Govcom minutes 2016-11-07

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Minutes of the Govcom meeting, 2.30 pm Mon 7 November at Development House, London.

Present: Michael Maggs (chair), Carol Campbell, Rosie Chapman, Josie Fraser

In attendance: Lucy Crompton-Reid


MM thanked JF for agreeing to join the committee and welcomed her to her first meeting.


Apologies had been received from Kate West.

Declarations of interest relating to matters on the agenda


Minutes of last Govcom meeting

The minutes of the meeting of 11th August were approved.

Matters arising


Board skills and succession planning

There was a discussion of board succession planning generally, and in particular our anticipated need in the relatively near future for a trustee with significant financial experience to take over the chairmanship of ARC. As this is a specialist role it is very likely that we will need to co-opt, and it was agreed that we should start thinking soon about advertising. Succession planning for the chair should also be reviewed. We will update the board skills matrix and continue to consider these issues with a view to making a recommendation to the March board meeting.

Board Awayday, Sep 8-10th 2017

The 2017 board Awayday has been tentatively scheduled for Friday evening 8th September until Sunday 10th September. It was agreed after discussion that we will probably not need to meet on the Sunday as well as the Saturday. We recommend holding the board meeting on the Friday evening, probably starting relatively early at around 5 pm, with dinner afterwards. We would then stay one night in a hotel out of London, with the Saturday being dedicated to the Awayday workshop. We would aim to finish at a reasonable time, allowing trustees to travel back home on Saturday evening.

Converting donors to members

LCR asked GovCom to consider whether there are any issues with the charity's articles that we need to be aware of before seeking to convert donors into members. MM noted that there are no specific articles which will cause problems, but of course conversions can be completed only with the agreement of the individual donors. LCR said that that was being built into the plans. RC warned that care should be taken with payments as there may be differences in the treatment of gift aid between donations and membership subscriptions. LCR will discuss the issue with our treasurer. Staff should not wait on the process, though, but make a start on conversions now.

Membership options

LCR indicated that she is working on a plan to enhance our membership offerings, and that she may want to recommend creating different membership classes. Members offering to donate more could, for example, receive additional benefits such as Wikipedia or Wikimedia merchandise. She will work on this and bring ideas to GovCom prior to recommendation to the main board. It was noted that any formal change to membership classes would need to go before the membership at the AGM. There would be no intention in any event of changing the voting rights for any new classes of member.

JF said that in her experience merchandise is often a strong attraction, and that we ought to think about making much greater use of it. She would like to see a proper scheme whereby members receive additional ‘rewards’ for larger donations.

CC noted that in the longer term legacy giving could be very important to us. Not only can it provide a conduit for significantly greater personal giving, it can also be a good way for the charity to keep engaged with donors who have a long-term commitment to our cause but who might not be able to volunteer with us on a regular basis. For similar reasons she also recommended that we set up a life membership scheme.

There was a discussion about enhancing the profile of our Friends group, and again perhaps offering rewards in return for donations. We need better clarity as to whether our Friends group is just those people on our mailing list, or whether it should be distinct.


It was noted that the board will need to consider soon who will be attending Wikimania 2017 (Montreal in August) and the Wikimedia conference (Berlin in March/April) on behalf of the charity.

Dates of 2017 Govcom meetings

  • Thu 9 Feb
  • Thu 18 May
  • Thu 10 Aug
  • Thu 9 Nov

All starting at 2.30 pm

See Board meetings#2017 Govcom meetings