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TASK FORCE #5, FINANCE AND FUNDRAISING, REPORT

November 16, 1999

INTRODUCTION

The Task Force members are: David Bates, Lynn Batten (chair), Kathy Heinrich, Arthur Sherk (ex officio), Robert Woodrow and Graham Wright (ex officio). The Task Force met in October 1998, December 1998 and May 1999. The first of these meetings was coincident with an Executive Committee meeting at the Fields Institute. The second and third meetings were at regular meetings of the Canadian Mathematical Society. A significant portion of our work was transacted by electronic mail.

The Task Force mandate is:

  1. Approval processes: Develop a review process for approval of new programs/activities ensuring they come forward with: clear budgetary requirements (including management costs and overhead charges); details on duration of project; marketing strategy where appropriate; and a process of review and evaluation.
  2. Fundraising: Review the current cost and success of fundraising activities and bring forward recommendations for a long-term fund-raising strategy, which may include the allocation of additional resources to fundraising. Consider whether or not we should initiate a major campaign over some fixed period of time, and if so, highlight its features.
  3. Advertising: Review existing arrangements concerning CMS advertising and distribution of products on behalf of other organizations. Determine a policy for such distribution contracts. Develop a strategy for increasing revenue through advertising in all CMS venues (in particular, sponsorships of web pages).
  4. Buyouts: Develop policy on buyouts for CMS-based activities. Where is the line between volunteer contributions of time and `working for' the CMS?

The Task Force addresses these issues below.

APPROVAL PROCESSES

Standing committees submit budget proposals annually to the December meeting of the Board. The Finance Committee vets the request in the context of the projects described, and reports its recommendations to the Board.
This process seems to be sufficient for the normal business of committees. Its adequacy is less clear as a method of dealing with emergency issues or special opportunities necessitating prompt action, but requiring funding outside the range of the committee's operating budget. In this event, upon request, some subgroup of the President, Treasurer and Executive Director makes a decision on the value of the project and whether or not funding is available.
Ad-hoc committees are usually struck for a particular reason, with a particular mandate over a relatively short period of time, and equipped with an appropriate budget, as per Board policy.
Some concern was expressed by the Finance Committee that committees often develop projects with no concern for the supporting funding arrangements.
It would seem appropriate that in considering new projects, committees should take into consideration:

  1. the cost (including administrative overhead),
  2. the long term maintenance,
  3. the fit with the priorities of the committee and the CMS,
  4. funding sources from outside the CMS.

Recommendation 1(a): That as part of the annual budget request process, committees review on-going projects and rationalize continuation of, or changes to, these projects.

(b): That as part of the annual budget request committees consider the funding implications of new projects and comment on possible funding sources outside of the CMS.

Of course, one source of funding is the new CMS program based on the endowment fund. Any special projects developed by a committee which fall under the guidelines of this fund should be submitted to it for consideration. However, occasionally situations arise in which special funding is required with some urgency. To deal with this situation, the Task Force recognizes the need for a contingency fund and recommends continuation of current practice.

 

FUNDRAISING

Recent history and current initiatives related to CMS fundraising and

promotion

Approximately two and a half years ago, the role and membership of the Fundraising Committee was reviewed and new terms of reference and membership structure were consequently approved.

Membership is:
- President (Chair)
- past or incoming President
- one member from each of the four regions
- Treasurer
- Executive Director.

There are also two (volunteer) consultants.

The role of the committee includes: (1) each year reviewing the effectiveness of the previous year's campaign and approving the annual fundraising plan with goals and timelines; (2) attending fundraising and promotional events and accompanying the executive director on visits to prospective sponsors and supporters; and (3) providing the Executive Director with possible contacts for sponsorship and other assistance as requested.

The change in committee also necessitated a change in the role of the Executive Director. In the most recent contract with the Executive Director that role was redefined to allow substantially more time to focus on fundraising and initiatives that promote the CMS and its activities to the general public. It is worth noting that fundraising and promotional work are inseparable.

With the changes described above a more focused and planned approach was put into place. It included:

  • Soliciting donations from members during the membership renewal campaign (in 1997 $9,572, was donated by 99 members, and in 1998 $7,500 was donated by 102 members. To date in 1999 $8,455 has been given by 35 members). Members are given the opportunity to target their donation to the CMS activity of particular interest to them. A list of donors with thanks from the President appears each fall in the NOTES.
  • More personalized letters to provincial (and territorial) ministries informing them of the success of their students in CMS sponsored competitions and other CMS sponsored activities taking place in their province. Funds and number of provinces supporting over the last two years have been: 1997 - $23,200 from 5 provincial ministries and $5,000 from 1 federal ministry, and 1998 - $27,700 from 8 provincial ministries and $5,000 from 1 federal ministry.
  • A comprehensive sponsorship recognition strategy. The Executive Director is exploring how best to recognize those mathematics departments that provide substantial infrastructure and personnel support to CMS projects.
  • Extensive national promotion of the IMO team. This has increased annually since 1994 and now boasts an impressive send-off reception (attended by corporate and government leaders) and excellent media coverage (most recently half of page 2 in the Globe and Mail and national coverage by CBC and CFMT).
  • New partnerships with the Imperial Oil Charitable Foundation and the mathematics institutes to support math camps across the country. This year, the national camp was held in Waterloo, and regional camps in Calgary and London. Funding is available for one year and extensions of the agreements are actively being pursued.
  • Increased support from Sun Life which is now a major sponsor of the CMO.
  • Membership campaigns. A recent membership campaign to recruit new faculty members was not successful. A new approach is being made in the coming year.
  • Membership in the Canada Newswire. This has led to significantly increased coverage of CMS events. It is difficult to measure the level of coverage but according to the Executive Director, inquiries received are citing the newswire as their source of information. One event of particular note was the profiling of the IMO team at a recent Blue Jays game.

 

Approximate annual costs associated with promotion and fundraising
  1997 (actual) 1998 (actual) 1999 (budgeted)
Salaries (staff) $ 17,500 $ 17,500 $ 20,000
Materials $ 2,700 $ 8,950 $ 7,500
Special Events $ 2,500 $ 3,500 $ 2,500
Travel $ 825 $ 3,850 $ 5,000

 

 

Funds raised

Income directly related to fundraising, which we would not otherwise have had (these numbers do not include grants/donations for meetings):

1997: $61,254

Because of the change in year-end, this number is half the total for 1996-97 plus the total for the six months July 1, 1997 to December 31, 1997.

1998: $59,700

This amount includes the contribution from Industry Canada for the Open. Not included in this amount is $23,000 in additional donations that have been approved to date and resulted from the 1999 Campaign which started in October 1998 and for which the travel costs and promotional expenses were incurred in 1998 and appear above as 1998 expenses.

 

Future plans

A long-term fundraising strategy has been developed and should be pursued for the next several years. To assist in evaluating its effectiveness a 5-year cycle of data must be available. Such a database exists and will be continuously updated and monitored. The information it contains includes: potential sponsors, number of company visits, number of sponsors in each category, costs, grants received, government support, member donations. Reporting must be done in an easily readable manner. As examples of how this might be done, attached are pie charts depicting the break-down of actual CMS expenditures and revenue for 1998 and 1999, and those anticipated for 2000.

Recommendation 2: That the fundraising committee and the CMS office review the database regularly.

There is great value in CMS members individually pursuing fundraising initiatives in support of CMS activities (past successes include grants from Canarie and Nancy's Very Own Foundation). To ensure the CMS maximizes such fundraising opportunities good communication with the CMS office is essential.

Recommendation 3: That the CMS develop a strategy for coordinating initiatives undertaken by others on behalf of the society and society activities.

At the same time as it seeks funding the CMS must increase its support in the communities outside universities, institutes and educational organizations. The following initiatives will assist in that: the creation of the IMO alumni association (already underway with first event planned for Hamilton in summer 2000); encouraging all departments to track their graduate students and provide that information to the CMS (perhaps through the annual survey); increasing and then maintaining contact with graduate students; continuing to invite corporate people to join the board and CMS committees; encouraging corporate membership of the CMS; and encouraging the CUMC committee to maintain contact with its outgoing members.

Recommendation 4: That a long-term strategy for maintaining contact with mathematics graduate students be developed.

Current mathematics graduate students deserve considerable attention as they are our future (their CMS involvement is being considered in detail by Task Force 6). Here we consider only one aspect of graduate student support; one which combines CMS fundraising with corporate partners and graduate student support. The CMS, jointly with the institutes, will soon be offering its first "job fair" at the winter `99 meeting, with another planned for summer 2000. As well as providing opportunities for companies and graduate students, it also provides an opportunity for universities to recruit and to offer students advice on applying for university positions.

Recommendation 5: That the CMS, in partnership with the institutes, offer a "Job Fair" at at least one of the CMS meetings each year.

It is also possible that organizations might directly support research sessions at the CMS meetings (e.g. there are industries that will cover costs of one of their members to speak at a meeting - and there are now many outstanding mathematicians in industry).

Recommendation 6: That private and public sector support for sessions and plenary lectures at CMS meetings be pursued.

Fundraising initiatives should continue to be monitored by the fundraising committee. The annual plan should remain and should be reported on at the end of the year. As appropriate other fundraising initiatives should be considered. These might include: a brochure on bequests and on donating in memory and/or recognition of a colleague; the donation of life insurance; the pursuit of product sponsorship.

Currently CMS fundraising is done on an annual basis. A major campaign in which the CMS establishes a particular focus and goal for a fixed number of years (as large organizations often do) seems premature. Such a possibility should be reconsidered in five years.

Recommendation 7: That the fundraising committee continue in its present format for several years with regular reviews of the progress of promotion and fundraising, and the ongoing consideration of new initiatives.

Finally, it is necessary for the Executive Director to keep abreast of fundraising initiatives in other organizations as well as regulations governing not-for-profit charities. Combined with this is the possible need, on an occasional basis, to seek the involvement and/or advice of professional fundraisers.

Recommendation 8: That the Executive Director investigate the benefits of belonging to an appropriate fundraising association.

 

 

ADVERTISING

Advertising can be broken into three broad categories. First of all, the CMS has advertised itself and its special occasions in the production of items such as pins, mugs and t-shirts. Secondly, advertising is placed in the various publications of the CMS. Thirdly, advertising appears on the CAMEL web site.
On the first item above, a survey of CMS chairs indicated an interest in maintaining this type of advertising, but not in extending it to include a wide variety of objects, nor to incorporate items produced outside the CMS. The principal reasons cited for this were (a) tracking sales and inventory requires the already stretched time of CMS personnel, and (b) there is little evidence to indicate that something like this would be a money maker.
On the issue of advertising in CMS publications, there was a generally positive response. There was agreement however, that any advertising should maintain the integrity of the publication, and not interfere with the presentation of the mathematical or other substantive content.

Recommendation 9: That the CMS Publications Committee pursue the possibility of obtaining revenue from advertising in CMS publications.

Related to the concern expressed by the Finance Committee that committees often develop projects with no concern for the supporting funding arrangements, discussions concerning CAMEL, its ongoing development and related costs, and a desire for CAMEL to contribute toward the funding of these costs, have led to the need to consider the value and viability of suitable forms of web advertising in an attempt to generated supporting revenue. Indeed, part of the present strategy of the CMS Fund Raising Committee is to target groups who might pay for advertising on CAMEL.

CAMEL, a web service sponsored by the CMS, comprises bulletins, links and web pages of interest to the Canadian mathematical community. Web pages include Services, General, Research, Women, Employment, Educators, Students and Competitions. Web activity on CAMEL is regularly monitored and extensive data are available upon request from the web administrators of CAMEL East and West.

A report of an ad-hoc Committee on Electronic Services and CAMEL, contemporaneous with this present one, recommends that CAMEL adopt a business model based on producing multiple revenue streams, over and above the portion attributed from electronic subscriptions, increasing to 67% of CAMEL costs over a three year period. This Task Force concurs with this recommendation. Furthermore, we view our suggestions and comments below as being complementary to those of the ad-hoc committee.

A coordinated program for raising revenue through service provided by CAMEL might include some activities already being made available, but not separately priced. An example would be the automatic posting of eligible email announcements of jobs available to the Employment page. Although a service is being provided, a costing for the value of the service has not been made.
Other services provided are sometimes treated individually and not considered as part of a larger coordinated effort controlling the use and value of CAMEL services. A recent example was the decision to allow Cornell University to place an available job posting for the fee of US$115.
Issues that have been identified include the appropriateness of advertising on CAMEL, the forms of advertising that would be acceptable to CMS members, the content of acceptable advertising, the pricing structure for advertisements, and the location of acceptable advertising.
While the number of hits to CAMEL may not be sufficient in itself to attract significant advertising revenue, the unique profile of CAMEL users, together with the various research and educational activities supported by the CMS, could attract several institutional advertisers such as publishers, high-tech firms, software houses, financial sector companies, and perhaps even companies in the travel service industry. CMS chairs surveyed gave approval to the idea of pursuing this.

In order to determine the viability of CAMEL advertising and sponsorship, and to establish a base from which to launch such a program if approved, we should proceed as if we were preparing to attract advertising revenue. With this in mind, a number of preliminary steps need to be taken.
First of all, CAMEL activity must be analyzed to profile and identify the interests and strengths of CMS membership and of those accessing our web site. A list of potential advertisers who might want to reach this audience should then be prepared to maximize fit. Consideration of the goals and sensitivities of our individual and corporate members would need to be addressed during the preparation of the list.

Recommendation 10: That a joint subcommittee of the Electronic Services Committee and the Fund Raising Committee be asked to prepare a list of potential clients who might use CAMEL services.

A package featuring the profiles and interests of the CMS membership and visitors to the various CAMEL sites and detailing monthly activity by web page, a site map and URL should be assembled for use in approaching potential CAMEL advertisers and sponsors. We will need to establish fit between the products or opportunities being marketed by potential advertisers and the users of CAMEL.

Recommendation 11: That a joint subcommittee of the Electronic Services Committee and the Fund Raising Committee be asked to develop a package suitable for use in marketing CAMEL web services to potential clients.
An advertising policy needs to be developed which would address all the major aspects of acceptable forms of advertising on CAMEL. Included would be a list of web pages available for advertising, the position and content of advertising on a page, provision for the screening of all applications to advertise, and a procedure for the setting and collection of fees.

Assistance in developing an online service strategy, if necessary, is available through the use of such online communications companies specializing in research on Internet commerce. Examples of such organizations are Forrester at www.forrester.com and Jupiter Communications at www.jup.com.

Recommendation 12: That a joint subcommittee of the Electronic Services Committee and the Fund Raising Committee be asked to develop an advertising policy for web-based advertising.

This Task Force has thus shifted the burden of Mandate 3 to three standing CMS committees. This is felt to be appropriate as different issues face publications and web sites. Moreover, the latter in particular challenges us with issues and possibilities which will take some time to resolve.



TEACHING RELEASE, BUY OUTS, AND RESEARCH GRANTS

Volunteers

The ability of the Society to mount a broad range of activities and services depends on the volunteer efforts of its members and friends. Not only do these individuals commit many hours of work to society matters, but their home institutions frequently underwrite costs associated with their participation, including travel to meetings, secretarial support, and release from service requirements. (This contribution by the institutions has been seen as support of the discipline in Canada, and as a positive contribution to the good name of the institution. As budgets are tightened, however, departments are scrutinizing all costs, and fewer departments are willing to provide significant release time and support to their faculty. See the attached chart for information on current contributions of this type.) Individuals also make unseen contributions by personally absorbing some of the costs of the work for the Society. The scale of this voluntary support is not well quantified. The ability of the CMS to attract volunteer support, as well as direct and indirect contributions from departments, might be enhanced if some measure of the activity could be included in promotional materials.

Recommendation 13: That the Executive Committee investigate means to quantify the contributions of individuals and their home institutions.

Special Recognition of Services

Certain activities of the Society require that one or more individuals devote to them significant amounts of their time and expertise. In very special circumstances the Society provides assistance in recognition of the scale of the volunteer effort. The form of the recognition may be funding provided to the home institution as relief from teaching and service duties, as support for research, or as other support in recognition of the special commitment to the Society. As the scope of activities of the CMS increases, the demands on key members will increase, and at a time when budgetary restrictions lessen the ability of departments to provide such support.

Currently the CMS provides some form of financial recognition in five circumstances: secondment of Executive Director, release for Editors in Chief, support for Technical Editors, and support for key executive members, managing editors etc..

  • Executive Director-The demands of the society on the Executive Director have always approached that of a full time position, however the agreement reached with the host university requires some involvement by the incumbent in teaching and service to the university. Barring the situation where our finances can permit a sufficiently attractive package to allow hiring an Executive Director as an ongoing employee, a flexibility which allows the Society to negotiate release will have to be maintained.
  • Editors in Chief-Recognizing the significant time and effort involved in editing one of the Societies major publications, a policy was established to provide for release from one one-semester course for the editors, with the understanding that the host institution would match with a second release. The cost of the single release varies from institution to institution, and may be higher than the costs of a sessional replacement.
  • The Society's publications depend on top quality technical support, whether in the form of technical editing (Journals, Notes), or in technological support (CAMEL ). Since it may take some time to find an individual with the appropriate talents, the Society has an interest in identifying and retaining quality individuals. The scale of our operations does not justify full time employment for the individuals, and arrangements for part time release are necessary. The host institution may not realize the same benefits from release of an individual as it would for hosting a major journal. The actual nature of the arrangement depends on the situation of the key individual. In some cases release from several courses may be needed. In others, providing a nominal amount (the equivalent of approximately one course release) in the form of a research grant to the individual may provide the needed assistance.
  • Release time for an individual holding a key executive position (such as the President) may be required if we are to field the best candidates for high office. Whether recognition is best given by course release or through research or other support depends on individual circumstances.

Recommendation 14: That the CMS should continue to provide financial recognition only in circumstances where a high level of contribution must be sustained over an extended period of time. While it must have the flexibility to offer support in order to second key individuals, the Society must avoid creating situations which move it away from its core volunteer character.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

In dealing with the four components of its Mandate, the Task Force recognizes that fundraising is a significant part of the future of the Canadian Mathematical Society and will continue to challenge it on several fronts. The steps taken in the last few years to approach this challenge in a professional way are commendable; they must continue.

The Task Force wishes to thank all those who supplied us with information, answered our queries, and provided input in other ways.


Tables and Charts (PDF)

 


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