Presidents Message Planning for the Future

A Strategic Direction for the Next Five Years
by Kim Charlson
It’s been nearly four years since my election as president of ACB in 2013. At that time, one of the things that I was glad to assume responsibility for was the 2012 strategic plan that had been developed by the board of directors with the assistance of Don Wells. That plan mapped out goals and objectives for the organization to work on in the areas of communication, fund-raising, personnel management, and governance. ACB board members and other leaders have worked on moving the identified objectives under the plan forward over the past four years with many notable successes. As we complete our work on the 2012 plan, and with the one-year anniversary of our new executive director Eric Bridges, Eric requested that the board consider entering into a new strategic planning process to take ACB forward over the next five years. Eric was successful in identifying funding for a strategic planning initiative, and I want to acknowledge Eric’s efforts and the funding of JPMorgan Chase for supporting our planning efforts.
In late January 2017, the ACB board, staff and several state and affiliate leaders met in the Washington, D.C. area to begin the development of a new plan for the organization. Many of you might think that planning is boring, but I can assure you that with the capable leadership of Liana Grassi and Daniel Ohmott from FMP Consulting, our time was far from dull.
As a first step in the planning process, ACB’s board of directors met for four hours at our fall 2016 board meeting, and identified the remaining elements of the 2012 plan that still needed some work, as well as what the priorities for the next five years should be. That process identified five key areas for ACB to focus on in the future: affiliates and membership; marketing and communication; meetings and conventions; resource development; and advocacy, legislation, and public policy.
These five areas will be the base of our new strategic plan that still needs work to identify the objectives and action steps required to successfully complete the plan over the next three to five years. Work will continue in the spring to build out the full plan, and by the convention, I will be able to give the membership a more detailed report on the priorities and direction of the organization’s efforts for the foreseeable future. Planning is essential for an organization like ACB to be able to use its resources wisely and effectively, gain the support and input from members, and inform the public on the direction of ACB’s priorities. Stay tuned for more details on the new strategic plan as the document is completed. With wise and thoughtful planning, ACB will be on a firm track to continue to do great things well into the future.