NOMINATIONS & MOTIONS
WELCOME TO AGM 2021
Please see below for this year's nominations and motions. Please review these carefully ahead of voting opening one week before the AGM. If you are eligible to vote, you will recieve an email with your voting details ahead of this.
Standing for election
Standing for Chair
Supporting this nomination: Matt Saint / Matt Haworth
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Chair over the last 12 months and would be honoured to elected into the role for a further 12 months. I'm incredibly proud of what the choir has achieved this year, despite very difficult circumstances. I would love to continue working with the choir as the world reopens once more, and we can plan for a full 12 months of events and appearances. As we return to normal operations, I'd look to put in place a business plan to deliver our mission, vision and values (to be revealed at the AGM) and explore our brand, and if it's still working for us. Mostly, I look forward to welcoming you all back into a rehearsal room! I can't wait to see all the things we'll achieve this year and be part of that journey.
Question from membership: When you mention exploring our brand and whether it is still working for us, might that include our name? Is there a sense that perhaps the name is beginning to present more limitations than opportunities in the current climate? How does our repertoire choice fit in with a review of our brand? As for many of our audience what we sing is an inherent part of the experience they have of us? Would a brand review include understanding what audiences want and reflecting that in rep? What process and values do we have to balance this pressure with artistic direction if there is a difference in 'pull?'
1/ In terms of exploring our brand, I don't anticipate this will include our name. We have done great work over the last few years building on our brand and reputation and our name is part of that. I believe changing our name at this point would be detrimental to that. I however do accept that our name can provide some challenges, and it is something that we can perhaps investigate in the future. However, it's not a priority for the next 12 months. In terms or rep, more steer on that will come from our now defined mission, vision and values as we will now tie everything we do back to that. Our newly defined values will help shape rep and programme, keeping us on track in that regard.
I'm always interested in what our audiences think, and this will absolutely shape programme moving forward. We were able to gather some audience data, this year which is already proving very useful. The member surveys we conducted through the last 12 months as part of the mission and vision exercise has also been taken into account. The appointment of an external director this year, will also provide a further steer, an outside perspective and critical eye who can review the data we have and keep us on track.
In terms of the rebrand, I want to tidy up what we have, define a useful set of brand guidlines and bring things in closer to the new website across the board. The Serenade, external newsletters, colour pallette and logo and need reworking to better reflect us as we grow and develop.
Moving forward, further external nominee directors should proved greater support for Michael, when it comes to the artistic vision and programming.
Standing for Treasurer
Supporting this nomination: Matt Saint / Nick Kirby
I've been Treasurer of the choir for the last year. During this time I've kept the ship steady by keeping a close eye on the finances and working to ensure any funding bids we received not only allowed us to do impactful work during the pandemic but also built our financial resilience. More importantly, though, I've ensured we haven't needed to up our subs to members or needed to charge members that were (and in some cases still are) going through difficult financial circumstances. Should you elect me as Treasurer I will continue to do this, and keep working with the team to improve our financial position through our friends scheme, voluntary enhanced subs contributions, and (hopefully!) income from gigs/events. My aim is to ensure that by the end of next year that our core costs - like rehearsal venue hire, insurance, and the services of musicians - are fully covered by our subs so we can keep singing regardless of any issues with arts funding during the COVID economic recovery.
Questions from membership:
What circumstances would necessitate an increase in subs, given we have saved so much money this year on rehearsal venues?
We don’t want to increase subs for members. Subs are very low compared to other choirs, however, and currently don’t cover our core costs. Compared to similar choirs that publish information on this we also seem to receive less in individual donor and corporate donor support.
Thankfully this gap is usually filled by our success in fundraising from institutional funders (such as Arts Council England). However this money comes with conditions and we can’t grow our reserves from it as we have to give back any underspend. We want to reach a position where we’re not dependent on good fortune with grants to provide our basic offer - especially as we move into such uncertain economic times.
Savings on rehearsal venue have been welcome but - as you’ll now be able to see from the figures in the annual report - have been offset by a reduction in income sources and increased spending relating to covid safety and deferred funded projects (i.e. Stay as Long as You Like). We’ve continued to deliver, and to invest in delivery, throughout this year rather than hibernate like many choirs have.
Our strategy is to…
1) be more open with the membership about what it costs to run the choir and how we’re doing
2) offer members the opportunity to contribute an enhanced amount - more in line with the sub level of other choirs - if they are able and willing to do so.
3) launch a friends scheme to allow non members or lapsed members to continue to contribute at a smaller level.
The initial take up of these schemes has already helped and we’ll be pushing these more over the next year.
If these schemes fail and/or there is a reduction in membership numbers to the choir and/or we don’t have confidence in achieving funds from other sources, we would be forced to review this approach and recalculate what a fair share of costs for each individual is and increase subs accordingly. This would be a last resort.
What reserves policy are you working to? What reasons are there for being above or below that level right now? What is the decision process for reviewing the limit when we are above the reserve limit?
This is a timely question as we are currently reviewing our reserves threshold in light of a cashflow forecasting exercise we have completed to plan accommodating costs for a weekly rehearsal venue whilst still in a position of increased costs due to covid.
I’m also ensuring our new reserves threshold properly factors in restricted funds. Due to our reliance on regular grant awards most of the money sat in our account at any given time is only able to be spent on the delivery of a specific work or project. The changes in what we could deliver and when over the last year show that it’s important to treat free reserves and restricted reserves separately.
I will be happy to update you all on the new reserves policy once this is set.
How do we ensure we are using funds to their best use for members and our mission?
I can assure you this is top of my mind in my role as Treasurer of the choir - and indeed my duty. I’m pleased to be part of a Director team that is on board with that, too.
Spending is carefully planned and monitored via budgeting, a monthly reconciliation process, and instant alerts of exceptional spending via our banking app.
Your question is timely given we have just reviewed our mission, vision and values. These will act as the new litmus test of spend for us.
If you believe you notice any opportunities for us to make even better use of our funds for our members and our mission then feel free to reach out to them to ensure they’re on my radar.
Standing for Membership Director
Supporting this nomination: Ken Rohde-Bell / Nick Kirby
In the four years I’ve been a Sunday Boy, choir has become a hugely important part of my life. I love how we strive to be an inclusive community, working hard together to produce truly excellent music. I want to continue to build on this as membership director. The last 12 months have been truly challenging for the choir as we have adapted to change caused by the pandemic. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved together, to continue singing, and producing new work even under lockdown. I’m also very pleased that we’ve been able to welcome new members and expand our choir family. In the next year I’d like to continue to be a friendly face to welcome new members, as well as supporting existing members. As restrictions ease, we’ll be able to do a lot more together, and I’m really looking forward to it! The Sunday Boys have achieved great things already but I believe the best is yet to come. We can continue to be a home for both seasoned musicians and people who have never sung before.
Question from membership: What could be done to streamline some of the systems members engage with to simplify the user experience?
This is something that I really want to improve. The demands of the pandemic have meant that the number of systems we are using has proliferated, and this has meant extra work for members (as well as the organising team!)
In normal times, there should only really be two systems that members have to interact with directly - Choir Genius, and the Serenade email.
Choir Genius is very useful to us as a central repository for sheet music, learning tracks and for managing attendance and gig signups. The Serenade is the main way to communicate "official" information with members, and that will remain the case.
We have made extensive use of Google Forms throughout the pandemic, as we have had additional data collection requirements. This should reduce significantly as things go back to normal.
We have also made great use of Zoom, and we are likely to continue streaming rehearsals for those who want to join us that way.
At present we plan to keep the WhatsApp and Facebook groups available for those who want to join them, but these are of course completely voluntary, and mainly social spaces.
I plan to keep all of these systems under review this year to be sure that they are still useful to us.
Standing for Nominee Director
Supporting this nomination: Nacho Juanicotena / Sebastien Desprez
I have been a Director of The Sunday Boys for the past two years. During that tenure, I contributed to the choir's marketing, public relations, and social media efforts. I more recently focused on the production of gigs and music videos, helping the choir stay visible, particularly during lockdown. I offer my contribution for another year, with a focus on concert production, and general media production aspects. I also intend to continue working with the team on a charitable organisation structure — completing the work we started in 2020, which was slowed down due to the pandemic. As nominee director, in addition to regular duties, I have the opportunity to focus on: - being an additional voice, speaking on behalf of all of us, - helping show growing audiences that we are bloody amazing, - ensuring we are always having fun along the way.
Question from membership: What work has been completed already and what is still outstanding on the work to gain charitable status? What new information have you gained in the past 12 months about this and is charitable status still the right option for us to pursue and why?
Answer: We have done the piece of work around it. We defined some specifics around what the Sunday Boys’ charitable objectives were and got close to submission around January this year. We then decided to delay it for two reasons -
1/ Our priorities changed and our energy was diverted because of the pandemic. We wanted to focus our energy on ensuring we were looking after our members during this town and allowing us to get back to work on musical projects as a choir.
2/ We needed to complete our Missions and Values work that was also delayed because of this. A lot of this work feeds into our charitable objectives. We are/have completed this work as I respond to this. After the AGM and hopefully as we get back into indoor rehearsals (fingers crossed) we will be able to focus on that submission - and making sure it is still the right approach for The Sunday Boys considering the Choir’s longer term artistic plans.
Standing for Nominee Director
Supporting this nomination: Ben Baughan / Matt Saint
Over the last year I have been assisting in a minor secretarial role and that has allowed me to understand some of the inner workings of the choir, and more importantly, how I can offer my own input. I firmly believe that I have a fresh, open minded and passionate vision for The Sunday Boys and that I can use my unique perspective as one of the younger members of the choir to continue championing our welcoming, loving and supportive attitude - more specifically towards diversity and inclusion. I am aware that I may have less life experience than other members however I feel that as I’ve grown closer to the choir, I have learnt more about using my own voice. I believe I have the right skills to help shape the direction we are going in and the right passion to make sure we do this without leaving any members, audiences, composers or collaborators behind. I hope you will consider me for the role of Nominee Director as I continue to find the best way I can support this choir we all love.
Question from Membership: What point would you be fulfilled in terms of your vision for diversity and inclusion? What learning do you believe we have yet to go through in order to achieve that?
I think our choir already does a wonderful job at trying to be inclusive, and in many ways we already are a very diverse choir. However, I do believe there could be a little more we could do to ensure that we are as welcoming to currently under represented demographics as possible. From what I've seen, I feel we would benefit from a specific project involving some research on Trans and POC choral singers. This could involve a couple interviews with members of other choirs, a general survey we could disseminate through advertising or a more specific "open table" discussion evening with a couple members from an underrepresented community.
Taking these small steps may in no way affect our current membership - and won't change anything drastic about how welcoming this lovely choir is, but these things might reveal a couple ways we could be even better at attracting all the queer, talented singers that Manchester can offer us.
Ultimately, my vision is to be part of a choir that has shown a conscious effort to support and nurture a wider range of voices and I think taking just a few, more outward-looking steps would fulfill that vision in a beautiful way.
To change the criteria for standing as a Director of The Sunday Boys
Proposed by Ben Baughan
Seconded by Alex Seewald
The current criteria to stand as a Director is currently defined in our articles as follows:
‘to be eligible to stand for election the member must have attended 12 or more rehearsals in the financial year up to the most recent 31st March and who has also attended 5 rehearsals in the current financial year since 1st April.’
I propose this is changed for simplicity, and to make standing accessible to a greater number of members to:
'to be eligible to stand for election the member must have attended a minimum of 10 rehearsals in the 12 months since the last Annual General Meeting.'
To create additional Nominee Director roles within the Organising Team that are external to our membership, eligible to stand from AGM 2022.
Proposed by Ben Baughan
Seconded by Alex Seewald
This would create the possibility for a number of additional Nominee Director positions external to our membership, in addition to the five directors who are also members of choir, and the one external Nominee Director position that was agreed at last year's AGM. This will increases the capacity and expertise of the board in relation to the choir's needs.
To ensure balance in favour of membership, the number of external Nominee Directors can not exceed the number of Member Directors.
There will always be a majority of Member Directors at any meeting that requires key decisions and a vote.
The amends to the articles are detailed here for reference: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZDwzc-sZ6ZEajVHK0BdC-EnXAXXQofoKqVfW4ViUEQ8/edit?usp=sharing
Accept Community Accountancy Service as our accountants for another year.
Proposed by Matt Haworth
Seconded by Ben Baughan
Accept Starling Bank as our bankers for another year.
Proposed by Matt Haworth
Seconded by Ben Baughan