Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Minutes, March 1, 2023

 COTMD Board Meeting March 1, 2023

We met at Virginia Winn's house around 7pm to enjoy some dessert and conversation.

The meeting was called to order at 7:37pm.

In Attendance: Margurite, Virginia, John, Dianne, Fred, Karl (via Zoom)

The minutes of the last meeting were approved.

The results of the two dances held in February were discussed.  Attendance was about 40; a notable number were present at 7pm for instruction - so callers should be prepared to teach as soon as there are enough bodies.  Joseph and one of the CMFA board members popped in during one of the dances to see what was going on.

Dianne gave the treasurer's report.  The dollar figures for funds in the bank and in the kitty (working funds) were reported.  A Venmo account for COTMD payments has been created and can accessed via QR code.  There is also a QR code for email lists.  Dancers who wish to pay online can do so using the Venmo app.  We ask that they add fifty cents to cover the transaction cost.  Accounting for gate receipts is made slightly more complicated because of this.  The report was approved.

John is preparing a letter to Joseph at CMFA detailing the serial numbers of the equipment being transferred to them.  Joseph does not want to make a big deal of this nor go into great detail about the discussions for paying for the use of the hall. In short CMFA gives special consideration to 501(c)(3) organizations use of the facility without expecting payment.  (This may have something to do with how CMFA does its budgeting and making a big deal about it just complicates things.)  In this respect they are different for us rather than individual artists renting the space.

The COTMD board approved the concept of 20% of gross receipts (paid admissions) as a reasonable benchmark figure to give to CMFA for hall use.  (Editorial: the point of this is to recognize that by not accounting for an actual cost we are not being truthful to ourselves about what it costs to produce a dance series, and therefore whether or not we are solvent in the longer run.  Nothing is forever and we may be required to find an alternative space for whatever reason.)

The Booker reported increasing difficulty with lining up bands and callers. Wisdom dictates the use of "duos" for out of town bands.  As of this meeting there was no band for March 25.  At the meeting Sherlock's Meow agreed to play for the dance.  The board OK'd the booker to discuss price flexibility for out of town bands as some subset of Contraforce may be willing to play for us.

There was considerable discussion about the issues of what dates there were to be scheduled.  At the time of the meeting there was no venue committed for May 13 or May 27.  The realities of scheduling dances and getting low attendance because of other competing factors was considered (yet again.)  We are pursing a very aggressive scheduling plan with two dances a month.  Keeping up that pace puts a strain on everyone when there is not enough hands to help out.

The uncertainty about scheduling dates creates considerable stress for all involved in the booking process, as dates too near the present vastly reduce the number of possible callers or bands available to book on short notice.  This is a major issue.

Booking Action Items:
    John will give Karl the list of OK dates for the dance series.
    Karl will give consideration for how to adjust the list to maintain momentum as we work to rebuild the dance community.
    Karl will communicate back to the board and with Joseph on the dates.

A motion was made and seconded: that Karl is authorized to spend up to $350 for expenses related to ContraCola event promotions at UofSC Russell House.

The next meeting will be Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at Virginia's.

The meeting adjourned at 9:07pm.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Minutes, January 18, 2023

 Minutes, January 18, 2023

The meeting was held remotely, using Zoom software provided by Karl.  Attendees were Marguerite, John, Dianne, Fred and Karl.  The meeting itself commenced around 7:20 when it was apparent no one else would be joining.

The first item was the treasurer's report, provided by Dianne.  This took some time as there was a lot to review.  There was extensive discussion of how to account for funds we "would have spent" if we were paying CMFA 20% of our door.  It was agreed that this needed to be accounted for in such a way so as to account for what we actually spent AND for what we would have spent.  We also agreed that Dianne could deal with this issue as she sees fit.

There was also one item that came up that requires further information.  There is a notation in one of the charts that Dianne showed us, which seems to imply that we gave CMFA $80 dollars for our very first dance at the pink room.  It is not clear right now whether that was put down as an expected expenditure, or whether those dollars were actually paid out, and if so, by who, and to whom.  Dianne is going to check with Victor on this.  It may also be possible to determine whether that $80 dollars disappeared out of the cash kitty, out of the bank account or didn't go away at all, by looking at all the funds we had before that dance and comparing it to all the dollars we had after that dance. 

Next, John reported on the status of the installation of equipment in the pink room (equipment slated to be transferred to CMFA ownership to compensate them for allowing us free use of the room until we have recovered those expenditures).  The status is that all equipment we purchased for this transfer has been installed, and all that remains to be done is to test the bluetooth part of the system, and then brief CMFA staff on how to use the gear.  The formal transfer will take place after those things have been done.

Next, Marguerite provided the status of her booking efforts.  We are making good progress, but some slots (bands and or callers) for upcoming dances remain to be filled.  This discussion also covered the next agenda item, which is the status of which dates at CMFA we have been able to reserve for our use.

Next, the status of our social media outreach was discussed.  Dianne and Karl are handling this, and based on recent increases in attendance at dances, these efforts are effective and are bearing fruit.  One important issue we discussed was how to keep control of our branding and continue to use variants of  the text string "contracola" and keep that within our ownership in the online universe.

Next, John reported that he had collected all information that he thinks he needs to correctly identify which persons and entities are covered by our insurance.  John will write up what he thinks are correct identifiers, and negotiate with our insurance agent to correct our insurance documents in a manner acceptable to us and the insurer.

Next we discussed our future plans, basically how far ahead to try and plan dances.  Marguerite pointed out that planning as far ahead as possible makes her job easier (more lead time).  On the other hand, our future plans ought to be somewhat guided by finding out what works and what doesn't.  For now, we seem to be happy with looking ahead about three months, except that, as Karl pointed out, there are some special cases where we have to decide what our plans are way ahead of time, such as during the November and December holidays.

The attendance at our last two dances was the next agenda item, but this had already been covered earlier during the discussion regarding our social media outreach.   

We finished by setting our next board meeting as Wednesday March 1.