Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Friday, August 1, 2014

Let's Treat It Like A Company

So I had a good long talk with Mom about that last thing and she thinks I'm nuts. But I really do feel I'm on to something here so let's go.

Same disclaimers apply. When I'm bored I do thought experiments and because, independent of that what's on my mind is the family reunion, those thought experiments are going to be devoted to it because oddly enough rather than trying to pretend like I'm not going until I'm physically on a plane I'm actually pretty jazzed about it and don't mind having it on my brain.

Okay so there was a lot of stuff she didn't like and most of it felt like that since this was stuff she wouldn't be into why spend the money on it when ticket prices could be lowered. And that's a valid concern and balancing act that would need to be done even if I kept my yap shut. How much cool stuff should the committee plan verses how do you keep costs down but there were a few things that wouldn't leave my brain.

She made me aware that some of what I was proposing would require a huge shift in how the family thinks about the family reunion.

Each year is more or less run independently, a small ragtag group doing whatever they have to do to get the thing to function. And the gist of a lot of my proposals is to was to build up infrastructure and accountability around the institution of the reunion itself.

In other words run it like a company with a rotating board of directors. And that's a major paradigm change. Right now each reunion is "owned" by the host family. And what I'm proposing would take some of that ownership away in the name of strengthening the institution itself.

While I'm going to make a bunch of smaller arguments let me make the big one. As it is right now the success or failure of the reunions is almost entirely dependent on the reputation of whoever we find to host them. I'm not saying they're bad people. On the contrary most of the time they try their damnedest to make it work, but again I'VE LIVED THROUGH THIS, if the reunion is taken up by someone younger or less well known they'll have a hard time getting money for it because, as it is people have to just trust that they'll get a reunion they'll like for the money, and for all the lip service we give there are some times when we don't put our money where are mouths are on that one.

Speaking of the money this would require changing how specifically the host family funds it. Yes almost everybody uses their own cash to prime the pump early on, but we would need to be comfortable saying that once that cash is in the reunion fund it no longer belongs to us. If you pumped 5 grand into it and there is some left over that money would go to the next one unless you specifically declared it a loan at the outset on the balance sheet. And the same goes for every expenditure. Rather than just paying for things out of pocket as we go make recorded loans or donations to keep track of exactly how much money is in the pot and make budgeting easier.


I don't care if someone went to CVS to buy napkins.  It goes on the ledger.

Like I said sometimes the family doesn't know the host branch well enough to fund things the best way possible but you do know what people trust? Numbers. And every year we posted the ledger it would build up trust that no matter who was running things the money would get spent right.

And like I pointed out before the documents could act as sort of a guide to whoever took it next regarding the physical stuff they would need and maybe even a suggestion on how to organize things, exactly what sub-committees to create, what type of budgets they would need, that sort of thing.   It would even clue people into the unexpected expenses that come up out of nowhere. There is no good reason not to do it other than it would take a bit of effort.

And I still want to play Pluto Nash.

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