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7 September 2013 – minutes

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Thirty-seven members of Edge Fund attended the September members’ meeting at Greenside Community Hall – over half had only joined the membership in the last couple of weeks.

The aim of the day was to work out together what the priorities are for Edge, in terms of reviewing and improving what we’ve done so far and taking on new projects and tasks. The group split into 4 and discussed what people felt were the priorities. The top 2 topics of each of the 4 groups were:

  1. Principles: how to be co-operative (not competitive) and bring in non-monetary skills.
  2. Fundraising and resources: how to do what we want to do
  3. How to support groups in the application process and beyond – what are our relationships with groups after funding?
  4. Relationships with groups outside of Edge, eg Unions
  5. External and internal events: outreach, speakers, skill-shares, issues, evidence-based
  6. Internal processes: role of Advisory Group, what types of groups get funded, bringing new members up to speed, regionalisation.
  7. Strategic aims: how to sharpen and clarify funding priorities for effective use
  8. How to sustain Edge for the long-term, especially fundraising

Some topics were merged due to crossover, and then groups of members discussed each topic and fed back to the room.

Supporting applicants

  • During application process – straight-forward form, Frequently Asked Questions, points of contact for queries.
  • Failed applicants – how can we maintain the relationship? Can we direct to other sources?
  • After funding – bringing groups together – online and physically (conference and workshops)
  • Learn from each other
  • Sharing stories
  • Skills and resource list within membership

Strategic aims and values

  • Connections, sharing resources, networking – can all be more valuable than small amounts of funding. Co-operation not competition. Bring different people together to counter ‘divide and rule’.
  • Applicants join Edge community – share resources with others, potentially being contacted if event in area etc.
  • Funding priorities made more explicit? Tightening focus on issue/ types of funding? Giving groups funds to give to others in area?
  • We should have a members database as a minimum.
  • One suggestion that Edge hire someone to work in communities – most seem to agree not to centralise the role.

Fundraising and communications

  • We need to put ourselves out there.
  • Members set up standing orders – however much they can afford, even if only £1 per month, as statement of commitment. Ask friends too. Need broader base of funders.
  • Core message needs to be easy to understand. Need strapline.
  • Need media and comms strategy.
  • Different communications for donors, applicants etc.
  • Promote idea of co-operative funding making funding go further.
  • Keep core aim (funding) heart of our work.
  • Give guidance on how to write funding applications for other funders.
  • Allow public to brainstorm ideas with us for fresh ideas – on a web page.
  • Make language clear and accessible.

Media and PR

  • Members should promote Edge Fund to their networks.
  • Need to do more social media.
  • Keep calendar of Edge Fund member events so we can support each other.
  • YouTube channel for VoxPops for funded projects.
  • Podcasts, documentary.
  • Business card, merchandise (maybe a dirty word?!)
  • Media training.
  • Reach out to young people.
  • Strap line – Change happens at the Edge.

Process

  • How can members better understand the different struggles we support? Advisory Group has a function, but also sharing knowledge amongst members.
  • Should we have rotating roles, eg Facilitating Group?
  • Working Groups are needed to take areas forward. These can be listed on the website with minutes of meetings and decisions made.
  • Need more structure for new members so they can ‘hit the ground running’
  • Could Advisory Group members reach out to communities to encourage them to apply? Take on a more active outreach role.
  • More detail in the feedback from AG on applications would help to educate other members.

Comments

  • Should we have a Welcome Group for new members? Or maybe all members take responsibility for doing this?
  • There’s a danger we can become too focused on internal processes and forget the mission to help other groups.
  • Working Groups should try to be specific and time-bound, otherwise can go on forever.
  • We should value people’s time – just as valuable as Standing Order. Can we keep track of the number of voluntary hours members put in to making Edge happen?
  • Everyone should share Facebook posts.
  • Social media very time consuming – who will do it?

We had hoped to announce another funding round in the next few weeks, however, it is unlikely we will be able to properly review the assessment process for applications within this time. Are people happy enough with the process for short-listing applicants for us to announce another funding round? Agreed: Round 3 run basically the same as Round 2. Work on changes for Round 4.

Working Groups

  • Can be specific and time-bound, but some groups, like communications, will be ongoing. They should have autonomy to make decisions so long as there is a clear remit.
  • Make sure we open up to Manchester group and other people outside London.
  • One person from each Working Group should be on the Facilitating Group to ensure that there is some accountability and groups keep in touch. We should also have a lead for each group who ideally is not the same person who is on the Facilitating Group.

Advisory Group
Should Advisory Group become Race Working Group, LGBTQI Working Group etc?

Facilitating Group
Take on review of funding process.

New Working Groups:

1. Sharing Group
Remit: Building of Edge Fund community. Discuss mechanisms and resources to be shared. Education of issues, shared calendar. Look into viability of conference and skill-share.

2. Welcome Group
Remit: Welcoming new members. Sending email to new members giving links to Working Groups and details for regional contacts (if we set this up). Recruitment drive every quarter.

3. Communications Group
Remit: Review/ audit Edge communications and media profile. How is it perceived by others. Strategy for clarifying message.

4. Fundraising Group
Remit: fundraising!

5. Organising next meeting Group
Food, venue, facilitation.

People put their names down for each new Working Group, which will be listed on the website with contact details so other members can join.

  • Sharing – Jo, Andrew, Linnea, Ian J, Cecilia
  • Welcome – Shingi, Katy
  • Communications – Mark, Yula, Sawsan, Saba, Gill, Amy, Anne
  • Fundraising – Peter, Tanya
  • Organising next meeting – Nacera
  • Facilitating Group – Sami, Isis, Lidia plus one person from each Working Group (also Elena, Cilla and Rose from Manchester meeting)

We ended the day with a one-word go-round. A few of the words were: interesting, excited, challenged, phew, developing, process, headache, promising, frustrating, hopeful, conversation, learning, possibilities, new experiences, evolving, sharing, insightful, congealing, connections, wordy.

Flipcharts

Click on the links to see the flipcharts.

Top 8 priorities

1. Small group discussion: Supporting applicants

2. Small group discussion: Relationships with groups outside Edge

3. Small group discussion: Strategy, principles

4. Small group discussions: Fundraising and communications

5. Small group discussion: Events

6. Small group discussion: Internal processes

Strategic aims

1. Sharing Working Group

2. Welcome Working Group

3. Communications Working Group

Issues raised during final session

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