Changing today for a better tomorrow

Changing today for a better tomorrow

Tucker, Karen S

Resource development and sustainability apply to organizations as well as individuals and families. The principles are the same, the scale is simply larger. New sources of funding must be found when current sources are depleted. Programs that might have been affordable in the past must be relinquished to balance the budget. Difficult choices and knowledge-based decisions must be made based on the resources and information available at the time. We must resist the urge to take the easy or popular road. A sense of optimism about the future and identification of new resources are keys to sustainability of an individual, family, or organization. It takes time to carefully analyze a given situation and plan for a vibrant future.Sometimes, old ways must be let go and new patterns of behavior adopted.

Our organization is at a crossroads in terms of resource development and sustainability for the 21^sup st^ century. For years, AAFCS enjoyed rich gains on its investments, which were used to subsidize its operations. In the last few years those gains have turned into losses, and we now must develop new revenue streams to fund operations. AAFCS must invest in developing its human resources as well-the board, volunteers, and staff to enable us to successfully navigate in the dynamic years ahead. It takes many talented, highly-skilled, expert professionals to lead this organization; and the learning curve is fast, steep, and continual.

AAFCS must continue to become more business-like in its operations. We must shift our philosophy from that of subsidizing programs without regard to the financial impact, to one that recognizes that dues or other income must be sufficient to cover programs or services. If a program is critical, then the marketplace will reflect that by paying the costs of the program. If this is not the case, then there is little or no rationale for AAFCS to subsidize it, especially when operating with a deficit. New business lines must be identified and nurtured as resources that will support AAFCS’s mission and goals. For AAFCS, sustainability means changing the organization’s approach to fiscal management and funding for programs and services.

AAFCS launched a strategic “futuring” initiative last summer that will continue to keep the Board of Directors and staff focused on strategic thinking and decision-making, which will enable us to chart a positive course for AAFCS’s future. The results of the initial efforts will be shared with members at the 2003 Convention. The June presentation will by no means be an ending, but rather a beginning of an ongoing process that will sustain AAFCS now and in the future. Yes, there are tough decisions to be made. Yes, there are difficult realities to face as we get us back on a course of financial well-being. And, yes, the future is bright if we face it realistically and courageously, and if we remain open to new possibilities!

Join me June 28-July 1, 2003 in Washington, DC for the AAFCS Convention, Promoting Family Vitality. I encourage you to participate in the exciting sessions, network, experience the joy of being with like-minded people, and learn more about our promising future! With your support and energy, anything is possible!

Karen S.Tucker, CAE Executive Director

Copyright American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences Apr 2003

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