May 2007 Board Meeting Minutes

by Alan Legerlotz May 7, 2007

Meeting Minutes for May 2007 Board Meeting

Date:                     5/7/07

Time:                     6:30 pm

Location:              The Yard Restaurant


Attendees :  Bruce Smith, Dick Cadieux, Mike Dion, Alan Legerlotz, Gordon Geick, Laura Fallis, Paul Michali, Mark Viola, Dana Sion, Mike Morin, Mike Francis, Bob Favre, Brian Sox, David Harrison, Joel VanPatten, Anne VanPatten, Paul Lillios, Peter Duffy, Tom Blinn, Chris Lajoie.


Meeting called to order at 6:35.

Need minutes from last meeting – Al to post

Bruce began with a recap of the Chapter Congress attended by him, Laura, and Mike.  He brought back copies of the Chapter Congress CD for Mike, Gordon, Al.  Bruce talked about the different topics discussed at the Chapter Congress and indicated that the web site will have the information posted, as well as the fact that there’s a new operations manual, crisis management information, etc…  Laura mentioned some things about most chapters having a core group, just like we do.  We seem to have higher involvement and more events than similarly sized chapters.  Laura said that there were lots of discussions about how different chapters do things.  She mentioned speaking with Vermont Chapter folks in particular.  Some statistics were presented and surprisingly there are more newer cars in the club than people seem to think… lots of 5 year old and newer.  In comparison to other chapters and with regard to club standards, we seem to be doing things well. 

Bruce mentioned that there were also discussions about demographics and what BMW is selling for vehicles.  The X series is more popular than most of us in the club think.  A suggestion was made for us to do an off road/winter event for these vehicles.  Gordon asked about demographics and how we can attract new members and whether the club is moving more toward a social club.  Bruce explained that the face of what BMW is selling has changed and that’s reality.  We need to think about different *types* of events rather than making people fit the cars to our types of events.  Brian mentioned that some chapters don’t have access to a race track, for instance, and they fill in their event schedules with different things.  Bruce mentioned that in June we have the seacoast rally.  He suggested that we might be able to get some varied vehicles for that.

Mike Dion mentioned IRS issues with “for members only” aspects of our events and revenue from non-members being taxable.  We need to think about this for future events.  Al asked whether the people need to be members of our chapter or simply member of the BMW CCA.  Gordon asked whether or not the chapter needs to make money before this is an issue anyway.  As a chapter we need to figure out what the right thing is for us to do to be within the law.  A Dual membership is $15.  We might want to “joint sponsor” events with Boston to get over this issue because for most of our events there is an 85% or higher attendance by a combination of WMC and Boston members.

Gordon did a DEC report.  He thanked people for setting up the Driving Events for April, even though we weren’t able to have them.  He mentioned that the ADSS was oversold and registration closed early.  There were 70 people or so signed up for the driving school, so these events are viewed as a success from a marketing perspective.  Over 50% of the people who signed up were non members (or at least didn’t have a membership number on their registration).    In Gordon’s opinion things are really changing with respect to the driving events and the cars that are showing up to the events.  He said that Patroon and other chapters have, in his observation, an eclectic match of cars at their events.  He said that the Instructors and students have a wide raging mix of vehicles.  Gordon doesn’t feel that there are many cars past the E36 generation at these schools.  He talked about driving a 2006 M5 and having problems starting it, etc… because its so “gimmicky”.  Gordon’s point was that in his opinion we need to think about this because these types of cars aren’t the future with respect to our events.  He wants us to be sure that we’re getting enough people to participate in the driving events to keep them viable.  The Mini  ADSS has 17 people signed up.  Gordon believes that we need to appeal to as many people as possible.  Bruce mentioned “Drifting” as something that came up in Pennsylvania (at the Chatper Congress) as an activity that people want to do.  Do we want to partner with Boston on more events?  Do we want to partner with Audi or another club?  Bruce supported that fact that the landscape has changed.   Dana mentioned that the idea of multiple car brands is already being pushed for social events.  Brian mentioned the possibility of a weekend type event with more activities and to go with a driving event… social events and driving events put together as a total package.   Paul said he needs content for a mini page on the web site.  Paul also needs info on whether advertisers and sponsors have changed.  Pete Basileri is dealing with Mini of Peabody, but according to Gordon, Concord Motorsport wants so support the event as well.   Paul needs text for the different sponsors so he and have some content for the web site around each sponsor.   With respect to the web site and profile, Gordon said didn’t supply the “smiling tooth” logo and in fact he hates it.  Gordon also said  “Please support Mike Cooney and Concord Motorsport”.  He said that Mike would like to be sure to sponsor something for the event and we need to be sure that he’s getting something for his money and effort.  Gordon suggested that Paul is doing so much work on the web site that perhaps we should be reimbursing Paul for his time and activity.

Mike Dion then gave the treasurers report.  The IRS hasn’t responded or deducted any money from us, so this is a good sign.  At the time of this meeting we don’t know yet what’s happening with it.  The letters have been sent and received, but no response.  We did get a letter stating that we owed $6700 and instead of a check back, we sent a letter of explanation and a request to forgive our obligation for past mistakes.  Brian asked if there was a specific recipient for the issue and mentioned that there is sometimes a “one time” forgiveness.  In terms of the check book, we had over $30K in the bank as of 4/30/07.  We will incur a loss on the April events because even though we didn’t hold the events, most of the registrations have been on Motorsportreg and they have fees for credit card processing;  the loss is minimal.  Printing and posting reimbursements haven’t been applied for the past couple of years.  We’re applying now and over $500 came back to us to covers our “Profile” being published and sent to other chapters.  Everyone agreed that we should be publishing our financial status in the profile and posting it on the web site.

Laura gave the membership chair report.  We have 724 active members with 14 new members this month.  Statistically things remain the same.  88% of members are in Hillsborough, Rockingham, or Merrimack Counties.  Bruce asked about whether we’re following up with the 9 members that have left our chapter this month.  Laura said that at the congress it was discussed and some chapters follow up and others don’t.  Bruce would like to see info about following up with departed members at the June Meeting.  88% of our members reside in the state.  The other 12% are in other states, but 98% are in New England.  Paul asked whether or not Profile newsletters are getting to our sponsors and if they’re out on display at the locations.  Joel suggested that he could include a membership application with each order for NH customers.  Paul asked if there were strategies discussed at the Chapter Congress to get people to retain their membership.  In his opinion that’s really the issue, since people are often one year members for a number of reasons.  Laura said that lots of chapters seem to have the same issue and it comes down to doing things that interest the membership at large… social or track events, etc…  We seem to be in a good place relating to this since we have the track.  Our overall membership participation in events is pretty high when compared with other chapters.  Retention issues with us have to do with driving events and Laura feels that this is the issue for us.   Paul said that people need value for their money and a Roundel magazine for $45 a year doesn’t seem like a good value.  We need to be sure to look for opportunities for members to be interested in activities.

Mike Morin gave the social event report.  A go kart event has been planned for July 21st, but it will have to be in the morning, at ‘Hot Laps’ in Ware NH.  The consideration is to allow all people to be involved, but offer a discount for White Chapter members.  A packet of information is available and was passed around the table.  Because of the scheduling, we can’t do a “show up as you like” so we need to figure out times and such for the group outing.  We’re looking at 50 to 55 laps per driver and for 30+ people, its $60/65 head.  A wine tasting event is being planned, but there is little information available now.   There will be more information next month.  There is also a wine dinner being looked at (at a venue other than the Bedford Village Inn).  In June there are a couple of things going on.  The Ultimate Drive for the Susan G Komen Foundation is 6/19 in Stratam and 6/20 in Nashua.  We were thanked for helping last year getting vehicles to Latham NY, and this year we need to get them to Natick MA.  The SEC needs people to drive and transport the cars, as well as to man the membership table and the tables for selling things.  There is also a fund raiser for the Bedford animal shelter, and there will be someone in Newbury port at the start of the rally.  The SEC would like to help the DEC with the 10/27 event and they want to do something with the Checkered Flag Restaurant.   The date for the road rally is 6/16.  Paul needs info about the rally for the web site.    The 2007 Holiday party is being planned and sponsorship levels are being investigated.  Dana asked about insurance for the Go kart event and whether or not we need to get insurance… we need to get special social event insurance.  Bruce stressed that for EVERY event where we need to get waivers signed that we need to get it signed.  Al questioned whether we’re actually putting on the go kart event, or whether we’re simply gathering at a business where people would be dealing directly with that business.

Bruce had us do introductions around the table, then he talked about the Street Survival event planned for 5/26.  There are 7 spots open for participants at this point.  He talked about how the event is cost neutral for the chapter.    The program has gone from 18 schools to 36, now to 50 across the nation. 

The first profile with Martin as editor got out on time.  The format has changed to something slightly simpler, but we met our criteria for dates and content.  Martin is paid $400 per issue for gathering the info, assembling it, and getting it out.  There are about $700 in printing costs per issue.  There is about $200 per issue in mailing costs.   The next issue will be in the same simpler format, then we’ll go to color for the following issue as build on what we have now.  Paul said that Martin is going to “In Design” which is a newer tool from Adobe.  Laura mentioned that one of our prior profiles was used at the Membership Congress as an example of a good newsletter.

Dick talked about sponsors.  Mario is going to re-up for his sponsorship with the profile and Dick is going to talk to Joel about sponsorship.

Bruce brought up the web site as a topic to discuss.  We seem to be at a nice stable point… the question is “What next?”  Bruce asking for comments, ideas, etc…   Paul says that the core is there and that during the past 5 or 6 months he’s been focused on the core functionality necessary to allow members to do the admin of the site itself.  Although the capability is there, Paul indicated that people haven’t really used the capability.  For example, the karting event needs to be added by Paul.  Changing existing pages can be done by members and *don’t* require Paul’s work.  Paul has done 16 hours of “update” busy work, but he’s also done over 150 hours so far this year on web site development.  Event Management is still not done so that members can update things on their own.  For the site itself, its solid, but things need to be updated to modernize and get things tied into a value proposition.  Paul admits that the front page is way too wordy and that this needs to be paired down.  There is also some overlap to pages and these should be streamlined to be more clear.  We also need to add some value to the site… there are lots of things we can add to the site if we want to such as polls, surveys, video pages, etc…  The question we have is whether or not adding these things would actually add value to the site for our members.  Brian asked about technology used on the site.  He asked if we could create and post things on places like YouTube.  A question was raised as to whether we should add a blog or something to the site?  Would anyone care?  Do people want to read that?    The question is (from Bruce)  “What’s going to get people to want to come back to our web site?”  Paul asks, what are the 3 main things that people want to do on our site?  Calendar, Registration, Contact/email info are the things that people say are the top things.  Peter asks if there’s a way to survey people on our web site.  Bruce indicated that he’s really asking “What do we want to do next?”  …not that our current site isn’t working, but WHAT’S NEXT?  Brian asks why someone who isn’t here goes to the site?  Bruce suggests we send mail to Paul with the top 3 things we go to the web site for.

Joel and Anne from Euro-Depot talked a bit about his business and his history with the club. 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15.