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Community Forum Revamp!

Home Forums MNFurs Meeting Notes and Times Community Forum Revamp!

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  • #30370 Quote
    Hey guys,

    As a few of you probably noticed by now, there hasn’t been an announcement on the location of the April 7th community forum. The reason for this is that the structure and focus of this community outreach is being retooled. We have heard quite a bit of feedback on these meetings over the course of the months we’ve had them, and many people believe that they are too structured and as a result, boring. Not all people think that, but many do. And I can understand. Staying informed on what’s going on shouldn’t be an experience where you sit down in a chair for two hours and listen to people tell you what’s happening. It can be that, but I don’t think it should be. It needs to be a two way discussion. Or three way, four way… however many people are there. We are also setting up volunteer appreciation days that alternate with our community forums. We are going to be giving this a try starting up in May.

    If you have ever been to one of our community forums in the past, we would love for you to post below and let us know what you think – both how you felt about the old format and if we are on the right track with our idea to make them more interactive.

    PS: I’m sorry that the notification for this didn’t go up sooner. We meant to push it up over the weekend but there was a miscommunication about who was making the post.


    MNFurs Staff

    Furry Migration Co-Chairman

    #30377 Quote
    To add to this: Because of this re-structuring we are no longer having Monthly Community meetings. It’s moving to Quarterly instead. The first actual Roundtable Community Forum will be sometime early summer. May we will have a Volunteer Party instead. K

    eep an eye on the Forums for updates. Off months we will be buffering with Volunteer Parties and perhaps other things to mix it up a bit.

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    #30414 Quote
    So, you asked for thoughts on this, and I’ll gladly give them, even if they’re a day or two late.

    I noticed about the Community Meeting not being scheduled when a friend pointed it out to me. I wondered at this and poked around some. I even asked around on Twitter and such because I thought it might have been an oversight. After all, I look forward to the Community Meetings. It seemed very odd to me that there was nothing detailing whether it would be happening or not. Needless to say that the time passed on and I found out that the Community meeting wasn’t going to be happening.

    Hearing the that the Community Meetings being retooled is a good thing, but I’m not sure it should have been done this quickly. There are people that go to Community Meetings, so I think it could have gone on it’s regular schedule to spread the word that it had changed in time, place and function. If nothing else, it would have let others hear about it and consider changes or thoughts on it before it happened, even if there was no drastic change with the new feedback.

    Exactly how do you plan on changing the structure of this to be something that can be more open than what it was? What is the idea behind it to make it less business meeting and more open? Is there any practice behind the concept with the group aside from regular tabletop chat to say this is better than the other approach the other meetings took? Why space it out so much more?

    As far as perspective from old to now; I’ve been doing the Community Meetings for a bit now, and the new meetings sound positive and full of promise. I’m hoping to gain more insight on this, and I think it could be a great change if given the opportunity. Not just by those that go to the Community Meetings, but by others that have yet to experience a meeting as well. That’s a large part of making them something that can bring in new ideas, life and activity. We’ll see how they end up being received, but I’m hopeful that it goes well. Naming it a Volunteer Party is kind of catchy.

    As far as posts that go MIA however, it’s too bad the site doesn’t have a backup function, but things happen.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by FlyingFire.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by FlyingFire.

    When things look down, challenge them by looking up and seeing the light.

    #30416 Quote
    So as one of the guys who’s been thinking a lot about this, let me share some of my thoughts in response to you, FlyingFire, and you can tell me if they make sense.

    I do agree the quick short-notice termination was sudden! But we didn’t have an agenda ready due to the closeness of the elections and trying to figure a bunch of things out, that we called it off. However, we weren’t too surprised by this as we’ve talked for a while and have noticed declining attendance at community meetings, and they weren’t meeting the goal we’d hoped they would. This goal was two-fold: A chance to get meaningful feedback from the community and their input on upcoming things; and a place to bring volunteers together and engage them as a group both with existing volunteers and finding new ones.

    To meet these ends we wanted to space it out. Once a month is every other meet, essentially, and for a lot that is hard to get to frequently. Plus the overhead of constantly bouncing around, finding places, and so forth was becoming a drain on our resources. With an event every two months, we get a bit more flexibility on scheduling and can align things better to the group’s events.

    For the two goals, I’ll tackle the second one first. Volunteers, like you, are the lifeblood of MNFurs. They’re how we get stuff DONE. And we need to help volunteers with ways to grow and utilize their skills. Volunteer parties do that, they’re times where say we may make a bunch of buttons for the picnics, or stuff bags for the con, or any other big group efforts. They’re times for different volunteers in different areas to talk about things, and talk to the board who will have as many members as possible there. Anyone who wants to help out is of course welcome! It’s a time to relish that spirit of community we’re building.

    For the second goal, of getting feedback and informing the community, we heard a LOT of positives about the town hall – hearing reports is dull. Being able to ask questions directly? See people? Get your ideas heard? THAT is important, and we felt we need to really push that. So in between volunteer parties will be the town halls, a bit more formal, again anyone can attend, and talk to the board directly and hear straight up what’s going on and ask questions. In this way we accomplish all the goals we want, and hopefully it will see much more net feedback. We WANT to hear from everyone in MNFurs, and we feel this is a better way to go about it.

    Plus, a lot of people said “meetings are boring” and parties and town hall gatherings are much more fun!

    #30419 Quote
    My Sith friend pretty much nailed it. When I spearheaded this outreach back when MNFurs was just beginning it’s life as a nonprofit entity, we saw a huge response. During that time these meetings were very well attended and had a good mix of attendance – both community members who were inquisitive and active volunteers. And for awhile things were awesome. There were a bunch of reasons for a decline in attendance. One being that some of the folks who were core to the group ended up moving away. But I suspect another reason is that the meetings became stale. The remaining core membership was losing interest, and the meetings in the format that they were in did not attract new attendance.

    I wanted these meetings to, primarily, stimulate our volunteer base – get people excited about volunteering and encourage people to learn new skills. Other’s on the board might have had a slightly different view, but that’s personally what I wanted most out of it. I wanted to encourage awesomeness. For awhile it was happening but it’s not anymore. I believe the new direction will help to restore the energy and excitement that I was looking to create back in the beginning. And I believe it will better connect the community and give everyone a better chance to be heard.

    MNFurs Staff

    Furry Migration Co-Chairman

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