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25 March 2014 minutes (FG)

Membership recruitment
Some members have raised concerns about the membership growing and have asked whether we should have a maximum number of members. Also, we are aware of some gaps in the membership in terms of representation of some communities (particularly Gypsy, Traveller and Roma and migrants).

  • We feel that its good to have more members. More members means more voices, more networks etc. Also, people are more likely to make a monthly donation if actively involved.
  • However, we need to have good processes and structures in place to deal with more members, such as the regional anchors.
  • There may be an issue of increased travel costs (see below)
  • We may also end up with unmanageable numbers at meetings and may need to ask people who attend all the meetings to consider not coming to make space for others or find another way to manage it.
  • For the moment we feel that the best way forward is to do targeted recruitment to increase representation of specific communities where we know there is a gap. Once we have contacted all members and found out more about their backgrounds etc, we may also find we have other areas we need to work on.
  • Initially, we will arrange meetings with Gypsy, Traveller and Roma groups and migrant groups (Isis can arrange the latter, perhaps on the 11 April when we have other meetings) and we have other members who can help with GTR groups. The meetings can help us recruit members but also inform us to how we can organise ourselves to better accommodate those communities. We need to go with an open mind and adapt as much as possible to their preferred ways of working.
  • We also need to review the member handbook in terms of our expectations of members. We agreed we wouldn’t ask people to leave if they weren’t active, but is there a minimum expectation?

Covering travel expenses
At the Manchester meeting we bought tickets for 3 people from Edinburgh who didn’t then attend the meeting. Also, at the last funding meeting in London the travel costs amounted to £800+, particularly because some people didn’t book their tickets until the last minute.

  • We need to give six weeks notice before meetings and prompt people regularly to book tickets in advance.
  • Saturdays are good days for meetings re travel since they are off-peak. Sunday trains tend to be longer and often affected by engineering works.
  • Cilla will put some wording together and send to Isis before sharing with the rest of FG to cover:
    • We want to be accessible but we also want to keep overheads low as we are only a small fund
    • If people don’t book in advance we may not be able to cover the cost of their travel, or may only cover an amount of around what it could cost to travel by coach/ train booked in advance
    • If we have paid for people’s travel and they don’t turn up, we would expect them to pay it back
    • Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis
    • Basically we would like to encourage people to think of Edge as no different to the grassroots groups that they work with, would they book a train last minute if their group had to cover the cost?

Next funding round and final review meeting
It took about six or seven months to get Edge set up but which time people were eager to start giving money out and that momentum continued throughout the first year. Whilst it was great to give away £120,000, the pace of doing so meant we did not lay down some important foundations. Delaying the next round will allow us to do some important work with members, raise more money, reach out to more communities and to learn from the Radical Sharing Forums about how our funds have been used. It will also help get the message across that we’re not just a fund. Ultimately, if we don’t get things sorted now, we won’t be around for another year and we want to be around for as long as we’re needed!

  • We propose the next application deadline will be 8 September. We will put this on the website as people are already asking about the next round but won’t announce it formally until nearer the time.
  • The final funding day will be Saturday 6 December in Birmingham.
  • We will announce the funding round 14 June at a final review meeting in Leicester, which will also be a social event with performers.

Membership question
About 4 people responded to Elena’s call out for people to get involved with reviewing the membership application questions and process. The main job is to agree a final wording of the application questions, so Elena’s going to kick that off through a Google doc with a follow up (Skype?) call.

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