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NARSOL board retreat paves path for future growth, success

By Admin . . . National’s board of directors gathered in Houston, Texas, January 6-8, 2017, for its annual strategic planning session. During these yearly events the board maps out its advocacy priorities for the coming year, set deadlines, and assign tasks.

The retreat began with a review of visible actions considered most significant from over the past year, and as were reported in the pre-retreat work. These were:

  • Legal actions (assisting RI ACLU, filing amicus brief in Packingham, and other state efforts)
  • Yearly conference
  • Working with states (regions, affiliates, training advocates, Fearless project)
  • Stopping or amending bad legislation
  • Publishing the Digest newsletter
  • Increasing visibility in national, state, local and social media

From there, the board moved to creating a single defining sentence for the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL). Discussion clarified that this would have the primary purpose of quickly answering the question “What do you DO?” while also setting the tone for the work the board sought to accomplish over the course of the weekend. The directors in attendance agreed that in real life, the sentence would shift a bit based on the audience, but in its shortest form, is intended to grab attention and invite further questions and discussion.

The definition is “Fighting to restore dignity and constitutional rights to millions (of registrants and their families.)” The part in parentheses may change depending on the audience, but it was helpful for directors to keep in mind while moving forward.

Next, the board began the process of setting goals. All agreed that it was best to start by defining key categories for a 2017 annual report, which would be distributed as a several-page document summarizing NARSOL’s accomplishments for the year. Such a report will be made available to prospective members and especially larger donors upon request. A simpler 2-page version could also be published for use at conferences, for new members, etc.

The primary headings and subheadings for the 2017 report will be (in alphabetical order): Affiliates, Board Work, Communications, Conference, Finances, Legislation, Litigation, Marketing, Membership, and NARSOL Foundation.

The next step was to more closely define the concrete, measurable goals the directors wanted to accomplish for the coming year. Board members also added in some critical administrative, infrastructure-related tasks that need to be done, most of which directly impact the more visible goals that would show on the report. This took several sessions and also gave the directors an opportunity to clean up any confusing wording and consolidate redundant goals. As a final part of this process, the board prioritized all of the goals (27 total) to better determine how to focus over the year.

Next, NARSOL’s board went through the prioritized list and individual directors signed up to take lead and assist with each goal. The last step was to walk through the list one more time and set some target dates. In the brief time remaining, there was considerable discussion about a few possible initiatives that had not made it onto this year’s priorities.

One of highlights of the weekend was Mr. Paul Rigney of the International Travel Group who joined us at an evening session to discuss International Megan’s Law issues. He came from Dallas to Houston for the meeting, and the board expressed both its collective gratitude and appreciation for Paul’s dedication and input.

The board of directors’ retreat ended Sunday afternoon with NARSOL’s future goals firmly in the directors’ minds and their energy renewed for the tasks of the year ahead, stronger than ever in its resolve to never give up this fight. It is important because every man, woman, and child for whom NARSOL fights are important. Its organizational goals and beliefs are important. Fighting for the dignity and the constitutional rights of all is not only important; it is the most important thing this organization will ever do.