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An Active, Engaged NAGC Starts with You

Posted By CDR Christopher O'Neil, USCG, Retired, Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Updated: Sunday, June 30, 2019


The NAGC Board of Directors recently met in Minneapolis (home to Management HQ our association management company) for the board’s semiannual retreat, where the board attended to the business of running the NAGC. As your president, I feel it is important that I share with you the major goals we set during the retreat because without you, each one of you, we cannot realize the vision the board has for our association.

One of the issues that drove our decision to seek a new management company was a need to focus on the business of the NAGC. Although we continue to run an exemplary communications school, a highly regarded awards program and well-attended webinars, we have not been able to do much else. The NAGC’s membership numbers have been stagnant for several years, our revenue flat, and none of our committees has been fully staffed for many years. Our winter board retreat accordingly focused on setting a strategic plan designed to help us realize the vision of a vibrant and thriving NAGC where members are engaged and fully realizing the benefits of membership in an outstanding professional association.

With MHQ’s help, we crafted 10-year, 3-year and 18-month strategies designed to attract and retain members, raise the visibility of the association and our profession, and improve the membership experience.

These are ambitious, but achievable goals for our association. They are realistic. These goals are the waypoints on our association’s journey to our return to being the premier association for government communicators, our return to a vibrant community of practice.

These goals are achievable only when our members get involved. No association can fully succeed when only a handful of members are engaged. This is particularly true for the NAGC. I’m proud to have been part of the NAGC’s board of directors for nearly six years now, and I have seen first-hand how hard the board works to execute our mission and how dedicated the directors are to our profession. And because of my six years on the board, I can tell you that it isn’t enough. Our association will never realize the 18-month, 3-year or 10-year goals on the backs of the board members – the only way our association realizes its potential is when you, our members, get involved.

What am I asking you to do? I am asking you for a couple hours a month. A couple hours a month doing things that are familiar to you, tasks you have already mastered, or tasks you have an interest in but don’t have the opportunity to do in your current position.

What’s in it for you? Adding to your resume, professional development and personal/professional satisfaction. Volunteer work shows your dedication to your craft. Work you do for the NAGC can help round out your resume and make you more competitive for positions. Whether you volunteer for a task that’s within your wheelhouse or you take on a “stretch assignment,” volunteer work for NAGC helps you hone your skills. Finally, there’s a great sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing you’re part of something big, that you’ve had a part –in shaping the future of our association and our profession.

What are our immediate needs?

  • Blue Pencil & Gold Screen awards. We need judges to review submissions, provide their feedback and determine who will be receiving awards. Not your cup of tea? I bet you know someone who would be a great judge. Sign them up.
  • Membership Committee. We need members who want to make our association stronger and more vibrant. We need members who want to expand our network of communication professionals. We need members who want to be part of a team that helps attract new member and retain the ones we have.
  • Marketing and Communications. While we have filled the Communications Director position – thanks to Wendy Wagner-Smith for volunteering to fill the remainder of the vacated term – we need people who
  •  Marketing and Communications. While we have filled the Communications Director position – thanks to Wendy Wagner-Smith for volunteering to fill the remainder of the vacated term – we need people who are willing to help provide content across our platforms to tell the NAGC story, engage our members and attract new members.
  •  Webinars. Our Professional Development Director has been a one woman show, managing our Webinar Wednesday and Encore webinar series. But it isn’t a one-person job. We need members to help manage the processes and create content to support both of these vital webinar series.

You’re busy. We get it. We’re not asking for a daily commitment, we’re not asking you to sign a contract or to provide us with your talent for a year.

We’re just asking you for a few hours a month. Imagine what we could accomplish if even just a quarter of our membership volunteered just two hours a week, eight hours a month. That would give the NAGC 650 work hours to help us execute our mission and begin to grow and strengthen our association.

As your association president, I challenge you to do your part to make our association all that it can and should be. I challenge you to leverage your talent, your time and your pride in our profession to make NAGC the association you want it to be. Join us on this journey.

Get started today by contacting us at and let us know how you’d like to help. Want to talk it out? Contact me at

NAGC Board of Directors Goals

10-year target

  • 1,500 members
  • 400 communications school attendees
  • 750 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen award submissions
  • $750,000 in annual revenue
  • 10 regional chapters with quarterly events
  • High volunteer and member engagement

3-year target

  • 400 members
  • 165 communications school attendees
  • 375 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen award submissions
  • $275,000 in annual revenue
  • 2 regional NAGC chapters with quarterly events
  • 25 percent of NAGC members engaged in volunteerism

18-month target

  • 350 members
  • 150 communications school attendees
  • 300 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen award submissions
  • $230,000 in annual revenue
  • NAGC chapters — pilot program developed
  • 10 percent of NAGC members engaged in volunteerism

Here is where our association is today:

  • 325 members
  • 135 communications school attendees
  • 275 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen award submissions
  •  $206,000 in annual revenue
  • No (zero) NAGC Chapters
  • No staffed committees (member volunteerism)

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