NCRF creates new vision

National Court Reporters FoundationNCRF’s Board of Trustees met in mid-November to tackle the responsibility of developing a new long-range strategic plan. The last time we undertook this was in 2008, so this is the right time. We have existing programs that serve the profession well, but we needed to take a look at the future to see what more we can be doing.

The bottom line is that 99.9 percent of our donations come from NCRA members, so it only makes sense that we create pro­grams that will support our donor base. We need to be of enough value to members that they will support us financially. The Trustees could have spent days creating in­dependent goals and programs, but what made most sense to us was to use NCRA’s new “Vision 2018” as the basis for our dis­cussions. We looked at NCRA’s six strategic priorities over the next five years (Awareness and Outreach, Advocacy, Professional Development, Member Value, Resources, and Education) to help us identify areas where we could be supportive.

We came up with lots of great ideas, but the truth is that we have limited resources, both human and financial. Taking that into consideration, we adopted the top five priorities as listed above, and we’re excited about them! Staff, board members, and volunteers have rolled up their sleeves and are already diving in. Keep watching the JCR Weekly, Facebook, and other social media for announcements about our progress.

Many thanks to our donors who make our good work pos­sible. And if you have never given to the Foundation, now would be a great time to help us launch our new projects.

Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy New Year.


Merilyn Sanchez, RMR, NCRF Chair

NCRF corner: Why do a strategic plan?

Strategic planning is the process by which an organization envisions its future and develops the necessary procedures and operations to achieve that future. A good strategic plan will not only tell you where you’re going and why, but also how you’re going to get there. Strategic plans should probably, at a minimum, be updated every five years.

NCRF’s Secretary-Treasurer Jan Ballman, RPR, CMRS, and I had the privilege of participating in NCRA’s strategic planning session in March 2013, where the NCRA Board of Directors and invited guests created a vision for NCRA through 2018. It was a fascinating process, and NCRA has many exciting programs and projects in the offing.

NCRF last conducted a strategic planning session in 2008, and the outcome of that formed the basis of our three major program areas: Oral Histories, Legal Ed, and Student Initiatives. These have been very successful. But as every leader knows, it’s important to evaluate and strategize every few years to think about the future and adapt as necessary to remain or become more relevant. Accordingly, NCRF’s Board of Trustees and several invited guests met the weekend of May 18-19 to think about where NCRF needs to be by 2018 and what it needs to do to get there.

Everyone’s thinking caps were working at high speed! I can’t go into many details here, because the May exercise was the first step. There is still much work to be done to finalize our new plan, which we’ll do at the August board meeting in Nashville. However, I wanted to share with you a few of our findings.

We began by conducting a SWOT analysis to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The group determined that our greatest strength is our status as a charitable organization, offering tax-deductible contributions. It’s nice to be able to claim that tax deduction, isn’t it? And our number one weakness is that we need more to offer NCRA members so that they’ll value NCRF. Seems so obvious, doesn’t it? We identified lots of opportunities, things that we could be doing that would benefit NCRA members, but the number one threat is limited resources. It’s a “Catch 22.” However, we’ll be working diligently to find additional resources and to develop more programs of value. The Board of Trustees is committed to developing programs of significance and relevance to NCRA’s members.

We’ll keep you updated as things progress. We’re excited about the future and hope you are, too!