Dear Members,

I agreed at our meeting following the CBAE conference in July to give you a regular update in our e-newsletters. Cedric is writing to you about our activities generally; I intend to concentrate on the Trustees’ side of things.

The role of the Trustees

As this is the first of my updates, I thought it might be helpful to give you some idea of what the Trustees actually do. The Trustees are responsible for ensuring that the Society is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit, complying with our governing document and the law. They have to act in the Society’s best interests and manage the Society’s resources responsibly. Trustees discharge their duties most obviously through attending Board and Committee meetings, and serving on working groups. However, they also contribute to the work of the Society in many other ways, bringing both Egyptological and wider business and policy experience and expertise to the work of the Society. For example: Neal Spencer and Margaret Maitland were heavily involved in the procedures for selecting and appointing our new Director; Anandh Owen made his offices and staff available to assist with the development of the member survey; Alice Stevenson provided a venue for Cedric’s inaugural lecture; and Val Billingham drafted our volunteers’ policy. Trustees are unpaid and volunteer their services, taking time out from full-time jobs and other commitments to do so. You can find biographies of all the current Trustees on our website here.

Finance

The last two months have been busy ones. In early August, the Finance Committee met Charles Stanley, our investment advisers, to discuss the performance of the Society’s portfolio over the last 12 months, and our auditors, Sayer Vincent, to discuss the 2016/2017 accounts. Jan Morton, a member who volunteered to become a Trustee last year, has done a huge amount of work helping Martha, our new Business Manager, to prepare the accounts, saving the fees we would otherwise have had to pay our auditors, and we owe her a big thank-you. The accounts were approved by the Trustees at Board meeting on 18th August and our annual report will be sent to you during September. 
As announced on the website in June, Emma Duncalf, our Treasurer, is leaving in October to have a baby. We received a number of applications for the post of Treasurer Trustee and are interviewing the shortlisted applicants later this month. We thank Emma for all her work over the last 12 months and wish her and her family all the best.

Fundraising

We have decided not to increase the current annual membership subscription of £48 for next year. However, we know that we cannot rely on our members alone to fund our core education, research and publication programme. An internal working group formed to develop our fundraising strategy met in early July, with the benefit of advice from a professional fundraiser kindly recommended by EES member Keith Raffan, and a report commissioned from Andrew Bednarski, a professional fundraiser who is also a former EES staff member and former EES Trustee. The group will meet again on 27th September, followed by a meeting to discuss widening our outreach to which we have invited members who have expressed interest in supporting us in this area. Further opportunities for members to engage with our fundraising strategy will arise in due course. Work has been progressing on a new legacy brochure, a new supporters’ structure and a series of events to promote what we do. More anon!

Premises

We have also been making progress with the proposed disposal of Doughty Mews. We have commissioned GGA architects to work with us on an analysis of our space requirements. We have taken advice from lawyers, surveyors and consulting engineers, and have obtained and considered proposals from four firms of estate agents, to act for us on the disposal and acquisition. We plan to conduct further interviews in September with a view to making an appointment before the AGM.

Office hours

The proposed move, development of the new web-site and implementation of our fund-raising programme mean that the staff, now only three full-time in London compared with six two years ago, have a lot of extra work to do. To help them cope with this, we have decided that the office should be open for four rather than five days a week. Accordingly, we will be closed to visitors on Fridays from now on.

Future Annual General Meetings

As most of you know, we used to hold our Annual General Meeting in December.  Two years ago we decided to trial bringing it forward to October. To meet printing and posting deadlines, this means that the report and accounts have to be completed during August, when most staff, and many Trustees, take annual leave, placing an unnecessary burden on the organisation. We are therefore proposing that next year we should revert to the previous timetable, with the AGM in late November or early December. There will be an opportunity to discuss this at this year’s AGM on 7th October.

I look forward to seeing you then,
Margaret Mountford

22nd August 2017