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Volume 6   Issue 5                June 2005

The Rate Debate

A Purpose-Driven Organization
Developing NFRC's Plan for the Next Five Years
by Jim Benney

Stragtegic planning.  These two words strike fear and trepidation in the hearts of volunteer leaders throughout the capitalist world. It brings visions of endless meetings, animated facilitators and sheets of paper stuck all over the meeting room walls. Still, every organization does it … or should. I’m in the middle of my second go-around at a strategic planning process at NFRC, and I can say without reservation that, if done right, it can be very revealing and rewarding. 

When the NFRC board of directors first began talking about a new strategic plan (we produced our pervious version in 1999), they expressed some apprehension. With some help from a well-qualified facilitator, they came to understand its importance and I dare say to even enjoy it. The process, launched last year, continues. 

All Grown Up
NFRC is 16 years old (founded in 1989) now, and well into maturity. We know who we are and what we do; yet, as a 501(c)3 organization, we still struggle with determining, addressing and serving the needs of the general public. With apologies to the author of the current best-selling book, NFRC’s volunteer leaders have adopted a strategic planning theme that seeks to ensure that NFRC remains a “purpose-driven” organization. 

The leadership is inspired to establish not only a direction for the organization, but also to:

• Set priorities in the areas where we can truly be effective;
• Determine where our strengths lie and therefore where NFRC can make a difference; and 
• Listen to our stakeholders, including our own staff and members, the average homeowner and everyone in between, to determine the most effective way to meet their needs.

At this point, the board has established a new vision and mission that provide a direction for the future of NFRC. In keeping with that new direction, the board has also approved a set of goals and objectives. 

NFRC’s new vision is as follows: “NFRC is the recognized global leader in delivering energy and related performance ratings and certification for fenestration products and systems.” 

The vision foretells the direction our leaders want to take this organization. It relates to NFRC’s strengths in developing energy performance ratings systems and the dream of expanding this strength beyond the borders of the United States. 

As its new mission, the board adopted: “NFRC develops and administers comparative energy and related rating programs that serve the public and satisfy the needs of its private sector partners by providing fair, accurate and credible, user-friendly information on fenestration product performance.” 

This mission relates the desires of the leadership to provide ratings that meet both the requirements of industry and wishes of the general public. 

Strategic Goals
The board continues to work hard on the strategic plan. Last year, it approved the following goals:

1. Strengthen the organization’s ability to achieve its mission;
2. Evaluate and improve the existing NFRC programs continually;
3. Build new programs as needed; and
4. Maintain a long-term global focus.

The board approved some specific objectives under goals one through three during and just after the recent membership meeting in Hawaii, and is now working on objectives for goal four. The NFRC hopes it will be able to publish a completed plan later this year. And then we will be able to show the world how we have become a purpose-driven organization. 

Jim Benney serves as executive director of the National Fenestration Rating Council based in Silver Spring, Md. 

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