On Tuesday night, MBPA's board held its bi-weekly meeting. While a lot was discussed, the focus of the meeting centered on our approach to restructuring. All were in agreement of the importance of a timely decision, given our recent momentum and the increase in volunteerism. Following is the resolution we discussed:
Understanding the intent of the prior board of directors of MBPA to address the status and structure of the organization within the 2013 calendar year, we, the current board of directors, upon careful consideration with input from prior board members and feedback from the current membership, have hereby decided to:
Option A: Keep the MBPA organization intact, but promote the concept of regional face-to-face meetings within MBPA's service area. Those locales that wish to organize meetings within the MBPA service area shall assign a group leader who will interact with the MBPA board, maintaining communications about the activities and events in the region and about any other interactions required by MBPA. This option serves the purpose of continuing to leverage MBPA's scale for those services that benefit most from a large, diverse membership, while simultaneously promoting local social interactions.
Option B: Keep the MBPA organization intact, but reduce the service area to Northern Virginia (DC suburbs), Maryland, DC, northern Delaware and southeastern PA (Carlisle to Philadelphia). This area is effectively within 100 miles of Baltimore, MD. Any members outside of the new service area may continue to be members, or may request a refund of their dues. All face-to-face events will be within this service area. Members in New Jersey, northern and western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and southern Virginia, are encouraged to form their own affiliate organizations.
Option C: Split the MBPA organization into several smaller affiliates. The board shall engage the restructuring committee to investigate and propose a course of action within 90 days.
Option D: Disband MBPA.
We quickly ruled out Option D. No one present wished to see MBPA go away. We also quickly dismissed Option C. We felt it was too difficult a path from a legal and accounting perspective. Our discussion was then about the merits of options A and B. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of a large service area, the need for face-to-face interaction and the value scale brings to an organization. We considered member feedback from the recent survey and discussions and seriously considered the advice of past presidents and board members. In the end, we decided Option A was the best path forward at this time.
While we don't have a lot of details -- our next meeting on March 18 will address the topic -- we are very excited to proceed with an approach that permits the creation of local chapters within MBPA whose mission will be to provide opportunities for face-to-face events and meetings. We are also excited to consolidate within the greater MBPA organization our regular events, focusing on leveraging our scale where appropriate. Option A is a "hybrid" approach to the issue the organization was facing and addresses all of the concerns provided we can actually plant the seeds of some chapters in key areas of our region.
Regarding the chapter concept, while we have not formally agreed to any specific guidelines, we should begin thinking about the possible activities that could occur in those settings - attendance at book fairs, discussion groups, co-marketing events, author-focused events, hosting of MBPA annual events, etc. These collaborative activities will serve to strengthen our organization and provide opportunities to make new friends and work together in this dynamic time for our industry.
The greater MBPA organization will now focus on online activities, an annual member meeting, sponsorship of certain chapter activities and the relationship with IBPA.
We sincerely thank you all for your input. We also ask you for your support of this decision, knowing some recommended a different course of action. We promise to provide more details as soon as they are available. Let's take MBPA to the next level together -- a larger organization with valuable interactions, leveraging our scale where appropriate, and providing the local interaction we all enjoy and cherish.
President/CEO, Sunbury Press, Inc.