Minutes of Management Committee Meeting April 2006

Conducted by e-mail.

1. Participants

Eric Lindsay (President)
Jean Hollis Weber (Secretary/Treasurer)
Lin Hall, Committee Member
Adam Moore, Committee Member
Linda Worthington, Committee Member

Jean noted that she had circulated prior to the meeting a document containing the following reports:

  • Membership Report
  • Activity Report
  • Financial Report for January-March 2006

2. Decisions by e-mail

Eric declared that the following motions were approved:

  • Motion 1: That user groups and similar organisations be charged no membership fee.
    Moved Linda, seconded Lin, agreed by Adam, Jean, Eric.
  • Motion 2: That the Membership Report and Activity Report be accepted.
    Moved Jean, seconded Lin, agreed by Adam, Eric.

3. Discussion topics

During April, the members of the management committee discussed the following topics by e-mail. The major points raised are noted.

All of these topics need more discussion. Members can post comments to the
members’ discussion list. Non-members are welcome to submit comments to the FoOD management committee.

What benefits do we give to people who join FoOD?

There are two different ways of looking at members of FoOD, whether individuals or organisations: (1) as supporters or sponsors of FoOD, and (2) as recipients of benefits or services or money that FoOD could provide.

At the moment, the people and organisations in group (2) are not members of FoOD (ODFellowship, OOoAuthors, David Eisenberg), nor is there any reason why they should be… though they could apply for membership if they wanted to.

An organisational member can be a source of money to help fund various activities, and/or an indication of wider support. So far we have not seen a need to try to build FoOD into a bigger group; the idea is to be small and do a few useful things to support larger, more active groups. In other words, supplement not duplicate others’ efforts.

Services that FoOD provides now (not limited to members, and therefore not “benefits of membership” as such):

  1. Provide seed money for groups, to be paid back when the group has some money of its own. (Example: ODFellowship’s website.)
  2. A bank account, PayPal account, and book-keeping for unincorporated groups. (One side-benefit is allowing people to set up CafePress or Lulu stores, Google ads, and other potential web-based fund-raising activities that need a bank or PayPal account.)
  3. Publishing expertise and service.

Where to go with FoOD?

Some possibilities would involve duplicating efforts of the OpenDocument Fellowship or the ODF Alliance, so we should be looking at things we can do with very few resources that would supplement their work.

FoOD could offer to handle money for more open source OpenDocument projects. This could mean FoOD takes a cut of all donations recieved. FoOD could also be a place where we publish and sell their manuals and books for them, again taking a cut of income. As projects and OD grow, more people will buy these books, thus increasing FoOD’s income.

With the money, we could sell the idea of OD. The business sense of it. Do we, as members, want/can devote the time to this?

Should we have a membership drive?

Would having more members be good, bad, or neutral? Potentially more members would give us more resources to do things, but as with most volunteer groups, it’s likely that only a few people will be available to actually do anything.

Targeted recruiting might be best; that is, identifying specific people who have the skills and interest, and might have the time, to do some work (for example, book editing and publishing), and then approaching them directly… but not a general membership drive.

There might be an advantage to not bringing in some workers as members, because that would simplify paying them for services such as translating materials.

Where should we go with the website?

Do we want to expand it and make it more of a resource (and improve its search-engine ranking)? Does anyone have the time and skills to do this (both gathering information and doing the technical aspects of website management — two separate things)?

Sources of funding?

Government grants? (For example, to pay for translations of documents.) Organisational membership fees (for what benefits?) or other contributions? Fund-raising drives for specific projects?

Minutes recorded by
Jean Hollis Weber
Honorary Secretary

Page last updated 15 Oct 2006.