Dons Trust Board member Roger Evans gives us an insight into how the Trust operates and the range of its responsibilities.
The Dons Trust Board (DTB) has nine members, elected by Dons Trust members for a period of two years. Four positions become vacant one year, and five the next. Individuals can also be co-opted as members of the DTB to take advantage of particular skills. We currently have one co-opted member, giving a young adult’s perspective.
The DTB meets in full once a month, and the minutes are published on the DT’s website. The Football Club Board is accountable to the DTB. The meetings cover all the club’s activities, and there are reports from the Chief Executive (CEO), Erik Samuelson, and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Joe Palmer, which cover the club’s financial position, football matters, the new stadium, and commercial and operational issues. The CEO and COO attend the first part of the meeting and leave before we discuss wider issues. Each year the DTB sets the budget and agrees ticket pricing. The meetings are lengthy, lasting about three hours.
The DTB also receives reports on volunteering, the Foundation, the Ladies & Girls Section, the Academy and safeguarding. The volunteers who head up this valuable work attend DTB meetings from time to time, to brief us. Additionally, there are a wide range of issues to address such as matchday catering, the bars, and any individual fan’s (mis)behaviour.
During the six years I have been on the DTB, we have tackled some big issues. These take up a lot of DTB members’ time, but are fundamental to the club. As well as the construction and operation of the new stadium, there have been Back In Two Ticks, the ticketing (CRM) system and recruiting the COO, and currently there is the Restricted Action for a share issue – if you haven’t already voted on this, make sure you do!
We have five working groups: Oversight, Strategy & Organisation, Stadium, Engagement & Communications, and Operations. Each DTB member belongs to at least one of these working groups. Each group meets informally and reports back to DTB meetings. Groups look at issues in depth but do not have powers to make decisions – the full DTB does that. One of our members is responsible for overseeing finances.
There are various roles that DTB members take turns to fill several times each season. These are staffing the Dons Trust kiosk on match days, hosting away directors, and representing the club in the boardroom at away matches (a great way to inform others of our unique club). The DTB maintains a close interest in Supporters Direct, and sends representatives to their meetings. There are annual events we support, notably the Junior Dons Christmas Party (this year on Sunday 9 Dec and taking bookings now) and attending a Remembrance Day event.
Behind the scenes there is a huge amount of support work done by volunteers who are not DTB members. The secretariat of the DTB devotes time to agendas, minutes, etc. There are now over 3,000 Dons Trust members, and the work associated with maintaining the membership database and issuing membership cards each year is huge. There is not the space here to mention all the volunteers who are essential to the functioning of the club and the Trust. You are all much appreciated. You know who you are!
Despite the time demands, it is a great privilege to be elected to and to serve on the Dons Trust Board.