At the Communications Network’s Fall Conference in Seattle last week, we unveiled our proposed new mission statement. And, we gave you a chance to react. Do you ever disappoint us when we ask you to react? Of course not.
The revised mission, which came out of a year-long strategic review led by the Network’s board, was part of an effort to determine how our organization can help foundations and the larger field of philanthropy have greater impact.
On one hand, the changes we are proposing to our mission–detailed below–would enable us to do more of what we already do well: provide useful tools, create connections and advance the conversation about why communications needs to be a key element of effective philanthropy.
Also, as an extension of an effort we started in recent years to bring others within foundations–program staff, evaluators and leadership–into conversations about the important role of communications, we now want to bring nonprofits into the mix as well — as Network members, as advisors, as contributors to our programming and as champions, along with the rest of us, for the power of smart communications to improve lives.
As the revised mission states:
The Communications Network supports foundations and nonprofits to improve lives through the power of smart communications – offering evidence, fresh thinking, and collegial encouragement.
Many of you expressed immediate support, saying that the Network could gradually expand the circle of conversation while still keeping our special sense of camaraderie and purpose intact. Others seemed intrigued but waved a yellow flag of caution, asking us to tread carefully forward. And still others seemed mortified, almost immediately going into mourning for the Network that exists today. It was a fascinating, fun and illuminating conversation. And it told us that we should give you more time to let this sink in. This is not a change that can or will happen overnight or it is something that will happen without more refinement and thoughtful comments from members, friends and current and potential partners to the Network. The Board has a lot more work to do on making our future real, and so do you.
So, with Seattle behind us, we’re going to continue the conversations. For example, we’re starting a fresh round of conversations on our blog. Take a moment to read and ponder the mission statement. And then let us know what you think. Also, to help put these changes in context and to see how they are an extension of the Network’s continuing evolution over the past three decades — from a volunteer group to a standalone 501(c)3 — watch the video below.
We look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to post comments here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minna Jung-script; Eric Brown-narration; Jai Sen-direction; Bishakh Som-illustration