Ordinary General Assembly
Andalucia Bird Society
Minutes No. 20
The Ordinary General Assembly of members was convened on January 15, 2022, at the visitors centre, Fuente de Piedra.
At the first call at 12.30 25 members of the society, representing 6% of the total membership were present. There not being sufficient members present, the second call was convened at 13.00.
Board members present: Peter Jones, John Brooks, Jacki Gittins, Janet Dixon, Pieter Verheij, Frank Hair, Silvia Meilan.
Written notice of the meeting, dated December 2021, was sent by the secretary, to all members at their registered address.
The following agenda was approved:
- Approval of the minutes of the EGA of January 20, 2020
- Approval of the 2021 accounts
- Approval of the 2022 budget
- Conservation Projects
- Membership Update
- Any other business
1. Approval of the minutes of the meeting of January 20, 2020.
The minutes were circulated and approved unanimously.
2. Approval of the 2021 accounts.
Treasurer Janet Dixon presented the ABS Financial Statement for 2021
The 2021 Accounts and the 2022 Budget proposals have been emailed to all Members. This has been a good year financially for ABS. We received 11,938 euros of income. 74% of the income or 8895 euros was from Membership fees; 14% or 1639 euros was from donations and 12% or 1404 euros was from advertising sponsors. Our actual expenditure in 2021 was 7639 euros. The main expense, 5462 euros or 74% of total expenditure, was printing and posting 4 issues of the Magazine. The other costs are associated with the Membership management and payment systems [known as Join It and Stripe], insurance, some additional postage costs and an annual auditing fee. Subtracting the expenditure from income produced a surplus of 4298 euros, which was added to the reserves. From these reserves, we donated 3100 euros to conservation projects in Andalucia. The Montagu Harrier project received 2000 euros and 500 euros went to the Barn Owl project. 600 euros was given to The Friends of La Janda to enable them to print and distribute an educational book promoting bird and wildlife conservation in that area. So, at the end of 2021, your Society held 15,286 euros in its bank accounts.
How did the year compare with the budget? When setting the budget, no one could know that the pandemic would continue throughout 2021. Travel was restricted, and our sponsors were being cautious, and one significant sponsor pulled out. It is quite remarkable that our income increased in 2021, and this was from a totally unexpected source – gifts. 28 different Members made donations to the Society ranging from 2 euros to 100 euros. One Member, Harley Dave went out and about, collecting money, and netted 280 euros for our Conservation work; then more good news, as our Patron, Tim Appleton, via his company, Global Birding donated 550 euros. So having budgeted for no revenue from gifts, we actually received 1639 euros. Fees from Memberships also increased more than the budget and this more than offset the fall in advertising revenue. We kept a tight control on our costs, with Committee Members checking out the best prices for printing, insurance and so on. As in previous years, Members paid most of their out -of- pocket expenses from their own pocket. Therefore, our costs came in at less than I budgeted for. In conclusion, in 2021, the Society added 4298 euros to its reserves. After making donations to Conservation projects, we are 1198 euros in the black, with a net worth of 15286 euros. We are in a sound financial position as we enter 2022.
The 2021 accounts were approved by all present.
3. Approval of the 2022 budget.
This is Janet’s fifth budget as Treasurer. Despite the healthy bank balance and a trading year ending with a surplus, I have to strike a note of caution as we plan for 2022. I think the main issue in 2022 will be a significant rise in costs due to inflationary pressures in the economy. I also think that it will continue to be difficult to obtain advertisement sponsors because revenue in this sector has also been hit hard by the pandemic. My proposals are set out on page 1 of the accounts, in the bottom box. I am assuming that Member income will be about the same, or a bit less. This year 2 Ordinary Members converted to Lifetime Members, so contributing 600 euros to the Membership income but I cannot assume that we will get any Lifetime Members in 2022. Each year some Members leave, and others join, so for 2022, I am budgeting for 8500 euros. As for advertisers, I am assuming that those who have stayed with us will continue to do so and that no new major sponsor will be found this year. So, I have put a figure of 1400 euros on this revenue source. Member donations is a complete unknown. Our Conservation work has been described in various articles in the Magazine. This awareness seems to be inspiring Members to donate. I have therefore put 500 euros in the budget. On the expenditure side, I am assuming the production and distribution of 4 Magazines with increased costs due to inflation, so 6000 euros for the Magazine. The other costs of running the Society are known. The switch from a largely paper system to a largely digital one is now complete. My budget for these items of expenditure is set out in the second table on page 1. On these assumptions, the Society should return a surplus of 2020 euros.
Questions from members: Is printing a fixed price? Answer: It is dependent on member numbers – increased members means increased costs. The magazine is now printed in the UK and shipped to Spain and then posted out to members.
The budget was approved and applause given from members.
4. Conservation Projects.
Peter Jones gave an update on current projects. The Montagues Harrier and Barn Owl projects are, as documented in the last magazine, doing well. Seabird Rescue and the Swift Recovery Projects receive our backing and support but no funding. The Friends of La Janda Project received a cash donation towards the printing cost of the book which is now in all schools. The book aims to promote the area of La Janda. A member in the audience queried how to access a copy. Membership Secretary Katrina Jones has the books but sadly was unable to join the meeting following an accident. We will ask her to bring them to the next meeting.
In October 2021, membership stood at 429 members, by mid January 2022 this has increased to 443 members. 2021 saw a net increase of 63 members. Figures may increase if lapsed memberships are renewed.
6.Any other Business
John Brooks followed up on the recent newsletter containing details of recruiting new advertisers for the magazine. A response to this newsletter was received from Derek Etherton concerning the costs of printing the magazine and proposing that ABS reverts to a monthly/bi-monthly newsletter.
It is important to remember that ABS was never set up to support conservation but an increase in members and therefore surplus funds means that the constitution was formally changed a couple of years ago to allow the distribution of surplus funds. John asked the members present for their opinions. One member contributed that our hobbies are usually seen in printed form – from crafting magazines to photography journals, and despite an increasingly tech savvy audience knowing their way around the internet, hard copies of a magazine are the preferred option to reading something on a screen. Another member commented that the magazine is a really good tool for promoting the society – you can’t give someone a PDF out in the field but you can give them a magazine. The option of increasing fees for those members who wish to have a printed magazine was briefly discussed as was the option of increasing the membership fee which remains incredibly good value for money. The idea of flexible postage costs was discounted as those sending out the magazine are all volunteers. There was a majority of members at the meeting in favour of continuing to print the magazine. John Brookes thanked the members for the discussion and opted to take the topic to the committee to discuss the next steps: are costs for printing the magazine sustainable in relation to the number of members with a printed copy?
One member asked how to contact individual committee members rather than using the personal email address of one member. The ABS email account is monitored by all committee members and the person best suited to answer a query will always respond – usually very quickly. You can always use the subject field of an email to address a particular member – for example FAO The Secretary, if you wish.
Harley Dave asked if the website could feature a translate facility as at present the site is in English only. Peter Verheij will look into this and report back. Dave will assist and some members said they would also help as generic translation tools can often mistranslate – especially with bird names! Peter Jones commented that he had almost finished the Andalucia bird list which used English, Latin and Spanish names and this would be included on the website very soon.
Harley Dave also raised the issue to fundraising using a donate button the Facebook page. Dave has done this for his own charities and raised a lot of money. PV agreed to assist with the documents required to enable this to feature on our Facebook page.
Dave very kindly agreed to ensure ABS events were published on Facebook using the filing system the App offers to assist members find details of field meetings easily.
Peter Jones thanked Dave and his wife Audrey for their huge contribution to ABS fundraising.
The Chairman closed the meeting at 13.50.
John Brookes Jacki Gittins