Wheels are coming off a bit, but I am chugging along.
OUSA Board Call (a bit from memory after the fact):
0. The OUSA Convention
will be held on Friday, November 10 in Alexandria, Virginia at the NVCC Schlessinger Center. This is my communications initiative for 2017, and I hope to get a wide range of speakers on pressing topics for clubs, including Events and Technology, Development, Marketing and Publicity, and OUSA offerings. If you have a topic that is relevant and informative for clubs and would be willing to give a short talk about it, please contact me. I'm expecting (and hoping) we'll have more topics than time, so I may not be able to fit everyone. Details to be announced later.
1. 50th anniversary campaign updates:
(a) Website template
is progressing. We are rolling out a Wix template developed by Philip Westover to early adopter clubs. We plan to add features, test the website, and collect feedback before we make the template available to all member clubs later this fall. For more info, contact me, Boris, or Philip Westover. From our conversations and survey, there is a lot of interest from OUSA member clubs, though it remains to be seen exactly how many will use the template. A major open question is building unified national databases for membership, events, and results (or using Eventor, e.g.).
(b) Peter Goodwin is organizing mapping clinics, including some this fall to be held in conjunction with the Rochester and QOC national meets. The clinics will be led by experienced mappers and presumably open to the public. There weren't written details, so contact Peter Goodwin if you have questions. Of the three 50th anniversary projects, I am least convinced of the efficacy of this. How many weekend clinics does someone have to attend before they become a competent mapper? How many maps must someone make before they have the experience to make accurate maps? Do we know if anyone will show up, and will they follow through on the path to becoming a competent mapper? Some discussion was had about alternate approaches, including OUSA bringing a Euromapper to the US and contracting out their time, but the visa process appears opaque. We need to further investigate what other clubs have done like DVOA and NEOC. Developing mapping is worth a shot, and hopefully if we build it, they will come. I am skeptical.
(c) Bob Forgrave is working on a pipeline to help clubs market themselves, present a coherent message, and do Search Engine Optimization. He is working on building a base of common knowledge - a how-to or manual for how to attract people. Clubs must work their way up the tier, beginning with having good visibility infrastructure like websites and social media before we spend money on SEO and messaging. Details remain to be seen, but marketing is something that it's more straightforward to write a check for. The Board allocated $14.7k to this project, and hopefully we will come away with useful resources and a cost/benefit analysis for each of the marketing methods, including SEO, Facebook ads and Google adwords, and messaging.
2. Alex reported on the 2018 World Cup Ski-O; it is progressing, and many people seem to be planning on attending - the hotel is nearly booked. OUSA's contribution is largely financial - waiving OUSA dues and providing initial seed money, to be repaid. It is an exciting event, and the organizers have OUSA's support; I hope we will use OUSA's publicity machine to keep everyone appraised of the event.
3. Pat Meehan gave a regular update on our finances, which are looking much rosier than they were at the end of 2016. OUSA has money in the bank (which shows up on our statements), but we have three balances: restricted, designated, and unrestricted. Restricted money is that which was donated to a particular purpose, like the 50th anniversary money - and must be spent there. Board designated money is (almost entirely) money allocated to the teams, which we have told them is available for them to spend. Unrestricted money is money that can be used to any purpose - ONA, salaries, projects, venues for the convention, and so on. At the end of 2016, we had negative unrestricted money, i.e. the money in the bank couldn't cover our commitments of restricted and designated funds. At present, due to a severely austere 2018 budget, we have over $43k in unrestricted money and project to have about $65k by the end of 2017. The cost of the Executive Director was the largest contributor to our budget deficits over the past seven years.
This gets the organization back on sound financial footing, and very close to our financial goal of maintaining a balance of (100% restricted + 100% designated + 25% of annual unrestricted) in the bank at all times. Importantly, the Board will be able to allocate more funds to projects in 2018 - club services like website development, marketing, database infrastructure, communications, and mapping; the teams, which received no OUSA Board support in 2017; development goals like coaching, and some limited staffing engagements as needed. I need to draw up some 2018 budgets to see what is feasible, so we can prioritize a growth-based agenda for 2018.
1. Allocated $750 for venue rental for the OUSA Convention.
2. Approved NEOC's
Junior Nationals bid for Mt. Tom in April.