A Message to the ABD Membership:
New Strategic Direction for 2011- 2012


Greetings to all of our members and friends!

While the 2010 election season was a challenging one, we Democrats still have much to be thankful for and much to build upon as we look toward the next few years. Democrats hold the White House, we maintain a U.S. Senate majority, and the re-election campaign of Gabby Giffords as our U.S. House Representative was successful. We all continue to hold Gabby in our thoughts as we take heart in her remarkable recovery progress.

After the election, the ABD leadership team felt that the time was right to evaluate what we are doing as an organization and make changes to revitalize our efforts. We held three strategic planning sessions in the November 2010 - January 2011 time frame to develop a new strategic direction for the organization, to identify ways to better connect with the ABD membership and increase member participation in ABD activities, and to increase the effectiveness of ABD in supporting Democratic Party candidates and policies. In addition to the eight individuals that have been regularly attending leadership team meetings, we brought in eight others in the community to give the planning process broader perspective. This message report summarizes what we came up with.

In a nutshell, we identified key strategic issues to be addressed four strategic objectives that we think will help us connect with the community, increase participation, and make us more effective as an organization. Please read on to learn more about our new strategic direction. We hope you will agree that we are on the right track!

Strategic Issues and Objectives

The strategic planning sessions identified our strategic issues as:

Organizational Purpose

Over the past few years, ABD's purpose and activities have focused on getting Democratic Party candidates elected and otherwise impacting elections. To this end, we have raised money through the Monsoon fundraising event and membership dues, and attempted to spend this money in a beneficial manner to help candidates. While this electoral politics focus is at the center of ABD's reason for existing, it does not address other areas of purpose important to ABD members, such as providing a place for Democrats to connect and relate, and promoting our values and ideals in the community.

We need to examine our purpose (or purposes) as an organization and the activities we engage in related to these purposes. For example we decided that we should engage in community service activities in a way that allows ABD members to act upon their values and ideals, and results in visibility in the community that enhances the reputation and appeal of ABD.

Leadership and Participation

There was consensus in the group that the issue of leadership in the ABD organization is critical to whatever direction is pursued. The leadership question is strongly connected with the strategic issue of purpose and direction. Also related to the issues of purpose and leadership is the question of expanded involvement among current ABD members and outreach to involve others and recruit new members. The strategic direction for the organization must encompass all of these interconnected issues - purpose, leadership, and participation - if it is to succeed.

Geographic Scope and Democratic Party Ties

The geographic component of this strategic issue was defined as having two clear parts: Patagonia and Nogales. The consensus of the group was that ABD should make concerted efforts to revitalize Patagonia support and involvement. We recognized that efforts to connect with Nogales have not been successful in the past, and decided that this should not be a priority at this time. It may be possible to connect with Nogales after we have revitalized our Patagonia base because there are individuals and families in Patagonia with strong ties to Nogales.

The other component of this issue is the need to build stronger ties with the Santa Cruz County Democratic Party and the Arizona State Democratic Party. We need to be better connected to the larger world of the Democratic Party if we are to be successful in our local area. We are happy to report that the Santa Cruz County Democratic Party organization, which has been inactive for some time, has recently held a reorganization meeting and plans to become more active in this election term.

Outreach and Connectivity

The strategic issue of outreach and connecting with the community is closely tied to the issues of purpose and participation. The planning process considered the ways in which outreach and building greater participation can be effective. A "networking" model was discussed in which a few people with an interest in a particular area or project contact a few others who may share that interest. In this manner, a team could be established that has a specific focus. Another element of success is for the team focus to be initiative or project-oriented, having an endpoint that is not asking individuals to make an open-ended time commitment.

Strategic Objectives

To address our key issues as an organization, ABD will pursue four strategic objectives over the next two years:

The activities and projects sponsored by ABD over the next two years will support one or more of these strategic objectives. We want to provide a place for Democrats to gather and connect, support ABD members in "living out their values and ideals" by doing good in the community, enhance the reputation and appeal of ABD (and the Democratic Party) within the community, and ultimately impact election results with regard to candidates and issues.

We would love to get your feedback on this new strategic direction, and we would be happy to provide any additional information you might want. For more information, contact:

Charles Doolittle



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