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13 January 2013 – minutes

Agenda 11-5

  1. Agree vision statement and tightened up funding criteria
  2. Sign up our first members (how can others sign up?)
  3. Elect directors and facilitating group (directors to sign doc to delegate powers)
  4. Agree application process
  5. Agree essential information we need about applicants
  6. Community outreach position
  7. Future plans – fundraising and regional hubs
  8. Start to short-list applications

Present

SP
JS
AR
IB
RM
SG
SF
SD
AS
JR
MB
CK

1. Agree vision statement and tightened up funding criteria

  • Some worry in the room that the proposed vision statement will replace the values statement that we already spent many hours on. New vision statement seems rushed in comparison.
  • Vision statement as it is written now is a bit clunky
  • Feeling that what is already on the website (what we fund section, checklist section, values statement) is good enough as it is.
  • Funding criteria is doing the job as it is. No one has any serious objections to it. We’re fairly happy with it for now. Except a sentence on our international applications status is missing Action Point (AP) SP
  • SP clarifies that vision statement is in addition to our values statement (it will not replace the original values document)
  • Concern that the vision statement in addition to the values statement is too much information
  • Feeling that the vision statement needs to be more orientated around what the vision of Edge Fund is, rather than a world view which is what it kind of reads like at the moment.
  • Concern around spending hours debating vision statement as whatever the final product is, someone else will always think it could be written in a different way.
  • On tightening up the funding criteria, facilitating group felt that amended version was needed to head off the high volume of charitable applications we received
  • However, people who don’t meet our criteria will always apply regardless.
  • Key moment is when we publish on the website who we funded during the first round. This will show what types of projects we are looking to fund and fingers crossed will see off hundreds of applications which don’t meet our criteria during future funding rounds.
  • Vision/values wording will always be an ongoing process

2. Sign up our first members (how can others sign up?)

  • Members book going round the room, everyone becoming members and pledging some money (however much they want, membership fee is £1)
  • Proposal that an email goes round the Edge Fund email list saying that this is the moment to become a member via a donation through Paypal. Membership only open to those involved in process so far for now as trust in the group is important whilst figuring out tricky processes etc. Anyone on the already established email list who doesn’t want to become a member will be removed from the e-mail list so that the e-mail list becomes a membership email list. Action Point (AP): JR to send round e-mail
  • How do we sign up other members going into the future? For example groups who have applied for funding and agree with our values
  • We should have something on the website which says “How can you become a member?”. This page needs to lay out really clearly what is required of people to become a member. Spreading the word. Agreeing with values, attending meetings. AP SP
  • Suggestion that we give every one who applies for funding the opportunity to become a member
  • Summary: anyone is invited to apply to become a member, something is sent to them about what membership entails, this is what they need to commit to (already on our website)
  • Someone from facilitating group will have in-depth conversation with prospective members to work out together if it’s the right move. Membership consulted on prospective members?
  • We already have a process for asking people to leave
  • One criteria of membership relates to people coming to meetings, which will be easy to determine, other criteria re values, not so clear
  • Some worry in the room about infiltration
  • There are very different understandings of what radical change is. As we have found in some applications. Worry about this taking over the group if members from these groups join.

3. Elect directors and facilitating group (directors to sign doc to delegate powers)

  • JS, SP, LM to be our 3 directors for now.
  • All powers will be delegated to the members. Agreed. Paperwork to be signed after meeting. AP SP, JS, LM
  • However directors will still have certain responsibilities in theory.
  • There has been two facilitating groups so far. The role of the facilitating group is to make sure that things are happening, they have no more power than the rest of the membership.
  • Facilitating group currently is SP, JS, SF, CK, MB, AS, PB, RH, DG
  • Clarification that the facilitating group deals with the weeding out of applications process. Full membership deals with decision making on choosing who gets funding.
  • SP mentioned that RH might want a break from facilitating group, we need to make sure first though. Also check with PB and DG AP SP
  • SG is up for being on the facilitating group to work on some specific areas. He doesn’t want to do the weeding out process which is fine.
  • SF going to take a break from facilitating group.
  • JR would like to officially join the facilitating group.
  • We need to check on wider list whether anyone else would like to join the facilitating group. (AP JR)

4. Agree application process (Part 1)

  • ((Short listing point 1)), you don’t get to see other members votes. Needs to be specified.
  • ((Short listing point 3)), Clarification that (our quorum) means at least 25% of membership or 10 people, whichever lower. Each member will receive applications in random order. Aim for all applications to get minimum 10 member ratings. On the same point. If an application doesn’t get at least 10 votes these applications will have to be revisited. Creating 0-10 categories for each number would be useful. Action Point (AP AS) Voting needs to be averaged out, there should be no benefit of receiving more votes.
  • ((Initial application point 3)), applications should be made available from the beginning.
  • ((Full applications point 6)), concern in the room about applicants voting on applications as well as members. The idea is that the vote of applicants will give further guidelines to the members for the final decision. Concern about whether applicants agree with Edge Fund values.
  • Timewise this is creating a whole new process which will add time in waiting for applications vote. We have also made an assumption that groups will want to vote – this is not necessarily the case especially as their vote doesn’t actually count as the vote is just a helpful guideline.
  • Diversity of applications so far is not ideal so therefore will not solve diversity of membership issue. We need to keep in mind how we’re going to address the issue of diversity. Are we monitoring from an equality and diversity point of view? (AP SG) This needs to be a careful process.
  • Further concern on ((full applications point 6)) about applicants being in the room when a decision on their project is being made. Point raised that it would be too awkward to criticise someone’s project with the applicant in the room. This would be an especially difficult situation if the applicant was someone a member personally knew or had built up a relationship with. Big conflict of interest. To be most open and transparent the best way would be for applicants to be involved with final decision making.
  • There is the option for anonymous comments in the short-listing process.
  • Final proposal on (full applications point 6): people who are the applicants are invited to the final funding decision day to take part in discussions and be present when their application is being discussed and funding decided.
  • The conflict of interest policy still exists.
  • Acknowledgement in the room that this proposal is very risky but would be the best way if it works.
  • An appeal process or group could be needed. Could this be the directors? Problems with power hierarchies if it was the directors who dealt with appeals. Issue of separate body dealing with appeals is impossible to avoid.
  • Applicants should be asked for feedback at end of meeting to guide future funding processes. AP SG to write feedback form
    The way we present how we will deal with problems with our process is important so that applicants know we are taking this project very seriously and with full consideration. AP SG
  • Proposal to have three rounds of funding each year instead of 4. Full consensus in the room.

(Part 2) Essential information we need about applicants

  • Proposed list has too many questions if people have to reply in writing. Too similar to lengthy applications we are keen to avoid.
  • Questions could be asked by facilitating group over the phone with option of writing in should people want to (maximum 4 pages) plus the video, audio, presentation options.
  • Clarification that this extra information is only required from final 25 applications.
  • Worry that of the 171 applications still remaining some of them don’t provide enough information to judge it. Proposal for the projects that don’t give enough information in which to make a decision by – for the option to be made available to contact them for further info. Consensus.

5. Agree applications which meet our criteria

  • We can’t quite agree this as we haven’t seen the final list of 171.
  • People agree with the process that happened which is enough to move forwards
  • Proposal to add to the criteria that we don’t want to fund religious groups for future funding rounds. Doesn’t need to be agreed now but does need to be revisited in the future.

6. Community outreach position

  • 3 months, 1 day a week position.
  • 5 applications have come in. 4 from people involved with Edge, 1 from elsewhere. 1 of the people who has applied has got a new job so therefore doesn’t want Edge role any more.
  • Suggestion that facilitating group make the decision.
  • Point made that community outreach worker cannot possibly engage with all types of different communities. Is 3 months long enough to seriously achieve in this role?
  • Suggestion that the role needs to be a longer post to be most productive.
  • Comment that in the 3 months the outreach worker can at the very least work out who hasn’t applied to Edge for funding.
  • Suggestion to “marry up” the community outreach post with SP’s role.
  • For the role to be most effective it would need to start after we have reviewed the first round of funding once we have undertaken a review.
  • Concerns about putting off the decision. Unfair on people who have applied.
  • We need 3 people to make the decision. AP SP, SG and maybe one other to decide ASAP.
  • Offer of sharing the job between two of people who applied not popular.

7. Future plans – fundraising and regional hubs

  • SP would ideally like to work for Edge full time, as the workload is difficult to manage on top of 3.5 days a week with another organisation. She wouldn’t want to leave existing job to do 1 day a week with Edge, as previously offered, as 1 day a week is not enough money to live on.
  • 3 days a week at £11 an hour would work. This works out as roughly £12,000 – £13,000 pa plus travel expenses & tax would work out at around £15,000.
  • SP currently earns £17,000 pa. Feeling in the room that we would like to match it. Agreed. SP to work 4 days a week. Agreed.
  • How much money are we going to commit to the first round of funding? More important to give out more in the first round as there is a huge thing around perception at this stage.
  • Around 30% of budget needs to be saved for expenses (wages, travel etc)
  • How much money are we going to give out this round? Minimum of £40,000 rising to £50,000 if we can get more funding.
  • Doodle to go round for either Saturday 16th/Sunday 17th March for big final decision making meeting. AP JS
  • Some venue suggestions: Friends House (euston road) Dragon Hall (Covent Garden) Toynbee Hall

Regional Hubs

  • Suggestion to make everything less London focused is a good one. Perhaps there is potential for regional hubs to help spread the word, organise events etc, later for those hubs to distribute own pots of money.
  • Valid argument that by doing things in London it means saving lots of money on travel expenses therefore freeing up more money for funding projects, since most members are London based at the moment.
  • Bringing together different groups who are working on different issues is an important innovative part of Edge Fund. Do we have capacity to make this happen?
  • Organising some kind of networking event would be a brilliant chance for cross-fertilisation/networking
  • Suggestion of organising this in evening after final funding decision day. No one to organise this as yet.

8. Start to short-list applications

  • Agreed for everyone to do this from home once short-listing online platform is set up. AP SP to send this information round via email
  • Facilitating group will review comments to pick up any serious misgivings
  • Important to vote low if you don’t like an application rather than not voting.

Any other Business

  • Send round e-mail asking for sentences on “where you see edge fund in a years time” AP MB

Special thanks to SG for hosting

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