ARC minutes 2022-09-01

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ARC meeting minutes, held online Thursday 1st September 5-7pm


Welcome and apologies

Present: Marnie Woodward, Adrian Beidas, Lucy Crompton-Reid, Davina Johnson, Katie Crampton (minuting).

Apologies: Jane Carlin, Julian Akoyode Manieson, Natasha Iles.

Declaration of interests


Approval of previous minutes


Update on actions arising at last meeting

We plan to arrange a credit card for NI and add her to the online Unity Bank mandate

The auditors coming to ARC or the board is a moot point.

In our mid-year report to the Foundation we flagged the need for support with the various wiki tools and the effect on our programmes when they break; we’re awaiting a response. This isn’t necessarily an action item as it’s not something that can be completed by ARC, rather it’s an issue that is monitored by staff.

Gift Aid claim updates are complete.

Issuing a credit card to NI - we should not need to increase the overall monthly limit. There was a discussion around redistributing staff’s card limits.


Review of QFMR and Financial Commentary for Q2

It’s a straightforward quarter, another 12k ahead of budgeted deficit, next quarter we’ll be looking at reforecasting. We’ve permanently saved half a year’s salary as the Finance and Operations Coordinator was recruited later than anticipated. There are other expenditures that will reduce the surplus.

MW thanked DAJ for the commentary and the presentation of the QFMR.  MW suggested a summarised version, hiding staff allocations, which are necessary for the year end audit calculation, but less useful as a management tool. If ARC members find the staff allocation insightful, the details remain available to ARC in the excel format. Action: MW and DAJ meeting with MS on Tuesday, can raise how to present financials to the board with her.

Income trends: got the impression from NI’s report that there may be an income impact on small donations, ARC to discuss in the fundraising update.

Cash flow

We’re up to date until the last bank statements at the end of July. We’re in a very healthy bank position. We may need to make some transfers into Unity in November, but at the end of October’s reforecast we will see whether we need to make those transfers, which can easily come from the Co-Op account..

There was a discussion around the letter from CAF, which stated that holders of CAF gold accounts (which we have) need to open a CAF current account in order to maintain the gold account. It was agreed that opening a CAF current account would not be worth the work, as CAF can prove difficult to deal with as a bank, e.g. the high scrutiny of funds received from overseas. We do not need a CAF account in order to receive donations via CAF, and we could redistribute the balance to Unity and Co-Op.

MW posed whether our cash balances are working hard enough for us, aka do they give us a good return. LCR flagged that we would be speculating with donor money, for which we need to be risk aware, but agreed that we could look into how to increase returns on our cash. Action: AB, MW and DAJ to look at our deposits across accounts and see if they can work harder for us.

Returning to the CAF account, it was agreed by ARC that closing the gold account would be the best course of action, and we recommend doing so to the board. Action: While according to our articles we can close an account and just ask the board to note it, we will add it as a consent item at the September board meeting and get the signatures of two mandates. The two mandates can be LCR and MS.

Auditor’s Management Letter from 2021/22 Audit

We received the auditor’s letter the day before ARC. and LCR subsequently forwarded it to ARC. The headline is that it’s a clean audit, and a straightforward letter. There are no unadjusted items.

Action: Send the auditor’s letter to the board,  with the supplementary board papers.

Bank account and credit card mandates

We need to nudge Unity Bank on the addition of NI and Chuks Ogbonna (CO) to online banking, as we put in the request a few months ago and there has been no reply from Unity, either accepting or rejecting the updates.  Rich Matthews’ access to be removed.

For the credit card limits, LCR will review the limits and will send them to MW.

Action to contact Unity regarding online mandate changes.  Action to add to the supplementary board pack the list of who can access which bank accounts and what their roles are. Action: Update the list of credit card holders and limits.

Fundraising update

NI prepared a written report, but was on leave for ARC so LCR delivered it.

The table at the top provides 2nd quarter summary figures. We’re still anticipating the second tranche of the NLHF grant, which should arrive in Q3. NI provided insight on how hard the trusts and foundations landscape is at present, which is why we are behind our target. With trusts and foundations impacted by the cost of living crisis etc. and with charities’ small donations income impacted, it means there are fewer pots of funds with more applicants for those grants. Trusts and foundations funding is also impacted by relationships, and with our fundraising team still fairly new (before it was just LCR and occasionally DC for programmes funding) it takes time and effort to build these relationships..

We are also limited by CiviCRM database. While we’ve been told that anything is possible with the software, the truth is that it’s an open source software it is proving challenging. NI has had discussions with the WMF and other chapters to find out how they run their CRM. While Civi is free, there is a cost to Veda for consulting, and it impedes NI and George’s fundraising work. NI is looking into the costs of moving to another CRM, and the staff time that would require. We would likely have to dip into our reserves to fund this if we decide we should move to another CRM.

The small donor attrition rate has increased to 4%, and NI’s report outlined the various mitigation measures to stem the impact. It’s the highest attrition rate for small donations we’ve had for some years. While we cannot say for certain why this is, it’s likely the cost of living crisis. NI is looking into ways to reduce the attrition rate but provide relief to donors, for example putting a three month pause on donations rather than cancelling outright. However, we are pleased to report that the value of the small donations has increased, with the average amount given higher than last year.

The fundraising team has made a number of applications to trusts and foundations, but it is hard to budget for these before we know whether we’re successful. We’ll be doing an application to DCMS. With the £4k we received from Wikimania, we may well reach our target. Our win rate across these applications isn’t high, it’s a very difficult environment as lots of charities are losing small donation income and throughout COVID they were applying to trusts and foundations. ARC discussed the idea of doing fewer applications, therefore being able to spend more time on them. It’s also about the relationships and the connections we’ve got.

The reason the Q1 looked so buoyant, is that the donations were given in Q4 2021 but were not transferred to our accounts until Q1. The auditors agreed with how we presented the figures, but it’s still worth noting this annual trend..

There was a discussion around CRM and the staff conversations going ahead.

ARC asked if the fundraising numbers could tie in with the QFMR, as a fuller picture would be useful if we’re going to include a grid.

We are halfway through our grant from the foundation to support our fundraising team, but it’s still early days in terms of trusts and foundations funding as those relationships take time to develop..

Action: make the report cumulative rather than quarterly.

Risks Register

JC, MS and LCR were scheduled to meet a couple of weeks post ARC to evaluate the risk register. LCR spoke to the risks that have moved.

The risk of the AGM not being quorate has slightly increased due to low turnout at July’s AGM. With our current membership numbers and the 5% quoracy, this risk is manageable.

Damage to public profile as a result of Wikimedia movement: . LCR explained that this risk grew out of past experience, but it’s much reduced now we have a dedicated comms team who have increased our contact with the WMF’s comms team.

The risk of the cost of living crisis and economic recession affecting private sources of funding has increased. For the mitigating factors NI has included a plan.

We only have guaranteed funding until the end of the year, and the regional funding is not controlled by the Foundation.

We are currently recruiting for the Head of Finance and Operations, but the loss of expertise on the staff team due to a staff member leaving has been increased to reflect DAJ’s retirement.

ARC asked about the number of risks around fundraising, and whether some of these could be consolidated. Action: LCR agreed to bring up the formatting at her meeting with JC and MS.

Some of the drivers that affect cost of living will also be that spending costs increase for the charity. Action to add that inflation expenditure is a pinch point.

Action: Mark Cruickshank to be consulted about QRPedia with LCR.

Oral Report from GovCom

Minutes can be found here.

Recruitment update for Head of Finance and Operations

We’re working with an external recruitment agency on this, but it’s a tough environment for recruiting. We got approval from the Treasurer and Chair to spend on recruitment. The role was advertised on the Friday before ARC. The agency is a specialist on charity finance, so should have a good network of charity contacts already. The recruitment panel is going to be LCR, MW, and NI. The interviews will be on Tuesday 4th October. Hopefully we will be able to appoint by mid-October, and we’re anticipating a three month notice period. DAJ is retiring in December. We’ll see the cost of recruitment in Q3. We’ll see the projection of the staff costs, including whether we’ll be paying a double salary if the candidate’s notice period is less than three months. LCR and DAJ have looked at the costs of various scenarios.


CO will be taking over governance responsibilities from KC.

Date of the next meeting

Thursday 24th November

Provisional meeting dates for next year (all online, 5 - 7pm):

Thursday 9th March

Thursday 8th June

Thursday 7th September

Thursday 30th November