New Focus on Outreach, Inclusiveness and Innovation: 2016 - 2017
From this and other research, SaskCulture finalized its new Strategic Priorities for 2015-2019, which were: Increased community engagement; improved access through inclusivity; and a focus on nurturing learning and innovation. In 2017, it was determined that the priorities were still in progress, so the strategic plan could extend into 2020. This also helped align a new plan to a new Lottery Licence agreement scheduled for 2020-2025.
During this period, SaskCulture increased its focus on outreach, getting more “boots on the ground”, resulting in staff and board getting out to meet with more cultural leaders and attending more events. SaskCulture staff connected with all Eligible Cultural Organizations and Districts on a regular schedule, Outreach Consultants continued to connect with community members on grant programs, grant-writing programs were implemented and all staff made efforts to increase community linkages on a regular basis. In 2017-18, an estimated 2,330 individuals attended SaskCulture’s grant-writing workshops.
It was during 2015-2016, that SaskCulture also held its Annual Global Funding submission and adjudication process. In June 2016, it was the first time, since SaskCulture became an organization, that it had adjudicated all 30 eligible cultural organizations at one time and online through the Online Grant Platform. In efforts to streamline administrative efficiencies, the eligible organizations that had been juried by the ArtsBoard since 2008, were brought back into SaskCulture’s AGF adjudication process.
After several years of discussion, in 2016, the five provincial music organizations – Saskatchewan Music Festival Association, Saskatchewan Music Educators Association, Saskatchewan Band Association, Saskatchewan Choral Association and Saskatchewan Orchestral Association – although working together on the AGF Jury recommended alliance, were still nowhere closer to discussing a solution for moving forward. Despite some resistance to changing the status quo, the majority of the music groups in the Saskatchewan Music Alliance came together to support holding two summer music camps in Regina and Saskatoon to support kids facing barriers to music education. The camps were four days in duration, offered musical learning experiences to over 120 kids were considered a great success and expanded to reach more kids in the province.
In 2016, SaskCulture had begun exploring Lifecycles for Non-profits, a framework created by Susan Kenney Stevens, which evaluates key aspects of a non-profit’s governance, management, resources, programs and systems to determine its stage of growth or decline. Several staff participated in sessions designed to help promote the Lifecycles ideas. In 2017, work had begun on helping Saskatchewan cultural organizations become familiar with this assessment tool. Four organizations were selected as cohorts to undergo the assessment and planning process.
In 2017, SaskCulture continued its focus on improving technology. In Spring 2017, it launched the latest update to the SaskCulture Online grant Platform (OGP) with a new online Assessor Portal. This portal enables adjudication committee members the ability to review and comment on funding applications online, enabling a consistent, easy-to-use, easy-to-access system for its busy volunteers. In 2017, SaskCulture also transferred all of its member and Creative Kids data to a Theatre Manager system, to provide a much more seamless communication system with SaskCulture members, donors and customers. In addition, SaskCulture updated its website to enable a more mobile-friendly format.