Friday, March 9, 2007

So Close

This Tuesday evening, our Board of Directors will consider, for final approval, a strategic plan to govern our activities for the next three years. This comes, of course, after nearly a full year of “consultation”. Indeed, the Council is nearing the point where it must choose to respond, or face oblivion at the hands of irrelevance.

While undertaking such extensive consultation is wearing on staff and resources, I can’t dismiss the value of the results. I also must remark on the subsidiary value of making the process so open and comprehensive.

To be as inclusive as possible, and for those who may not know what we did, we:

  • Conducted 14 community consultations open the members, the arts community, and the general public
  • Consulted approximately 1/3 of the Islands MLAs
  • Invited by letter direct submissions from our membership
  • Consulted with the relevant staff of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs
  • Consulted with each of the four active regional arts councils

Considering that this is an Island of less than 140,000 people on about 2000 square kilometers (Greater Toronto covers about 7000 km2) that’s a pretty extensive set of meetings.

I have no doubt that any new plan that departs from the status quo for us will garner its fair share of detractors. We understood that even before we began, and that had a great deal to do with the depth of the process – the times and mechanisms for input were many and often.

Now, we’re on the threshold of building support for the plan. How best to do that? Online tools make it easy but can lack credibility for “traditional” recipients. E-petitions are gaining in use and popularity. We’ve considered a perforated, postage paid, post card included in the Strategic Plan itself – that’s a costly option. We know that real letters and direct phone calls have the greatest impact, but I’m never convinced that people follow through.

Assuming that you would support that plan, what could we do that would most inspire you to take action? How can we make it easy enough for you that you would do it? Write me and tell me.