Constitution & Bylaws

Writers’ Community of York Region

PROPOSED Constitution & Bylaws 2018

ARTICLE I:  NAME & PURPOSE

Section A: Name – The name of this organization shall be the Writers’ Community of York Region – WCYR.

Section B: Purpose The purpose of this organization shall be to provide a community of encouragement, inspiration, and celebration in support of writers of all genres, at all stages of development through:

  1. education via seminars, lectures, workshops, and critique meetings;
  2. making available an online community via social media, blog, and forum;
  3. providing access to special event opportunities;
  4. providing a free-access youth division (Write Now);
  5. networking opportunities, spoken work open mics, and newsletter accessibility;
  6. volunteer opportunities to help build a writing-related CV/portfolio;
  7. opportunities to gain publishing credentials;
  8. opportunities for published authors to market books.

ARTICLE II:  MEMBERSHIP & DUES

Section A: Eligibility – Membership shall be open to anyone 18 years and older interested in writers’ craft upon payment of the dues as outlined in Section B.

Section B: Dues – Dues shall be $50.00 CAD per year.

ARTICLE III:  OFFICERS

Section A: Officers – The officers shall be a Chair (Co-Chair), Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Coordinator, Programming Coordinator, and Special Events Coordinator.

Section B: Eligibility – Officers must be full-time members having held at least 1 significant volunteer credit within the organization prior to becoming an officer, unless “special circumstances” arise (which would be determined at the discretion of the current officers/board).

Section C: Election – The officers shall be elected via closed ballot at an annual meeting by a majority of the vote cast for that office. In the case of acclimation when only one candidate has come forward. The exact date of the election will be determined by the current board/officers at least 2 months prior to the election date.

Section D: Term – The officers shall serve for 2 years and their term of office shall begin September 1st.

Section E: Vacancy – If a vacancy occurs in the office of the Chair, the board officers shall fill that position at their discretion for the remainder of the term. Vacancies in any other office shall be filled at the board’s discretion to be ratified at the next annual general meeting (AGM).

ARTICLE IV:  DUTIES OF OFFICERS

Section A: Chair – It shall be the duty of the Chair/Co-Chair to act as figurehead for the WCYR organization and promote good-will toward the community, its members, and initiatives by being a conduit of accessibility at board meetings and seminar/workshops; organizing, creating the agenda for, and moderating board meetings. The Chair will ensure the smooth running of all areas of the team, help guide and see the fulfillment of ideas and projects to better the organization/community, timely response to inquiries, and assist other officers and team members as needed.

For a full description refer to Appendix A.

Section B: Treasurer – It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to oversee the WCYR’s finances by keeping track of what money is being spent/where and what money is coming in/towards which event. The Treasurer will handle cash, cheques, and online accounts, providing a regular update on expenses and savings.

For a full description refer to Appendix B.

Section C: Secretary – It shall be the duty of the Secretary to act as a clerk of the officers and attend all board meetings. The Secretary will ensure that all facts and minutes of formal proceedings are recorded and maintained in a business-like manner, and be the custodian of paper and electronic documents belonging to the WCYR, to be delivered upon request by resolution/vote of the board. The Secretary will also prepare and distribute completed minutes and other materials as necessary in advance of board meetings.

For a full description refer to Appendix C.

Section D: Membership Coordinator – It shall be the duty of the Membership Coordinator to look after general member queries, send membership renewal reminders, be prepared to accept new members and talk about what membership entails, liaise between the board and members, and facilitate introductions both online and in person.

For a full description refer to Appendix D.

Section E: Program Coordinator – It shall be the duty of the Programming Coordinator to find interesting and qualified guests to speak at the WCYR monthly seminars and organize the corresponding venues. Guest speakers can be “Sage on the Stage” types, where the audience profits from the experience of a published author or speakers can facilitate a workshop on a specific writing topic. The Programming Coordinator also organizes the member-run workshops at Newmakeit.

For a full description refer to Appendix E.

Section F:  Special Events Coordinator – It shall be the duty of the Special Events Coordinator to facilitate both the awareness of writing/author related events and the orchestration of such events on behalf of the organization. This includes but is not limited to: writing contest, conference and local workshop announcements by organization partners, book selling opportunities, and general outreach at craft/market/art events.

For a full description refer to Appendix F.

ARTICLE V:  MEETINGS

Section A: Meetings – Member meetings/seminars shall be held monthly from September to June.

Section B: Special Meeting – Special meetings may be called by the Chair with the approval of the Board. Special Meetings include but are not limited to:

  • Amend the constitution/bylaws
  • Decision to incorporate
  • Decision to remove/black ball

Section C: General Membership Quorum – A quorum shall consist of 20 percent of the General Membership.

Section D: Board Quorum – A quorum shall consist of half of the officers for the Board. If an even number results, then the Board Advisor gets a vote – if no Board Advisor is available then the Chair will receive 2 votes.

Section E: Parliamentary Rule of Order A PRO shall govern this entity in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws.

ARTICLE VI:  Board of Officers

Section A: Responsibility Management of this organization shall be vested in a Board responsible to the entire membership to uphold these bylaws.

Section B: Membership This Board shall consist of the officers as listed in Article III and the Board Advisor.

Section C: Meetings This Board shall meet at least once between regular meetings of the organization to plan future activities.

ARTICLE VII:  ADVISOR

Section A: Selection There shall be an advisor who shall be the previous Board Chair or a member of the WCYR or a sister-organization (WCDR/WCSC/WEN) delegated by the Board Chair and approved of by the current Board.

Section B: Duties The responsibilities of the Board Advisor shall be to:

  • Assist in the orientation of new officers.
  • Explain and clarify policy and procedures that apply to the organization.
  • Provide direction in the area of parliamentary procedure, meeting facilitation, group-building, goal setting, and program planning.
  • Provide insight on Past Presidents/Chairs, things to consider, risk assessment with new ventures, and with personal experience from having been in the role.
  • Assists the Board Chair as needed.
  • Will be the “tie breaker” in a locked quorum.

ARTICLE VIII:  COMMITTEES

The Chair shall have the authority to appoint any special committees, with the approval of the Board, from time to time as need demands.

ARTICLE IX:  AMENDMENTS

Section A: Selection Any changes to articles 1 and 2 requires a 2/3 majority vote of the membership. All other articles may be amended by a simple majority of the Board.

Section B: Notice All members shall receive advance notice of the proposed amendment at least 30 days before the meeting. [The time may be extended to the following meeting.]

APPENDIX A

BOARD CHAIR

Expectation of Duties

Core/General Duties

Acts as the figurehead for the WCYR organization and promotes good-will toward the community, its members, and initiatives by:

  1. Being a conduit of accessibility at Board Meetings and Seminar/Workshops.
  2. Organize and Moderate Board Meetings.
  3. Ensure the smooth running of all areas of the TEAM.
  4. Help guide and see the fulfillment of ideas and projects to better the community.
  5. Respond to inquiries (received through the website) that are not related to other Board Member duties (e.g. membership). Refer such inquiries to the appropriate Board Member.
  6. Assists the other Team Members as needed.

Event/Meeting/Workshop Expectations

  1. Attend seminars and meetings whenever possible (notify the board when cannot attend).
  2. Be willing and able to assist as necessary to help fill a need/void (within reason).
  3. Attend workshops and special events whenever possible to continue a supportive role for all those involved.
  4. Provide an agenda for, and run, board meetings.
  5. Support/create special group initiatives whenever possible & with reasonable time commitments.

Availability/Time Commitments

The Board Chair should “acknowledge” any message/missive/call/etc. within 24 hours of its receipt (barring weekends and scheduled time away). In the acknowledgement they will then advise those involved of when they will be able to fully address the query based on their availability/schedule — which will be made public to all Team Members.

It is imperative to maintain a certain level of communication with the Board Advisor and other Team members beyond Seminars and Board meetings. This will allow for a sense of unity and a clarity of purpose when working with all those involved with the WCYR initiative.

Never assume that other Team members should be expected to perform/participate in any capacity outside of their outlined duties or beyond the time they have agreed to commit to performing said duties. However, Board members should have a certain amount of flexibility and willingness to help regarding agreed-upon initiatives and joint projects.

NOTE: You must have volunteered as a Team member in some capacity for at least 1 year before being considered for this position.

APPENDIX B

 

TREASURER

Expectation of Duties

Core/General Duties

It is the Treasurer’s job to oversee the WCYR’s finances by keeping track of what money is being spent/where and what money is coming in/towards which event. The Treasurer will handle cash, cheques, and online accounts, providing a regular update on expenses and savings.

Specific Duties

  1. The Treasurer will attend meetings of the board and ensure that the following are done:
  • full and accurate accounts of all receipts and disbursements of WCYR in proper books of account shall be maintained on accounting software quarterly and at the AGM (annual general meeting).
  • all moneys or other valuable effects in the name and to the credit of WCYR shall be deposited in such financial institution(s) as may from time to time be designated by the board,
  • the funds of WCYR shall be disbursed under the direction of the board, using proper vouchers, invoices or receipts;
  • a written account of the financial position of WCYR shall be provided at each monthly board meeting and for the Annual Report

 

  1. Provide financial information at board meetings as needed.
  2. Ensure all cheques for expenditures of $500 or more have been authorized in advance by the Board.
  3. Ensure cheques are co-signed by Treasurer and one of the other two board members with signing authority (Chair/Advisor/etc.)
  4. Review accounts payable once a month to ensure processing of expenses which include but are not limited to, speakers, contest winners, contest judges, raffle prizes, workshop expenses, reimbursements to board members, miscellaneous administrative expenses
  5. Assists other board members with budget preparation for workshops and special events
  6. Prepares financial records for professional accountant, who prepares year-end statement in time for AGM
  7. Before the Monthly Meeting:
    • Pay Venue before the seminar/meeting/workshop
    • Maintain cash float
    • Track registrations and PayPal payments
    • Write cheque(s) for Guest Speaker, along with thank you card(s)

 

  1. At the Monthly Meeting:
  2. Provide honourarium cheque to Board member responsible for thanking the Luncheon/Workshop Speaker (included with thank-you card)
  3. Provide the cash float to volunteers at registration desk and the Raffle
  4. Issue receipts as needed to members and guests registered at monthly membership meetings.
  5. Assist others in set up and take down, as required
  6. After the Monthly Meeting:
  • Reconcile Cash receipts, prepare forms for Bank deposit
  • Pay outstanding meeting expenses, e.g. raffle prizes, office supplies (receipts required)
  • Deposit cash/cheques

General Event/Meeting/Workshop Expectations

Attend whenever possible to help support the WCYR initiative and to aid in any way regarding meeting setup/take down, and make note of any upcoming events announced that might directly pertain to the Publicist’s position.

Availability/Time Commitments

Attends Board meetings as well as monthly meetings, reporting and offering assistance as needed. Sets a personal schedule to be able to maintain a balance between productivity and personal life, making sure the Team is aware of said schedule.

APPENDIX C

 

SECRETARY

Expectation of Duties

 

Core/General Duties

The WCYR Secretary will:

  • Act as clerk of the board and attend all meetings of the board;
  • Ensure that allfacts and minutes of formal proceedings are recorded and maintained in a business-like manner;
  • Be the custodian of the paper and electronic documents belonging to the WCYR, to be delivered upon request by resolution/vote of the board;
  • Prepare and distribute agendas, completed minutes, and other materials as necessary in advance of board meetings

Event/Meeting/Workshop Expectations 

  1. Forward copies of the Board Meeting Minutes as soon as possible after each meeting to ensure action items are initiated or followed up.
  2. Maintain a record of any votes
  3. Chair an election, if required, for new board members
    • Receive and retain board nominations
    • Verify member status of nominees
    • Obtain bios from nominees
    • Prepare and distribute, 30 days in advance of elections, all necessary documents
    • Distribute Annual Report at such time as one is prepared
  4. Attend the monthly seminar/workshops and assist as needed.
  5. Maintain a current list of WCYR assets.
  6. Provide sister groups (WCDR, WCSC, CCWWP, PWAC, HHWEN, etc.) with list of new board members as required.
  7. Provide backup for telephone messages as needed (or designate).

Availability/Time Commitments

The secretary will strive to attend all Board Meetings and make arrangements for another Board member to support this position should they be unable to attend. They will set a realistic schedule for attending to WCYR matters and share their designated “hours of operation” with the Board. Should it be advantageous, during an election they are encouraged to enlist the help of a member-volunteer to share in the increased workload.

APPENDIX D

MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR

Expectation of Duties

Core/General Duties

 It is the Membership Coordinator’s job to look after general member queries, be prepared to accept new members and talk about what membership entails, liaise between the board and members, and facilitate introductions both online and in person.

Behind the Scenes

  1. Maintain membership database including new members, resigned members, and aid with changes in contact information
  2. Monitor and receive membership payments both in person and online
  3. Welcome new members by automated e-mail welcome package
  4. Track in a spreadsheet the number of consecutive years a member is with the organization and issue Recognition Awards for 5, 10 and 15-year members at AGM
  5. Liaise with Treasurer and Web Liaison for receipt of membership payments
  6. Handle membership inquiries
  7. Send out membership renewal notices and take member renewals, monthly

At WCYR meetings 

  1. Bring membership signup forms
  2. Make an announcement advising guests how they can become members
  3. Take new memberships and renewals
  4. Bring current list of members for verification
  5. Respond to membership-related inquires

 Availability/Time Commitments

Attends Board meetings as well as monthly meetings whenever necessary, reporting and offering assistance as needed. Sets a personal schedule to be able to maintain a balance between productivity and personal life, making sure the Team is aware of said schedule.

APPENDIX E

 

PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Expectation of Duties

Core/General Duties

The role of the Program Coordinator is to find interesting and qualified guests to speak at the WCYR monthly seminars and organize the venues. Guest speakers can be “Sage on the Stage” types, where the audience profits from the experience of a published author or speakers can facilitate a workshop on a specific writing topic. The Program Coordinator also organizes the member-run workshops at Newmakeit.

WCYR Monthly Seminars

  • Gather information about possible guest speakers through book events, conferences, referrals, and other writing groups.
  • Pool board’s resources to find new speakers and contacts.
  • Along with the board’s approval, set the dates for upcoming meetings (generally a year in advance)
  • Contact guest speakers to make arrangements for their appearance.
  • Book the meeting venues.
  • Get photo, bio and blurb from the guest speaker and create an event page on the WCYR site using the Event Espresso (or coordinate this with Webmaster).
  • Confirm with guest speakers ahead of time and be sure that their audio-visual needs are met at the venue.
  • Verify that upcoming meetings are included in the WCYR newsletter and social media posts.
  • Create flyers and posters with upcoming meetings to give away at events and post at libraries and other public venues.

Free Member Only Workshops

  • Collect proposals for workshops from WCYR members (or sisterships: WCDR/WCSC/WEN) for free workshops and present them to the board.
  • Create SurveyMonkey survey with all approved workshops proposals and tally results.
  • Book room at NewMakeIt for workshop and organize dates with presenters.
  • Create event for each workshop on WCYR site using Event Espresso (or coordinate this with the Webmaster).
  • Organize payment for member presenters.

The week leading up to the seminar/workshop:

  • Organize the details of the seminar. Details include: member reader, board member speeches (upcoming events, etc.), opening ice-breaker/prompt writing, raffle, presentation of thank you cheque to speaker.
  • Organize food and beverages for the meeting in conjunction with the Hospitality Liaison.
  • Create an agenda for meeting and send it to all relevant parties.
  • Contact all registered guests by email as a reminder.
  • Print list of registered guests and contact any members whose payments failed. Give list to Treasurer, Membership Coordinator, Registration Desk Volunteer.
  • Print Early Bird tickets for all members who registered before month end.
  • Connect again with guest speaker for any last minute emergencies.
  • Make sure that Treasurer has the cheque and thank you card done for guest speaker. If treasurer won’t be present at the meeting, be sure to get the cash box ahead of time.
  • Make sure all supplies are ready for the meeting. Supplies include: name tag stickers, flyers, banner, member books sign, etc.

At the meeting:

  • Arrive approx. 30 minutes prior to event to be sure the venue is set up properly, audio visual is working and refreshments are ready.
  • Greet guests at registration, take payment and give out name tags.
  • Greet guest speaker and organize their needs for the meeting as well as any books for sale they might have.
  • Follow agenda to be sure that meeting moves along smoothly.

Newmarket Farmers’ Market

**Note: This isn’t necessarily a task for the program coordinator, just a project currently run by that volunteer.

  • Organize schedule of WCYR Members to man the tent at the Farmers’ Market for each Saturday.
  • Arrange for payment by cheque for monthly fee to the Farmers’ Market.
  • Organize tent, table, banner and POP for each week.
  • Every week, contact WCYR members booked to man the tent, explaining the times and confirming their attendance.
  • Have a newsletter sign-up sheet ready each week and transfer all new sign up names to Newsletter Manager.
  • Arrange for flyers and posters for WCYR at the tent.

General Event/Meeting/Workshop Expectations

Attend whenever possible to help support the WCYR initiative and to aid in any way regarding meeting setup/take down, and make note of any upcoming events announced that might directly pertain to the Publicist’s position.

Availability/Time Commitments

Attends Board meetings as well as monthly meetings, reporting and offering assistance as needed. Sets a personal schedule to be able to maintain a balance between productivity and personal life, making sure the Team is aware of said schedule.

APPENDIX F

SPECIAL EVENTS COORDINATOR

Expectation of Duties

Core/General Duties

 The role of the Special Events Coordinator is to find opportunities for members of the community for public appearances and to bring awareness to our community of writers via a variety of special events. These opportunities include, but are not limited to: public sales events, markets, meetings, speaking, festivals, readings, contests, and signings. The Main Coordinator oversees the duties of the Co-coordinator, Grants/Contest Coordinator, and any open mic readings or special events held by or in partnership with the WCYR.

The Coordinator will use the budget assigned annually to help fund events within (approximately) a 100 kilometre distance of the organization’s home base, and arrange for attendance of members at such events. The Coordinator may also help organize events outside the 100 kilometre range and, at their discretion, assign funding from the annual budget accordingly.

The Coordinator is to keep the membership appraised of events through the newsletter, website forum, and/or mailing author-member mailing list, collect fees (if any) for the event(s) from members, and submit any forms or paperwork to secure placement of the membership in the event. The Coordinator is to keep track of historical events attended by the membership in order to deem if future attendance is in the best interest of the membership and report to said membership accordingly.

WCYR Events Include by are not Limited to

  • Word on the Street
  • Weaving Words
  • The Bookshelf Book Fair
  • Library Signings
  • Public Fairs
  • Public Shows
  • Open Microphone Readings
  • Organized Cons
  • Any literary events where book selling by individuals takes place
  • Any public events where book selling may take place
  • Any private events where book selling may take place

Fees and Subsidies

  • Be responsible for holding a budget determined by the Board at the start of each fiscal year.
  • Be responsible for recording the spending of such budget and reporting the balance at the end of each fiscal year.
  • Announce subsidies for events to participating members.
  • Pay or reimburse members from the budget as needed.
  • Collect fees from members attending events.

General Event Expectations

Attend, whenever possible, the booked events and ensure sponsored events have the necessary WCYR pamphlets and newsletter sign-up sheet available to the public. Verify the events are well run and attended by the public. Report events and mark them on a future list to attend or avoid. Report said findings to the membership and board at seminars and meetings.

Availability/Time Commitments

Attends Board meetings as well as monthly meetings, reporting and offering assistance as needed. Sets a personal schedule to be able to maintain a balance between productivity and personal life, making sure the Team is aware of said schedule.

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