Head-and-shoulders photograph of Mark DavisStepping into the Breach

Newly appointed Dons Trust Board chair Mark Davis sets out the board’s priorities and explains some new ways of working for 2018.

Mark Davis

Every year, one of the first actions of the board, following the Dons Trust Board elections and AGM, is to appoint the Trust’s officers for the coming 12 months. After six years as chair, Matthew Breach has decided to step back from that role and, following a discussion at the board’s first January meeting, it was agreed that I would take over as chair. Matt is now vice-chair, and I am delighted to say that Sean McLaughlin is continuing in the role of treasurer.

Matt has been an excellent leader of the Trust over the past six years, and it’s a privilege to follow in his footsteps. You can read Matt’s reflections on his time as chair here.

Following these changes, the board held a further meeting in January to discuss priorities and ways of working for 2018. As ever, we have a lot on our plate. Oversight of the football club, and in particular the new stadium project, will continue to demand our attention. Consulting Trust members on design aspects that remain to be settled will be an early priority. And, once the construction contract is finalised and building work underway, the migration to Plough Lane will doubtless require us to make many further decisions.

Besides overseeing the football club, we also need to make sure that the Trust fulfils its other responsibilities. We need to recruit, engage with and retain members, and there is work to be done in bringing a new generation of supporters into the Dons Trust fold. Communication is key, both through the traditional media of SGMs, website and this programme page, as well as via newer methods such as the Trust Webjam and social media.

In addition, there are some mundane but nevertheless important things we need to get right. Far-reaching data protection legislation takes effect in 2018, and we need to make sure the Trust complies with the additional requirements for protecting and processing your personal data. We will also be integrating our membership system with the club’s CRM database. Getting that right is vital – and will also help to protect your personal data.

Given the number of priorities we face, we have decided to organise the work of the Board differently this year. We are setting up five committees, each reporting to the Board. That won’t take away the overall responsibility from the Board for managing the Trust, but it will relieve pressure on congested agendas and help us maintain momentum outside board meetings.

Matt Breach and I will be a two-person Oversight Committee. Between us, we will represent the Trust at monthly Football Club Board meetings and ensure there is day-to-day liaison between the two boards.

Nigel Higgs, Tim Hillyer, and Matt Breach will operate a Strategy & Organisation Committee, looking at how our structure needs to evolve to remain fit for purpose as the club moves and grows. Once we have a clearer idea on that, they will also look at updating the Trust’s creaking constitution.

Colin Dipple, Cormac van der Hoeven, Jane Lonsdale and co-opted Board member Charles Williams will operate as an Engagement & Communications Committee. Their role is to make sure fans understand how much of a difference they can make by belonging to the Trust and also to ensure that we communicate effectively with you.

Nigel Higgs, Tim Hillyer and I will be an Operations Committee. Data protection, membership administration, fundraising and IT are all things we need to focus on, as well as ensuring that our hardworking secretariat has the resources it needs.

Last but not least, Colin Dipple, Roger Evans and Sean McLaughlin will form the Stadium Project Oversight Committee. I think that one’s self-explanatory!

We will be laying out the priorities of each of these committees for members to see and, besides keeping you informed through various media as the year progresses, we will report back at the end of the year on what we have accomplished. We have a busy year ahead of us!