Leadership Council Meeting Minutes
June 2, 2010

Attendees: Dina Epstein, Adam Broms, Deb Saxon, Rivka Friedman, Dena Roth, Avi Kumin, Stephanie Schwartz, Judy Herbstman, Ariella Kurshan, Rachel Salzman, Naomi Karp, Deena Fox

**All comments are paraphrased**

Discussion of about larger vision projects (DEENA)

DF: Tension between people who want to push for creative new large scale projects v. people who feel that the Minyan is good at what it does, and there is no real need to expand what we do.

JH: Our community has grown faster than we’ve been able to adjust.  Maybe we need step back and see how we respond to our size.  For example, should we be thinking about becoming a full service shul (i.e. meeting more than once a week, etc.)?

RS: Maybe we should look for the 1 small idea, instead of a big one. We’re not looking to change who we are, but maybe find the one thing that we could do better: e.g. make sure that every week that one more person has participated in services, or that we’re better about identifying who joined that month.

AKumin: My perception is that there is no tension – people are willing to engage in a small or big project if there is a need for it.  We don’t need to reinvent the wheel: we just did a huge data collection effort, I can’t imagine any larger data collection project than DCMD.  Our time might be better served to going back to the results of DCMD and then implementing the ones we want.

RF: We talk a lot about going back to the community for feedback, etc., and I think we already have that feedback: we’ve charted out where we want to head already. The next big or small idea is just to put our heads down and do it.  Another thing: we could do a better job of being transparent about what we do already! If new members had a sense of just a fraction of what we do, I think people would be happier. Maybe the PR is what we need to address.

DF: Winding down this convo-- we want to act where there has been expressed desire for some kind of action.

AKurshan: It would be helpful for us all to review the DCMD report.

DF: Maybe what we should say coming out of this is that every LC member should review the report and then see if there are any priorities that we want to take on, having already started a few other projects.

DR: Finish the new website!

DE: Is this something worth opening up to the community?


Transition to having an open LC meeting…

Set a date for open LC meeting (RIVKA)

RF: We were considering having an open LC meeting in August or July. 

DE: Maybe we should wait until after the chagim, when we’re off the momentum of the high holidays and have new people in town. Ride the high.

AKurshan: Connect that with membership drive, which happens at the same time.

JH: We will need to have another LC meeting about the membership drive and I’m not sure that’s the best topic for an open LC meeting.

RF: Sounds like consensus is to have a closed email in July/August about HH and new membership drive, and then after the chagim, have an open LC meeting.

JH: I like the idea of people coming to chagim planning meeting, because it’s a good opportunity to get people involved.

RF: So, late July/August have normal LC meeting on chagim and membership drive, and then an open LC meeting after chagim.

AK: It should be in late July, probably the 3rd week so we meet before the membership drive kicks off


Membership Drive (JUDY)

JH: Starts in less than 2 months (Aug 1-Nov 1).  Last year it went well: we have 310 members, raised $60k. I estimate we’ll lose 50 people to movement and another percentage 10-20% of people who choose not to sign up again.  Last year’s drive had enormous support from LC, in just making sure we did our best in our usual roles and were great ambassadors for new members.  One of my big goals for improvement is what happens after someone expresses interest – how do we plug people in better? A few new things: there will be no more discounts for couples (which was only $5), have more people involved in running the drive (e.g. someone in charge of reaching out to recent grads)…

RF: This is meant to broader convo and we’ll dive into more detail at the next meeting.

DS: I think we should make a push to keep families who are leaving tapped in and keep them giving to the Minyan. I think that should be a priority. I also think we should inspire current members to reach out to their families who come to visit to make a donation. Finally, I think that families should be paying a lot more for membership.  Given babysitting dues and special programming, families should be charged more.

RF: I think we should compile a master list and then plow through each major item either through email or at separate meetings.

JH: For fundraising, I’m interested in knowing who wants to think of DCM as a fundraising effort

(SS, RS, AB all raise hands on that)

RS: Maybe we should also consider how our dues match up to the economic climate.

DE: We should explore ways to take the momentum from chagim to engage new members. It might be a time when the leadership is drained, but it’s a great time to engage new people who aren’t.

AKurshan: Once we get people to join in Aug-Nov, we need to think more about what’s next. How can we engage the new members?

DF: One helpful thing would be having a way of knowing which members are interested in what things, and then we can match them. We need to think about gathering the right info so that we can reach out individually, or not, to get the ball rolling.

JH: We could have a way for people to let us know that they are potential members.

RF: If we all had a few names in mind of people who we know have skills to offer for the membership drive, we can try to recruit them to come to our planning Minyan.  Also, LC members should feel obligated to email potential new members.


Hospitality: Leadership Goals/Expectations for Inviting New Members to Meals (NAOMI)

NK: Hospitality is the one main thing we can do for new members, and there is not yet a culture in the Minyan that we should on a regular basis be opening our homes to new people. We are making incremental steps in making this shift: one area where we’re focusing is new members.  We’d like to encourage LC members to commit to having new members over. We’d provide a list of the new names.  I’d like to hear thoughts/concerns about undergoing this initiative.

AKumin: I think it’s a great idea. I agree with RF that the LC should feel obligated to email new members, but I’m not sure that we need to do that for meals: at the same time, we should open this up to more people than the LC.  Is most of what hospitality coordinators do focused on meals?

NK: Yes, though we also are looking for greeters. Meals is something that people regularly ask for and that I feel we can’t always satisfy. I would encourage everyone to at least send a personal goal of hosting at least one new member per year.

AB: What’s the percentage of people who email in advance v. ask for a meal at services?

NK: Usually its more in advance via email, but it does happen at shul.

AB: What are we asking on our membership forms that is helping us figure out how to match? I think that really helps us to make sure that the experience is more successful.

SS: I think that this is a very good idea. I could see there being a google doc system where new members are put into a list and some demographic info is filled in and then email sent to the listserve for people to sign up to host.  We also should make a bigger push for encouraging members to reach out more.

JH: To follow up on AB’s comment, we do have a lot of info about our new members that can help.

DE: We should also strive to connect new members with new members.  There is a lot of power in connecting people who are looking for the same thing and democratize the process. We could fund meals for new members.

NK: I think that should be taken into account. But specifically, when I was thinking why I was bringing this to the LC, I think we need to start with the leadership.  It is an instant connection to the parts of the Minyan that they don’t know or understand yet.

RS: As the newest member in the room, I fall on both sides: I am looking for young professionals, etc., but I’ve also never gotten an invite and it would have been nice.  I think there are 2 different issues that can be addressed and two different tracks: its important for leaders to invite and its important to find the people who are going to help keep new members involved.

AKumin: Let’s say we need 16 meals to cover 16 new members,  there are 12 people in this room, we can probably hit all 16 in 6 months and maybe have more than one new member at meal, and that way the leader can help facilitate.  I think it should be centrally-planned and match up people who would work well together, and just go through a list.

DE: One way to merge this convo with the membership drive is to pick a Shabbat in October that is the new member Shabbat and then fund the meals.

RF: I think we should move this conversation to email and have anyone with ideas shoot them to NK and JH over email.

NK: On a final note, just asking someone even if they can’t come makes a huge difference. It means someone reached out.

DS: We might also simplify this and just let leadership lead by example and not micromanage hosting.


AB: We’re getting ready for the next quarterly calendar. If you have events that you know of, be in touch with me. Our ideal is to have the calendar ready on the first Shabbat of that Shabbat, which in this case is July 4th weekend.