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Turnbull Clan Association

Summary of the Meeting of the Officers

September 23, 2003 – Washington, DC

 Resolutions Passed:

Individual - $20 per year

Spouse or student - $10 per year

 Action Items:


Turnbull Clan Association

Minutes of the Meeting of the Officers

September 23, 2003 – Washington, DC


Wally Turnbull, Brian Turnbull, John G. Turnbull, Janet Schwierking

Also present: Betty Turnbull, wife of Wally and Sylvia Turnbull, wife of John

Tao Trimble joined the meeting late afternoon.

 The meeting was opened by John.  John said that each year someone is named clansman of the year.  Last year Janet was honored for her dedicated work with the newsletter.  John presented Brian with two Turnbull tartan blankets and named him clansman of the year for his contribution to web management and the Turnbull database.  Claude “” was named honorary clansman for the support help that he gives to Brian and Clan Turnbull through his help with the web programming.  He will be presented with a bottle of scotch at dinner later on.

The official election results were entered into record.

Wally Turnbull, President - Durham, NC

Brian Turnbull, Vice-President - Lachute, Quebec, Canada

John G. Turnbull, Treasurer – Elmhurst, NY

Janet Schwierking, Secretary – Poteet, TX

 Janet reported that she received 107 returned ballots.  There were about 180 ballots sent.  General opinion was that this was an excellent return.

 John said that the officers’ terms usually begin in Jan. of the year following the election.  But this year because of his dual responsibilities, it would be wise to have the new terms begin immediately.  This will release John from his previous responsibilities as president and allow him to begin his new responsibilities as treasurer.

 It was decided unanimously that the above officers would begin serving their term of office immediately.

 John gave a financial report, giving each officer copies of the data pages showing expenses, categorized into fixed, variable and designated.  As of Sept. 15, 2003 there is a balance carried forward of $693.12 non-designated funds.

 A proposed budget was presented.  Brian suggested looking at the $3000 proposed expenditure for newsletters and postage and adjusting it closer to the $2000 that Janet thinks is more accurate.

It was agreed to accept the proposed budget as a working budget and to review it when dues for 2004 are collected and the new officers have more time to review past spending and plan for future events.

Janet asked if it is possible to keep the same bank account, expressing concern about having to change it each time someone new is elected.  John said that this is possible.

 John said that he keeps the accounting reports in Excel and can forward these to any of the officers upon request.  John will communicate with Wally and bring him up to date on fixed expenses and past expenses.  It was stated that TCA benefits greatly from individual giving and contributions toward advertising and game hosting.

 There was discussion about the $2500 donated by Mark Turnbull to TCA.  Janet thinks that Mark and others are interested in starting a “Founders Fund” for scholarships.  Leonard “” will donate $200 toward the fund.  $750 of expenditures to be covered from Mark’s donation are included in the proposed budget.  John stated these expenditures are within Mark’s guidelines.

 The meeting was turned over to Wally.  He opened by saying that TCA has come to a point where the key to today’s meeting can be about what do we want to do not what do we have to do.

 A review of the legal status of TCA followed.  TCA is incorporated as an IRS 501.c.3 corporation incorporated in the state of TN.  John files the necessary tax forms.  Brian asked at what point is a receipt issued.  Wally said that by IRS rules, the organization validating a contribution must be able to prove the contribution was given and received.  Therefore, as long as the record of contribution can be traced and validated, the receipt does not have to be in the form of a receipt.  A thank you letter (preferably mentioning the amount) will suffice.  TCA must have documentation to back up the letter and prove that a donation was received.  Brian then asked if TCA had a process for doing such.  John said no, as TCA has not been gifted extensively. 

 It was proposed and accepted that Janet will write a thank you for any contribution other than dues and will send Wally the names and amounts for contributions exceeding $100.  He will follow up with a personal thank you to those person.

 The procedure for check depositing and posting was reviewed.  Currently, Janet receives the checks and photocopies it to the back of the application or document for filing and record keeping.  She sends John the checks who deposits them and adds the amounts to his accounting spreadsheet.

 It was brought up that most corporations have a corporate seal.  There was discussion as to whether wording with the crest should be in Latin or English.

 It was decided that Wally will design a seal using the crest and the words Turnbull Clan Association.  He will have an embosser made and send it to Janet.

 Janet will use the embosser on official documents.  She will emboss a gold seal on membership certificates.  Until she receives the embosser, she will use the membership certificates that do not have the space for the gold seal.

 Discussion followed suggesting a new, more colorful certificate, perhaps suitable for framing be designed.  If another certificate is accepted at a later date, the new one will be sent to all members.

 It was agreed that the current TCA bylaws contain some ambiguity and a procedure to clarify and improve the bylaws was discussed.  Wally proposed that the four officers work with each other through email, making a draft to present to the board.

 Brian suggested that Wally present his revisions of the bylaws as a base to work from and then work with the officers to prepare new bylaws before involving other input.

 It was proposed and approved that Brian will chair the by-law revisions committee to be made up of the current TCA officers.

 December 2003 was set as a target date for completing the new bylaws.

 It was decided that TCA needs an official corporate letterhead.  Discussion followed as to whether the letterhead would contain the Latin or English version of the crest.

 It was decided that Wally would prepare and submit letterhead samples using the bull’s head crest and the wording Turnbull Clan Association.

 There was discussion as to how TCA is seen worldwide.  Janet said that other international groups (including Australia, Canada, Scotland) have tried to organize Clan Turnbulls but nothing lasts.  Is TCA to be North American or an international group?

 Brian said that flexibility needs to be the key as TCA is the only organized Turnbull clan.  Discussion followed as to how to negotiate linkage to other organizations.  Wally said that we need to be gracious enough to accept others.  TCA will pursue ties to other organizations and offer what it can, realizing that TCA is not the soul heir to structure.  TCA must be seen as non-threatening.

 Janet said that a key in expanding is to understand what happened in Canada and Australia.  She will provide Wally with any pertinent information and contacts that might help him gather information.  (Jim, Dana contacting Myra, etc.)  The key to expanding is to have a reliable representative in each country.

 It was agreed that Janet seeks appropriate publication(s) in Scotland to advertise TCA for purposes of membership recruitment.  This will be coordinated with TCA Scotland before placing the ad.

 Brian asked that the president be made the point of contact to avoid confusion.

 It was agreed and accepted that the point of contact for TCA will be Wally and that information and requests be given to him to pursue.

 It was agreed that TCA would like to be recognized by the Lord Lyon and that as an American group we would like his office to find some form of recognition.  TCA will petition the office of the Lord Lion for recognition.

 There is interest in a TCA coat of arms and crest registered with the Lord Lyon’s office.  Wally said that it is important to move slowly so as not to offend any organization in Scotland.  The Turnbulls in Scotland could help make this happen.  The largest number of Turnbulls in Scotland is in Hawick.  Wally is not opposed to making a trip there to contact key figures.

 It was agreed that TCA would like to pursue establishing an official coat of arms and crest.  It was agreed that it would be nice if this could be done for worldwide Turnbulls and not just to include North America.

 Wally said that he would like the budgetary guidelines to be based on percentages and not amounts.  Dues play a major role in this.  TCA needs to be proactive in its means of recruitment.  Several points were made about membership and growth:

  1. TCA needs to communicate to members clearly and succinctly about what TCA is about and what members receive for their membership.
  2. Budget percentages will help membership understand where the money goes and what TCA promotes as a group.
  3. Could launch a campaign that each current member brings in two new members.
  4. Old members asked to pay for one new membership for a year with the hope that the new member will continue membership after that time.
  5. Offer a lifetime membership for a one-time fee.

 It was agreed that TCA needs to present simple objectives, beginning with newsletter with interesting information, genealogy support, and the promotion of things Turnbull.

 Brian stated that he was not comfortable with changing the dues and adding lifetime membership options until the new officers had time to work together.

There was discussion about the various categories of dues.  It was concluded that children under 18 years of age or those older but still in school would pay $10 dues.  This category is referred to as “student membership.”

 It was decided that 2003 dues would be:

Individual - $20 per year
Spouse or student - $10 per year

 Brian reported on the games.  He said that there is a need for support from TCA for new game involvement.  Presently individuals participating in the games and manning the tents cover most game fees.

 Expenses involved in the games include a fee for renting a space.  Some games provide tents and others expect the participant to cover that expense.  Each tent needs banners, props and items for display.  It is a desire to help all Turnbull tent representation of the games.  TCA needs to study to see how this can be done, perhaps through a fixed amount, a percentage of cost of the game amount, offering props, etc.  Because tent fees can vary between $25 and $250 depending on the game it is difficult to know how best to help.  A list of games of fees would be helpful to know how to budget help.  It was also stated it would be appropriate to solicit contributions from members towards a games fund.

 It was decided that Betty would put together a list of organized games with their fees.

 It was decided that if prop packages were prepared a prop package would be sent to the tent manager of a game.  It would not be expected that the host of the game would return the props to TCA each year.  Perhaps the host could pass props along to others hosting games in the same geographical area.  Prop kits would not be made up as loaners, as this would be too hard to manage and many would never be returned.

 General fundraising was discussed.  It was decided that while there is interest in establishing an endowment fund for scholarships or a specific purpose, that TCA is not currently organized to handle this.  The officers will reconsider an endowment fund in the future if funds become available or when they feel it is appropriate to do so.

 Other tasks needing to be done were discussed.  Board members often help with some of these tasks.  It was pointed out that board members are appointed by the president.  They are appointed positions in case there is a need for change.

 Wally mentioned that perhaps some day the members could access a page on the website where they could enter their own genealogy and family tree information or simply help in entering information on hand.  TCA should be able to look to their membership for help with some of the tasks needing to be done.

 John gave a Quartermaster report.  He said that TCA must be careful in providing lists of approved vendors who have Turnbull items.  It was agreed that is not wise for TCA to stock items.  But it would be helpful to have lists of pre-approved suppliers of items and perhaps sample, where possible.

It was agreed to ask Treena Trimble (CTI) if she would be willing to allow TCA to refer members to her as a Quartermaster.  She has several items available with the Turnbull crest for very reasonable prices.  She has paid for the “I Saved the King” crest setup with a supplier so items can be made quickly and inexpensively.  Wally suggested that TCA pay for the Latin version so buyers have a choice between the two.  Wally will contact CTI to see they are interested in coming back into TCA.  He will at this time, talk to Treena about becoming a Quartermaster.

 Betty will verify a list of vendors with John and compile a master list for Brian.  Brian will add the list and sources for Turnbull items to the website.  It was suggested that vendors might offer a discount to members in return for being linked to the website.

 Brian reported on record keeping and the database.  We need to use the Internet tools available to us.  At the present the database meets the secretary’s needs but necessarily the TCA collective needs.  Brian and Claude program to needs.  They try to program to mistake error prevention.  Brian said that all data was sufficiently backed up in various formats and could not be lost.

 Brian, Claude and Wally will discuss the possibilities of an online database making it available to the officers.  Read/Write privileges could be established so it is maintained by one person, but accessed by anyone with a need to see or use the data.

 A newsletter discussion followed.  John complemented Janet on her newsletters and thanked her for her dedicated help.  It was stated that when Janet wanted to reproduce articles from other publications in the newsletters, she should seek permission from the publication.  Without permission, the article can be paraphrased, but should not be printed word for word.  While there would probably never be an objection, as the articles are not being reproduced for financial gain, it is good practice and could avoid potential problems. 

 Currently 43 newsletters are being sent by email and 88 by postal mail.  Wally suggested sending an email to everyone with an email address when the newsletter is available online.  Janet shared the age distribution of TCA members:

44 members are between the ages of 70 and 90 (3 are over 90)

78 members are between the ages of 50 and 70

66 are younger than 50 years of age

 Janet said that about 80% of the members have email addresses.  It was suggested that she send an email birthday card from TCA to those with addresses.

 It was agreed that Wally will develop a member e-birthday card for Brian and Janet to use.

 It was agreed to send every member with email a notice of the online newsletter.

 John would like to start some sort of interaction with other clan organizations, perhaps through exchange of newsletters and electronic newsletters. 

 It was agreed that John would investigate which organizations would be most appropriate for and amenable to a fraternal relationship with TCA.

 Brian gave a report about the website.  He says that the current setup allows for four domain names, which allows space for International extension.  The forum usage is growing, but slow.  There are people registered for the forum, but not many actually use it.  There are about 6-8 hits a day to the website.  The amount of genealogy growth is pushing the technology and could slow things down quite a lot.  John expressed that he believed TCA exists and will grow because of the website and newsletters, that both are essential to the organization.

 Wally reviewed some of his goals for TCA:

He said that there needs to be a theme to work at getting membership participation.  When someone participates in any small gesture, the involvement will grow and snowball.  Once a person has made a contribution other than money, the organization becomes a cause.  He would like to see more people get involved in manning tents, making items for the tents, visiting fellow Turnbull shut-ins, etc.  Janet is getting some members to make beanbags to be used at games for holding down papers then there is wind.  Projects like this can have an effect on membership growth. 

 Wally said that website goals include having a virtual museum.  Perhaps someday this could turn into a real museum somewhere.  Mark has many items that could be used in the virtual museum.  Janet suggested that someone help Mark sort and classify these items.  She will speak to him about it.

 In addition to the virtual museum, Wally would like to see a Hall of Fame.  He says that this would contain biographical and historically interesting information about Turnbulls, starting with William Rule Turn-E-Bull.  This would include photographs of the people and interesting stories.  Member could submit nominations to be considered.

 Discussion followed about what is included in the membership packet.  The packet includes a certificate of membership, a membership card (laminated), a brochure about TCA, a “how to contact officials” paper, and a creed or statement document suitable for framing.

 It was decided that Wally will write to the artist of the turning bull for permission to use this in publications.  He will work with Janet on making up the items needed for the packet.

 Brian said that he needs proofreaders for the newsletters.  Sylvia and Wally volunteered.

 Janet is looking for one or two new places for TCA membership advertisement.

 Brian reminded everyone that Wally will need to write a “Letter from the President” to replace the present letter on the website.

 In reviewing the next steps to take, the following items were decided:

 Janet will contact Electric Scotland about a TCA article on their website.

Wally will follow through with CTI reconciliation.

Wally will contact with George Turnbull in Scotland.

 The officers agreed that it would be beneficial to meet together annually.  Brian suggested teleconferencing if needed between meetings.

 The meeting was adjourned to the Flagship restaurant for dinner.  Gail, Brian’s wife and their son and daughter-in-law Peter and Maija joined the group.  Claude Préfontaine and his wife, Louise were also present.  John took this opportunity to present Claude with his bottle of Scotch in recognition of his help to Brian and with the website.

Respectively submitted,

Betty Turnbull