How should NWOGEO proceed in the future?

Topics of interest to NWOGEO as a group.

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How should NWOGeo proceed in the future?

Poll ended at Mon 2008-05-19, 02:49:09

Become Non-Profit 501.3(c)
3
12%
Continue as we are.
4
15%
Invite new members to SC to try to revive it
17
65%
Disolve the group
2
8%
 
Total votes: 26

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jslagle
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How should NWOGEO proceed in the future?

Postby jslagle » Sat 2008-04-19, 02:49:09

This is a place holder topic and poll for the Email I am about to send to all.

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OnDHunt
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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby OnDHunt » Sat 2008-04-19, 10:38:15

Okay someone has to be first. This is what happens with little ones; I slept in until 6am! This is from the new guy, so it may be from left field.

I think the decision to become a 501.3 (c) is a separate decision because that is a legal decision. It will help out with liability, but will also bring more work and more headaches.

It sounds like the real question is how to get more new people involved. A mechanism need to be put in place to do that. Let me add, that in the last year, I have been very impressed with everything the group has done and would be very happy if it could keep going in its current direction, but it does not sound like it will not.
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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby jslagle » Sat 2008-04-19, 13:51:29

That is true I suppose. I was thinking more along the lines that a formal Non Profit with defined term limits on officers could bring in new blood fairly regularly. It also opens things up like membership meetings, where people can express their opinions.

Several times, the steering committee has been accused of being some elitist clique making decisions with no input from the community as a whole. 501.3(c) solves that by creating transparency.

It also solves some quagmires we have in terms of taking donations, and handling money for things like shelter rentals.
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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby GoodDog » Sat 2008-04-19, 14:48:49

I think everyone on the SC knows where I stand, but for everyone else:

The SC has dwindled to just a few. I dropped out myself because I'm loosing interest and I think it's time for some new faces to share the load. I really don't see how formalizing it to a 501.3 will help with the issue of getting people involved. It will just mean more work to be carried on by who? It's hard to get anyone involved now, let alone making formal meetings and doing government paperwork. I also think the tax issue is a non-started. We don't spend any money except for the two events and some (in the past) T-shirts and geocoins. The tax savings on this isn't worth the hassle of all the legal accounting.

The issues I agree with Jason on are the transparency issue and defined term limits. The people on the SC were never elitists, they were just the people who originally got NwoGeo started and were willing to do the work. There would be no NwoGeo without these people. We tried to get new people involved. Sometimes this worked out, sometimes it was less than successful, but any and all help was appreciated. If for no other reason, if a 501.3 would draw more people onto the SC, it would be worth it. I have my doubts it would, however.

I'd like to see the organization continue in some fashion, and I hope this topic will generate some new interest.

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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby Stumpy75 » Sat 2008-04-19, 15:45:14

You can become a non-profit corp by just filing the paperwork with the State of Ohio, but the 501(c)3 designation is for federal tax purposes and would not really help us here. With the limited income we have, the 501(c)3 designation would really be meaningless, because you don't even have to file anything if your income is <$10,000 per year. (I was a trustee of 2 such organizations, and have audited the books of 2 others) Just a huge hassle that is not needed in my opinion. I don't believe we need officers, etc... I don't believe we should go either of these routes.

I'm in favor of adding to the SC and keeping it going as is. Too many formalities will be as bad as being too loose of an organization.

When I got involved with this, I knew there was SC, but didn't know who they were. After a while, the list got put on the web site, and then I knew... Elitists, no. But there has been, in the past, a sense of mystery as how things got done.

If new people are needed, maybe someone just has to be asked. How many new people HAVE been asked to be on the SC or to help with the various events? Especially as the SC numbers have dwindled? And are the people who have busted their butts on some things been recognized for their work? Being a volunteer organization, the recognition thing is the only thing you have to motivate people.

I also want to see this organization continue, but as a loose group of cachers having fun, not tied up in group politics and legalities...
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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby GrizzFlyer » Sat 2008-04-19, 15:49:36

The formal non-profit issue has been discussed at SC meetings. I thought it was a dead issue? The support for it doesn't seem to be there, and it is another burden for members to carry.

As far as the elitist issue goes, I have never heard this from anyone directly, even after making inquiries when it first came up. Has anyone really said this, and actually believed it? If so, ask for a position on the SC, get yourself involved. Step on up. Asking for additional and new SC members was also discussed at SC meeting, and it was agreed that 1: we needed new members, 2: there are some very good people in our organization that could contribute (a number of specific names were mentioned) , and 3: they should be asked to join the SC. As far as I know, number 3 never happened.

Regarding the missed dates for event cache webpage submissions, I cannot address that. I don't have access to the NWOGEO account, don't know who all does, and at this point I don't really want access.

As some of you may have noticed, I do not post much on this board anymore. There are several reasons for that, and its against my better judgment to even post this. Perhaps its time to bow out of this SC thing, so consider this my resignation from the Steering Committee.

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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby jslagle » Sat 2008-04-19, 15:57:06

One of the biggest hurdles we face right now NOT being a 501.3(c) is that many venues we rent (ie: The Olander hall last holiday event) require event insurance. As a non-profit we can buy it. As a loose group if individuals we can't. In the past, Mike has been kind enough to extend his homeowners insurance to cover it. I am not sure that is a fair thing for him to have to do.

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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby cheechgang » Sat 2008-04-19, 17:40:39

OK, so who in fact are now the official remaining members of the current Steering Committee?
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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby BarnacleBear » Sat 2008-04-19, 19:02:35

I like things just the way they are. However, The Founding Corps can not be expected to do everything all of the time with the rest of us merely enjoying the fruits of their labor. About all I do for the outfit is pick up trash.

I’d like to see the monthly meetings and the CITO events continue. If none are willing to work on any other project/event then don’t have them.

Bob

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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby jslagle » Sat 2008-04-19, 19:47:12

Steering committee is currently:

Myself
Gizmoguy411 (GG411)
BlackBrownDog

Jason
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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby -Eleanor- » Sat 2008-04-19, 20:53:42

I suppose I'll jump in and offer my opinion, although I don't feel as it is wanted. I don't feel that there is much of a "steering committee" left, and I don't really see a need for it anymore. For a while I was very interested in being a part of it, but I felt like one of the few that actually wanted to do something to further the group. The general lack of interest from the group is largely what turned me off of it. With that, I feel like the steering committee is essentially an event coordinating group run by people that don't want to plan events. I think that if people in the community want to plan an event, then they should do so. And they don't need a SC to tell them how to do it.

I think future M&Es should be posted once to stand throughout the year and have people log their smilie to the same event each month (if desired). I know this had been discused in the past, but nothing ever came of it. This would help solve the problem of having the M&Es posted on time.

I definately do not see the logic in going 503.1 with the current state of the SC either.
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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby GoodDog » Sat 2008-04-19, 21:27:51

-Eleanor- wrote:. I feel like the steering committee is essentially an event coordinating group run by people that don't want to plan events. I think that if people in the community want to plan an event, then they should do so. And they don't need a SC to tell them how to do it.


I think the folks at LoCo (Lorain County Geo) and NEO (Northeast Ohio) plan all their events as individuals and just attach the NEO or LoCo to the event name. The individuals just do everything, with help from whomever they can corral. Luv Wahoo and chums do most of it. Mrs. BBD would know more about how they handle it.

Maybe a formula for us would be:
1- Keep the web site going if Jason and Gizmo are willing. Maybe get a recruit to help.

2- Maybe get a new website modeled after or copied from GeoChums. Basically a chat site with some information forums.

3- Do as Eleanor suggested and once a year post dates for the trash pickup and the meet/eat events.

4- Any other events such as the dog picnic Bearclaws organized last year, the Geo 101 sessions the BBD's put on, and any big events like the Christmas Shindig would be done by an individual.

5- We would get out of the park liaison business and leave anything like that to individuals who are interested and they would post things to the website for others to view and comment on.

Just some ideas.

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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby OnDHunt » Sat 2008-04-19, 21:37:09

Maybe it is because I am new, but I too have never heard anyone refer to the steering committee as elitist. I think we all owe the past and present members a debt of gratitude for all the work they have done to date.

I would agree that the more formality you put into an organization, the harder it is to enjoy it.

Without the formality of becoming a non-profit, you can still have an annual "business" meeting which can be a forum for allowing people to voice opinions. You can also set up a mechanism for rotating new blood onto and old blood off of the steering committee.

I do not think tossing the "keys to the store" onto the table and seeing if anyone would pick them up will work. I would never do it.

Good Dog's comments above made me think that there maybe a model out there that is working in another region that we could just copy.
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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby TheBearclaws » Sat 2008-04-19, 23:04:27

I’m all for keeping it as simple as possible, light and fun. If the group is to perpetuate it definitely NEEDS new members and I believe people will be more inclined to be active if they feel like they have some input to issues and feel welcomed to participate. The issues being raised right now seem a bit to complicated to draw conclusions on how to vote so I'm abstaining for now. I’m wondering if a face to face meeting/forum as OnD’Hunt suggested is a good idea. When the group originally got together was it just by bouncing ideas around like this or did you all meet face to face? Could a brainstorming session held with everyone able to attend having an opinion, or idea, to make this work be a bad thing?

Maybe some things could be defined. What is the purpose of the group? What does it mean to be a member of the steering committee, what are the expectations of a member? Some people may see it as only party planning but another might see it as something else. Right now I’m not sure how I see it and I certainly wouldn’t want to be on it without knowing what it means.

I’m glad these discussions have begun and I hope new people reading this don’t feel intimidated in any way and will feel free to join in. Everyones ideas are important to consider.
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Re: Feedback from Email by jslagle - Includes Poll

Postby OnDHunt » Sat 2008-04-19, 23:49:31

Okay, new guy (how long can I keep saying that) again. I think all the questions that TheBearclaws raised are good questions. As a new guy it took me a long time to figure out what NWOGeo was all about. I remember when I first meet Mrs. BBD and Gizmo under a certain tree in Perrysburg. We talked about NWOGeo at that time and I still did not really know what it was all about. Having the answers to some of those questions available to new members might go along way to making them feel more welcome.

Finally I strongly agree with BC's last two sentences. This is a very health discussion.
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