Wednesday, December 26, 2012
The State of IWC
After two years as president of Indiana Writers' Consortium, it is time for me to step aside and turn the helm over to someone with different talents. Yes, I know that's a cliche, but I'm a sailor so you'll have to put up with the nautical terminology.
IWC is a young organization that was incorporated just over four years ago. New legal entities tend to go through a series of stages on their way to maturity. The first is the formation stage, which is often led by someone with entrepreneurial gifts. In our case, that was Sharon Palmeri, who was instrumental in bringing IWC into being.
The second stage sees the entity setting up the legal policies and financial systems that will carry the organization into the business world. That has been my primary contribution.
When my term started in January 2011, IWC had no budget, a static website, a logo that couldn't be enlarged without losing the resolution, a Facebook page designed for an individual rather than a corporation, and none of the Board policies that the IRS looks for when it audits Section 501(c)(3) entities. As my term ends, all of those issues have been resolved.
During my term, I drafted a number of legal policies. Several conform to IRS guidelines, while others are simply good business practice. In particular, the Board adopted policies dealing with committees, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, gift acceptance (donations), recordkeeping, and whistleblowing. The Board also approved officer and director job descriptions and amended the membership policy.
Under my leadership, IWC adopted its first budget. Although there was little financial history to work with, the 2012 budget proved to be a realistic one. We also created procedures for developing the 2013 and subsequent budgets.
During Sharon Palmeri's tenure as president, she enrolled IWC in Legacy Foundation's Great Lakes Award Initiative, which was designed to educate non-profits on running effective organizations. The benefits of her foresight carried over into my term.
As a result of IWC's participation in GLAI, Legacy Foundation assigned Dennis Banas of Praxis Strategies and Solutions to serve as IWC's mentor for approximately six months. With the help of Dennis Banas and his associate, Kate Bathon, IWC refined its logo and mission statement and adopted a brand statement, all shown at the top of this post.
IWC's participation in GLAI also qualified it for a grant to improve its communications with members and the public by redesigning the website. The Board hired DataMine to do the work, and the newly designed site went online in September.
I created a new blog and tied it into the website, and IWC is posting new material at least once a week. I also created a corporate Facebook page to replace the individual page that IWC had previously used.
Of course, I could not have accomplished any of this without the support and hard work of the officers and directors who served during my term: Katherine Flotz, Jacqueline Huppenthal, Janine Harrison, Thomas Spencer, Judith Whitcomb, Sharon Palmeri, and Cynthia Echterling.
The above litany only covers the new goals achieved during my term. There were also many ongoing events and programs that succeeded largely--or even completely--because of the efforts of others. I would especially like to thank the PoPP Committee (consisting of Katherine Flotz, Jacqueline Huppenthal, Judith Whitcomb, Sharon Palmeri, and Sandra Nantais) and the PoPP judges (headed by Thomas Spencer) for their contributions to our highly successful school program, Jacqueline Huppenthal and Janine Harrison for their work on the annual banquets, and Thomas Spencer for graciously hosting the annual picnic the last two years.
The third stage of a new, healthy non-profit organization is the one that sees it growing in funding, programs, and membership. These are not my strengths.
I will remain active as IWC's secretary and blog master. I will also share responsibilities for website and Facebook management. But I have completed the tasks that made me a good fit as president, and it is time to let someone else captain IWC through the next stage.
So join me in welcoming Janine Harrison to that role.
Kathryn Page Camp
IWC is an IRS Section 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and build a community of creative writers.