Coordinating: Beyond the Basics

 

  • How to be a Responsible Coordinator
  • Types of Players
  • Hosting a Successful Social Event
  • Advertising Your Domain
  • Fundraising for the Domain
  • Building a Prestige Log
  • Auditing a Prestige Log
  • Membership Transfer
  • Charity Drives
  • Domain Websites
  • Domain and Regional Newsletters
  • Moderating a Sanctioned Email List
  • Referenda
  • Elections
  • Removing an Officer
  • Rumor Mongering
  • Mentoring Players
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    How to be a Responsible Coordinator

    The election is won, the handover of documents has been completed,and everything else associated with gaining the position is finished. You are now a Coordinator in Mind’s Eye Society. Congratulations. There is now a coordinator at the chapter, domain, regional or even national level. What does it mean to be a “responsible” coordinator? This document is meant to provide some guidance in that very direction to members. So let us begin with the position itself and what is required of it.

    The coordinator position as defined in the Membership Handbook is:

    Provide and perform administrative duties in support of the appropriate level of the organization to which they have been elected. Duties can include at a minimum, answering questions from constituents and supervising coordinators, tracking of active, temporary, and expired members, award prestige for services rendered to the organization, tracking and awarding member class, conduct conflict resolution procedures, and finally investigate/issue appropriate disciplinary actions if required.

    Please note that this is an aggregate of the overall position.

    What does all that mean and how is a coordinator responsible with doing all those duties? The first thing to remember is to draw from other coordinators and former coordinators as a vast library of experience. Network and ask questions and also pay attention to constituents. Often, at least a few of them have been a coordinator before themselves. Active listening and communication skills are a MUST. In fact, the foundation of everything a coordinator does is built upon these two things.

    Responsible coordinating isn’t simply doing the job within the standards presented in the MBH or other organizational documents.  Being a ‘responsible’ coordinator requires knowing the job well and being willing to ask questions when you’re unsure about something. Information should be known well enough that you are fully capable of training a replacement. A coordinator instills in constituents a sense that one is acting ethically and morally, providing a strong example of such behavior.  Exhibiting this behavior will further reinforce a coordinator’s credibility and authority in every possible way. What does responsible behavior mean within the context of being a coordinator? Below are a few of the key areas.

    • Leadership: Get to know the human aspects of leadership; everyone is human and fallible. There will be mistakes, missteps, and misunderstandings from time to time. Know that leadership is a multi-faceted skill set and leaders are made, not born. They should learn from their mistakes and own them publicly, then hold others to that same standard of behavior.
    • Administrative and Logistical aspects: Coordinators are responsible for securing a safe and easily accessible place to play games.  For information see the Officer 142 Education Document: Securing an Event or Game Site.
    • Organizational Finances: Coordinators are responsible for keeping track of Domain’s finances. They can designate one other person to act as the Treasurer. Both Administrative and Logical aspects and Organizational Finances require a highly responsible coordinator to handle them properly.

    Develop a clear plan of action and communicate your intent to your subordinates, peers, and superiors. Executing your plan and adjusting as situations change or evolve while being responsible is both rewarding and requires your full effort.

    This document cannot cover all possible aspects of being a responsible coordinator. Ask questions, seek answers to those questions, and be effectively engaged in being a coordinator. Best of luck and happy coordinating.

    Additional Reference Materials:

    Videos

    Articles

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    Types of Players

     Players come in a variety of fashions, and MES has all kinds … more than can be truthfully listed in any given document. Each type brings their own strengths to a venue or the club. What a player is willing to bring will depend on the experiences they have and the amount they are willing to give will depend on how invested they are in the club. With that in mind, here is a list of some of the types of players that can be encountered in the club, and potential ways to support them to give each of them a positive game experience.

    There are a number of different categories that a player can fall into.

    Experience:

    New Player

    This is a new, average starter to the club. In general new players don’t have much of an idea of what is going on, either in or out of game, most likely doesn’t know the majority of the group, and may be very  nervous. Dealings with them will set the tone for the rest of their time in the club, so it’s important to keep that in mind. Be helpful, be diligent in interactions with them. No one is saying to pull punches, but make sure he or she is aware if they are taking an action that may have unforeseen consequences either in or out of game.

    A coordinator should point out to new players club resources, offer assistance and contact info in case they have any questions. The more positive a new player’s experience, the more likely they are to return. That said, be wary of those who begin to use others’ assistance in lieu of learning; being willing to help is one thing, but if a player feels like their time is being either wasted or worse, taken for granted, it will ruin their experience and will make them shy away from helping other new players in the future. Be sure to be mindful of both sides of these interactions.

    Experienced Player

    An “Experienced Player” is a broad topic. This can cover anyone who is not brand new to MES. This could be the player who knows the basics of the club because s/he’s been here for a short time, all the way up to the player who started in 1994, knows everyone and knows all the ropes. As players spend more time in MES, they gain more connections and become an even stronger resource for a domain through their knowledge and experience. Sometimes it can be intimidating for players who are not part of these player’s shared experience to join in or break into the group because they did not take part in all of the stories, connections, backgrounds and bonding both in character and out of character that have come with time spent in the organization.

    As a coordinator, when dealing with experienced players, the first thing you need to do is understand where each of the players are. Each experienced player become strong in different areas as they spend more time in the organization. Often however, issues of burnout can be a concern if the player is too active. Players who have experienced a lot can get bored and aloof or feel that they know more than others. Coordinators need to be ready to address the inclusiveness and bridge the gaps between different cliques in the organization. Not everyone is going to be best friends, but it is necessary for domain coherency to work together towards the common goal of a strong domain, region and nation.

    Encourage them to act in a support role for a newer player until the new player gets their feet wet, and in turn improve both players’ experiences. Coordinators should work with them and should not be afraid to call upon their expertise when it is needed to strengthen the domain.

    Engagement:

    Hardcore Players

    These players will go all out with their character. Accent, wig, fully decked costume pieces… you name it,  hardcore players will put it into their character. They do research that a history professor would weep at, and he or she knows precisely where the character was born, the upbringing, life history, etc. A hardcore player is amazing for costuming resources or other such facts, can be called on often to play NPCs, or fulfill a certain role. They live for the RP and grab it where they can.

    Issues can arise where the player will become overly attached to a character if something does not go their way, or if he or she feels they cannot play the character. Keep them focused, because hardcore players may turn into a selling point of the game, but also make sure to keep them balanced with other interests and characters. At the same time, they may desire to talk about their characters to new players a lot. Which is fine… until it takes away from the new player being able to get a word in. But you won’t find anyone better to help the club for fleshing out character ideas, and should be pointed towards often to help out for character creation sessions or costuming socials. These players can be a valuable resource both to new and more experienced players. You can help channel their passion for the game(s) in the right directions.

    Casual Players

    Casual Players just came to play, or hang out. They’re not overly attached to their character, but these players enjoy the game. Casual Players won’t do downtimes, or make many events outside of specific ones they find interesting. They don’t go all-out on costumes or character depth… but they will often be a venue’s foundation.

    Don’t mistake their casualness for lack of interest, because that’s often not the case. Time, funds, resources, driving… all of these can contribute to them not being as involved as others. But that doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t want to be. See what their schedule is like, see what they hold interest in, even if it is only one venue, and let them know about the socials that could be related to such, or let them know when/where games will be held that may be outside the norm. If or when their situation changes, any attention they have been given will help them grow and encourage them to become more involved as their changing circumstances allow.

    Approach:

    Helpful Player

    These players want to help, simple as that. Be it in game, out of game, during game, events… Likely a helpful player will be the first one to volunteer and the last one to leave. Often times helpful players are some of the friendliest members in a domain. Coordinators should encourage this behavior, but also make sure helpful players don’t overextend themselves; they can become their own worst enemy and very quickly, promising more than they are, or should be, able to accomplish.

    A coordinator should help them find a balance between real life and game life. If he or she looks to be handling themselves well, then likely the player has everything well in hand. But if they do get frustrated or overextended, be sympathetic rather than accusatory of their frustration. A helpful player may just need to vent briefly as a refreshment to their own needs, and will likely come back to their normal selves soon enough. If it becomes a pattern, then perhaps suggest taking a step back for their sake. But these are the players who will be the first to help others out, and if treated well, can always be relied upon.

    Shy players

    Shy players will want to hang back from the crowd, will try to keep to only the players who they are most comfortable with, and will rarely move themselves past that particular circle. It isn’t that they don’t want to meet or interact with others, simply that there is a lack of comfort or knowledge on how to do so. Plenty can cause this behavior, more than this document has time to cover, so look for ways to help nudge the player along, either by finding more knowledgeable or more social players who don’t mind taking someone under their wing. While shy, the more they grow in comfort, the more eager they will be to interact with others.

    This can easily be approached by either the coordinator or storyteller. Have their friends invite them to socials out of game, or likewise pull them into larger groups in game. Talk to your experienced players to have them engage without intimidation; don’t come on too strong or the player will simply close off more. During game, engage them or have them included either by asking them for their opinion (preferably in a way they can make an easy answer) or making them the focus of a plot; either one will help their sense of importance and involvement. Find a balance, and you’ll be richly rewarded.

    Rules Lawyers

    A Rules Lawyer knows the rules in and out, backwards and forwards. They can quote sections of books that the ST hasn’t ever heard of, and are more up to date on the addenda than the NST. When on-the-spot clarification is needed, a Rules Lawyers is the player to consult. In a pinch, they can be a fantastic gaming resource, especially for new players or when books are not on hand.

    However, a rules lawyer is not infallible and can often mis-remember or misquote rules without intending to. There is the risk of a rules lawyer trying to argue with a storyteller during the game, because they are “right.” If necessary, a coordinator can remind the discussion that the Storyteller has the final say in the scene; if there is an issue, ask that the question be brought up after the matter. If it may involve a serious repercussion, such as character death, find a rulebook and verify what their claims are. Having them can be a tremendous asset, but they will not ever replace the printed text, and both parties need to be reminded of that.

    Power Gamers

    These kinds of players are the types who often, but not always, use the rules and setting of the game to find a way to bring their characters to the top, and sometimes use this to justify their behavior in an OOC setting. They can be seen as disruptive to others, and often will come across as overly aggressive or intimidating to younger players; you will see this player type be the kind to often care more about hard numbers that can be measured to judge their character’s worth more so than any other aspect. With others, you may see them critiquing how players have built their sheets and characters, dismissing anything save the “optimum” or “most efficient” build.

    It should be made clear immediately: this does not make them bad players, though they are often gathered into this group. In some ways they can be a great help to new players who may not understand the rules or mechanics behind certain powers or skills. In this aspect, they can help build a character to a particular style that the player desired. Be careful that they do not write the character completely for the other though, as it makes a disconnect and removes part of the ownership of the character from the player. But as aids and assistants, they can help remove frustration before it can ever settle into place.

    Working Together

    In the end, ultimately, this game is a shared experience and it’s important to remember this when approaching the game from any angle or background. No one person’s experience is more important than another overall, and any extreme will leave someone else feeling left out. This isn’t to say you should try to appease every type every gamer; it’s not feasible for the period of time a session often runs to have a meaningful experience for anyone. Instead try to see who seems to be left out or has gone some time without moving past a greater interaction. As a Storyteller, try to determine what your player is looking for and determine what may be the best way to offer it. Bouts of inactivity for certain play styles may also offer a rest period so that your players can recover; remember too much attention can be just as bad as no attention, and suddenly a player may find themselves being immensely overwhelmed. This is where the other aspects of players can come in; experienced can help assist the new, while at the same time the new player can offering a fresh perspective for the experienced player. Casual can gain insight and ideas from hardcore, while the relaxed approach can be a breath of fresh air or inspiration in turn. A helpful player can turn someone towards a rules lawyer, who in turn may find themselves able to help in clarifying or locating rules that may not be known. Each can have something to offer, so don’t overlook anything that can not only help your game, but your community as well.
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    Hosting a Successful Social Event

    Club socials are a great way for members to get together outside of the game environment, and a huge part of what we are as an organization. The point of the Mind’s Eye Society is not just to have a group to game with, but a community of gamers to socialize with as well. Social interactions help players to learn more about the player and separate them from the character they know in game.

    A social can be any gathering of club members for a wide variety of reasons. They can be in celebration of a special event in the life of a member, such as a birthday or graduation. A social event can also be a one time gathering for the release of a new movie, or a recurring event such as a regularly scheduled board game night. A sanctioned social event must meet certain criteria as laid out by the Membership Handbook, but the hallmark of a Mind’s Eye Society social event is that it is open to all members of good standing.

    A full checklist for planning social events can be found here.

    What Kind of Social is it?

    First the coordinator decides what type of event they wish to host, as well as the goal of the event. The goal of the event doesn’t need to be anything more complicated than getting members together to enjoy themselves, but it is a good thing to keep in mind what the focus of the event is going to be.

    Are children allowed at this event?

    Sanctioned social events are open to all members in good standing, but not all sanctioned social events are kid friendly. The coordinator should determine if the idea of the social event is child friendly during planning. Some socials, like an afternoon BBQ, are great for kids, but a night of rated-R scary movies might be something parents want to leave the kids at home for.

    Some examples of social events

    One time events:

    •     Host a potluck or BBQ
    •     Host a pizza, popcorn and movie night
    •     Check out a new restaurant
    •     Flag football day, disc golf day, or other group sporting event
    •     Hiking or biking afternoon

    Recurring events:

    •     Adventure Sunday: Pick something new and adventurous to do once a month
    •     Monthly movie night, or board game night
    •     Get a group together for a craft party

    Special events:

    •     New release movies,
    •     Birthdays
    •     Graduation

    Join another social club:

    •     Get a group from the domain to join a walking or running club

    Will There be a Cost or Donation Required for the Event?

    Some social events are minimal cost. It doesn’t cost much to get a group together to go on a hike for the afternoon, but if the coordinator decides to make it a dinner and a movie night that cost might price some folks out of participating. Let folks know what the costs are going to be before showing up.

    Social event donations

    While planning to host a social event, such as a BBQ or potluck where members are asked to bring donations to the event, then those contributions are worth of Prestige (huzzah!). Make sure there is going to be someone on hand at the event (usually the coordinator, or someone appointed by the coordinator) who can jot down what donations were brought and by whom. This ensures everyone will get counted and recognized for their contributions.

    Donations of alcohol are not eligible for Prestige; folks are welcome to bring it, but since not everyone can drink it, only the non-alcoholic stuff can be awarded prestige.

    Social events with alcohol

    On many occasions we want to celebrate with alcohol. It’s perfectly fine to have a social event where alcohol is present, so long as:

    •     The host or proprietor of the location says it’s okay to have alcohol on site
    •     Alcohol is not given to anyone below legal drinking age.

    Please urge members to avoid putting themselves in a bad situation by violating these rules. Remind members serving alcohol to minors penalties can be very serious, and if it’s not your house, or your business, don’t assume it’s okay to have alcohol there.

    Prestige for social events

    Chapter Five of the Membership Handbook has rules and guidelines for Prestige awards that coordinators can award to members who dedicate their time and money to help making the event fantastic for everyone. A best practice for a coordinator is to mark who assisted and how on the sign in sheet.

    When/Where are we Going to Have This Social?

    When

    Now we get into the logistics of where and when should the social be hosted. If the social is to be planned around a specific event, such as a birthday or movie event, then the when becomes easier. For social events that are not time or date dependent, it becomes more of a juggling game to find a suitable time.

    It’s not always easy to find a date and time that is going to suit everyone; in fact, it’s very likely that no matter what time and date is picked, someone isn’t going to be able to attend. Work, school, kids and other obligations are what we have to deal with as adults. Pick a time and date that is easiest for the organizer, and will accommodate the largest group of members possible. A good time for a social might be to get together on the same day as a domain’s regularly scheduled game, and meet a few hours prior to the game to get together for a non-game related activity. Host a meal prior to that evening’s game start. Get everyone together to do an afternoon hike before getting changed and ready for game. It’s more likely that folks already have that time off, and ensures the event won’t be interfering with a regularly scheduled game.

    Make sure that all dates and times are run through the coordinator staff prior to sending out the event announcements. A coordinator, or person appointed by the coordinator, needs to be on hand for the event to be a club sanctioned event. Sanctioned events differ from other social gatherings of members or non-members in that they must be open to all members in good standing, and a coordinator (or someone appointed in their stead) must be on hand.

    Where

    Finding sites for socials is about as difficult as finding sites for games themselves. Here again it is largely dependent on what type of social is being planned. If there’s a music event happening nearby that the domain wants to attend, then the coordinator doesn’t have to worry as much about arranging for space for the social, instead the domain just shows up where the organizers of the event have placed it. It is important, however, that when picking the site for a social, it is a place where all members will be welcome. Bars and areas where folks under 21 are not allowed won’t work for all members and should be avoided.

    If the event is going to be hosted at a paid site, make sure members know the cost of attending up front. If the domain or chapter is lucky enough to have a member willing to offer up their house to host the event, remind folks that this is someone’s home and to respect it as such. If there are rules specific to the location (such as don’t leave your cigarette butts on the ground outside) make sure there are some posted signs with the rules clearly laid out. Be courteous of the use of space, and remind folks to clean up after themselves.

    For outdoor excursions, such as a group bike ride or hiking, make sure everyone knows exactly where to meet to start the outing and exchange phone numbers to help contact members who get lost. Assign some of the attendees the job of bringing extra sunscreen, water, etc. as there may be participants who forget.

    Announcing a Event

    It has been said that if you want folks to remember something, tell it to them three ways. A decent amount of communication is to give them written notification of the event over email or social media, tell members in person either through a game announcement or phone tree, and hand out fliers reminding them of the event. Do at least two of these things to help folks remember the event. If possible, remind them 3 weeks, 3 days, and 3 hours before the event. We’re all human, we all forget things, and to have a successful event, folks need to be reminded.

    When posting about a MES event, include pertinent information such as when is the event, where is the event, and how much the event will cost. Are there particular do’s and don’ts about the event, is there some place in particular people should park, and certain rules they need to know about the site? Make sure people know what is expected of them at the event, and what they’ll get out of it. If a social event is given no advance planning of 48 hours or more notice and not all club members were invited, then this cannot be considered a club related social event.

    If the domain or chapter has a Facebook or social media site to announce the event, put all the relevant information up on that site so members can refer back to it as often as they need to. Place sign-up information there if folks are expected to bring donations to the event. Make sure that if there is a cost associated with the event that this is also noted in the announcement.

    Online sites that make social organization easier

    •     Shutterfly
    •     Big Tent
    •     Evite
    •     Punchbowl
    •     Eventbrite
    •     Meetup

    At the Event

    Taking pictures of events is a good way to help promote future activities and having members connect to events. Please keep in mind to ask people if they mind their picture being taken and send the photos of the events out to the group afterwards.

    Have fun. Seriously, don’t forget that the main reason we have social events is so we can enjoy ourselves and the company of our friends.

    The on-site coordinator should remind members to clean up after themselves and solicit help from members to assist cleaning up. Leaving the space in the same shape as it was when the group arrived helps create a good impression on the hosts to hold future events.
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    Advertising your Domain

    Finding and recruiting new members is one of the hardest aspects of a coordinator’s duties. It’s time consuming, and sometimes very frustrating. It’s useful to have a dedicated person or people that are willing to put in time as an assistant coordinator of recruitment and outreach as outreach ambassadors. These volunteers will get the word out about the domain or chapter, and that means advertising. But where to advertise? Where are the best places, and  what are the best practices, for advertising the chapter or domain?

    Advertising comes in various forms: a print publication, advertise online, advertise on the radio or television, or recruit face-to-face. Since it’s unlikely that a local chapter or domain has the money for a radio or television spot, this article focuses primarily on print publications, online advertising and in-person recruiting.

    Print Publications

    The simplest form of print publications are flyers and handouts. These can be a tear-off flyer with a simple email address or phone number tear-off tab, or a small handout that potential members can take with them to peruse at their leisure later.

    Creating an effective flyer: There are a number of “How To” guides for creating advertising flyers. A casual google search will yield several guides that will give the general design guides for how to make a visually stimulating and attractive flyer that will appeal to readers. I have given just a few of the hints below that are presented in many of these design guides.

    • Fonts: Avoid unusual or hard to read fonts. Those may look cool and different, but they also make it harder to easily scan and read the flyer, and thus quickly catch the eye of a potential recruit. Keep text simple and easy to read at a distance. Use simple, easily recognizable fonts like Arial, Courier, Times New Roman, or Helvetica.
    • Artwork usage: For most of these flyers it is important to have a logo or piece of artwork in addition to informative text to make the flyer eye catching and memorable. Remember when using a piece of artwork to use something that is going to convey some aspect of the game, either the World of Darkness, gaming, LARP, or a specific venue. Don’t use any artwork that is controversial or overly violent, or has images or logos that have negative connections, or religious affiliations (swastikas, the cross, the star of david, or any other such emblems with known affiliations).

    Another general guideline for using artwork in the domain or chapter’s promotional material is to make sure the object of the artwork directs the reader in some way to the information they need to see. If the artwork has a person, make sure they are facing the text. If the artwork has lines, arrows, or geometrical shapes, point them towards the information.

    As members of the Mind’s Eye Society, we have the privilege of being able to use White Wolf artwork and Mind’s Eye Society logos in flyers within certain limits as outlined by our agreement with CCP.  Use of any such artwork is subject to the following stipulations:

    The official logos are available in EPS, TIFF, and PDF formats. In order to use these in a produced product (such as a recruitment flyer, a webpage, or a newsletter), a copy of the document (such as a bitmap, a screenshot, or a PDF) must be sent to artwork@mindseyesociety.org with at least 72 hours of advance notice, or earlier if preparing a draft copy to ensure that there are no unexpected snags. If the notice doesn’t bounce, and no specific reply is received, then it can be assumed that adequate notice has been made. The email must contain the complete item and a description of what the item is, and what material the artwork is from. Be prepared to make revisions if it is necessary. For the sake of simplicity, this same procedure applies to any use of the MES logo. When using both, only one notice is necessary. However, if changes to what artwork is used occur prior to or during publication, a new notice is required.

    Additional information on use of names, logos and other White Wolf or Mind’s Eye Society material can be found in the membership handbook, page 22-23.

    What information should be found on the flyer

    It is important that when a potential recruit picks up and reads a flyer that they get all the necessary information. Flyers should contain the following information:

    • What: What is the organization that is being promoted? Make sure the Mind’s Eye Society name and logo appear on the flyer, along with how to obtain more information on the club (web page).
    • Who: Who are the people supporting this club? Give a description of the local domain or chapter, along with the name, and the name and email/phone number of the contact person for any potential members.
    • Where: Where can folks find out more information about the club, the chapter/domain? Include web pages and contact information where interested recruits can find out more information about the club and how to join.
    • Why: Why should people be interested in this club? What does club membership offer, and what activities does the club promote? Be sure to give some of the benefits club membership offers, and present what it is we do as an organization.

    The information should be presented so that it is easy to obtain with a quick scan of the material, especially contact information. Readers shouldn’t have to hunt for information.

    A 4 x 6 inch flyer placed at local game shops near the register so people can take one with them when checking out.

    Placing flyers

    There’s a myriad of places  to place flyers. Slap ‘em on every lamppost in the city and they will be seen by lots of locals, but to ensure that the most gain is received from the flyer distribution the placement needs to be narrowed.

    Game shops, bookstores, hobby shops, or any place where a group of gamers going to buy books or supplies are a great place to start. Additionally, local colleges, coffee shops, community centers, or public boards at groceries or retail stores can also get a lot of traffic.

    Always, always, always check with the management or approving entity before placing any flyers. Check for posting boards where flyers and other material from various groups can be posted, or ask if smaller flyers can be placed near the register. If posting on a campus, check with the student union or activities board to get the flyers approved before putting them up. Most places are ok with club advertisements, particularly if they are tasteful and non-offensive, but occasionally you may find a store or college that doesn’t want to be associated with our organization and it is always a good idea to ask first.

    Check in on flyers

    Things happen; flyers get torn down or damaged, and need to be replaced. Check in on flyers regularly. If they’re a torn off or taken away then bring more when checking on the flyers to refill or repost them.

    Online Media

    Chapter or Domain webpage

    Make sure the domain or chapter’s  web page is searchable and can easily be found with a simple web search if folks forget the exact address. For more information about building a Domain website, check out Coord 237: Domain Websites.

    Online Advertising

    The World Wide Web is a large and busy space, and it is easy to get lost in the noise. Advertising a group online can be a tough challenge. Lots of times these types of advertisements have to be linked to a single person, and is dependent on that one person updating and checking on their online links. This can be time consuming and sometimes expensive, however, having a good online presence to help support the domain or chapter is becoming increasingly important and should not be neglected as a viable way to connect with potential members.

    Online meet up sites

    • Meetup.com is a paid site where a domain or chapter can advertise the group and set tags for gaming, LARP, etc. to help folks find games. It’s free for individuals and staff can go and sign up for a lot of different interest boards. This is also a great way to find other groups to join to meet potential new recruits.
    • Groupspaces.com is free for groups of less than 250 people. A domain or chapter can be added as a new group that is searchable by other members of the site. The sites gives a group website address and email list that can be used to organize events.
    • Facebook A Facebook group is also useful for creating game events for members already following the group. It is helpful to include a good description of the group so readers will have an idea of what the group is, and where to find more information about the group.
    • www.rpggamefind.com is an online resource for players looking for games and groups looking for members.  There’s a category specifically for live action role-playing games.
    • www.nearbygamers.com The site is aimed primarily at tabletop games and board games, but domains or chapters can still set up a group or advertise on a forum.
    • The Onyx Path forums can be a great place to advertise a chapter or domain game to a much more targeted audience. The player finder feature is no longer in use, but the forums are still a great way to get word out about games.
    • www.penandpapergames.com has it’s own player registry, a member of the domain or chapter can sign up for an account and then find and communicate with players in the area.

    Local group meetup sites are also a good place to advertise a chapter or domain, and are going to ensure local interest. Many cities have online meetup spaces that are just for local events.

    Whatever site or sites is chosen to advertise the local chapter/domain events, make sure there is a reliable contact person for those sites, and a general use email account to funnel all the information to.

    Join other groups

    One of the best ways to get the word out about the chapter or domain, is to go do things with people in other groups, and talk about the Mind’s Eye Society and what about the group. Go out to board game nights or trivia nights at the local pub. Get a group together and join a walking, running or biking club, and talk about the group while walking.

    In Person Recruitment: Conventions, Game Stores, Troupe Games, Etc.

    Conventions

    Never neglect a convention, even if all that is done is dropping off some flyers. Conventions are a great way to direct the attention of interested parties. People go to conventions to learn about local groups, and meet up with folks who share their interests. Ask the convention director about putting up a recruitment table and get folks from the domain to man the table during the convention. They can hand out flyers and be there to answer questions about the group and discuss what we do.

     If possible, run an event at the convention. A one-shot vampire game is a great way to introduce folks to the system and get them interested in the club.  Even if running an event or having a recruitment table isn’t feasible, try volunteering at the convention, and at the very least ask members to attend the convention and support the local community.

    Attend other groups’ events.

    Don’t go to another game group’s event specifically to poach players, but rather to share. Do go to another group’s game to have a good time, make some new friends, and invite them to come join our game. Take the approach of, “hey, if you like this game, you might also like our game. You should come join us some night.” Remember to be an ambassador of your group, not a conqueror.

    Local game stores

    I recommend always having a good relationship with the local game stores. If the proprietor knows you, and knows about the club, they’re likely to also talk with other groups or individuals about the club. Additionally, if they think it can direct more business their way they may also be willing to give the group game space, or discounts on products. Not only are folks here more likely to be interested in the type of events we host, they’re also good for other non-cam activities that members of the chapter or domain may also be interested in (board games, cards games, etc.)

     Volunteer locally

    This again is a great way to meet people face-to-face and not only meet new people and develop personal friendships with, but also a chance to talk about your hobby and the organization. Word of mouth is the greatest way to get folks interested, and the more people you can spread word about the club, especially in a positive setting, the more people are likely to be interested in the game.

    If you wear matching tee-shirts with MES printed on them, other people may be inclined to ask questions as well.
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    Fundraising for the Domain

    For one reason or another, eventually a Domain will need to raise a good deal of money. While the main source of some Domains are site fees, there are a variety of other events that a domain may wish to host that may need some funding. Below are some strategies which can reliably be used to to raise funds. This article will focus on a variety of long-term and short-term activities, both sales and one-shot games. All are useful strategies to fundraise for either the Domain’s needs or for a Charity drive.

    The first thing that needs to be done is to figure out how much you are going to need for your event. Make sure to take into consideration site fees, food costs, plot tools and any other expenditures that you may need. Once this is done a domain will have a better idea of what the goals are for the fundraising project, and can better choose activities to complete the task.

    Sell, Sell, Sell!

    One-time sales are often easier to organize: there is less to keep on hand and fewer things to organize. Some require more overhead than others, but all promise a substantial return.

    Raffles

    Unfortunately, MES cannot endorse 50/50 raffle because in most states, doing this without a license would violate gambling laws, especially because of the club’s non-profit organization status. In some states item raffles also violate the law, so please check with your state and city laws before considering this option.

    Yard Sale

    Summer presents an excellent way to do this quickly is to organize a Domain Yard Sale, perhaps followed by a Domain BBQ potluck.

    A member volunteers their yard to host the sale and members of the Domain or Chapter gather to sell various bits and bobs. To maximize your impact and extend your reach, hold the yard sale in a place where they have advertized a community-wide garage sale.

    These items do not necessarily need to be items desirable to LARPers, only items that would be desirable to garage sale goers. Make sure to sticker individual items the day before, or label the tables by price point.

    Your Domain can do this on one or more weekends, and it presents an excellent time for the membership to socialize in real life!

    Rose Sales

    This activity is often done at conventions, but it could also be successful at a Game of the Month where a formal event is hosted. Plan ahead two weeks, so you can get your order in with enough time to ensure that your stock is available.

    For larger events, a supply of roses can be ordered at Costco or Sam’s Club. The minimum order is 100 stems, at about 90 cents a stem. At this price, sold at $2.50 a rose, 40 stems must be sold to break even.

    It is, however, not unusual to can cut a deal with a flower shop for about that price for fewer, though they typically won’t do that for an order of less than five dozen.

    Bake Sales

    On site munchies can be donated by players (for Prestige!) to the Domain for sale at game — especially a Convention or Game of the Month, where multiple games are held and there may not be much to eat on hand.

    This can be done over multiple weeks, but if it is more than a one time event, it would be easier to transition to a Concessions model.

    Concessions

    Alternatively, the Domain could decide to make munchie sales a long-term event, and invest some money in snack foods from Costco or Sam’s club. Sales of soda, bottled water, granola bars and bagged chips sold at game for a markup has proven very successful. Controlling the per-item against markup is very important. Ideally, a single Domain officer should be assigned concessions duties, and report to the coordinator on a monthly basis with all receipts. If items are donated by members, they can receive prestige for their donations.

    A 32 pack of brand-name soda at Costco costs about 40 cents a can, and a 60 count granola bar box is broken down to about 18 cents a bar. A standard markup, rounded up, would price soda at $1 a can, 50 cents a granola bar. This should be marked so that it’s profitable enough to bring a return in a reasonable amount of time. If the Domain can break even when half of the supply is sold, you have a reasonable markup and should have made enough of a margin to replenish your supplies.

    Making sales can be as simple as setting out boxes and a cooler in a space designated for out-of-character activities. Members purchase items by dropping off their money in a coffee can on the honor system, or through an officer assigned to mind the items.

    Do check with your game site policies to ensure that food consumption on site is acceptable. As a note, alcohol sales requires a license and thus should not be sold for fundraising. Also, please remind your members that clean-up is not only something they can be award Prestige for doing, but mandatory for us to retain our game sites.

    Penny Wars

    This is another fun thing to do at a convention or large event, but it could just as easily be done over several weeks, building up to a Domain Social or Game of the Month.

    Volunteers from Coord and Storyteller staff have jars with their names on them brought to events. The person who collects the most pennies (in dollar amounts) gets a pie to the face at an upcoming social event. Pennies count TOWARD that person, silver coins count against. Alternatively, we could dispense with the copper vs. silver and simply declare the “winner” the person who collects the most money overall.

    The winner is announced at a special event, with a last minute collection to help encourage a rush of last-minute funding. It’s all culminated with a pie to the face of “the winner!”

    With Storyteller Staff and Coordinator Staff cooperation, fun competitions like these can come with fun IC rewards. For instance a penny war with the vampire clans as the victors could pit toreador vs nosferatu, with plot cookies going to the clan who raises the most money. When we let our geek pride go to war for a good cause we often raise higher amounts of money for the cause.

    One Shot Games

    These events are not our standard fare, not set in any particular chronicle, and can be an incredible amount of fun! Your Domain might choose to run an event on a fifth weekend of the month when nothing else is planned, or perhaps on an off day, like Friday night or a Sunday.

    Some games may require more planning than others, but all can have the following fundraising scheme added on to it. Adjust these suggestions as your Domain sees fit.

    • $5 buy in (or whatever suits your Domain) on top of your standard site fee
    • 50 cents for a +1 to a draw, $1 for +2
    • $5 Retest

    Elysium in Hell

    Not much planning needed for this, only a Storyteller and a few Narrators. The basic conceit is that, for the buy-in price, players will get to play a dead character of theirs in a one shot adventure… SET IN HELL! Pre-registration is necessary to build excitement for the buzz, and so the organizers can advertise the presence of particular infamous dead characters. Pre-generated characters — or NPCs who are in on the plot — should also be available.

    Munchkin by Night

    This is often an incredibly successful event, as all of the crazy ideas that the members have ever had now become available to them. This works best if you have access to a white/chalk board to draw up brackets as well as draw the arena.

    This is a Royal Rumble-style one-shot event that will need some really, really smart STs who can run a fast killbox. This is a heavy killbox play, but as much crazy narration as possible should be included.

    In addition to the suggested $5 buy in, we suggest that this gets all players a base MC 10 character. Another $5 gets you that base MC 10 with supernatural template. Another $5 gets you a SECOND supernatural template (i.e., you get to play an “Abomination”). Bloodlines/Legacies/Lodges/etc cost $5, while Artifacts, Fetishes, etc. cost another $5.

    Given an announcement ahead of time, people come in with some really ridiculously creative things. The winner of Munchkin by Night gets a shiny thing, perhaps a trophy procured from a Thrift store, or maybe a re-decorated a plastic crown.

    The Zombie Apocalypse is Now!

    Yes, we all have fun playing monsters or super-powered people, but what about flipping over the tables and ending the whole world? This is another very fun one-shot LARP event.

    The Lead Storyteller arrives at the game site with a stack of pre-generated “ORDINARY PEOPLE” character sheets that contain a brief description of the characters, given out at random to attendees. These pre-generated character can include high school cheerleaders, a video store clerk, college football player, biker, police officer, priest, etc.

    Keep the introduction brief so that people can jump into the crazy game at any time, have the Storyteller use a location familiar to all the members — maybe even your home town! — and feel free to use local landmarks. Additionally, use this opportunity to help players go out on a limb and take risks. The players should feel free to explore the peculiarities of the setting, and exploit the craziness. They are required however to retain the concept that is given to them — this makes it hilarious when the two guys who always play the Brujah or Alpha Werewolf both get a “Cheerleader.”

    Because of the nature of the setting, characters WILL die! Messily! When their character dies, they can buy-in again (maybe drop the price to $2) and get another random sheet. With cheaper +1s and $2 retests, this can be a really fun, really crazy night. Because of its unique nature, new players can be fairly easily introduced, whether they’re late comers or have just started a new character after dying horribly!

    Storytellers can always use Mind’s Eye Theater World of Darkness rules, but the Storyteller will need to build a bank of pre-generated characters. Alternatively, this has been very successfully run using the All Flesh Must Be Eaten rules, which need only substitute a draw deck for the 10 sided die and already includes a dozen or so pre-generated characters. More information about this can be found here: <http://www.allflesh.com/flesh.html>.

    In Conclusion

    Whichever way you choose to raise money for your Domain, either for a particular purchase or for Charity, the objective is not only to raise money, but to HAVE FUN while building relationships between members. So often people get wrapped up in the in-game drama, but we should also keep in mind the importance of those out of game relationships formed by fundraisers and other out of character events.
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    Building a Prestige Log

    As a coordinator, you will, at times, need to assist members with their Prestige logs. While members are expected to maintain their own logs and keep track of all their gains, there will be new members who aren’t familiar with the finer points of Prestige and may need some education – and veteran members who may have let the log lay fallow for some time, and need some help reconstructing missed gains. But where does one start in assembling a Prestige log, especially when they may need to reconstruct it from scratch?

    he Prestige Sheet: The Basics

    For purposes of this article, we’ll be using the MES standard Prestige template, as found at this link:

    MES-Prestige-Log.xls

    The various slots are rather simple – there’s a place for the date (which usually comes down to month and year), a description of the services that earned the Prestige, a scroll bar for categories, and the various ways of breaking down the Prestige. Awarded reflects the actual award, Usable Prestige reflects how much actually applies to the log as a result of caps on each category, and Remaining Total applies the Usable Prestige to the actual total.

    If you’re starting up a new log for a new member, the categories that will come into play will be the simplified categories from the current MES Handbook.

    Administration – Awarded to officers on both the Storyteller and Coordinator sides for duties performed during the month. Officers are awarded from the Prestige Budget of their superiors, and such awards can usually be found in their Reports – a DC Report will usually contain awards for ADCs, an RC report will contain awards for ARCs and DCs, and so on. The various offices have caps of their own – serving in any one office, Storyteller or Coordinator, primary or assistant, has a cap of 50 per month. This Prestige is capped at 80 per month across all categories. Unless a permission has been gained from the National Coordinator’s office, one person can’t gain more than 3 primary offices at one time.

    Non-Administrative Game Support – Awarded to members who contribute to the general benefit of the game – securing a game site, writing an accepted plotkit, donating materials to a game, providing players with lodging, moderating an IC e-mail list, and serving as an IRC operator are just some of the ways to do so. At the General level, such claims are reported up to the DC by the members. This Prestige is capped at 50 per month, with a maximum of 30 per individual claim.

    Social/Non-Game Support – Awarded to members who’ve contributed to the club in ways that do not directly benefit a game. Such gains derive from contributions to club philanthropic drives, writing articles for club newsletters, organizing or contributing to a social event, creating or updating a website, and similar activities. When claiming Prestige for donations to the club or philanthropic drives, you must record all contributions, be they time or money, when reporting up the chain (e.g., “Donated 5 cans to church food drive” or “Spent 3 hours at no-kill shelter”). At the General level, such claims are reported up to the DC by the members; at the Regional or National level, activities are reported up to the officer in charge (such as the ARC/ANC Charities), and usually published in official reports. This Prestige is capped at 50 per month, with a maximum of 30 per individual claim.

    National and Regional Convention Events – Awarded to members who contribute to, well, it seems kinda obvious. This can include volunteering at a convention (for anything from AVST to Hospitality to Security to Registration), organizing the convention (securing a site, arranging room blocks, creating a convention website), or contributing flyers, banners, or other supplies to the convention. Prestige for such gains is capped at 100 per event, with a cap of 30 per month for contributions leading up to the actual convention.

    Standards and Early Renewal – These are awards handed out for completion of the club’s educational standards, and for renewal before the expiration of one’s membership. There are different awards for each standard, and no monthly cap, while Early Renewal prestige is awarded at, and capped at, 50 General per year.

    Those who use the standard Prestige log long enough will find that it doesn’t have enough space to record the gains of a veteran MES member. Fortunately, the sheet is not locked, and can be modified in an easy manner. Once you run out of space, Copy the last box in the column, highlight the number of spaces below it, you think you’ll need in the future, then Paste it in. Be sure to repeat this for Columns A through N; the sheet will automatically modify the formulas in Columns G through M to fit their new homes. Do make sure to use fairly blank values when copying, though – you don’t want to use a gain of 50 Prestige, only to find that you “suddenly qualify” for MC7.

    Assisting a New Member

    It’s likely that, in the first few months of a new member’s tenure, they’ve been focused more on character building and the game itself, rather than the fine details of the club. As such, they may have contributed to local domain efforts – and even the greater efforts of the organization – without being aware of their gains.

    In these cases, let the member know that you’re available to talk to them about assembling a log. While each member’s prestige log is their own responsibility, such a gesture will remind them of the importance of maintaining a log, and will open a good sense of rapport between the member of you.

    Before you meet to build the log, encourage the member to read through the Membership Handbook, so that they have a clear understanding of the various categories. Point out to them the various contributions they’ve made to the domain over the past few months, and how they might be worthy of Prestige:

    • Did they help clean up or set-up a site after a game, if so what date?
    • Did they portray an NPC while they were still trying to learn the ropes of the venue?
    • Did they bring food to a game, if so how much did it cost?
    • Did they go out of their way to help someone get to a game? The person’s name and member number will be needed.
    • Did they attend a domain meeting, if so what date?

    All these things, which may seem small in retrospect, can earn the member Prestige. Impress on them the importance of reporting such gains in the future, focusing on logging gains by the end of the month at the very latest. If your Domain does not have an “e-mail blast” at the end of month declaring when monthly Prestige is due, consider instituting one. Not only does it drive it home for the new players, it helps remind veteran players who may have fallen behind on reporting their gains.

    Reporting prestige to an officer can be handled through discussion but is most useful for the officer if it’s done via email or an online form. Often officers will have a sign in sheet at games where players can write down what they have brought or done to help during that game. As well, sending out a form for people to fill out a few days before reporting helps coordinators to cross check their information submitted to make sure nothing is missing.

    It’s a member’s Direct Coordinator – most often, their Domain Coordinator – who has the ability to award and confirm prestige. As such, Domain Coordinators should remember that they only have a three-month window to “backdate” Prestige awards. That’s not to say that potential gains outside that window should fall by the wayside, however. If you feel one of your members has done something to merit a good deal of Prestige, report it up to the Regional Coordinator – they have a window of one year for codifying past gains.

    Reconstructing a Veteran’s Log

    This is a situation most likely faced when a veteran member transfers domains, or has let their log go ignored over the years. If a member reaches out to you for assistance – or, perhaps, if you’re going back over a log you haven’t touched in years – it’s going to be tricky to reassemble everything from memory.  Fortunately, with more established members, there’s more of a chance of a paper trail.

    A note of consideration, before we begin. With veteran members, a good deal of Prestige will fall under the categories as they were before June 1st, 2013. In reassembling the log, you’ll need to take these categories, as well as the ones post-changeover, in mind. For this field, it’s best to use the June 2013 Prestige Guidelines on the MES websites, which also list the Prestige categories and caps for all previous iterations:

    Prestige Guidelines

    Furthermore, members returning to the MES from an absence do not need to worry about rebuilding their log in minute detail. By current MES policy, any returning member can be reinstated at the basic values for the MC last found logged in an official report. But, then again, there are always some gains that slip between the cracks, and they may need to be found.

    So, how can you help this member find all their old Prestige? Well, first of all, there’s recalling specific contributions – how long did you run this venue? Were you ever an officer? All of the past prestige awards should be found in the MES records from the years of the previous membership. If the award is not recorded and the member has clear and compelling evidence of them, the 3 month limit on backdating may be appealed and reviewed for addition to the log.

    Where to find awarded prestige?

    • The Prestige Search  – The Prestige Search function on the MES website will log all Regional and National Prestige awards. Sometimes, though, contributions go unobserved – maybe, in the hectic rush of a convention, a Venue ST didn’t jot down an AVST’s contribution. In cases like these, it’s best to get in contact with the Regional Coordinator/Storyteller where the contribution happened – that way, there’s a better chance of finding someone who can recall the contribution and attest to it.
    • The Report – Even if Prestige is not directly reported to the Direct Coordinator/Storyteller, a Report will, at the very least, log all awards for Storyteller and Coordinator staff.  Plus, there are those Domain Coordinators who will log a person’s Prestige gains and mark them down of their own accord. If the member is a veteran of your domain, make sure to go back over the records to see if the old DC penciled anything in; if they’re a transfer, get in touch with the old DC and see what can be found.
    • CRD – The Camarilla Reference Document has been used by players in the past to log characters, documents, Prestige, and the old Ordeals. Through use of the CRD, it’s possible for both player and Coordinator to find old records and passed Ordeals on the player’s specialized profile.
    • Standards/Ordeals – All Standards (and the Ordeals before them) are logged in the MES database and accessible through the Standards link under the Legacy Tools tab in the Member Portal. All past gains through these tests can be found here.

    In the End

    Assembling a Prestige Log ultimately falls to the members – but as a Coordinator, you will be called upon to aid them. It’s hard to reconstruct the past perfectly, but there’s a good chance you can find enough to fill in the gaps. The MES leaves a longer paper trail than most people imagine, and it’s fairly easy to find an old officer who will be willing to vouch for an unmarked contribution. Once you lend the member a hand, there’s a very good chance they’ll be able to pick it up on their own, and maintain their own Logs in the future.
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    Auditing a Prestige Log

    “Hey Jamie, I think I have enough prestige to go up a Membership Class!” Dylan Cammember exclaimed.

    “Great!” Jamie Coordinator said. “Now I need to audit the log before I can award the membership class.”

    “What do you mean an audit?” Dylan asked. “I don’t automatically go up a level?”

    ~~~~~

    As a coordinator, this can be a common question from members. Being able to answer their questions and perform an audit is part of a Coordinator’s duties. Let us go over common questions to help explain the process.

    First Steps

    The coordinator needs to inform the member that they can track what has been reported via the various coordinator reports that are filed monthly.  Ensure that members are aware it is their responsibility to report, track, and log their own prestige. Also ensure that member has a proper nationally formatted prestige log, the most current sheet is available on the Minds Eye Society site.

    What is a Prestige Audit?

    An audit of a prestige log is done to confirm the totals presented within the log. This is an effort to make sure everything is on the up and up, not to single out any one member in this process. We do this to make everything fair and equal across the board.

    What all is subject to an audit?

    The first audit will go over everything on a prestige log. Subsequent audits will generally go over the new information on the log.

    Who does the audit?

    That depends on what membership class level is being requested. Reference the chart below

    Member Class Approval required
    1-5 Chapter coordinator
    1-8 Domain coordinator
    9-11 Regional coordinator
    12-14 National coordinator
    15 Board of Directors (after review and recommendation by the current Trustee Membership)

     

    What is examined in an Audit?

    Some of the things checked in an audit are:

    • First are prestige caps. Every category has a prestige cap for the month. The coordinators make sure the log does not exceed any caps.
    • Second, are valid awards. Verify if the member actually was awarded the prestige. This can be done by checking coordinator reports and the Mind’s Eye Society’s website. (Remember, if the prestige was never awarded, it will be stripped in an audit)
    • Third, is to verify there are no double awards. This is to make sure a member did not record two awards where there were only one award.
    • If the audit is for player that is a long time member, don’t forget to reference the previous versions of Prestige regulations.

    How to do a prestige review?

    Starting an Audit

    Always start at the beginning of the log.  The only exception is when it has been locked at national, at which point you start from the lock and then continue.  Use the prestige guidelines, as found in chapter 5 of the Member Handbook, as a reference during the review.

    Start out by looking at each line individually.  Compare each line to the prestige system that was in place when it was awarded. Check that it adheres to the standards for that item and doesn’t exceed the award cap for the item. The Description for the award should be compatible with the Category type. This is vital to determining Category caps correctly and making sure that prestige isn’t stripped due to confusion. (Category types are pre-set in a drop-down list. If there isn’t a dropdown list for categories, you’re using the wrong prestige log template. A link for the current prestige log template is listed further on.)

    Checking the monthly caps

    Next, make sure that in any given month that the caps for each category are not exceeded.  This is a good time to mention that each award should be listed in the month *for which it was awarded* so that category caps can be applied appropriately. Even if Non-administrative Support prestige is *reported* in November or December, it was *earned* in October and needs to be listed in October in the prestige log.   If a member volunteers for a convention or other event, encourage them to leave a blank line or two in their logs as a placeholder. Inserting lines into the prestige log can be difficult if you are not familiar with Excel.

    There are also caps on backdated prestige. Backdated prestige can not be awarded past three months.

    Highlighting differences

    Should changes need to be made, the award should be altered in the “Usable Prestige” section with a comment placed in the notes section stating why. The full award amount should remain unaltered in the “Awarded” column.  Never make any adjustments in the “Awarded column.”

    Prestige logs should be checked this way each and every time you receive them for review. It’s easy just to assume that you made no mistakes in the past but that’s not always the case.  Additionally, members who have not had a National Lock can change any prestige at any time. Going back over it at each review will help make sure that mistakes like that won’t filter through.

    Confirming Regional and National Prestige

    While going through each line, you will also need to verify every Regional and National award.  The best way to do this is to make sure that they have up to date links in the note section. Most awards for National prestige can be found herehttp://www.mindseyesociety.org/player-tools/prestige/prestige-search/prestige.

    Please note that this link itself is NEVER a valid link to reference in the notes section.

    • A Lock on prestige totals-  When a prestige log is reviewed at national, the prestige totals coming out of the review can be locked if a member requests a lock to occur. This help speeds up the audit process in the future. If a Coordinator had done an audit in the past, then announced the prestige totals at the time. The next audit only needs to be conducted since the last audit.
    • The Prestige Search  – The Prestige Search function on the MES website will log all Regional and National Prestige awards. Sometimes, though, contributions go unobserved – maybe, in the hectic rush of a convention, a Venue ST didn’t jot down an AVST’s contribution. In cases like these, it’s best to get in contact with the Regional Coordinator/Storyteller where the contribution happened – that way, there’s a better chance of finding someone who can recall the contribution and attest to it.
    • Standards/Ordeals – All Standards (and the Ordeals before them) are logged in the MES database and accessible through the Standards link under the Legacy Tools tab in the Member Portal. All past gains through these tests can be found here.

    What happens after the Audit?

    After the audit, a coordinator should examine the final numbers. This coupled with the member’s behavior will be the deciding factor regarding a Membership promotion. This is where you as the coordinator must remind your members of the following “Member class is a privilege, not a right.” This means that earning a new member class is far more than just earning, reporting, and properly recording their prestige.

    Note: If the prestige audit occurs, this doesn’t mean that the member is automatically the next MC. There must be a letter (email or note) written to the member with the notice/ award and then it must be announced to the domain about the new member’s status.

    In the event the member, doesn’t get approved for the next membership class, they must receive notification of not getting there and why.

    The audit is completed and the member meets the requirements for advancement to the next member class.

    ~~~~~

    “Well Dylan,” Jamie Coordinator explains, “it seems you do have enough prestige to gain a membership class level. Congratulations! I will inform the Storytellers.”

    “Yay!” Dylan Cammember cheered.
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    Membership Transfer

    Synopsis

    The purpose of this course is to help coordinators and players understand the OOC membership transfer process. This course can help ensure that the membership transfer process goes as smoothly as possible, and includes all the necessary documents for the member’s new chapter or domain.

    When to Transfer

    Transferring a membership is quite different than moving a character to another VSS. Members should normally only be transferring to another chapter or domain if they are moving to live in a new location. Special circumstances can occur where a member is unable to be a part of the club in their local geographic area – if you think this applies to you, contact your Regional Coordinator to discuss the circumstances.

    Members: Starting the Transfer Process

    When moving to a new location, the first thing a member should do is determine which chapter or domain they’ll be a part of at the new destination. For transfers within a region, this is determined by the Regional Coordinator for that region. In cross-regional transfers, the National Coordinator makes the determination instead. The member should contact the right officers (Regional or National Coordinator) and let them know what physical town or city they’re moving to. By default the member will be part of the domain or chapter which contains their primary residence, but they can ask to be assigned to another city in cases where they’ll more easily able to make that game than their local one. In places where there is no local chapter or domain within 30 miles, the member can be assigned to the Virtual chapter for their region (or else the member can ask the RC or NC to be assigned to a nearby city if they think they’ll make the trip to game regularly).

    Once the officer has let the member know where their destination group is, s/he should email their current direct Coordinator about the transfer. Things will be easiest if the member provides the following info to  their Coordinator with their request:

    • Name
    • MES #
    • Physical location of transfer (ie, what city the member is moving to)
    • Domain and region the member is transferring into

    The above info will help the Coordinator to gather together all the necessary records, and will also help in contacting the right member of the Coordinator chain at the destination to send those records to.

    Coordinators: What to Transfer

    Once a member has let an officer know that they’d like to transfer – and where – it’s time to start collecting that member’s information to send to the Coordinator chain at their destination. The coordinator should be sending anything specifically related to the transferring member that they’d normally keep in their own records. This includes:

    • Most recent copy of member’s Prestige log and last known totals (This copy should be updated to the totals of the current last report issued, not left blank in the interim between the last audit and the current date.)
    • Any Disciplinary Actions or Letters of Counseling that the member has received
    • Information regarding any ongoing investigations involving the member (any details that their direct Coordinator is normally included on).

    Next, find the right person to send this to. Details of a domain or chapter’s officer chain can be found in the CRD, a tool located on the MES Membership Portal (under Legacy Tools > CRD). An officer can browse locations based on region, or search by name, location code or zip code. Once the officer has found the right location, the Coordinator for that group will be listed on that location’s page in the right sidebar. Clicking on the Coordinator’s title (not their name) will open to a page where their position email is listed. That’s the contact email that should be used for the transfer process.

    Once the transfer happens, two more things need to change. First, the member needs to be re-assigned to the new domain or chapter in the CRD. As their Coordinator, this can be done for them by finding the member’s profile and choosing to change that member’s Domain.

    Second, the member needs to correctly assign themselves to a new domain in the Approvals database and Standards testing system. No one else can do this for them, and this is important for Approvals and Standards results to reach the right chain. The member’s coordinator should encourage the member to reassign as soon as possible (and to do any necessary VSS transfers for their characters at the same time).

    Examples of Transfers

    • Member A is moving from Seattle, in the North West region, to Olympia, also in the North West region. The member checks with the Regional Coordinator, who confirms the name of the Domain in Olympia (Carthago Nova) and that A is transferring there. A then tells his current coordinator that he’s transferring to Carthago Nova in Olympia.
    • A’s Coordinator checks their records in the Coordinator account email, and finds that A has received a Letter of Counseling. A’s Coordinator sends the information regarding this LOC (and their most recent copy of Member A’s Prestige Log and totals) to the Domain Coordinator of Olympia. A’s Coordinator receives a confirmation of the transfer, then goes to the CRD and re-assigns A to the Carthago Nova Domain. A’s Coordinator then reminds A to change his Domain inside the Approvals database and complete any remaining VSS transfers for his PCs.

    ~~~~~

    • Member B is moving from Miami to Los Angeles. This is a cross-regional transfer from the SE Region to the SW Region. B must contact the National Coordinator, who assigns B to the Domain of Los Angeles. B lets her current Coordinator in Miami know where she’s moving to.
    • B’s Coordinator finds that B has not been involved in any investigations and has no Disciplinary Actions or Letters of Counseling. B’s Coordinator only needs to send Prestige records to the Coordinator in Los Angeles. Once this is confirmed, B’s Coordinator lets B know to change her domain in the Approvals database – and notes that B has changed their domain in the CRD properly. B’s Coordinator then wishes B a safe move and good times at the game in Los Angeles!

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    Charity Drives

    Picking a charity for your domain depends entirely on what your domain’s financial and time limitations are. Consider these aspects when choosing a charity, in order to ensure that the most people can participate. If you have people with different restrictions, consider switching off the types of charities you do. Some members are able to donate in one way while others can donate in another. The charities listed in this document are not all encompassing, but there’s an easy way to brainstorm.

    The first step in setting up a charity drive is to identify the need. Where is there a need in your community? Every community is different, but there are many things that remain the same. Let’s take a look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

    For a community to function well and work towards becoming a better place to live, certain needs must be met. This diagram may look familiar to many of us.

    When people’s most basic needs are not met, the community begins to break down. Physiological needs are the most important ones, especially for the most vulnerable of the community, therefore if we’re stuck on ideas, we look at the Hierarchy and see if anything jumps out at us.

    Tier 1: Physiological

    Donate Food & Water

    The holiday season is an excellent time to collect food, but also remember that the summer months are especially tough. Food pantries get incredibly depleted during the hard winter months, and people tend to forget that hunger knows no season; by the time the weather gets warm, they forget that giving is still needed.

    During summer disasters these stores get even more depleted. In the face of long-term unemployment during the humid summer months — along with no free or reduced price lunches for the kids — families feel the need for food keenly. Please donate non-perishable food items to your local food pantry and give your receipt to your Domain Coordinator.

    Suggested guidelines are:

    • For each $2 worth of items or money donated to a local sanctioned philanthropy (i.e. to a philanthropic event), 1 general prestige point is be awarded.
    • For regionally sanctioned philanthropies, the rate is $3 per 1 prestige points.
    • For nationally sanctioned philanthropies, the rate is $5 per 1 prestige points.

    A particularly fun way to collect non-perishable goods is during — of all things — Halloween! College towns are an excellent place to go door-to-door trick-or-treating for canned goods, as young men have mothers who buy them lots of green beans when they move into their college apartments, green beans which never get eaten. Come up with a little speech about how “Our theatrical organization is collecting canned goods and other non-perishables for [blank] food pantry. Would you like to donate?” Grab costumes, a box, a partner and a driver and go!

    Clean Water

    One of the most unfortunate things that happens during disasters is that the water supplies are contaminated. In times of domestic disasters, the Red Cross and other organizations will put out the call for bottled water.

    The suggested guideline is 5 prestige per dozen 10-12 oz bottles.

    Serving the Hungry

    It’s a great experience, getting out in the world and making a difference on the front lines of hunger. If you want to do more than gather food, if you’d like to see those who benefit, get out there and help serve it. Do a quick Google search for your local Gleaners food pantry, or even “[YourTown] volunteer Soup Kitchen” and you can find one closest to your Domain.

    Like you would for any other activity, pick a date, recruit people, and stick to it. These places love to have groups come in and help! Maybe your Domain can make this a quarterly event.

    Tier 2: Health & Safety

    Donating Blood

    Because our flagship venue is Vampire, and the cause is a good one, many members, lovers of irony, enjoy supporting the American Red Cross and other blood banks.

    Here is how to run a blood drive — inclusively! Contact your Regional Red Cross (or other blood bank) office to set up a time and date for your Blood Drive. Find them at redcross.org. Some Regions have a Bloodmobile, which they park outside a predetermined location, and some areas prefer to use a blood donation center — in the latter case, it’s easy to organize a carpool.

    Volunteer needs are as follows:

    • Need 3-5 volunteers to help setup and teardown
    • 1-2 Volunteers for check-in, 1 for the refreshment table, usually from 8 AM – 6 PM
    • Supplies needed: juice, cookies, granola bars, etc.

    Because gay men, pregnant women, people who have recently gotten tattoos and some other folks are ineligible, we must be creative so we can include them in the drive. Red Cross catches a lot of resentment from the GLBT community, but that is unfair to both the Red Cross and the people who need blood. Remind people who talk about this that the Federal Drug Administration, not the Red Cross, sets these rules — which many are working to get changed. Anyone who is ineligible is welcome to earn Prestige by advertising, transporting donors, and volunteering to set up, tear down, and man the juice and cookie table. Domains may also choose to put a “bounty” on donors, giving credit to the member recruiting non-members who can donate blood.

    Donating Winter Clothes

    Did you wear that scarf last year? Do those gloves fit? Is there a really great sale on hats at Target? Did Mom surprise you with another new polar fleece blanket that you hate? Do you have a little winter coat that doesn’t fit your child anymore, but is still in very good shape? Then you can participate!

    Any item from the list below in new or good condition can either be donated to a local charity or charity store, or collected by your local Coordinator. If it is donated directly to a charitable organization, remember to get a receipt or donation slip and give it to your local Coordinator.

    Suggested guidelines are as follows:

    • Winter jackets/coats, snowsuits, or a blanket -10 R each
    • A pair of winter boots, ski pants, hoodies, sweat shirts/pants or sweaters- 5 R each
    • A pair of gloves/mittens, scarves, earmuffs, and hats – 3 R each

    Tier 3: Love & Belonging

    Caring for our Own

    Sometimes terrible things happen to our own folks and we should feel free to help them meet their various needs, making our community stronger. Whether it is fundraising for Domain members who get sick, to help defray hospital costs by taking up a collection at Domain meetings, or organizing more structured events, we can aid our local members immensely. See the Fundraising for the Domain article.

    Of course, smaller drives, such as helping our members move, can also be great social and bonding experiences. These drives must be adapted to the needs of your Domain, something our communities should be willing to discuss.

    Tier 4: Esteem

    School Supplies

    I don’t know a single teacher that doesn’t pay out of their own pockets for supplies to help their students learn more. However, with class sizes increasing and salaries being frozen or cut, with parents getting fewer hours or losing jobs, things like markers or notebooks become harder and harder to supply.

    DO NOT donate supplies to thrift stores; we want these supplies to go to kids, not go on sale. Donate these items to a **SCHOOL** or to an organization that directly provides school supplies to needy children.

    Donation Guidelines

    For each $2 worth of items or money donated to a local sanctioned philanthropy (i.e. to a philanthropic event), 1 general prestige point is be awarded.

    • Suggested donations for 2 General – Box/bag of 12 #2 Pencils, 12 ct box of pens, single subject notebook, Construction paper (50-70 sheet packs), Dry Erase Markers (4 pack), folders, Box of Staples, Staple remover, School Glue, Colored Pencils (8 – 12 ct), Pencil Sharpener, Erasers, 12″ Ruler, crayons (8 ct), Loose leaf lined paper (70-100 ct), Pencil top erasers (per 4), Poster paper, per sheet, Watercolor paint box, Paint brushes (6 pack), water bottles.
    • Suggested donations for 5 General – 3-ring Binder, simple calculator, Copy Paper (500 ct), Disinfectant Wipes (not trial sized), Crayons or Colored Pencils (24 ct or more), Large box of facial tissues, Notebook (3-5 subject spiral), Pencil Box/Pouch, loose-leaf paper (100 ct. or more wide ruled), Copy Paper (500 ct ream), Washable markers (10-12 ct), Safety Scissors, Stapler, Hand sanitizer (medium bottle), Three-hole punch.
    • Suggested donations for 10 General – Backpack, Lunch box, Electric Pencil Sharpener
    • Suggested donations for 30 General – Case of Multipurpose Copy Paper, 5,000 ct

    Note to Members: If you’re having doubts about what to donate, give the school a call and ask. I guarantee you that you’ll make their day.

    Donating Books

    Public libraries regularly have book sales, many times drawn from donated books and media that the library doesn’t take into its circulation. Other great places to donate books are nursing homes, group homes, retirement communities, jails or prisons, and public schools. You might also contact individual classroom teachers about what sort of books they would like.

    Donation guidelines:

    • 5 Prestige – Hardcover books, DVDs, audio books, graphic novels
    • 3 Prestige – Paperback books, VHS tapes
    • 1 Prestige – Magazines, individual comics

    Tier 5: Self-Actualization

    Thinking Long Term

    By becoming involved in making a long-term commitment to a particular charity or cause, the Domain will learn about a variety of challenges these groups face over the years. Working to help others be the best people they can be also creates this change for the better in us.

    Below are a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless.

    Adopt a Classroom

    This is a particularly good idea for Domains who have members with school-age children, and already have points of contact in the school system. This organization also has a large number of teachers within our membership, so feel free to ask on the list for people who know a teacher who would like help.

    To prevent possible conflict of interests, we’d advise adopting a particular teacher’s classroom, which means that this project can span multiple years and really help build the MES’s reputation in your local town. This way, Domains can also send any of their Regional and National charity drive donations to this particular school.

    It also open doors to more projects, such as helping with school festivals, special reading months, or volunteering on a regular basis. Reading helpers and library volunteers are especially valued as schools around the country lose funding to support these vital services.

    Habitat for Humanity

    This organization was founded to build homes for families in need, who would otherwise live on the streets. Families are carefully screened and mentored so that they can move their lives forward.

    The organization is very happy to have groups of volunteers work on either a short or long term basis. Adopting a house — either by supplying regular workers or even financially — would be a fantastic way to make a big impact on our community. Visit their website for more information.

    Networking

    For more ideas on long term projects, ask your domain and see if anyone has a particular cause that they support individually. You can also contact a few of the larger organizations who go out of their ways to support a diverse group of activities.

    Contact the United Way here and check in with the local office. The programs they offer are endless and varied.

    American Red Cross trains Disaster Response and other such teams throughout the country as well as blood drives. Your local office can also inform you of other programs they offer for groups and long-term projects.

    Charity Reports

    Mind’s Eye Society is a strong supporter of philanthropy.  As a social organization, MES performs a variety of community service and charity work.  Organizing these charities is an important part of our organization. It allows the organization to be recognized, and to recognize the hard work and dedication of its members.

    Get the Information to the Members

    In order for members to participate in charities, they first need to know what the charity is and how they can help, as well as be inspired to contribute to a worthy cause.  In this age of multimedia and social networking there are many tools at our fingertips to aid in getting this information to our members. Sending out an email that states, “Our Domain charity this month is a Blood Drive” is not sufficient.  While the basic information has been conveyed to the members, as officers, we need to take this to the next level. The following are things that should be included in Charity Information:

    • What is the charity?
    • Why is the charity a worthy cause ?
    • Where can members contribute?
    • What different ways are there to contribute?
    • What prestige can be awarded for participating in the charity?
    • When does the charity begin, and when does it end?
    • Who is tracking the donations?

    Example:

    Our Domain Charity for this month is the Children’s Hospital.

    Their Message: The Children’s Hospital is an asset to our community that has touched many families within our Domain. 95% of all money donated goes directly to the children in need.

    How to Donate: You can drop off new, unwrapped toys for children at any of the games this month.  We are also accepting cash donations for the hospital’s sponsorship fund that helps pay for treatment for underprivileged children in our community.

    Example Prestige Awards:

    • Small toy is worth 1 General Prestige
    • Medium toy is worth 2 General Prestige
    • Xbox, Wii, and Playstation games are worth 3 General Prestige (used games in good condition are fine, but make sure they are age appropriate)
    • Cash donations are worth 1 prestige for every $3 donated

    Time Period: The charity starts on the 1st and will run until the 31st.  All donations must be sent in to the DC by email no later than midnight on the 31st.

    Now that you, as the Coordinator, have gotten the word out about the charity, it is time to follow through.  Collect items donated and get them delivered to the appropriate charity.

    On Time Reporting

    It is also the duty of the Coordinator to report the Prestige that the members have earned.  Reporting Prestige recommendations on time will make sure that members get the Prestige they have earned. This is particularly important for Regional and National charities since most of them require reporting the day after the charity ends.  Make sure that your Prestige recommendations are sent to the correct emails and that all of the donations that have been made are included. Failure to report accurately and on time can upset members and discourage them from contributing in the future.  Check pages 27-30 of the Membership Handbook for the rules and guidelines of how to award and report Prestige.

    Documentation

    Charitable donations should be documented properly.  Receipts should include Mind’s Eye Society. This allows organizations that work with the MES to provide overall totals on contributions and helps to make a positive impact on the community.

    Example:

    John Doe

    Mind’s Eye Society

    Your Street Address

    Your City, State, Zip

    If the receipt does not list each item donated individually, then it should be listed out by the member and be included when reporting.  If you are contributing to a clothing drive and the receipt says, “large bag of clothes” each item in that bag should also be listed in order to award the appropriate amount of Prestige.

    Example:

    • 1 winter coat
    • 2 pairs jeans
    • 1 sweater
    • 3 pairs shoes

    Formatting Prestige Reports

    When formatting Prestige recommendations, it is very important to pay attention to the emails sent out by Regional Coordinators and National Coordinators.  These officers report for a LOT of members. Having the reporting done in a format that is uniform and easy to transfer into their larger reports will help the Regional and National staff as well as ensure accuracy in reporting.   Spending hours pouring over reports from dozens of sources and trying to compile them into one cohesive report is a daunting task. This job can be made much easier when coordinators take the time to follow the format set out when the charity is announced.

    Tracking Donations

    Volunteers are the backbone, muscles, and lifeblood of the organization, and so, we must make sure that they get properly rewarded for their efforts. Whether the effort is part of an on-site charity drive, the simple act of dropping off a pack of pencils from a Storytelling team, or a longer-term drive such as blood donations, there are a few strategies that can make your job and the members’ much easier.

    Setting up the Database

    Given the increasing prevalence of digital devices like laptops and tablets, it is much easier to maintain a database in real time. Cloud based backups make this even easier. Remember, once upon a time — but not that long ago — spreadsheets were available only to those who owned office software. Now, we have Google Docs and Spreadsheets.

    If your Domain does not  have a dedicated Coordinator Google account, get one. It is the responsibility of a Coordinator to pass on all documentation to the next coordinator and this is by far the easiest way. Just make sure that if a document is not created by the Coordinator account, it is shared with the Coordinator account.

    All of these documents can be neatly organized into monthly folders in Google Drive, along with any receipts that may be required as proof of purchase or donation.

    Google has some very fine tutorials and support documents (HTML tag #tutorial)

    http://www.google.com/drive/using-drive

    https://support.google.com/docs

    If you’re interested in a video, here is an excellent one:

    http://youtu.be/i125gM-UAoY

    Storing Submitted Prestige Responses

    If you are collecting Prestige submissions online and need to collect pictures of submissions, the easiest thing to do is to make a Prestige folder in your Google Drive. These records can be kept with the database in the same folder, or in an adjacent folder, depending on your preferences.  Inside the folder ,you can collect the submissions that are e-mailed in and name each file with the member name, Cam number, and submission details. This is highly suggested for Regional and National submissions that need to be sent up the chain.

    On Site Tracking

    When creating a spreadsheet — even if you plan on printing it off and having members write down their donations — don’t forget to include the following: Name, MES number, Date, Description, Award, as well as exact details on what has been donated. If you can keep a laptop or tablet in the out-of-character room, you can simply copy and paste this information into your Domain Report. Just remember, you’ll want to paste the information as plain text, as tables do not fare well over the e-mail server when you go to turn in your report.

    Here is an example:

    Busytown Domain School Supply Drive, March – April 2014

    Name MES Number Date Item Donated Category Award
    Jane Smith US200512346 March 2014 5 reams of paper to Busytown Elementary Social/Non-Game Support 10 G
    Joe Smith US200512345 March 2014 4 12 packs of #2 pencils to Busytown Elementary Social/Non-Game Support 8 G
    John Carpenter US200412345 March 2014 2 electric pencil sharpeners to Busytown Elementary Social/Non-Game Support 20 G

    Whether or not this is done on a tablet or laptop, remember to check that the totals are accurate, because the last thing we want is for a member to lose Prestige when the member’s log goes to be audited for their next MC!

    Monthly Reporting

    Some charity drives don’t require a central collection point, which can be easily tracked by the strategies above. Some members may be proactive, dropping off receipts to the coordinator at game, or e-mailing a copy of the receipt to the coordinator — or, of course, the “I Donated!” sticker from the Red Cross.

    To help others, who might not be so proactive, use of another Google service is extremely helpful. This time, a Form may come in handy. (For more information, see above. [link to anchor point HTML tag #tutorial] )

    For example, take a look at this example: Anytown Monthly Prestige Claim live form. This enables the members to quickly put their information into a central location — here — that the coordinator and any assistants can easily drop into a monthly report after adding the prestige amount in columns H, I or J (marked in green) .

    *Sidenote: If you would like a copy of this form please email standards@mindseyesociety.org with your request!

    Tracking and Reporting Regional & National Donations

    While there may be a few different ways individual Regional and National drives are carried out, these things do need to end up in your monthly Domain report. You’ll need to be perhaps a bit more detailed than for local drives, but including the month, name, MES number, items donated. You do NOT award a Prestige total, only recommend the items to Regional or National.

    For example, these things would be in your Domain Report :

    Recommendations to Regional

    ==========================

    Great Lakes Book Drive

    William Smith US200123456 Donated 6 hardcovers to Anytown Public Library 2/15/14

    Michael Smith US200123456 Donated 3 DVDs, audiobook and 5 paperbacks to Anytown Public Library 2/15/14

    Recommendations to National

    ==========================

    Andrea Smith US20051234 Red Cross Blood donation, Anytown United Methodist 2/15/2014

    Sylvia Julius US20051235 Red Cross Blood donation, Anytown United Methodist 2/15/2014

    Bruce Marcia US20061234 Transport two members to Red Cross blood donation (Andrea Smith US20051234, Sylvia Julius US20051235) Anytown United Methodist 2/15/2014

    In Conclusion

    The most important thing a Coordinator can do is continue to experiment with different methods for tracking item donations, adapting them to what works for the Domain and finally passing on this knowledge to future coordinators. Why do all this work only to have the next guy start all over again?
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    Domain Websites

    What is typically in a Domain Website?

    A Domain website typically focuses on being a central location for information, both for current players and potential new ones. For new players it provides important information like a point of contact for the Domain Coordinator and Storyteller as well as a schedule of events. On the other side, for current members it can also provide important information like a repository of Domain Status Reports, announcements of socials or charity drives, and more.

    There are a number of different places a website, or the equivalent requirement for a Domain, can be hosted. For those who are unable to manage a website, many Domains have turned to the ever-so-popular Facebook for their internet media needs, creating Pages or Groups to fulfill similar necessities. And, as yet another alternative, MES has its own Wiki, which many domains use as well; it is simple to use, yet limited in functionality due to its nature as a Wiki.

    Where to host your site

    If you plan on using Facebook or the Wiki, then you do not need to worry about hosting your website, but your options are limited on what can you do on those. If you want more freedom, then you might need a website of your own; which means you need 2 things: a domain (the URL you type on the web browser) and a host (a place to put your files).

    Help links

    Wiki Formatting Help

    Help with Facebook Pages

    Getting Started with Google Sites

    How to put a Google Calendar on your website

    There are pluses and minuses for all of these choices:

    Type Positives Negatives
    Website (Google Sites, WordPress, Drupal)

      Easy to use (Front end)
      Marketing Friendly

      Requires computer skills
      Can lose access without passwords

    Facebook

      Easy to communicate with players
      Can be combined with other methods

    Hard to store records/and reports
    Not accessible to everyone for records

    MES Wiki

    Any MES member can access and track  who made changes
    Any MES member can update

    No ability to control data entered before it’s entered

    Page layout and what pages to have

    A typical website has many pages each with a purpose to convey a specific information. All pages, typically, share a common section called the header. This is where your logo usually is, as well as your main navigation to be used for intuitively going from one page to another. You can normally find a free layout through whatever system you are hosting the website.

    A Domain Website is recommended to have at least:

    • Homepage
    • Contact Us (officers information)
    • Reports
    • Schedule

    Other important sections could be Venue specific pages, or related links. Please make sure to follow the marketing and copyright requirements for MES content that is outlined on the main website: http://www.mindseyesociety.org/about-us/marketing/. You can also find the MES banner to put on your site, linking back to the main website.

    The MES logo for your site can be downloaded here.

    The logo in a square shape can be found here.

    Plan a site map before laying out the website, so you know what pages are going to link to what.

    Common helpful tools to use

    One common advice for reports; create a public folder in a Google Drive and share the link. This should, in theory, be done by using a Coordinators’ gmail which would facilitate the transfer of ownership between outgoing and incoming coordinators.

    Another piece of advice would be to create a Google Calendar which you can embed on your website. A great feature on Google Calendar is the ability to share the events; this could be done to create a Regional calendar with all the Domain calendars operated by each of the Domain Coordinators respectively. Alternatively, or additionally, you can publicize your events on Facebook Events and MeetUp.

    If you are building a website from scratch, and not through Google Sites or another content manager such as WordPress or Drupal, you can find the actual code for your layout online. A quick trip to google for “Free Html Templates” can get you started.

    Finally, if you have any general tech questions, feel free to email the National Tech Administrator at nta@mindseyesociety.org.
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    Domain and Regional Newsletters

    Newsletters are a great way to keep members up to date on various activities that are happening in MES as well as giving them a place to express their creativity. It takes organization and participation to create a good newsletter.

    Newsletters are for the members, and it is key to get them involved. Members are much more likely to read and enjoy the newsletter when they have made a contribution to it. Try to come up with creative ways to get members involved and offer prestige for contributions.

    • Come up with regular column ideas and then find someone interested to take over that

    particular column. Also entertain ideas given by the members.

    • Photos of artwork like paintings and crafts.
    • Recipe submissions.
    • Photos from events and charity drives.
    • Book, Movie or Board Game reviews.
    • Contact staff members and ask for plot twists, news and rumors for upcoming games.
    • Feature a different MES member or officer each month.
    • Articles related to storytelling.

    Make the newsletter interesting and exciting to read by adding in a variety of columns and photos that will draw the members in and make the newsletter something that the members can take personal pride in as well.

    Having a well organized newsletter is also important. The newsletter should be easy to read and navigate. The newsletter may be one page or 20 pages. Either way, make sure to organize it so that members know what is inside the newsletter and can go to a particular column or section easily.

    There are a number of ways to format a newsletter. Using tools like Microsoft Office Publisher, or publish the newsletter as a PDF, can make formatting and publishing the newsletter easy. You want to make the newsletter “pop” visually without making it look too busy or crowded so keep that in mind when choosing a layout. If you want to go entirely electronic, there are several free electronic newsletter options that are out there.

    • Photos: Make sure that photos are sized to fit and in many cases, cropped so that the backgrounds don’t take up the entire page. If there are multiple photo submissions for a single event, use a graphics tool such as PhotoShop or Gimp to turn those photos into a collage.
    • Fonts: The fonts chosen should be easy on the eyes. There are a wealth of fonts available, and while a particular font looks awesome as a header, it may not be best to use it for an entire article.
    • Page Design: The pages should be easy to read and flow from left to right. The pages should also be readable. Dark lettering on light colored pages is easier to read then light lettering on dark or vibrant colors.

    There are two rules of thumb in newsletters and newspapers. First, the face of a person in an image should never be smaller than a dime. Second, solid blocks of text will be hard to follow. Break up text with headers, images and charts if possible.

    Publishing the newsletter:

    Think about how the newsletter is going to be delivered to the members. Are you sending it over an MES mailing list? Then you won’t be sending it as an attachment, however you can upload it to a storage site and send a link for the newsletter over the mailing list. If your Domain or Region has a website, it can be loaded there. Announce the newsletter via emails and social media. Printed copies of the newsletter can also be made available at games. For more information and tips about advertising a domain, check Coordinator 208: Advertising your Domain.

    Newsletter Schedule

    Newsletters can be released whenever you want to release them, but it’s generally recommended to release them on a consistent schedule for organizational purposes. These schedules normally occur on a monthly or quarterly basis.

    Prestige Awards for Newsletters

    Normally for small articles (under 200 words) a prestige award of 5 is reasonable. If there are longer articles or an article with original artwork a prestige award of 10. The person or people who serve as the editor should receive administrative or non-administrative support prestige. It really depends on how regular the work is.

    Additional Tips for making newsletters:

    Example Newsletter: https://madmimi.com/p/3132d4/preview

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    Moderating a sanctioned email list

    Example Monthly reminder Email

    Example Warning Email

    How to obtain the position

    Like any position that is not an A- prefixed one, a list mod is culled from a varied array of sources.  Some are found by doing all-calls and having individuals interested in a position submit resumes, references, and previous experience.  Others are hired from a pool that might not even know that the soon-to-be boss is interested in torturing them! But with all the ways to let people know you’re interested, the job only begins when the hat is passed on and the new list mod is hired. If you would like tips on making a resume, please check Officer Education Documnet 101: How to Write a Cam Resume.

    How to start, or I’ve just been hired, HELP!

    Any list mod should know what format her/his list is using.  There are three primary ones in the MES: MES-based mail lists, Google-Groups, or Yahoo Groups.  The latter two tend to be more used by a specific domain, a local group such as Puerto-Rico Mekhet, or sometimes a national list for an Essex Dynastic House of the First Estate.  Both Yahoo and Google have their demons, and those can be easily dispelled by the Help Section for each website. The MES Email Servers can easily appear daunting to a beginning list mod, but they are less complicated than they seem at first.  There are a few more in-depth tweaks that can be coded into a list, but for the average list mod, there’s little need for using these unless asked by a supervisor or up the chain.

    In each list there exists three main sections.

    • Membership Section:  All members of the list are arranged in alphabetical order and details out each member’s mail choices and information on each member (typically name and number they used for creating the membership process stored by the interface when he/she signed up for the  list).
    • Archives: These allow a viewer to access the previous posts by thread, author, or date.  Each month is kept separate from the next. These run back to the beginning of the lists’ creation or to the date the current location of the servers when the MES itself was created.
    • Pending applications: The last section for the average list mod is the pending applications of possible list members.  There’s Approve, Deny, and also a secondary area for approving moderated messages for the list. Either of these sections’ “pending” can be denied, denied with explanation, or approved. Typically the MES is based on an honor system, but it is not a bad idea to clarify that a pending member is an MES-member in good standing (not expired), a member of the Clan/Covenant/OOC-position required to be on the list, or if a name is recognized as one on a small list to be checked with for supervisors’ approval.  There is not a long list of the latter. They tend to be the more overly enthusiastic among the MES.

    There are other areas on the list that can be manipulated, including General List Information–a blurb about the list, directions to be coded into the List-programming, and areas about the header and footer for the list–the latter has the email address and url for interface, but can have other information as well.  Previously for the EC Region, a banter list allowed for non-MES communication and the link to that was included on the EC Regional OOC list’s footer for ease. Other lists have had Wiki urls, list instructions or similar things for a list mod to keep track of easily. All these listed above change very slowly and typically are untouched by list mods during their term.  When coding needs to be changed, a list mod can ask the National or Global Tech Presence for assistance. They’re often the persons behind the coding of the lists!

    What I need to remember

    A list mod can feel overwhelmed.  This is normal; if you’re not overwhelmed at least once a month, then you have a quiet list.  The larger the quantity of members, the more emails it tends to get. When the mod can only check his/her email inbox once in awhile rather than immediately, the postings can add up. For some topics, the daily quantity can reach hundreds of posts.  The heart-sinking, the “how can they post so much!?” and the “arrgghhh” are all possibilities. The best way to approach this is start at the beginning and wade your way through. Not every topic is one a mod will like, but it becomes a skill to be able to read through these emails quickly to make sure no one is disrespecting another poster, and to make sure the topic isn’t one that can be taboo (triggers, piracy such as Pirate Bay and licensure of official White Wolf materials, calling a BoD member names, etc.).  A mod will get a feel for what is good and what can be controversial usually within a month or two. If a mod becomes uncertain, ask a supervisor. The supervisor usually can help judge.

    A list mod has to give a monthly accounting.  The format changes dependant on the supervisor, but it has three things: quantity of list members, quantity of posts, and the amount and description of problems that had arisen in that month.  The numbers need to be in the supervisor’s hands typically on the first of the next month–the supervisor has to give his supervisor a report as well, and the quicker a mod turns in his/her monthly report, the fast the supervisor can assemble his/hers.

    What if the worst happens?

    Not everything is ever easy, and list moderating is one of those that have ups and downs.  Typically a larger list such as General OOC/Camarilla-General or US OOC has more violations than a small covenant, clan, path, order, etc type list.  Each violation requires two actions–one, the offending member is emailed with the supervisor, any co-list mods, and list mod reporting list cc’ed as well.  With the last part, when an offender has a previously reported situation, typically the supervisor or other list mods can give feedback to the current mod. When multiple violations occur the severity increases.  A member is considered to have learned from the previous situation and as such, the current one is aggregated. Instead of a warning, a person could be moderated–muted–for a week (Moderated is a status under the memberships url of a list, and is a checkbox that makes the member muted).  A member under moderation has each post examined for nuance and approved or non-approved with proper explanation in the denial interface. One of the two higher punishments are a month either moderated or permanent removal and banning of the member. Both typically also include an email notification to the offending member’s *C side local staff for the DC/CC to determine additional charges.

    How to make the world go quiet–moderation and how to handle it

    The art of moderation is a tightrope act, and sometimes a topic can get so inflammatory that several posters are “yelling” at each other in text form.  When a list gets to the point that each post just heaps fuel on the flame, a list moderator has the two options of “thread kill” or “moderating the entire list”.  Killing a thread typically gets a second thread about “Why did you kill that thread?” so be prepared for it. People tend to be upset that they are being censored.  Even worse is when each and every post need the list moderator’s approval during the list moderation. It *is* more work for a mod, but it does make a tremendous point.  This can last anywhere between a 24-hour period and a week at most. The longer moderations are less used, and that means they are for drastic multiple member violations.  The smaller moderations can be used when a list mod has to be away from the list emails for a few hours and the mod doesn’t trust the members to not dig at each other deeper.  There is an option on the General interface that allows moderation of a list.

    Once a list’s posts seem to move on to other topics the moderation can be removed. For rules and guidance on Cool Down periods, check Chapter 4 of the membership handbook.

    A job well done

    Each month after the report is filed, the supervisor then submits his/her report; in that is a recommendation for Prestige for the list mods.  Reporting is a key for obtaining prestige–without the report the information on what has occurred for the month doesn’t provide the needed basis, the supervisor cannot award the Prestige properly and tends to understate his recommendations.  The Prestige can take several months to be awarded from the *C side chain so don’t be discouraged.

    The aftermath, or Whew! It’s over

    Handing over the list to a replacing list mod can be a bittersweet experience.  As well as passwords for the moderator/administrative interface, an outgoing mod needs to ensure the new mod knows the previous discipling that has occurred so she can be prepared for any situations that occur during the next mod’s modding of the list.  Once you become a plain member again, you can have a respect for list mods everywhere and can work to keep their loads small–from trimming a signature, to being careful on your tone to keep things calm. The last thing an exitting mod should do is update his resume to include the moderating stint–it is MES experience and can go on the plus side for future positions.

    List moderating isn’t always easy, but it can be a fun challenge if a mod keeps the right attitude.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn what you can.
     
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    Referenda

    Members of the MES will occasionally vote on a Referendum.  There are three types of Referenda:

    • A call for election
    • Changes to the MES Constitution
    • Changes to the MES Bylaws

    Call For an Early Election

    The first type of Referendum, a call for an early election. This happens when an issue arises that affects an officer and one or more members of the electorate proposes a referendum to begin a new election for that office.  This is handled by an electoral officer. The table of who to contact can be found on page 51 of the MES handbook.

    Step one is talking to the officer whom the referendum concerns about the topic and discussed by the members of the constituency. Only if there are adequate good faith attempts at resolution before the Call for Election Referendum was submitted does the Referendum go forward. Good faith attempts at resolution include contacting the officer to attempt to resolve the issues.  Contacting the officer in question can be done by the member submitting the Call for Election or another member or officer. It is not required to include the name of the person submitting the call for new elections.

    In a Call for an Early Election,  if more than half of the total votes are cast yes for a new election, the Elections Officer must run an election for the office within 30 days.  An officer who has had a term ended in this way may run for re-election if they would normally be allowed to do so under any other circumstances.

    Changes to the MES Constitution or Bylaws

    Changes to the MES Constitution or Bylaws requires a Referenda.  Members may request amendments to the club constitution by sending an email to amend@mindseyesociety.org with a subject that includes “constitution amendment.” The Board of Directors recommends copying the Ombudsman at ombudsman@mindseyesociety.org so that the office may observe the process.

    It’s helpful first to discuss the topic with the necessary people before making any proposals. Issues that require legal or financial changes should be discussed with the BoD legal and financial team which can be reached by contacting bod@mindseyesociety.org. Coordinator changes should be discussed with coordinators. Officers are approachable. Don’t be afraid to talk to them. There is more of a chance of finding a solution to your proposal if multiple knowledgeable voices who have dealt with the issues previously are involved.

    The amendment requires a number of things:

    • Detail the section to be modified by number and define the proposed changes.
    • An amendment should include the reason for the suggested change being proposed

    Recommendations could be made regarding suitability or necessary alterations in the language.  This review process can take up to 30 days. The voting directors will then review the Referendum for structural and Bylaws concerns. This review may also take up to 30 days.

    Once the reviews of the proposed amendment are completed, the member who submitted the Referendum and the Ombudsman will be notified by email of the status of the proposed amendment. If the proposed amendment passes review, it will be announced by the Board of Directors to the National Announce list and sent to the office of the National Coordinator to organize and run the Referendum within 30 days.  If there is to be a planned General Membership Vote within 60 days of the amendment announcement, it is acceptable to include this type of Referendum as part of that process.

    Requests for a Referendum

    The timeline for a Change to the Constitution or Bylaws referendum is:

    1. Proposal Submitted
    2. BoD Updates, legal and financial review- Up to 30 days.
    3. BoD Review – Up to 30 days
    4. Member who submitted is notified
    5. Amendment submitted to NC office
    6. NC office runs the Referendum within 30 days*
    7. If Referendum calls for an election, the discussion lasts up to two weeks
    8. Voting for the “Yes” or “No” question lasts up to two weeks
    9. Calculating votes can take up to one week.

    *Unless there is a planned general membership vote within 60 days in which case the referendum can be included with that vote

    In total, the referendum can take up to five months and one week.

    The timeline for Early Elections is:

    1. The Election officer is contacted regarding the proposal
    2. Discussion with the officer in question occurs
    3. Vote for Referendum for Early Election is discussed- Up to two weeks
    4. Vote for Referendum for Early Election occurs – Up to 2 weeks
    5. If Referendum passes, voting for a new officer proceeds as normal

    In total, the referendum can take up to one month, plus time for discussions.

    All requests for a Referendum should meet the following requirements:

    • Present a clear yes or no choice
    • The referenda does not overturn an officer’s specific decision
    • Identifies the level that the Referendum effects
    • Indicates whether the author wishes to be known or anonymous
    • Has been submitted by a member of the electorate
    • Conforms to the Code of Conduct, Constitution, and all other Membership Handbook requirements.

    If any of these requirements aren’t met in the proposed Referendum, the Election Officer will return it to the member that submitted it for revision.  If all of the requirements are met, then the Election Officer or Proctor will present the Referendum to the electorate. The electorate will be given a review period that lasts no less than one week and no more than two weeks in order to review the Referendum.    The Referendum must be distributed as widely as possible among all members eligible to vote.

    If the Referendum is a call for an early election, the officer who currently holds that office must be given the opportunity to discuss the matter with the electorate.

    If the Referenda is one where the electorate is comprised of elected officers who will cast a vote on behalf of their constituency, they must give everyone in their constituency the opportunity to take part in the review process.  This includes participating in debates and raising questions about the issue.

    After the review period, the voting period begins. The Election Officer or Proctor must make an announcement that voting is now open and distribute this announcement as widely as possible to all members of the electorate.   The voting period will last at least one week and can last for up to two weeks. The announcement of the voting period must include the Referendum being voted on, specific instructions for exactly how to vote and a deadline for when voting ends.

    Referendum votes only have two choices, either yes or no.  A voter who chooses to abstain from voting has no effect on the outcome of the Referendum. Therefore the Referendum voting is decided by a simple majority voting system. After the voting period deadline has passed, the Election Officer and at least one Proctor must tabulate the votes independently and compare those results. This is to ensure accuracy.  Calculating the results must be completed no later than one week after the voting period ends.

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    Elections

    Mind’s Eye Society domains, regions and the organization are run by volunteers who sit within positions of authority. These positions are expected to deal with a myriad of details, with specifications depending upon the office in question. The membership expects a storyteller or coordinator volunteer to be one with the best interests of said membership in mind. It is for this reason that the Mind’s Eye Society has an election process for those who graciously volunteer themselves.

    Why Hold an Election?

    An election should be held in the case of an officer roll being vacant. This can happen for several reasons.

    • The first is when an officer has completed their term of service. This occurs in a cycle per position as detailed in the membership handbook.
    • A second reason is for the creation of a new constituency. Temporary officers are put in place when a new constituency is created, and elections for those officer positions are held prior to 90 days after the creation of the new venue.
    • A third reason is if an officer steps down from their position. This election should begin within 48 hours if possible to prevent any disruption to the follow of a domain. An interim officer is placed in the position until the election is complete.
    • The fourth reason is if a referendum for early elections  is passed. This is treated the same as an officer stepping down.

    When to Hold an Election?

    The best time to begin a term election is 4 to 6 weeks prior to the end of a term of office. This allows for the 4 to 6 week process to occur before the end of the term and give a smooth transition to an incoming and/or outgoing officer in the position. The length of time that is allowed before an election can directly affect the election. If the officers in charge of elections are unable to call an election until a month prior to the term of office expiring, they will only allow themselves one week for each of the steps involved, leaving no leeway if an extension is needed.

    How to Hold an Election?

    The election process requires an Election Official, and a minimum of two proctors to count the votes in the election. The Election Official will usually act as one of the proctors. The details surrounding terms of the election and who the electorate are is listed for reference in the membership handbook, chapter 7, pg 44.

    The process of election is broken down into 4 simple steps. Each of these steps takes at least one week of processing, but may take up to two weeks if determined necessary.

    Step 1

    The first step is the application process. When calling for applications, the email must contain the dates for the expected process to be done. It will list how many weeks each step will take and when the election will be closed, as well as when to expect an answer for who won the election. The application details and minimum expectations are detailed in the membership handbook, but must contain full disclosure as to Disciplinary Actions that have occurred within the last two years.

    Step 2

    The second step in the application process is vetting the applicants. Basic requirements for each office are listed on page 46 of the Membership Handbook. During the process, other requests may be asked for the application as well however these are not grounds for vetting during the vetting process.

    The job during vetting step is to check to see if the basic requirements have been fulfilled.

    Officer Standards are required for holding the job but not for running for a position. If an applicant has not taken the Standards, they will need to do so within 30 days of taking office if they win.

    The proctor can make a decision whether to redact DAs from an application for public voting if they feel it is not relevant to the election or position.

    As an election proctor, you have a responsibility to insure that candidates are qualified for the job. This is a responsibility however that needs to be carefully handled with who is vetted from the process.

    Step 3

    The third step is the Application review period and Q&A session. The candidates who have been screened above should be announced to the electorate as widely as available to make sure all of the electorate have an opportunity to be aware of the candidates. This allows the electorate time to ask questions and review the applicants for the position.

    Some good examples of questions are:

    • What made you want to have this position?
    • How do you feel this position will benefit our club and/or game?
    • Do you have any time constraints you will be concerned about if elected to this position?
    • Is there anything new you are looking to bring to the position with your leadership?

    Details of who can ask questions and vote in each election can be found in chapter 7, page 43 in the Membership Handbook.

    Step 4

    The fourth step is the Election. The Election Official announces clearly who the candidates are, and explains the voting process as detailed in the membership handbook, chapter 7, pg 47. This should also include any special instructions and list once again the proctors to whom the emails will be sent.

    During this time the entire electorate has the opportunity to question the candidates and form

    opinions regarding their suitability for the position.

    Step 5

    The fifth and final step is for the proctors to tally the votes of the election. This process will be done using the Instant Run-off process as noted in the membership handbook, chapter 7, pg 47.

    An google doc sheet that can help you calculcate this can be downloaded here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1oqRUc4cKebbTG2dLpfj3l0pZF-ZGTOFoc9j3_8IxBtE/edit?usp=sharing. You can make a copy and edit it within google docs.

    You can also download an identical excel file here: /wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Cam-Voting-Calculation.xls.

    Once a winner has been determined then the winner will be contacted by the Election Official to confirm that they accept the position they have been elected to. If they are unable to hold the position, or the election results in no winner being selected, the election process begins again from the beginning.

    A fast and easy youtube video to explain how to calculate instant runoff voting can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5SLQXNpzsk.

    Elections are an integral part of maintaining a higher level of offices in the Mind’s Eye Society. It is important that the process be followed as noted above to ensure the highest level of responsibility be considered and the candidates can be screened and supported to help be the glue that holds our organization together.

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    Removing an Officer

    What?

    Sometimes the higher standards of an officer of the Mind’s Eye Society are unable to be met by a specific volunteer. When this unfortunate case presents itself, the membership has the ability to affect whether that member is or should remain eligible for the position to which they were elected. This important piece of our overall structure is necessary to assure we can continue to expect the highest level of standards from those who oversee our organization.

    When?

    If there is truly an issue with an officer of the domain or region or nation you reside in, then the process needs to begin immediately. The longer the issue persists, the longer there will be an issue between several players and the officer involved. Even if the issue ends up being only a perceived issue, the sooner the issue gets resolved, the sooner that everyone involved will be able to move on and enjoy the game once again.

    How?

    An officer may be removed as the result of a Disciplinary Action. If a Disciplinary Action results in a Moderate Offense or greater, the result may be that an officer cannot continue to hold the given position for a term of weeks to months. This may also affect appointed officers in assistant positions. An officer may also be removed by the process of referendum. In this process the officer has an opportunity to discuss the matter and have it voted on by the electorate directly affecting the position that is being discussed. The process of referendum is discussed in more detail in the Coordinator document dealing with that subject. This process only affects elected positions, and assistants are still subject to hire by their approving officer. For information Check the Coordinator Document 241: Referenda

    Why?

    Why remove an officer? There are several reasons that an officer might be removed. There are often issues involving Conflict of Interest, Metagaming, or abuses of power called before the referendum Election Official, or Presiding Officer in the investigation. The most common reason for a call for removal of an officer is due to a major difference of opinion. Part of the consideration should always be whether there is truly a conflict, or whether there is a rule that has been clarified and still feels wrong to those involved. The process of removing an officer should be a very serious one and should be considered heavily before proceeding.

    If you feel that an officer has stepped out of bounds or is making something uncomfortable for the membership, be sure to explore how you can most effectively solve the issue at hand. If there is a need for a removal of an officer, the methods detailed here can help assure the process is not only smooth, but necessary as well.

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    Rumor Mongering

    MES is an organization that is based around stories and dramatic storytelling.  Members’ strengths in these areas can also be an out of character weakness. Out of play, members are expected to treat each other with respect and honesty.   Part of being respectful involves not spreading stories. Rumor mongering can go from a seemingly innocent comment about something someone said, to hurt feelings and quite a bit of drama.

    We must be clear that there is NO easy way to deal with this issue. The best we can do is be honest and above board if we have to confront it as a coordinator. As a coordinator, you can communicate with all involved parties.  Take measured and targeted actions to prevent further issues and be prepared to initiate disciplinary actions if it continues or gets worse.

    What is Rumor Mongering

    The definition of rumor-mongering is “spreading rumors, often maliciously.”

    There is a fine line between spreading rumors and talking about a story. Normally, members speaking about a situation view the story in regards to the manner they see it and can have trouble seeing another point of view. This is what makes it so hard to solve.

    In the previous version of the Handbook, Rumor Mongering was a DA-able offense. The concept was over-simplified and there were cases where it was used maliciously against others when people were upset with discussions. In the current version of the handbook, “Rumor Mongering” was removed for this reason. In it’s place the following was stated on page 17:

    • All members deserve to be treated fairly.
    • All members must treat each other respectfully.
    • Conflicts can only be resolved when they are brought to the attention of everyone involved.

    The detailed definition of malicious rumors does fall under this category. The key here is malicious intent.

    Types of Rumor Mongering

    Rumor mongering fits a wide range of things from Gossip to Griping.  Gossip is the most destructive form of rumor mongering. Gossip, especially juicy tidbits of another member’s private life, can spread through a domain like wildfire.  Gossip that is fueled by bad feelings and hurtful intent has the potential to lead to more volatile situations. The members involved in spreading the gossip need to understand that they are not just hurting one another,  they are hurting the club as a whole.

    Voicing concern  about how a scene was handled or about how another player acts out of play is not necessarily rumor mongering if it’s done with the correct people, with the intent to solve a problem.  Spreading a member’s complaint about a scene however can become rumor mongering when it blow a situation out of all proportion. It can however cause hurt feelings, drama and a negative atmosphere within a domain.  Complaints should be addressed with the proper person, either the member or an officer, and not with random buddy who will pass along the gripe as gossip. You must be careful, however, to not create an atmosphere in your domain where people don’t feel comfortable talking to their friends.

    Sometimes, rumor mongering is just as simple as a miscommunication or misunderstanding that is then repeated and spread.

    “Maliciously” is the key word. Comments, discussions and feedback said in anger are detrimental to what already may be a difficult situation.

    Dealing with Hurt Feelings

    It doesn’t matter if the gossip is true or false; it can still result in hurt feelings.   Feelings are valid and do matter. Don’t dismiss a member’s hurt feelings.

    There are a number of different ways to approach the problem. Some involve a discussion which leads to a solution, while others require both parties to walk away and take a deep breath, realizing that not everything can be solved.

    If discussion is going to happen, the first thing that is often required is a cool down period. If communication is going to happen it should be approached with a calmer mind. No discussion can succeed if it takes place in anger.

    A cool down period however, is not always the answer. Sometimes players use this time to become angrier with the situation. As a coordinator you need to understand the people you are working with and the situation involved to know if a cool down period will help or hinder the situation.

    If the two members are unable to work out their issues through open discussion, then mediation with an impartial third party may be required to address the situation. If you are able to find a trained mediator, that is the best case scenario. Mediation, if done incorrectly can be more damaging to a situation.

    Remember that every member deserves to be treated in a respectful manner.  Getting all involved parties to abide by this simple rule will go a long way towards healing those hurt feelings.

    For Players: Involving Coordinator Staff

    If you suspect rumor mongering, try to talk to the person spreading the rumors first.  If that doesn’t work, you can go to their coordinator with the information you have. If the problem you are having involves your coordinator, then take the issue to the next level coordinator in your chain.

    As members of MES we are given resources and among those are our coordinator staff.  Rumor mongering is one of the many issues that coordinators deal with and work to resolve.  By informing the officer of the situation, the coordinator is better able to address the problem and hopefully keep the drama and hurt feelings to a minimum.   A coordinator can’t fix a problem if they don’t know about it.

    If it is warranted, a coordinator can issue a letter of counseling to the member regarding the situation. If the problem persists, the issue can be pushed up to the Regional Coordinator for a Disciplinary Action investigation.

    One thing to keep in mind is that no one likes feeling like they are being tattled on. It may be more productive in the long run to approach the other member first and explain that you feel there is a problem that you can not solve together, and ask them to approach the coordinator with you to work on the problem.

    How to Stop Rumor Mongering Before it Starts

    Stopping the rumors before they start will keep feelings from being hurt in the first place.  Recognizing the sources and causes for the rumor mongering is essential in doing this. Here are some recommendations you can make to members to stop rumor mongering before it starts:

    • Don’t get angry and try not to take the rumors personally.
    • If you want to keep your personal information private, then refrain from telling others about your personal business.

    As a coordinator, the following are some techniques that can be used to stop rumor mongering:

    • Keep a firm stance that rumor mongering is not tolerated and is hurtful to the entire club.
    • Go to the source of the rumor and talk to them.
    • Set an example.  Don’t pass along gossip when you hear it and encourage others to ignore rumor mongering.
    • Create an environment that promotes cooperation rather than competition among the members and try to get them to work together on a project such as a social or charity.
    • Remind the members of their common interests, hobbies and goals to reinforce a friendlier dynamic within the club.

    How to Get Past the Rumors and Move Forward

    After the feelings have been hurt and words have been said that cannot be taken back, we have to pick up the pieces and move forward.  Sometimes simply giving opposing parties a little time apart will help things to move forward. Discussion does not always solve a problem. Understanding and realizing this can make a situation tolerable, to keep both parties able to focus on their other focuses in MES. MES members are not forced to be friends, but we are required to be respectful.  So long as both parties treat each other in a respectful manner the past can be left behind. Here are some other things that will help in getting members to move forward:

    • Once an issue has been dealt with, do not bring it up again in the future.
    • If you can, find something that the two members have in common to promote friendliness.
    • If you realize there is no working solution, advise the players to step away from the problem and don’t approach it again.
    • Don’t condon the continuation of the rumor mongering.  If players are set on trying to “get back” at the other person as soon as a bit of gossip comes their way, then they will find themselves right back where they started.
    • The blame game pushes them back.  Continuing to place blame on others for a situation will keep them from moving forward.  Advise players to worry less about whose fault it is and leave what happened behind them.

    There will be times when moving forward will seem impossible.  Without the ability to push past issues once they are settled, the club as a whole will suffer.  Learn when to walk away and when a solution can be solved. Put forth the effort and be the bigger person.

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    Mentoring Players

    Being a mentor to your players involves more than showing someone how to keep a Prestige Log. Being a mentor is about building personal connections, becoming a resource, and building an organization.

    Making Connections

    While I’ve had a few new players find us through the web, very few contact the organization out of the blue. Most new players join the organization through a friend. And then, dear coordinator, it is your job to make sure they get more than one connection, to make sure they have a few other brains to pick. This ensures that the new player, a Storyteller, and their friend isn’t out of game for half the night.

    Our goal is to make a connection with the new player so that they don’t get lost in the paperwork that comes with being part of an international organization. So often we find ourselves the person that players come to when they don’t know who to talk with — this is not a bad thing.

    When you get a new player, establish a personal connection right away by learning their name quickly. Use steady eye contact, note memorable physical features, and speak their name at least once and up to three times within the first conversation to pin the association down.

    Plug them into the Domain list quickly, get their contact information onto the sign in sheet right away. This way they feel included immediately, and you can follow up with a thank you the week after game. Engage the new player in conversation briefly, focusing on them — why they they came to game, what they want to experience, and how you can help them jump in.

    Once you’ve gauged what kind of game experience the player wants, connect them with what they want. While getting the player a character is the Storyteller’s job, a good Coordinator will enable the Storyteller to tell stories — to get the player playing.

    The Storyteller team, can build a cache of pre pre-generated characters from every clan/path/seeming with one of the Mental, Physical, and Social builds. Nothing is more overwhelming to new players than a massive information dump. Keep it brief, and keep it specific to the build they’ve chosen.

    It’s a good idea to encourage the team to either leave off covenant/order/etc. or establish a backstory that will let the new player ease into a political faction — a Dragon who has been in torpor, a Guardian of the Veil with amnesia, etc. — if they don’t want to come in as a “new embrace” or “First Change.” It is so very vital to get players going right away or they’ll leave confused after half a game and never, ever come back.

    While the Storyteller gets the player their character sheet, a good coordinator will be finding a couple of established players that have characters that will mesh well with the new player’s concept. The good coordinator will connect them with the new player, or will be sure to have a few members at every game ready and willing to help with this, so that they have connections to plot and new friends right away. Aside from a massive information dump, the worst thing you can do to a new player is leave them — often even without their one friend! — to sit all by themselves in a corner.

    Be a Resource

    Helping a player find the right connections is only the first step to becoming a resource in the Domain. Doing this helps to make you a trusted leader, which not only makes conflict resolution easier, but also makes it easier to recruit volunteers!

    To help establish your reputation as a resource, there are three things you need to be: open, honest, and available.

    Being an open coordinator means that you are first to the game site and last off the site. This way you are there before game to engage with the people before game, and you can at least try to greet everyone who comes. Announcements need to be published at least two weeks ahead of time, with brief reminders at the game site so the buzz can be built and maintained. Messages should go out over the list from your office once a week to keep up that buzz.

    Honesty is absolutely essential. Admit when you don’t know something, but let them know you’ll find out. Don’t be afraid to go up the chain for advice, that’s what the chain is there for.

    Be available. You’ll want to run a Domain meeting every month, half an hour before the flagship game will keep it brief and maximize attendance. Office hours are also an excellent idea, try to hold them at least once a month office hours, online or in person — a local coffee house works quite well. When people know they can get a hold of you, they’ll know you care. Most of all, do your best to maintain a fast turn around. If you can’t reply to e-mail within a week, hire an assistant who has access to your Coordinator account who can maintain that turn around in standard.

    The technology aspect of the club can be daunting, and that’s another reason you are there for the players. The first step a new player needs to take with our tech is to get an account and a membership — temporary or otherwise.

    Check with the Storyteller staff about who still needs to get their characters on the Approvals Database, and ensure that new players get their characters up there so it won’t seem so intimidating.

    A video may help. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnZtRarhiPk&sns=em

    Please note this is slightly out of date. While access to the approvals site is now through the MES portal, the approvals system still works the same: http://legacy.mindseyesociety.org/approvals_new/MyApps.php.

    Building an Organization

    Once you have helped the players build connections in game and guide them through tech and bureaucracy, now you turn towards making the players into an organization.

    Many of the things I’ve written about are, in hindsight, obvious. What is not so obvious is the importance of Domain socials. Establishing a regular schedule of Socials will be good for established and new players. This can be as simple as encouraging the domain to all hit a diner together after a game for Afters (or betweens if you run two games and people have time to eat in a big group).

    Many of our games have strong elements of Player versus Player in character, so it is absolutely essential to build out of character relationships. We may all have a firm grip in reality, but an accumulation of negative associations with a particular face hurts our relationships in real life whether we like it or not. If the Domain doesn’t have regular socials or regular chances to get to know who these people are in real life, you’ll have a weaker Domain.

    The ultimate goal is to help the players become so invested in the Domain that they become a regular volunteer. Be it narrating for a favorite venue or running the Domain’s Charity events as an Assistant Domain Coordinator, a player who is truly invested in an organization will work for the organization.
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