The national executive council (NEC) met in Toronto on November 4 and 5.
We also talked to some Toronto branch members who came to the social events we hold for local members. I know that a few branch members found this quite helpful, chatting face-to-face with some of the directors.
At these meetings, the directors always go over the reports from other directors, committee chairs, branch chairs and twig coordinators. It gives us a chance to see where everyone’s work is at, and it’s a good time to talk in person about any challenges that people have raised in their reports.
It’s exciting to see all the work that these involved members are doing. And it’s gratifying to be able to help solve some problems where we can.
Financial update and budget discussion
The November meeting is where we have an in-depth discussion about association finances.
Carolyn Brown, our treasurer, went over our current finances with us. She’s forecasting that we will break even in 2017, which is great because it had looked if a small deficit might be in the cards for this year.
Looking at the renewal numbers, it’s clear that one of our main challenges is member retention. The association is generally doing a good job of attracting new members and student affiliates.
But we are not retaining members at the same rate as we used to. There are likely several causes for this, including membership fees and free editing communities on social media, and we are continuing to look at ways to reduce this loss. Member retention came up several times during the two-day meeting.
We spent two hours going over the budget for 2018. We will continue to refine the budget over the next few months. And we will keep investing in communications and marketing, which will, we hope, help to bring our membership back up, making the association more robust, so that we can continue to provide services and expand them. Increasing membership could put us on track to break even next year as well.
Being together in a room, with all that creative energy, can really help with starting or moving projects along.
Projects we talked about included
- the Standard Freelance Editorial Agreement
- the Definitions of Editorial Skills
- a 40th anniversary task force
- the corporate calendar
- a new production plan for Active Voice
Branches and twigs
We also met with Toronto branch executive members Kerry Fast, Marg Anne Morrison and Lee Parpart.
We talked about
- the branch/twig funding formula
- the successes and challenges of the branch
- branch-level partnerships and events
- the members-only Facebook group (a good spot to share job ads)
- the branch’s in-house seminars for businesses and government
And, for the first time, we had a twig join us via Zoom. That was exciting! Heather Buzila and Tanis McLeod from Editors Edmonton met with us for half an hour.
We talked about
- helping local members find jobs
- contributing to the 2018 conference
- talking to the Nova Scotia twig to get some ideas
It was clear from both conversations that branches and twigs have a lot of the same questions and challenges. Because of this, individual groups may be reinventing the wheel. They could benefit from talking to each other more often.
I think we do well when we work together, learn from each other, and support each other. This is the basis of the idea that underpins Editors Canada (together, we are stronger). Contact any director on the NEC if you want help with this or have ideas.
Several directors tweeted during the meeting, to let members know what we were talking about. You can see the tweets collected together in this Storify.
Our next meeting will be in March, 2018.
Gael Spivak, president