Back to top Board Meeting Agenda and Reports 2015-03-20

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WS Member Warmshowers Administrator's picture Board Meeting Agenda and Reports 2015-03-20

 Hi All - the fundraising board meeting is scheduled for this Friday 2pm USPT, 2100 UTC, 10pm Switzerland, 7am Brisbane (Saturday). I've already sent a status report for your review before the meeting (below). Here's a proposed agenda, and I'll be happy to edit as you see fit. Please do add to it anything you can foresee needing to deal with, so people can prepare. Of course, it's your meeting, so you can take it new directions if you please, but we'll all be happier if we have a clear agenda.

The intent of this meeting was to focus on fundraising issues. We have a number of other significant governance issues on the agenda for our April meeting after Chris gets back. These include E.D. job description and contract, other job descriptions, feature prioritization, committee formation, budget, strategic vision, and the like.

One decision you need to make this week *before* the meeting is whether to invite our volunteer coordinator, Peter van Glabbeek, to attend the meeting or just to accept his report summarizing the "dissidents'" viewpoints. Since he seemed able to understand the various people in the forum and facebook better than anybody else, I asked him to reach out to them and summarize their concerns for this board meeting. He will do that in a simple written report, and you also have the option of inviting him to the meeting.

As Vice President, Mark will be in charge of the meeting. I recommend that it be fairly informal but that actual decisions be signified with a motion and a vote, with motions and voting done in the Skype chat window so they can be easily captured for the minutes.

Our secretary, Jenn, will not be able to attend, so somebody will need to fill that role. I can do it, but have a tendency to lose track. I'm happy to do it though and can put it in a Google Doc where it can be collaboratively edited in real time. The resultant minutes will be publicly posted in the leadership forum.

Again, please reply with your additions, suggestions, etc. I'll also post this in #leadership on Slack, so you can comment there. For those of you not yet in Slack, many of us are finding it an excellent place for interaction and collaboration.

Proposed Agenda:

  • Status report (funds raised, participation statistics, remarkable donations, actions taken) (Randy)
  • Technical fundraising/donation feature improvements (Randy)
  • Discussion and/or review of reactions to campaign. See tools for review below.
  • One view of why a few were so loud (Randy)
  • Peter’s summary of “dissident” concerns about campaign/fundraising/changes. (Peter will do a written summary; he can also attend if you choose to invite him.)
  • Discussion of and decision on key topics
    • Change of name of “Free Trial”, or addition of a new “Free Traveler” or something of the type. (Randy’s key concern)
    • Donor Badges on profiles: Good or bad?
    • Give new members an automatic free trial for a year (Cyril)




Warmshowers Fundraising Campaign Status and Details

Hi All - Here’s a summary of our fundraising campaign in preparation for the WS board meeting on Friday, March 20. Please let me know if you have any questions, additional analysis, or anything you want to add or remove from it. 

Campaign status and details

Our new fundraising campaign began February 7, 2015, today is March 16, a little over 5 weeks later. Our back-of-the envelope hope was that 10% of members would respond with a $10 donation this calendar year to meet our budget needs. We’ve obviously seen generosity far beyond that already.

  • 1,496 donations this year for a total of $41,801.65 (About 3% of our members have gotten us to 70% of our $60K goal)
  • 1,285 donations between February 7, 2015 and March 16, 2015 for a total of $35,255.15
  • 540 of the donations involve recurring payments (mostly annual, but some monthly)
  • 2,211 free signups (Hosting only or free trial)
  • Specific email contacts:
    • A full-membership-email-blast was sent from the board explaining org changes and resulted in a significant donation uptick.
    • A blast to 2014 new members was sent last week and resulted in several thousand dollars of donations.
    • Initial smaller emails were sent in early February on a trial basis to Jan 2015 new members and members before 2006. No specific emails (other than the board email blast) have been sent to members who joined 2006-2013, who are the base of our membership.
    • Only about 17580 of our English-speaking members have currently received a direct request for donation. 22,000 more who joined from 2006-2013 have not yet received one, and these are probably our best potential donors.
    • My hope and expectation is that all members will receive only one direct request via email per year.
  • We received $4000 in three astonishing donations: One for $2000 and two for $1000. We’re going to try to send these members t-shirts (not out of WS funds)

The overall response to the campaign seems fundamentally positive. Most of you are familiar with a few threads of dissent and concern, which will be discussed at the board meeting on March 20, 2015.

Site feature development and deployment

  • Deployment of the donation and payment features used the Ubercart module set from Drupal. It required some significant alterations and overrides.
  • Payment is via Stripe card processing (recommended by Chris) and PayPal (favored by Europeans). Both cost about 3%. Checks are accepted, of course, and we have received a number of them.
  • The Stripe card processing approach resulted in a bit of a hiccup. I had assumed that it was fundamentally PCI-compliant and was completely wrong, and when I understood this had to shut down regular credit card payments for several days. (PCI is the set of regulations about what online card acceptors have to do. We all know there are reasons to worry about our card details online - that’s what this is about.) As a result, I had to spend several days rewriting the uc_stripe module to be PCI compliant and post it back to This is a great example of WS contributing back to one of the fundamental benefactors we have, the Drupal community. Now card details don’t even ever go through our site.
  • Donations are integrated with our donation processor, Donortools. That lets us track and send acknowledgments and report on donations in a place that is designed for that use.
  • There is a “donation status” block/badge on member profiles which they can opt out of in their profile. It just identifies them as “donor members” or “not yet”.
  • Our email blast capabilities have been improved and we can now do a reply-to so not everything has to go through the helpdesk; In addition we can add Google Analytics tracking codes into links to help us identify where traffic is coming from. The module enabling this was alsocontributed back to Drupal
  • A thermometer block shows current real-time donation totals on the main page.

Site donation management features and bugs outstanding

  • Translation of the fundraising features has been deferred until they have stabilized, because it’s so much work for the translators anad we don’t want to waste their time. Also, for better or worse, we expect the bulk of donations to come from English speakers. The amount of work that the translators will need to do is really quite a lot and I feel guilty even asking them to do it, especially since it involves money, which translation has not in the past. Olivier, our French translator was quite discouraged about this.
  • Currently we pester people at login who have not chosen one of the plans, and this is done only in English and is not translatable. It needs to be made translatable, and also could be removed for new members per Cyril’s suggestion of starting people off with a year’s free membership automatically.
  • Some donations aren’t being automatically transferred to donortools due to UTF-8 character encoding issues or a bug in Donortools. They have to be manually downloaded and loaded there, which is annoying.