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Summer Projects

We all know the expression “the cheque is in the mail.” And yet I have never waited for a cheque with so much impatience as the one that we received electronically this week from Canadian Heritage. Along with the membership contributions we have received over the past six weeks, this brings us until mid-autumn, plus a contingency reserve of more than three months that we intend to keep and eventually build on. Already it’s a more comfortable situation than we have been in the last three months, when we have been following the fluctuations in our financials on a weekly basis. This gives a good base for planning other inflows of money that will help to cover the two year transition period leading towards long term financial stability. We won’t be short of work, but it doesn’t scare us. On the contrary! The staff of the CCA has real enthusiasm that is good to see.

Over the course of the last few weeks, I had the pleasure of meeting with a number of you in Montreal and Toronto to discuss our new business plan and projects under development related to our four pillars: leadership and networking, knowledge sharing, government relations, and public engagement. I came away from these meetings re-energized and more motivated than ever to make the necessary changes to ensure the future of a completely renewed CCA.

We reviewed the various initiatives underway to secure transition funding for the new business model and discussed eight different revenue sources identified in the business plan. Amongst other goals, the business plans aims at increasing our revenues from membership from our current 12 or 13% to 42% of the total budget within five years. At first glance, the pursuit of such a goal may seem unrealistic. However, it will be achieved through three separate initiatives: growing the number of members, reviewing contribution levels for certain categories of organizational members, and finally, creating a new category of non-voting corporate members whose name will be associated with a series of CCA activities and products.

After the full renewals, we will launch a recruitment campaign in the fall, currently under development and which will be based in part on the cooperation of our existing members. A number of member organizations have already indicated their desire to participate in this campaign and others will be invited to do the same. Broadening our membership base will respond to both the goals of legitimacy and financial stability. To put access to the CCA within reach of more people, we have already reduced the cost of membership for individual members ($50) and for organizational categories 1 and 2 ($100 and $175 respectively).

We will discuss the possibility of raising the fees for certain member categories with all interested parties over the coming months, specifically categories 4-8. Before reviewing the scale, it will of course be necessary to evaluate the realities of each group, the value of the CCA and the services that we provide, and what each organization can reasonably contribute.

The main increase in revenues will be flow from creating a new class of non-voting corporate members. This is actually a form of philanthropic sponsorship by companies that believe in the mission of the CCA and wish to support our products and services.

In closing, a word on a project currently under development. We have begun collaboration with the University of Ottawa to develop a new annual report on the provincial and territorial budgets relating to culture. We consider it a privilege to work with Sharon Jeannotte, from the Centre on Governance, who has agreed to coordinate this project; and Monica Gattinger, from the School of Political Studies, who along with Diane St-Pierre from Quebec’s National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS) published the book Les politiques culturelles provinciales et territoriales du Canada : Origines et évolutions et mises en oeuvre (Laval : PUL, 2012). Considering the fact that Stats Canada has abandoned the publication of the annual report on federal and provincial cultural spending, the CCA is taking the baton in this area. We are expecting to publish our annual Federal Budget Analysis in the fall, and the provincial and territorial one in February, just in time for a new budget season across the country. We will keep you posted on this exciting project that has been deemed essential by numerous of our members and non-members as it unfolds.

You can see, we are not short on work for the summer! As our President said in her blog, the coming months will be of critical importance for the reinvention of the CCA. We need to put the new mechanisms of governance into place to ensure greater involvement of members.  We need to expand our ranks and our revenue base. We must plan the changing of the guard and pass the torch to the leaders of tomorrow. This great challenge can only be done with your support and commitment. You can count on ours!