March 11, 2018 ZA Board Meeting Minutes

March 11, 2018 Zimfest Association Board Meeting Synopsis

Members in Attendance: Jacqueline Fallon, Chris Halaska, Daniel Lockley, Evelyn Mukwedeya, David Simon, Mandy Walker-LaFollette, Alex Weeks, Janis Weeks
Members Absent: Rujeko Dumbutshena
Non-voting member in attendance: Claire Jones

Finalize February Minutes and Synopsis (All)


Review/Modify Agenda

No updates

Update on Tech Initiative/Tech Fix for the Membership Payment Page and Form (Alex/Janis)

Teacher and performer applications closed recently. The tech committee is continuing to work on how best to display the workshops and description with the new software. The by donation workshops still need testing. Other small wrinkles have been emerging but nothing major. They are on schedule with testing and setup. There will be a demo version for the board soon. The beginning of May is when we expect to go live with registration. The tech. committee talked about the membership page but have not made progress. Claire and Larry can work towards making sure the links are correct on the web page, payments are going to the correct accounts, and google forms is linked correctly.

Organizing Committee Update (Claire)

  • Applications:
    • The last week and a half the applications flooded in.
    • More Zimbabweans and performers than we can handle.
    • How do we encourage folks to attend nyunga nyunga workshops?
    • More performer applications than we can accomodate. A lot of performers are only available on Saturday. There were 37 applications. 30 slots in 2016 for afternoon and evening. A good problem to have, but how to make the decision to say no to groups and take turns.
  • Volunteers issues – little change: registrar position desperately needed.
  • Working w/ Tech Team to get RegFox set up for registration and CognitoForms for vendor application. Starting to rewrite web content pages and have them proofread.
  • WOU will have contract and room assignment spreadsheet to us by mid-March
  • Cultural appropriation panel
    • Scheduling panel Saturday morning 9:30-11:30 as in 2014? – ran only 7 workshop sessions. May impact total # workshops on offer
  • Recording project:
    • no owner yet, not the OC
    • Would the bands be interested in splitting the cost and the bands would get the raw recording?
    • Instead of a CD just have digital downloads
    • Historical value highlighting the best of Zimfest
  • Fundraising notes:
    • MyLinda’s silent auction event raised $1,139 for Zimfest.
    • Maharimba retiring, selling instruments, offering the full set for $1650 obo, and offering Zimfest a $250 commission if the set is sold either through Zimfest or Dandemutande.

Update on Zimfest 2019 Venue Selection (Claire)

Fort Warden – interest seems to be piqued, July is all filled up, they would like to meet with Claire in person. Nothing more has happened with Evergreen.

Treasurer Update (Chris)

  • The initial 2018 budget was developed based on looking at the the last two festival years (2016 & 2015) and using conservative amounts in each category: lower donations and higher expenses compared to previous years. Under those assumptions, we show a potential loss of about $6000 over the year.
  • We will have to increase fundraising and/or lower our expenses to cover the shortfall. Claire mentioned that we already have two significant donations: MyLinda’s event (above) that generated around $1100, and Heather ran a little fundraiser and sent in $300. Based on those, it would be comfortable to increase what we expect to receive from fundraising.
  • A comment that part of our goal in taking a year off was to help create financial sustainability, where are we with that? Another comment that it is our responsibility to create a balanced budget and that we need to look at ways to increase our income to make sure we end up in the black.
  • We will discuss the budget at our next meeting, looking at pricing assumptions to help with generating income. A price modelling spreadsheet will also be looked at.

Review and Approve Board Festival Policies (All)

Discussed and voted on two policies regarding Zimbabwean meals and housing and reimbursement cap.

Discuss Next Steps on Fundraising Drive Proposal (Jacqueline)

Provided a brief overview of the top 8 categories to tackle first, some numbers and information needs to be gathered to help with further discussion, questions for board members to brainstorm about importance of giving to Zimfest and by becoming a member.

Review and Approve Volunteer and Fundraising Drive Draft Communication

Review and finalize by email

Next Meeting

April 8th, 6:30pm PST on Google Hangouts

4 Comments on “March 11, 2018 ZA Board Meeting Minutes

  1. John Hatten says:

    I would love to have the minutes reflect what the new policies are that the board voted on:

    “Review and Approve Board Festival Policies (All)
    Discussed and voted on two policies regarding Zimbabwean meals and housing and reimbursement cap.”

    If they are too long for the minutes, maybe including a link would allow those of us not at the meeting to see what the policies are.

    Thank you!

  2. Jacqueline Fallon says:

    Hi John, Sorry, Zimfest Association internal policies are not available for public viewing. ZA Board

  3. John Hatten says:

    I was surprised at Jacqueline’s reply to my request for information about policies stating that internal policies are not available for public viewing. If they are policies that affect an individual’s confidentiality, certain personnel issues, or other legal reasons to not be public, I completely understand and would have hoped that you could have said as much.

    But aren’t most Zimfest policies related to everyone attending Zimfest, particularly policies about meals and housing? Can you explain why they can’t be public, or available for current members of Zimfest Association, or at least summarized?

    I have no idea what they were, but as an example, could the minutes say something like, “A policy on meals and housing that will better contain costs to Zimfest Association when more money is used on a meal card than budgeted.” or “A policy intended to limit the loss of revenue to Zimfest Association by capping reimbursements for travel.”

    In your responses to questions such as mine, I want you to know that our membership is here to support your work and that guarded or defensive replies seem detrimental to a goal of making Zimfest stronger. I want to encourage openness, transparency and inclusion as one of many ways to build Zimfest Association.

    I so appreciate all your work and understand that there are challenges that you can’t always disclose.

    After a year off, I’m so looking forward to this year’s Zimfest!

  4. Evelyn says:

    Hi John,

    We appreciate your response. To clarify, the policy document cannot be posted publicly as there are sections which contain confidential information. What we can share is that adjustments were made to the Zimbabwean meals and housing policy and the travel reimbursement cap to optimize the balance between revenue and expenses. This is in line with our goal to keep the festival financially sustainable while continuing to provide as much financial support as possible to the talented group Zimbabwean teachers who travel from various places across the world to attend Zimfest.

    Our previous response was replying to the request to post the link to the policy document and there was no intent to be guarded/defensive – we apologize if it felt as such. With Zimfest being a community-based organization, the board firmly believes in and is committed to transparency. Recognizing that the board meeting minutes are our primary means of keeping the community abreast of developments, we invest significant effort to ensure that the minutes are complete and reflective of the board’s discussions and decisions. In some cases, we have to summarize some discussions to maintain confidentiality. Nonetheless, we welcome the community’s feedback to these monthly posts and are open to clarifying points to as much detail as we can.

    If you have any further questions, please let us know.

    Thank you,

    Evelyn (on behalf of the Board)