Penny noted attendance by a number of newcomers and asked that they add their names and contact information to a list being circulated. First-time attendees were Debbie and Ed Wilson, David Wulf, Barbara Weinacht, Frank and Cindy Sadler, Audrey Stoecker, Nicole and Bruce Laidlaw, and Cindy and Dave Thomas. They were invited to express their volunteer interests to the appropriate committee chairman or to one of the officers. Louise Orr noted that Barbara Weinacht is co-chair of the Wine Tasting Committee.
Anayansi Menendez, B4B Treasurer, reported that B4B currently has a balance of $2649 in its bank account. Recent income includes $406 from the August plant sale and $697 in pre-sale of auction items. Major expenditures since the February event include $66,000 to the major beneficiaries, $8000 to mini-grant recipients, and $428 to the feria for rental of the building for next year’s event. There also have been legal and accounting expenses related to B4B’s seeking non-profit status. Anayansi further reported that our attorney has advised her that we are approximately 70% of the way toward our goal of becoming a Panamanian non-profit foundation.
Bonnie Williams read a list of B4B committees and the chairs of each committee. Attached at the end of these minutes is a separate sheet containing a list of B4B committees and committee chairs.
Bonnie asked that all committee chairs start work immediately appointing their committee members. This year, she continued, the officers would like for committee members to communicate throughout the year with their committee members and meet as necessary to ensure that all members fully understand their responsibilities, both before, during, and after the sale. Valuable time is wasted during set up and the sale itself explaining to volunteers what needs to be done. Everyone should be prepared to begin work immediately on the event weekend in order for the event to run smoothly.
Bonnie then explained that changes are envisioned in security next year. Theft has been a continuing problem, and, to date, we have been unable to reduce it significantly. It has been suggested that for next year we concentrate security at the door, first by checking backpacks and large bags at the door, to be reclaimed upon exiting. While “spotters” will continue to be used at the Silent Auction tables, sales of housewares and clothing from the venta de patio will be placed in bags all of one color, purchased prior to the event, will be marked “Paid” by uniquely colored magic markers, and will be either double-tied or stapled. Buyers’ purchases will be checked by security personnel stationed at the door on their way out, with these bags given quick scrutiny. All other bags will be individually checked. It is important, Bonnie explained, that we not only reduce theft, but also send a message to would-be thieves that B4B is serious about security, about assuring that all donations benefit the charities advertised.
Penny turned the group’s attention to the issue of donations. She explained that 75% or more of B4B money comes from the sale of auction items, all of which are donated goods and services. The importance of obtaining donations from businesses and individuals therefore cannot be overstated. Penny suggested that it need not be onerous to obtain donations. We all frequent businesses, and at the time we spend our money at a business, it is easy to suggest to the owner or manager that he or she make a contribution to B4B, noting the free advertising provided via our auction gallery and publicity. Personal donations can be obtained from friends and neighbors. Dinners and lunches are particularly popular and nearly always sell for full price as residents love to eat good food and to visit the homes of other residents. We all can ask the good cooks we know to donate a meal. Recreational and educational activities also are popular both with residents and tourists. Donations of language lessons, golf lessons, and guided hikes were cited as examples of activities likely to sell well. It also was suggested that people could pool their frequent flyer miles and auction them and aggregate their puntas de oro from Romero and El Rey to purchase an item to be auctioned. Penny emphasized again the importance of thinking “outside the box” about potential donations. And attendees were reminded that B4B is an excellent source for shopping for gifts.
A list of businesses and individuals that have donated in the past will be made available soon, Penny continued, from which list folks can select those potential donors they reasonably believe they will have success soliciting based on past success or personal acquaintance.
Penny asked for someone to volunteer to specially market a unique donation: an African safari. Cindy Thomas agreed to do so, with help and advice from Louise Orr.
Bonnie then addressed the topic of anticipated differences in the distribution of money and number of volunteers as a result of there being only two major beneficiaries this year. While both major beneficiaries stand to get more money, there most likely also will be more money for mini-grants. Because we need to make up the number of volunteers lost in losing two major beneficiaries, we are noticing organizations that plan to apply for mini-grants that an important part of the selection and money distribution process will be the degree to which they aided the B4B effort. Members of these organizations should make sure other members understand this requirement that, to ensure they are eligible for B4B funding, they must join the B4B effort.
It was announced that the next volunteer meeting will be Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 2:00 p.m., again at The Oasis.
Bonnie Williams, Secretary