Minutes of NCR-SCCA Monthly Board of Directors Meeting
June 17, 2020
Present: John Bodnar, Heather Clark, Anna Crissman, Eric Danielsen, Blair Deffenbaugh, Justin Deffenbaugh, Bruce Dover, Nikki Edwards, Jeff Eng, Sam Fouse, Al Heatwole, Stephen Miller, Heather Powers, Mark Senior, Ben Tyler, and Kit Williams, all attended via video conference, due to the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 virus. James Shanks did not attend.
- The NCR BoD meeting was called to order by RE Anna Crissman at approximately 7:38 PM, on Wednesday, June 17th
- John Bodnar, Eric Danielsen, Jeff Eng, and Ben Tyler, attended as guests.
- Jeff Eng announced a correction to the minutes for May regarding the cost of the file management plugin. Motion to amend and then approve the May minutes, as otherwise posted on the Google drive (Heatwole / Clark). Passed.
Order of items below reflects the order of discussion, as nearly as possible; not necessarily as they appeared on the published agenda.
Last month, Heather placed two extensive spreadsheets out on the Google drive under May, a Profit and Loss statement for 2019 and a very current Profit and Loss statement for 2020 up to the 18th of May. Heather asked for comments or questions on them, and there were none, though several Board members said they were unaware of their existence. Anna said we would send out a link to them in order to ensure that everyone had unfettered access.
As the details of our finances are confidential, NCR members who wish more information should contact either the Office Manager or any member of the Board of Directors. They are also invited to attend a Chapter Meeting, where such matters are discussed in detail.
Chapter and Committee Reports:
Al Heatwole, Triangle Chapter Coordinator, posted a Triangle Chapter report to the Google Drive under June 2020, but no other reports were posted at the time of the meeting.
- Update on Website Improvements. It was noted that the forwarded e-mail accounts, such as “email@example.com”, were not working. This had caused problems in getting the meeting notice out in a timely fashion. Jeff Eng reported that the website had been physically moved over to the Chart Local server, but that they still had to move the domain name over, which was why the forwarded e-mail accounts were not working at this time. He said that he thought that this problem would be resolved by the end of the week, and that he would send out a notice when that was done. Jeff also mentioned that he had fixed a few broken links that Bruce had found. Anna brought up an issue first discovered by Ben, that clicking on the big orange button which says “Get Started” on the home page brings up a page with separate items for Road Racing, Solo / Autocross, and Time Trial, but not for Volunteers, though the drop-down menu has that as a separate item. Ben chimed in that we might also consider adding a link for Volunteers on the Road Racing page itself, in case someone clicked there first and then decided that they wanted to volunteer. Anna added that the TT page should do something similar as well. Jeff then requested that the content pages for the various volunteer specialties be updated; something he had requested some months before, and Anna promised to issue another request to the Comp Board members for that. John Bodnar brought up an issue with Live Timing, which is apparently different between what we show on our website using Race Hero and what SCCA National shows. Stephen Miller suggested that John reach out to them, since whatever special software they are using would have been built with SCCA Club funding and should be available for us to use. Anna closed out the discussion by saying that everyone should continue playing with the new website, clicking on links, and send any issues to Jeff, who promised to resolve them.
- Constant Contact Replacement. Anna said that the committee of Bruce, Blair, and Eric, plus Sam and herself, had zeroed in on a mass e-mail tool called Sendinblue as a replacement for Constant Contact, and she asked Blair to describe its features. Blair identified three areas where he thought Sendinblue was superior to Constant Contact. First, it would be far cheaper, since it charges by e-mail sent and not by the size of the database of possible recipients. He estimated the cost at less than a quarter of what we are currently paying for CC. Second, Blair said, it offered more granular control of the lists people might be able to unsubscribe from. For example, he said, one might unsubscribe from our ads but not from the list about election notices. And third, Blair said that he personally found that Sendinblue was easier to use from a composition standpoint. Ben asked about metrics and Blair said that Sendinblue offered metrics not just per e-mail mailing but also by list, something CC does not do. He added that there were other usability improvements he had found as well, but he had not made a list of them. Ben also asked about cost, since in his opinion, in the early part of the year, we might very well exceed the 40K limit of e-mails sent per month when advertising three races virtually simultaneously and including autocross participants as well. After discussion it was determined that even going to the next level in Sendinblue pricing would still be cheaper than what are currently paying for CC. Blair interjected that he had remembered two features for Sendinblue that he had forgotten to mention. One was that it could send text messages as well as e-mails and the other was that it would manage a list of new subscribers if we put a subscription request item on our website for the casual browser to ask for more information. Bruce interjected that Jeff had already set this up as a test. Anna closed out the discussion by suggesting that Ben and Al, and other users, get with Bruce and try out using Sendinblue for their next e-mail. Bruce said he would be setting up templates for Al as Triangle Chapter Coordinator and for James as Membership Chair.
- August Time Trial Update. Stephen Miller reported that he had MSR ready to go, and that Anna has approved it, but that he had found out today that Sam True, the NCCAR track manager, wants to have another conversation about the logistics of the event, so now Stephen wants to hold off opening registration in case changes need to be made. He also would like to spend $500 on Facebook advertising. This has been shown to be very effective by the SCCA National Office, he said, provided that it occurs between eight and three weeks in advance of the event, and that window would start this weekend. Kit added that with a Facebook ad, we could also post a link to that on Instagram, and that he had done that before for Solo. Motion to spend up to $500 for Facebook advertising as needed (Clark / Williams). Passed. Sam observed that we were spending five times more on Facebook advertising than we spend on Constant Contact per month, which precipitated a discussion about how FB advertising actually works. We don’t buy a set $500 worth of ads. Instead we get charged based upon how many people click through our ad to MSR for more information, so the $500 is an upper limit based on how effective the ad is at reaching the people we are targeting. This could be as many as a thousand, at fifty cents per click. And we control what interests the viewers have and what geographic area they live in, so these will all be people who could conceivably attend our TT. The base we are looking at includes people who follow marque clubs (BMW and Porsche Clubs for example), autocrossing and racing, and readers of various automotive publications. Anna changed the subject and said that she had spoken with Sam True at NCCAR just that afternoon and we would not have access to the big building or the garages like we did last time, though she is still trying to find out whether that includes access to the flush toilets as well. The new timing building should be operational by then and we could use that for Registration. She confirmed that NCCAR will accept the Speedwaiver feature of MSR and that they have a new lower fee of just $29 for 150 people, plus five dollars to store them for at least ten years. She and Bruce are looking into this, and even to the possibility of extending it for Goblins Go, if all parties, and especially VIR, can agree on using it by then.
- October Race Details. Anna has been in contact with Bob Crawford of WDC Region about their participation in the Goblins Go. Bob wants to cancel their scheduled October event, which is the week before ours, and make ours a true SARRC / MARRS. That’s not definite yet, but Anna’s thought is that we would essentially do the proposed May schedule in October, including the Bracket racing group, but with minor tweaks, in order to favor participation by MARRS drivers. That will require new approvals from the Stewards, and she is willing to pursue those, but she thinks we need to come up with a new plan for the social, since large groups are currently frowned upon and the state regulations for group activities are changing all the time. She thinks a to-go pack that people could pick up and take with them might work. Mark said he would check with Kerrigan about the Virginia limits on party or gathering size. A rainy day might require us to share space under the Pavilion. Sam pointed out that the Runoffs provided a model for small group parties in lieu of a large one with the block party concept. Other items mentioned in passing for the October race were another Saturday night go-kart race and a tie-dyed blue-and-white tee shirt with the number 06 on it to honor Rex Deffenbaugh. Both were approved by consensus.
Motion to adjourn at approximately 9:09 PM (B. Deffenbaugh / Clark). Passed.
Submitted by Secretary, James Shanks.
Note that these minutes were prepared by watching the video recording of the meeting created by Zoom, with some additional notes by Bruce Dover.
Please note that all NCR members are welcome to attend NCR Board of Directors meetings.
If any member should have a question about the Region or its activities, please contact the Office Manager or any member of the Board.