The organization conducted a strategic planning process in 2013 (as ABCD Network still at that time). During that process, the organization sought input from members on several strategic questions. The information gathered was shared during the Board’s strategic planning retreat on September 13, 2013. The following strategic decisions were made (and some were added after discussions of the strategic plan during the November Annual Meeting).
Review or download the full document: CDN Strategic Plan – June 2014
Change the name and revise the mission of the organization: The most important strategic decision made during the September 13 strategic planning board retreat was to change the name and revise the mission statement. This extremely important decision came about for several reasons; (a) the “Asset Building” part of the name was removed because “community development” encompasses so many things, and one aspect should not be singled out in the name; (b) “community development” is not only housing, but also sustainability, it is creating and enhancing commercial main streets as destinations, and ensuring all people have opportunities in Maryland, so the organization needed a name that would reflect that; (c) the organization was not as successful in working on issues related to “individual asset building” and therefore the organization decided to reflect the actual work in the name; (d) other organizations (like the CASH Campaign) are doing incredible work in the asset building field; and (e) it was time to reflect the sophistication of the organization and Maryland’s community development industry with a better name.
Board members took a couple of months to finally agree on a name: The Community Development Network of Maryland. There was equal time in developing the revised Mission statement, which reflects the core competency of the organization as well as the main thinking described earlier.
Regional Engagement: CDN will engage community development organizations and local agencies in each region of the state. In order to be a true statewide organization, CDN has to fully understand the issues locally. The model of the City Committee can be adapted to help CDN engage members in each region. CDN will work with members in each region to organize what the engagement will look like, and create a model that works in each region (we call them regional coalitions in the document, but they could take on another shape). The goal is to gather more members, hear about issues that each region faces, recognize commonalities among regions to be able to advocate statewide, provide capacity building trainings and information tailored to the local area, address specific issues collectively, and implement CDN’s other strategic priorities.
Promoting the Social and Economic Impact of Maryland’s Community Development Industry: CDN will promote the social and economic importance and impact of the community development industry in Maryland so that the public at large understands the tremendous benefit that nonprofit and other community development organizations have on local and state economies. Ultimately, CDN would like to see more investment in community development organizations as well. Activities for this campaign could include, but are not limited to: (a) creating a “Community Development Day/Week” (b) creating regional meetings with law makers to highlight the importance of community development in their counties/districts (c) updating the “Industry Report” and publicizing that heavily, and others. CDN will form a working group and hire a PR firm to assist in the launch of this ongoing effort.
Community Development Outcome Indicators: CDN will create a statewide community development indicators system. These set of outcome indicators will be developed through conversations at the regional level, asking “why do we do our work? What do we expect the ultimate result of our work is?” and then “how do we measure it?” The purpose of this is to create a set of indicators the entire industry (non-profit community development organizations, public agencies, and others), uses to make decisions on policies and investments that will help move the indicators to show trends in the direction they should go. CDN understands this special challenge, given the dynamics in rural, urban and suburban settings. The indicators will be available at the state, jurisdictional and local level. Several cities and states have indicators for policy making, and Baltimore has an internationally known system. CDN will develop a working group to lead the effort, and take on a data partner for the analysis and technical expertise needed for this important initiative.
Organizational changes: (a) CDN will become a 501c3 organization. CDN has been a project of the Community Foundation of Carroll County for several years; (b) CDN will launch a new website that is more flexible and easier to manage by CDN staff; and (c) CDN will create a social media presence that will help with all the initiatives created during this strategic planning process.
Important work that continues: CDN’s core competencies have always been (a) advocate for a strong community development industry, and advocate for sound community development policy and investments; (b) provide information, training, capacity building for organizations to do their work more effectively, or have the information they need on new initiatives and opportunities, although at the regional level, not statewide; and (c) convene stakeholders to think about and take action on specific topics (the most recent example of this is the work with the QAP and CDFI Roundtable). This work will continue full force, and will be informed by the strategic priorities listed in this summary.
The Board of Directors of the Community Development Network of Maryland is committed to ensuring that any project or opportunity must fit within the strategic priorities developed during this planning process.