that she will soon need to pay for Verseweavers and the Pandemic Anthology book printing. There was a discussion about whether to use Submittable for Pandemic Anthology orders, from which we would keep more of the sales price than if we ordered from Amazon. Dave said that to do this we would need someone to monitor Submittable for orders (which he volunteered to do), order appropriate size “clumps” of books for distribution, resend individual books to buyers, and then report the transaction to the treasurer, which would be complicated. Jennifer said that our book costs have already been covered from fees for submission. We could have readings by the poets, virtual for now, and sell books at them. Sue said she would help organize the readings. Dave said it would be nice to donate some copies to libraries. Jennifer noted that the issue is how to make books available to serve the purpose of promoting Oregon poets without creating an onerous workload for the officers. Rana proposed partnering with university presses with which she has interacted to get distribution taken care of, and said she would look into the feasibility of this plan. Sue said we could advertise the Anthology through Submittable and then send copies to people to those who order it. Jennifer suggested getting 20 copies and then seeing where it goes from there. There was further discussion of how many books to order and how to handle sales and distribute the books. Dave offered to check his membership list for volunteers to do fulfillment. He can monitor Submittable for Verseweavers and Pandemic Anthology orders. Jennifer mentioned that old Verseweavers are not in stock anymore but there have been a a few orders that should be fulfilled. Sue and Susan volunteered to mail out books to buyers from lots mailed to them by Dave. Dale will handle orders for contributors to the Anthology, who get free copies, and other orders will go through Sue and Susan.

D. Social media (Lorna Rose Hahn)

Every few days on Twitter and Facebook Lorna posts informational items such as industry and writing news, pictures, inspirational quotes, etc. She asked that we invite friends to “like” the OPA Facebook and Twitter pages and to “follow” them. She put an interview of an OPA member on Facebook, and asked us to send her anything we think would be of interest to members so she can post it. Susan suggested posting an OPA member poem every week. Dale suggested that we put suitable material from the OPA website on Facebook: member news, poems, events, etc. Lorna said that a link to a poem will attract more readers than putting the poem in a post. Rana mentioned that there are now two different places to post events on the website, which could be addressed by the proposed web redesign.

V. Old Business

Dave re-started a discussion about membership renewal that was tabled at the November meeting due to lack of time. Membership renewal now happens in spring (March), so people who join in late summer or fall (August-September), often to get a reduced rate for the annual conference, get only a half-year membership. If we changed renewal to August, Jennifer was concerned that members joining in March similarly get only ½ year for their dues. However, though he has no supporting data, Dave guesses that more people usually join in late summer or fall for the conference, so if we made that the renewal in August fewer people would have truncated membership periods. He suggested that we experiment with changing the renewal push period and getting a count of renewals in March if postcard reminders are not sent. Jennifer wants to continue mailing March reminders, as she fears membership may tank if this is not done. Dave then proposed a motion to make the renewal date Aug 31 for all and send reminder postcards at the end of August, but this motion was not seconded or pursued. He also suggested announcing at the start of year that all those who joined in fall would get another 6 months. Jennifer reiterated that registrants in spring would then be short-changed, so the problem of some getting only 6 months of membership would remain.

In connection with the membership renewal discussion, there was extensive consideration about whether to begin using Wild Apricot database software for tracking membership, which would have the capability to track individual memberships and and thus would allow us to make the membership term one full year for all no matter when they join. Wild Apricot, which could also take care of other functions, costs about $1,000 a year and could be used instead of Mail Chimp and Google, which are free, and Submittable, which is low-cost. Dave made a list of possible pros and cons of Wild Apricot.

Pros: Consolidation of the databases on Google Sheets and Mail Chimp, automated renewals and reminders with the ability to track individual memberships so each member gets a full year’s worth of membership, reduced work load (after set-up) for the board and Membership Chair, replacement of Submittable as a place to do membership and announce events and take payments. Cons: High cost ($90/month or $1,080/year, $81/month or $972/year if 1 year prepaid, $76.50/mo or $972/year if 2 years prepaid), initial set-up work, mailing postcard membership renewal reminders ($250 cost, approximately), Membership Chair’s labor to maintain the database, imperfect yearly scale of membership renewal and annual period of payment per service, possible hidden charges or problems with quality of service.

Lorna mentioned that Wild Apricot could be used for the newsletter and as an online store to sell and distribute books. Dave feels the cost is too high, but mentioned that Mail Chimp has some anomalies, including some people not getting newsletters, and Wild Apricot might improve newsletter distribution. However, he is willing to continue with the status quo (using Mail Chimp, Google, and Submittable) if we decide against Wild Apricot. The matter was then tabled for future discussion.

VI. New Business

Purchasing an external drive was tabled. Jennifer mentioned that we need to start planning for next year’s events. The format of proposed spring conference or seminars was discussed. Dale suggested doing monthly Pandemic Anthology launch readings on Zoom and suggested that OPA subscribe to Zoom. The spring conference could have readings and at least one workshop, but no keynote, and should be in April (National Poetry Month). Jennifer suggested 1-2 workshops in one event or 2 sessions with 2 different leaders one room. Sue, Lorna, Rana, Dale, and others volunteered to give workshops. Dale said she will do a newsletter a day in April as she did last year. Jennifer said we need to talk about bringing back the Cascadia youth contest, which would require 2 people to head it up.

VII. Announcements

The next board meeting will be Sun, Jan 17, at 3 pm.

VIII. Adjournment. Jennifer adjourned the meeting at 8:38 pm.

Minutes recorded and prepared by Dan Liberthson, Secretary

OPA Board Minutes, November 10, 2020

Minutes of the Oregon Poetry Association (OPA) Board Meeting of November 10, 2020

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm via Zoom.

Present: Jennifer Rood (President, Historian), Dan Liberthson (Secretary), Dave Mehler (Membership Co-chair), Dale Champlin (Newsletter and Verseweavers Editor), Rana Tahir (Treasurer), Lorna Rose Hahn (Membership Co-Chair, Outreach Chair), Rayn Roberts (At-Large), Sue Fagalde Lick (Vice-President)

Not Present: Susan Morse (Assistant Secretary, Fall Adult Poetry Contest Chair)

I. Jennifer called the meeting to order at 6:35.

II. Approval of Minutes

A. October 12, 2020 Minutes (Regular Meeting). A motion by Lorna to accept these minutes was seconded and approved unanimously by voice vote.

B. October 26, 2020 Minutes (Special Meeting). A motion by Dave to accept these minutes was seconded and approved unanimously by voice vote.

III. Officer Reports

 A. President’s Report (Jennifer Rood)

Thank you to those who attended the special Board meeting of October 26 to take care of the necessary motions to transfer banking privileges to the new Treasurer and President. Rana Tahir has now officially replaced Carolyn Adams as Treasurer.

You should have received a contact sheet in your e-mail containing the addresses, e-mails, and phone numbers for all Board members for this year. Hopefully this makes it easier to communicate directly with each other.

I have appointed Lisa Baldwin and Charles Castle to be the OPA liaisons to the Oregon Poetry Collection at the University of Oregon. They replace Erik Muller and Joy McDowell. I have asked them to check to see what copies of Verseweavers and Cascadia are on file at OPC so that we can provide missing copies from ours, and to check whether or not OPA’s photos of Oregon’s past Poet Laureates might be displayed there.

I reached out to Julie Cummings, the current NFSPS president, to let her know that I would like to talk with her about our successful Fall conference via Zoom. We plan on talking later this month. (NFSPS canceled their conference this year.)

I received an e-mail on November 8 that Sharon Roso, a former OPA Board member who also served as President during the early 2000s, passed away. I sent a condolence letter on behalf of OPA to her daughter, along with Maya Angelou’s poem “When Great Trees Fall.”

Bruce Parker (former OPA President/Historian) and Diane Corson (former OPA Board member and Conference Coordinator) made a Halloween visit to deliver OPA historical materials to my house.

From our ample stores, we will be gifting some back copies of Verseweavers to Eleanor Berry, former OPA President, who lost everything in the recent fires. She edited Verseweavers for years, and a poem of hers appears in the 2001 edition. Bruce Parker is taking care of that.

Our 2020 Banta Award recipient Linda Varsell Smith received her gift (an owl-faced angel made by Corvallis artist Joy Phillips), a certificate, and a copy of the presentation speech. The angel currently resides in “Heaven,” the name of the room where her collection of angels lives, and she has framed the certificate and hung that in her home as well.

 B. Vice-President (Sue Lick)

No report

 C. Secretary (Dan)

No report

 D. Treasurer’s Report (Rana Tahir)

Official transfer of treasurer responsibilities was completed on Thursday, November 5th at the Bank of America branch in Beaverton.

a. Bruce Parker’s debit card is lost, and Carolyn Adam’s debit card was handed over to Bank of America. Diane Corson retains her deposit-only debit card as a membership co-chair. Rana Tahir will be mailed a debit card.

b. In order to add current president Jennifer Rood to the BoA account and issue her a debit card, Rana, Diane, and Jennifer will need to coordinate to have the meeting at multiple branches at the same time so that current account holders can sign the paper work.

c. Rana will gain online access to the account when she receives her debit card. At that point she will be able to change log-in and email notifications.

IV. Current business: Most current business is old tasks that need follow up.
a. Send acknowledgment letters.
b. Send reminders to people with OPA checks that have not been cashed.
c. Check on GoDaddy website renewal.
d. Send out reimbursement checks.

V. Committee Reports

Membership (Dave Mehler)

Because memberships are all renewed in March, members who join the prior August don’t get a full year. Solutions proposed: (1) Move membership expiry to August and give those who join in the prior March an additional half year (Dave), (2) use the tracking software Wild Apricot (Lorna), (3) make renewal dates semi-annual or quarterly (Dan). Dave opts for implementing August expiry for now (with members getting a half-year extension if they join in March). Jennifer tabled the matter until the next board meeting. Before then, Dave will craft a motion and Lorna will investigate the cost of Wild Apricot.

Contests (Susan Morse)

No report

Verseweavers, Pandemic 2020 Anthology, Newsletter (Dale Champlin)

1. Dale will talk to Rana about the cost of publishing, and will need credit card information to pay. Rana will get the credit card next week.

2. Providing the newsletter to people even if they aren’t members (e.g., membership expired or part of larger poetry community) was discussed. Jennifer remarked it would be good publicity and people might then join to participate in an anthology or contest they learned about from the newsletter. Publishing poems in the newsletter or on the website and notices of publication would be reserved for members. Dale moved that we open the newsletter and the bulletins to an extended group of poets. There was unanimous voice vote approval.

Social Media (Lorna Rose Hahn) Lorna sent an email to the board asking if its members wanted to put together a profile with head-shot to appear in the newsletter and on the website. Jennifer commented that this would increase the visibility and transparency of the board. The idea was adopted, with participation left up to the individual board member.

VI. Old Business

Reported above.

VII. New Business

Do we want a spring (April) conference? Diane Corson has volunteered to organize it. It would be smaller than the fall conference. Dale and Jennifer discussed having periodic seminars or workshops via Zoom (e.g., every other month) rather than a conference. Jennifer will talk to Diane about this.

Cascadia—How do we revive some form of student contest? Discussion tabled until next board meeting.

VIII. Announcements

The next board meeting will be Tuesday, December 15, at 6:30 pm.

Other. Rayn discussed having poetry readings at a facility in Elkton. This idea will be explored in the future.

IX. Adjournment. Jennifer adjourned the meeting at 8 pm.

Minutes recorded and prepared by Dan Liberthson, Secretary