League of Women Voters of the United States Board of Directors

Board Meeting

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Renaissance Hotel

Washington, D.C.

 

Board Present

Elisabeth MacNamara

Peggy Appler

carolyn Brown

Patricia Donath

Mary Klenz

Toni Larson

Janis McMillen

Karen Nicholson

Anne Schink

Norman Turrill

Linda Wassenich

Susan Wilson

Staff Members Present

Nancy Tate

Zaida Arguedas

Greg Leatherwood

Virginia Clairmont

 

MacNamara called the meeting to order at 9:04 am.


Minutes

Donath moved that the minutes of the October 27, 2012 meeting of the LWVUS Board be approved. Seconded. Passed

Financial Report

Donath moved that the financial report of the LWVUS dated December 31, 2012 be accepted and placed on file. Seconded. Passed. LWVUS continues to be in good financial shape, due to the continued strong response to our direct marketing messages about voter protection.

President’s Report

MacNamara gave an update on her activities since the last meeting. This included successful calls with the state League presidents. It also included a lot of travel.  One trip was to Tampa to accept a bequest to LWVUS from the estate of Carol Monish Hirschfield of the North Pinellas LWV. North Pinellas LWV was the primary recipient of the bequest and they chose to share the bequest with LWVUS and LWVFL. The luncheon celebrating the life of Ms. Hirschfield included state and local League leaders.

In December, MacNamara and Tate traveled to Tunis to attend the 9th Forum for the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) initiative as distinguished observers.  Outcomes of the initiative can be found on the website at http://www.lwv.org/content/bmena-civil-society-reach-agreement-final-document.  In January, MacNamara and Tate attended a No Labels event in New York City. The purpose of the event was to highlight Congressional   “problem solvers” to help end the gridlock in Congress. A video of the proceedings is available at http://www.nolabels.org/meeting-make-america-work-4.

Also, in January, MacNamara participated in the U.S. Election Assistance Commission roundtable entitled “Informing Change:  A Review of Events and Issues of the 2012 Elections Cycle”. The purpose of the roundtable was to identify election administration issues of the November 2012 election, the contributing causes of these issues, and strategies for research and solutions.

Executive Director’s Report

Tate gave an overview of the many activities of the national office. She particularly noted the strong financial response in our direct marketing, the strong and integrated amount of election work at all levels, and the busy agenda in the new Congress.    

Executive Committee Report

Retreat:

Although a board retreat had not been included in the budget, the Executive Committee brought this to the full Board for consideration, in light of the importance of strengthening working relationships and the fact that funds are likely to be available. A decision on this will impact the scheduling of the other Board meeting dates.

Wilson moved that the board hold a retreat in the summer of 2013. Seconded.  Passed.

Turrill, Wilson, Larson and Appler will form a committee to recommend the date and location of the retreat.

Office Lease:

The National office will remain at its current headquarters. The building will not be torn down. Arguedas is in the process of negotiating a new 10 year lease. LWVUS will see a $230,000 savings over the life of the lease and get $250,000 in lease improvements.

McMillen moved that we accept a 10 year lease to remain in our current building. Seconded. Passed.

Finances and Membership and Leadership Development (MLD):

Tate explained that the projected funding for the rest of the fiscal year for the MLD, which was budgeted to come from member donations, will not be adequate to cover the projected costs.

Donath moved that the LWVUS operating funds pay the expenses of the MLD program up to $75,000 for this fiscal year. Seconded. Passed.

Communications

The Communications staff continues their efforts to raise the visibility of the League through online and media outreach. The heaviest portion of our media work has been concentrated on election reform; Voting Rights Act; money in elections; Clean Air Act; ethics in government; fiscal policy and BMENA. The League was mentioned or was the subject of approximately 13,000 news stories. We have also experienced a significant growth on our social media sites.

The League discussion forums went live in early January. 250 individual members have already logged into the system and joined various groups.  The Board discussed the moderator guidelines and Board assignments presented by Turrill, and the role of forum “moderators” vs. “monitors”.  It was agreed that revised guidelines should be presented at the April meeting.

Advocacy

Larson moved that the priorities for 2013 be as follows:

  • First Tier – voter protection/ election reform/voting rights, and money in politics
  • Second Tier – Climate change, gun safety, and immigration

And that health care and budget/taxes be worked on as opportunities are presented.  Seconded. Passed.

Larson also reported on the activities of the Campaign Finance Task Force. They have created a checklist of goals and LWV positions, an outline for a discussion guide, and a draft timeline of major CFR developments. They are discussing the best ways to move forward.

Governance/Bylaws

Study Guidelines

The committee made language revisions to the proposed Study Guidelines in the section on Member Agreement Committee.  The committee will discuss further changes before the next board meeting and the final guidelines will be presented to the Board at the April meeting. 

Logo Issues

There are a number of state and local Leagues whose logos, from a legal and/or branding perspective, are not in compliance with the League’s current guidelines.  McMillen, Donath, Wassenich, and Schink are working with Tate on a plan to contact Leagues that are not compliance with the current logo and name guidelines.

Membership

Nicholson moved that LWVUS recognize South Central Indiana as a new League and disband the Cochise County Arizona League. Seconded. Passed.

MLD Program:

300 Leagues in 41 states and the District of Columbia are now being trained by more than 150 state coaches and 22 Shur Fellows on the MLD’s best practices. We are now working to engage the final 9 states. Each month a set of “training points” are shared with the Fellows who in turn share these points with state coaches during monthly calls.

State Conventions and Council:

We now have many of the dates for the state conventions. Because of funding restraints, Board members are asked to choose the top 2 state conventions they can attend. Cheryl Graeve will work with the board to finalize the list of which convention the national President, national board and staff will attend. We are asking each board member to:

  • Share national greetings at plenary sessions
  • Give certificates of appreciation
  • Offer to conduct training sessions
  • Meet and reach out to LWV leaders

Young People’s Task Force   

The Young People’s Task Force met via conference call on December 3, 2012 to decide on the scope of their work. The task force mission statement is “to seek ways to increase the LWV long-term membership sustainability by recruiting the next generation of League members.”  Their goal is to research, design, and deliver the best techniques for recruiting young people. The YPTS members are Amy Hjerstedt (LWV Michigan), Melissa Currence (LWV Cincinnati Area, OH), T.J. Leavell (LWV North Carolina), Alice Giles (LWV Howard County, MD), and Karen Oelschlaeger (LWV Asheville-Buncombe County, NC).

Council/Convention

Wilson moved that we change the days of the week that the convention is held in 2016 to the Thursday –Sunday time frame and hold the 2016 convention in Washington, DC at the Marriott Wardman Park Thursday, June 16 through Sun, June 19.  Seconded.  Passed. 

The contract for these dates and place has been negotiated and signed.

Brown stated that “Building Bridges” was mentioned as a Council theme that might encompass several League needs- bridges among states, between generations, in our communities, partnerships/links to other organizations.

A survey of State League Presidents was conducted in December and January to enlist their feedback on the upcoming Council meeting.  28 states responded. 89 percent of respondents indicated they have attended previous Council meetings.

The YPTF co-chairs joined this meeting by conference call, and contributed their ideas.

Sustaining Local Leagues

Appler reported that the committee will undertake three streams of work:

  1. Establish a pilot program for 5-10 local Leagues to explore best practices for financial sustainability at the local League level.
  2. Provide information about financial management and sustainability to all Leagues.
  3. Overcome cultural barriers to financial sustainability and development.

It was decided to pursue a single state to pilot the program. The initial focus will be Kansas and the outreach will begin after the board meeting.

Development

Direct Marketing

The direct marketing program performed extremely well in the first half of this fiscal year. As of December 31, the direct marketing program had reached approximately 132.32% of the year-to-date budgeted revenue goal. Gross revenue for the direct marketing program is ahead of the year-to-date gross income projections by a half million dollars [YTD Gross Income Projections = $1,555,915 compared to YTD Actual Gross Income = $2,058,808].   

Major and Special Giving and Planned Gifts

As of December 31, the Major and Special Gifts program has raised $282,008 toward the budgeted goal of $521,000 in unrestricted revenue. It remains unlikely that we will reach our goal of $521,000 by June 30 2013. We simply do not have enough donors to renew at the $1,000+ to generate anywhere near the remaining $239,000 in additional income needed to make the goal, nor do we have enough prospects in our pipeline from whom to solicit that amount of money anew.  Wassenich encouraged Board members to think about the names of individuals in their communities who may not be League members, but who are active in progressive causes and might be potential donors for us.

Financial and Budget Overview

Tate described the information in the “Two Year Budget Monitoring Report”.  The report describes the degree to which revenue and expenditures for both the LWVUS and LWVEF were tracking the first 6 months of the 2 year budget. The only area that exceeded the 5% variance benchmark was that LWVUS revenue was 8.8% above budget.  It was agreed that no adjustments to the budget were needed at this time.

The only area of anticipated revenue shortfall in the remainder of the fiscal year is in the MLD section of the Education Fund. If that trend continues, the revenue/expenditure ratio in the Education Fund will exceed the variance guidelines. Since the MLD will enter a new, 50 state support phase (or 3.0) in January of 2014, it was decided that the financial viability of the program needed to be reviewed.  Schink, Appler, and Klenz were appointed to an ad hoc MLD 3.0 Committee to work with staff and return with recommendations at the April Board meeting.

MacNamara adjourned the meeting at 4:01 pm.