Learning More About the Long Range Planning Commission

Written by: Dr. Sherry Edwards, National Chair, NSDAR Long Range Planning Commission
April 28, 2015

I am delighted that the President General has asked me to write this blog about the National Society’s Long-Range Planning Commission and its role in developing the recently adopted policy governing campaigns for NSDAR Executive Office. 

The Long-Range Planning Commission, authorized by Continental Congress in 1987, is a little known, yet important, administrative committee of the National Society.  It is charged with “providing a continuing assessment of the future needs of the Society to ensure its viability and with recommending measures to be taken and methods for implementation, including financing.”  The Commission also addresses issues as requested by the Executive Committee.  The commission’s work is confidential, but recommendations may be disclosed after approval by the Executive Committee.  The Commission is comprised of twelve hard-working women, with staggered nine-year terms, drawn from a number of states and with varying DAR experiences.  The current Executive Liaison for the Commission is First Vice President General Ann Dillon. 

Each administration, the Commission works on a multiyear strategic plan.  The Executive Committee may adopt the plan in full or it may extract worthy ideas for immediate implementation, such as the recommendations to admit new members to the National Society each month and to broaden the beneficiaries of the Helen Pouch Memorial Fund.  The Executive Committee’s requests for study may yield more tactical results, such as the Commission’s recommendations on the scheduling of the President General’s official visits to state conferences by regional zone, the NSDAR National Chairman’s Resource Guide, and guidelines for campaigns of candidates for Vice President General. 

The Commission is encouraged to think “outside the box” when it considers issues.  As a result, some recommendations may be ahead of their time, be modified by the Executive Committee, or may not accepted at all.  When given an issue for study by the Executive Committee, the Commission’s most important responsibility is to recommend opportunities for improvement and evolution to keep the National Society’s policies and operations viable, relevant, and timely. 

Recently, the Commission was asked to recommend a policy governing campaigns for NSDAR Executive Office.  The National Society has not had such a policy, and previous campaigns have been governed largely by tradition.  The Commission authored a paper for the Executive Committee that discussed the factors that it believed the policy needed to take into account and presented a proposed recommendation along with a rationale for each aspect of the policy.  The Commission spent nearly a year developing, through iterative discussions, the recommendation for campaigns for Executive Office.  The Commission’s work takes time because it analyzes each issue carefully to be certain that all recommendations, and any potential consequences, are well thought out and understood.  Learn more about this new policy, including the factors which it had to consider, by reading this Members’ Announcement.

It is a pleasure to lead this group of dedicated DAR members who are “focusing on the future” as we continue to tackle issues referred to us by a very active NSDAR Executive Committee!

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