Friends of the Merril Collection Communications Policy Update

So, popping in to make quick mention of an update to one of the Friends of the Merril Collection communications policies and codify a personal policy as well, because the thing that prompted this came up the other day in an e-mail. And this is probably going to be relatively uninteresting to most of you reading this, but I’m noting it for going forward and so that my personal policy is on the record as well.

To start: Though I’m the Chair of the Friends of the Merril Collection, I’m not usually included as a recipient in a lot of the general mailings that go out to the Friends mailing list because even though I’m a member most of the time I already have that information or it’s been shared through internal channels. So I only get the general e-mails every once in a while.

A couple of days ago I got one of the general mailing list e-mails, and it had a different signoff from the one I’m used to seeing. Instead of the “The Board of the Friends of the Merril Collection” signoff I’d always seen prior, my name and position as Chair were used as the signoff on a general mailing. Which actually goes against my own policy of never having my name attached as author to any documentation I don’t personally write.

So. Turns out that when we were doing the hand off and I took over as Chair at the beginning of 2013, we had some people on the Board who were out sick, there was some other stuff going on in the background that was an update to prior policy, and we had just come off an extremely busy year of programming. And we just never actually had the discussion about communications procedure re the mailing list because of the intersection of those various things. Because of which, I wasn’t aware until a couple of days ago that my name was being used to sign off on some of the Friends communications written by other Board members. And I’m by no means averse to the content of the messages we’ve been sending out (if I didn’t want to support and aid the Merril Collection I wouldn’t be Chairing the Friends organization that works to aid it), but what’s been happening bumps up against the personal policy mentioned above.

Especially so since the e-mail that went out a couple of days ago was a solicitation letter for memberships and donations. And that is a whole other kettle of fish.

Said kettle of fish makes me uncomfortable because I also don’t hold with personalizing organizational solicitation letters. (A lot of reasons for that, none of which I’m going to go into here.) And especially not using my name attached to an organizational request for money that I didn’t write. Only time I ever ask people for donated money to get something done is when I’m doing a personal project of my own, and even then that’s pretty rare for me to do.

And that e-mail going out with my name attached to it times out a little awkwardly, because I am tomorrow (in addition to everything else I need to talk about with ongoing projects tomorrow) going to start talking about a project of mine that will require some crowdfunding to pull off. So that’s less than ideal timing for it to look publicly like I’m asking people for money on multiple fronts.

Anyway, long story short:

To avoid this cropping up in future, and so the Friends’ and my own communications policies mesh, the Friends are, going forward (at least during my tenure as Chair, whatever another Chair down the road wants to do with communications policy is totally up to them), going to sign off the public communications solely with the “The Board of the Friends of the Merril Collection” signature, except in instances where authorial attribution is required.

Which gets us around all the issues I just brought up here. And honestly that’s it. That’s the extent of the update. Sharing it here and elsewhere instead of just internally because it’s an excellent time to clarify my personal communications policies as well.

See? told you it wouldn’t be interesting to most of you :p

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