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What Do We Talk About?

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What do you do on the Worldwide Board? That is a frequent question posed as I'm explaining the makeup of the Prime Timers Worldwide Board to someone learning more about our organization. A short answer is, "you can read the minutes of our meetings on the Worldwide website." That would be factually correct but less helpful than providing a direct response to the question. The other short answer is "a lot!"


When Prime Timers was in its infancy, Woody Baldwin and others who would be the first "Board" established bylaws to provide structure and guidance to the newly forming chapters. A hallmark of the organization was to allow for local chapter autonomy within the Bylaws of the Prime Timer organization. Thus, our agenda of business at a Worldwide Board meeting focuses on the organization as a whole, with topics such as the formation and chartering of new chapters; managing the money entrusted to the Board through dues to the Worldwide organization; plans to promote Prime Timers in areas not currently served; our website and newsletter communication vehicles; common problems being experienced by chapters such as attendance, recruitment and retention of members; Worldwide Convention planning; Regional events; chapter visits; and on rare occasions about an issue in a specific chapter that reflects poorly on the organization as a whole. There's a lot to talk about!

When you calculate how much money we have to manage annually, it's easy to see that it is not much. With about 7,000 members Worldwide and dues of $2 per members sent by chapters to Worldwide, the income is only around $14,000. Certainly, that amount does not allow for lavish travel opportunities for chapter visits or Board meetings. We have telephone conference meetings approximately every six weeks with one face-to-face meeting annually required by Worldwide Bylaws. One of those face-to-face meetings is traditionally at the Worldwide Convention every other year. In 2019, it will be at San Antonio October 29-November 2. This year our face-to-face is at the Carolinas Prime regional event in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina October 25-28. Our telephone meetings are about two hours long and face-to-face meetings can be multiple sessions of several hours. We do travel. However, travel is paid for by individual Board members except in some cases where a chapter supplements the cost of travel with a stipend or ticket purchase. We keep very close tabs on our spending and overall budget with the help of our current Treasurer, Jim O'Brien, who is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

A topic we are spending a lot of time on these days is "spamming efforts" being reported to us by our chapters and another recent effort to extort money from Worldwide. A typical effort for a scammer is to send a message to the Treasurer from the chapter President using a fake email address requesting a transfer of money. Some of these attempts are cleverly written using the first name of the President from the imposter to the Treasurer. However, they are not clever enough to use "Jim" when sending a message to a Treasurer whose formal name is "James" and advertised that way on a website where they probably see the name advertised. After a scam in 2016, we have established safeguard approvals of multiple Board members at Worldwide for anything not specifically budgeted or approved by Board vote and limits on the dollar amount that can be approved for a payment. Warnings were also sent to chapters about scams. Have you established procedures to protect your chapter's money? My newsletter article is one of several ways your Board is using to raise awareness again. This challenge by criminals on the web is something no chapter ever thought to plan for when they formed their chapters up to thirty years ago. Watch for an article by our Treasurer in the newsletter and a letter to your Chapter President and Liaison on this topic and in other ways the Board plans to warn you of this evolving menace!

Are you using the Prime Timers website for ideas to use and information on other chapters' events throughout the organization? Is your local newsletter being posted on the Worldwide website? For potential new members within your community or moving there, the website is a great recruiting tool. Our website is another topic our Board is discussing with our Newsletter Committee and our Webmaster, Tom Hammond. 33 chapters currently use our website format. As more chapters are taking advantage of the "free to you" website development Tom provides, capacity is an issue we are addressing now and especially at our April 26th Board meeting. Within our limited budget, we are planning for current and future needs as we provide this Worldwide service to the chapters.

So, "what do we talk about"? Our website at has the minutes of each Board meeting in greater detail. And, something else we talk about are good things happening around the organization. We might be talking about your chapter. Check it out on the Worldwide website!

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Last modified on Thursday, 26 April 2018 18:15