OWAA Board of Directors meeting

Feb. 11, 2012
Call to Order
President Mike Walker called the meeting to order at 8:38 a.m. MST.
Roll Call
Secretary Katie McKalip called the roll. Present were Walker, Mark Taylor, Bill Graham, McKalip, Jack Ballard, Jason Jenkins, Matt Miller, Ty Stockton, Mark Freeman, Brett Prettyman, Paul Queneau, Bruce Cochran, Mary Nickum, Randy Zellers, Bill Powell and Robin Giner.
Approval of actions of Executive Committee since July Board Meeting
Powell described the activities taken by the executive committee in connection with a possible copyright infringement regarding Outdoors Unlimited.
Moved (McKalip/Freeman) to approve actions taken by the executive committee since the July board meetings. Motion carries.
Moved (McKalip/Graham) to approve the meeting minutes from the July 2011 board meeting. Motion carries.
President’s Report
Executive Director’s Report
Giner briefly reviewed her report. She mentioned that membership renewals are up from last year, putting numbers ahead of where they were in 2011. She said that the topic of member numbers would be covered in more detail during the strategic planning discussion.
Ballard asked about follow-up policy by headquarters to retain members. Giner responded that this currently is done via email and postal mail.
The status of follow-up to lapsed members by board members was raised. Giner responded that the board would receive their assignments for making those contacts in the coming week.
Zellers asked if an increase in online journalists and bloggers has occurred since the membership criteria were adjusted in July 2011. Giner responded that two new members who fall into that category have joined since last summer.
Giner referenced budget numbers and offered a preview of topics to be covered later under the treasurer’s report, including OU advertising revenue, conference sponsors and contest sponsors. Safari Club International is interested in increasing its support of the Norm Strung Youth Writing Contest and exploring ways to raise the profile of this event.
Dates have been set for the 2012 Goldenrod Writing Workshop. Marketing is under way.
Total Excellence in Craft contest entries have increased, including electronic submission of entries. While the rules require additional finessing, the program is sound overall. A profitable EIC contest is anticipated in 2012. Freeman asked if all contests drew enough entries to proceed; Giner responded that the children’s literature contest did not draw adequate participation.
Giner mentioned the new program to enable recurring dues payments and headquarters’ plan to allow recurring donations, as well. The program will be launched this week.
Website improvements on tap for this spring include improved navigation for the Join Us page and a more detailed application process. An expanded section outlining opportunities for involvement by current members also is being developed.
Publications Editor Ashley Schroeder would be joining the meeting after lunch to present ideas on some time-saving measures that will free additional time for her to focus on the OWAA website, Outdoor Market listings and other member services.
Conference Program
Graham stated that most of the 2012 conference program is in place and the agenda should be posted on the website imminently. He reviewed the schedule of events and key speakers, sessions and activities.
Taylor commented that Local Chair Chris Batin is an incredible resource on Alaska outdoors and hunting/angling and should be approached regarding set-up of tailor-made excursions and trips.
Powell stated that the committee’s work has not proceeded in as a timely manner as had been hoped, as the members in question were receiving legal advice not to discuss the case. A final decision is expected well in advance of September 2012.
Ballard cited increased EIC entries as a positive and mentioned that Alaska conference revenues will be a key component of the OWAA budget in 2012. He briefly reviewed components of the budget, while acknowledging that certain aspects would be covered in more detail during the strategic planning discussion.
Moved (Graham/Queneau) to approve the 2012 budget as written. Motion carries.
Past Presidents
The past presidents submitted suggestions for increasing member numbers; Graham recommended that these items be discussed during consideration of the strategic plan.
Strategic Planning
Jenkins summarized the committee’s work over the past several months. Taylor complimented the committee members for their efforts and remarked positively on a number of aspects of the new plan. He affirmed that implementation of the plan will be key to its success.
Ballard said that a prevalent industry perception is that OWAA is not a sportsmen’s group and that extra effort to counteract that perception should be made, particularly to firearms manufacturers, hunting-oriented companies, etc. He also cited comments made by a number of angling friends that OWAA is a hunters’ group. He expressed concern about the strength of OWAA’s brand and advised that efforts be made both to clarify our brand and use the brand as a means to market and promote OWAA.
Ballard further related a conversation he had with MyTopo’s Paige Darden, who finds the membership renewal process extremely cumbersome and would appreciate it being streamlined. Queneau responded that the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation experienced a similar problem regarding determining its identity. Other board members weighed in, conceding that the marketing component of the strategic plan will be critical to OWAA’s success.
Discussion continued regarding OWAA publications and the possibility of compiling a collection of notable EIC entries. Members weighed in regarding the feasibility and legality of undertaking this project.
Moved (Freeman/Graham) to accept the strategic plan as written and as a planning document for OWAA in the future. Motion carries.
Marketing/Advertising Review
Taylor stated that selling ads remains a challenge due to the limited distribution of most OWAA publications. He referred to the new strategic plan as the marketing roadmap for the future.
McKalip suggested broadening the list of supporter contacts who receive OWAA messages and materials. She mentioned that she does not receive any of these communications on behalf of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, as she is not the official supporter contact in the TRCP’s directory listing, and might be better able to advocate for the TRCP supporting OWAA if she was kept in the loop. She speculated that many of our supporters have a “team” of communications and marketing staff, many of whom might benefit from OWAA materials – and who also might qualify as individual members. Giner responded that while supporters can designate an “alternate” contact in their directory listings, an effort would be made to increase the list of contacts with this suggestion in mind.
Digital Media Journalist Recruitment
Miller related the leads and opportunities, including the Outdoor Blogger Network, being explored by this committee.
Graham recounted the outreach efforts under way and the opportunities for new members that exist in this area. In summary, he feels that this new committee is making progress.
Membership Criteria Review
Freeman summarized activities undertaken by this committee. Discussion commenced regarding simplified member criteria submitted to the board by Miller. Miller posed the questions: How simple do we want to make it for people to join OWAA? And: Is the existing process cumbersome to the point of impeding expansion of member numbers? The board members conceded that the latter might be the case, which Giner confirmed.
Powell stated that he already has prepared language for consideration by the board and for presentation to the membership reflecting earlier work done by this committee. He reviewed these materials with the board and summarized parliamentary procedure regarding changes to any of the existing criteria.
Discussion continued regarding the viability of implementing a highly simplified set of membership criteria and how the membership might be approached for their support of these changes. Miller suggested that key members be approached individually and personally to discuss the changes and to garner their support of the changes. Zellers suggested that the proposed changes be widely distributed to the membership via OU or a press release. Miller agreed to draft an article for OU that would serve this purpose. Giner stated that adequate time is available to notify members of proposed changes in advance of the May vote.
Moved (Freeman/Nickum) to delay submitting all changes in criteria for membership to the membership for formal balloting until the board takes further action within the next five weeks. Motion carries.

Endowment Trustees Report
Ballard presented a brief summary of his interactions with the trustees in the preceding months.
Development of a Bylaws-Mandated Membership Committee
Powell pointed to wording already developed for this purpose, as well as for changes proposed to the OWAA mission statement.
Moved (Graham/Jenkins) that the revised OWAA mission statement be adopted as submitted and that the revised language also be included in article 2.1 in the OWAA bylaws. Motion carries.
Moved (Graham/Nickum) to adopt the language as proposed that modifies the Education Committee and establishes a Marketing Committee and a Membership Committee. Motion carries.
Fundraising Efforts
Ballard stressed the importance of involvement by all members of the board in the “85 for 85” campaign and in contacting past presidents and others regarding the campaign. The campaign will launch on March 25.
Moved (Ballard/Freeman) to approve and endorse the “85 for 85” fundraising campaign. Motion carries.
Committee Start Date
Graham suggested establishing new committees for 2012-13 electronically by July 1 (instead of at the conference as has been typical). The bylaws do not prohibit early establishment of committees by an incoming president. Discussion followed.
2014 Annual Conference Site Selection Report
Birmingham, Ala.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Houma, La., were contenders for the 2014 conference. Ultimately, staff determined that Knoxville is the best location for OWAA’s annual meeting.
Four-Day Conference Proposal
Pollett stated that members have not been taking advantage of pre- and post-conference trips at as high a level as host cities desire. Building in more time for trips (via an optional fourth day) could accomplish this goal. Discussion proceeded regarding how this revised schedule might work and when the “excursion day” would take place. The point was made that the conference initially was shortened to three days to save the membership time and money; the extra day should be clearly designated as an optional activity. “Excursion day” will kick off at the 2014 conference.
Moved (Graham/Queneau) that the board supports the addition of an optional “excursion day” to the conference program. Motion carries.
Outdoors Unlimited: Analysis of OU Online Readership
Schroeder summarized OU Online  analytics. Outdoor Market is one of the most-read sections of OU Online. However, Schroeder spends a “disproportionate” amount of time on the monthly magazine-style layout of OU, even during months when a print publication is not produced, she said.
Moved (Taylor/Miller) to approve the revised plan for OU publication as submitted to the board. Motion carries.
Graham reported that sections activity has been virtually nonexistent in recent months. He recommended that sections chairs be chosen carefully in consideration of their willingness to participate as active leaders.
Ballard commended the work of Cochran, who took over as co-chair of the Contests Committee and has worked actively in this demanding role.
Moved (Ballard/Taylor) to adjourn. Motion carries.
Meeting was adjourned at 1:08 MST. 

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