Submitted by Oswald Norton & Jim O’Halloran
When your committee meets once a month, we have found it helpful to anchor our work around a rhythm of the following agenda:
- A Moment of quiet and checking-in with each other
- Review and approval of agenda and previous meeting minutes
- Helper Report
- Financial report
- Spring Street Center/itrips reporton alternate months
- Group Activities
- Committee Member Vacations
- 8. Date/Time of Next Committee meeting
- 9. Date/Time of Next general meeting
- A review of the center’s maintenance calendar and pending projects
One week before we meet, Jim puts together our agenda and sends it out, requesting that the rest of the committee review the agenda and make corrections/additions for any area that they want to expand on. Our goal is to keep the meeting to one hour, so we’re respectful of the time. However, if there is something that could take a little longer, having the agenda ahead of time prepares us for this.
Areas 4, 5, 6 and 10 might have projects that are associated with that area. These projects, and a report on their status, become a part of that area’s agenda item.
Projects are areas that we worked on between meetings. In the meeting, committee members who haven’t worked on the project are brought up to date on progress. Next steps are then reviewed and comments or suggestions on how to move forward are made by all committee members. After we reach an agreement on direction, new assignments might be made and goals we hope to accomplish before the next meeting are then recorded in our meeting minutes. If a decision with a large impact needs to be made, we may test on it and we also may opt to bring it to a general meeting.
An example of a project that took us many months to work through was our move from center members managing Spring Street Center to having an organization take this over. The process for that large project follows.
We began by looking at different types of rental options for our building. There were two: Renting to a business or school; Continuing with a style of rental that we’d been used to.
The idea of renting to a business came from Paul Nelson, who, as rental agent at the time, was approached by a real estate company looking for a suitable building for a boy’s school. We decided to see what this would entail and offered to meet with them. In the end they decided to not move forward. Thinking that others might be interested, we approached other real estate organizations who could represent the building for the business rental market. This option too did not pan out.
I had the feeling the year before that we might be seeing the end of a desire by members to continue managing our Centerprise, and had begun to approach rental organizations that were in the business of managing other AirBnB types of organizations. The advantage of these organizations was that they had the ability to advertise Spring Street Center on multiple platforms – something that we’d not been able to do before. What I discovered was that our old model of renting individual rooms was not something that they would consider. After bringing this idea back to the committee, we began to explore it again.
After the outbreak of COVID-19, it became clear that the only option for renting our facility was to rent the whole building to one single group. AirBnB, which was struggling with their business, made this mandatory, along with a strict cleaning regimen.
Fortunately, we were already well into a process of reviewing potential organizations to take over our rental business. When we decided on iTrips, we knew that we were embarking on a change that would cause significant adjustments with the group’s usage of the building. However, we felt it was important for us to get the business moving again. So, after a group discussion and vote at a general meeting, we signed our contract with them.
This process has been well documented in the past, along with the challenges we’ve faced and the benefits we’ve received from having a professional management company. The purpose in describing it here is to show how our meeting process, aided us to – over a period of many months – take on one of the biggest challenges a committee would have to take. We broke it down into steps, we divided the work amongst us to keep the load balanced, we tracked our progress, we brought the decision to the group and moved forward.