“Strategic planning”: with the exception of “donor pyramid,” these two words may be fraught with more anxiety and optimism than nearly any others in the minds of nonprofit boards and staffs. Strategic planning is undertaken by most nonprofit organizations every three to five years, and the ISC is no different. The board and staff of the ISC are excited to undertake the process, and we have begun our work with the assistance of a wonderful consultant. Participation in interviews, conference calls, and meetings has been active and enthusiastic.
The positive attitude and momentum is due in large part to the recent stability of the ISC under Johannah Hutchison’s leadership. Johannah and the ISC’s dedicated and capable staff have made it possible for the ISC board to enjoy the prospect of looking into the future and envisioning, along with staff, readers, and members, what the ISC might look like in the years to come—long after we have completed our board terms.
It is, of course, too early to tell what will come of this process, what decisions will be made, and what will change over the coming years, but I can share a small sample of the topics that have engaged us in deep discussion.
Again, we are considering the “I” in our name. What does it mean, and what will it mean in the future, for the ISC to be international? Is the ISC a U.S. organization with global relationships, or is it a global organization merely based in the U.S.? Is our international credential to be measured by the language of Sculpture? The content of Sculpture? The language and content of our Web site? The location of our conferences? Or all of the above?
Similarly, we have begun lengthy discussions about what we do—and should do—to serve our membership. While Sculpture and the Web site bind ISC members together, and conferences bring our members together, among other things, we are exploring ways to make better use of new media—the Internet, our Web site, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other, developing technologies—to connect with the sculpture community and allow our members to connect with each other and the information, services, and opportunities important to them. We are also exploring just what our many different constituencies—emerging artists, struggling artists, successful artists, collectors, art lovers, art administrators, and others—find valuable.
Of course, no strategic planning discussion would be complete without a splash of economic cold water, so we will pepper these discussions with how to pay for the grandiose ideas that we dream up. Rest assured, however, that long-term financial stability is, and will remain, a top priority for the ISC staff and board.
Whether this process is completed next month or next year, I am confident that the ISC board and staff are engaging in this exercise deliberately and with care; whatever the outcome, the organization, and you, its supporters, will be better served in the years to come. I look forward to telling you more about our progress in the coming months.
Chairman, ISC Board of Directors
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