Award Descriptions for the 2014 Fiscal Year
Legislative Strengthening - $220,000
The primary mission of NCSL is to improve and strengthen state legislatures. This award will support research, writing and consulting about the institutional problems facing legislatures today. It includes support to the Legislative Management program’s efforts to examine public understanding of the legislative process, relations with the media, and legislative capacity for policymaking. It also provides support for analysis of legislative trends and enhances NCSL’s collection of data on legislators and legislative staff. Writing and research will be disseminated on NCSL’s blog and web pages, in State Legislatures magazine and professional journals.
Leaders’ Services - $210,000
This award supports the Leaders’ Center, offering legislative leaders, and future leaders, specialized products and services including timely information on public policy and ideas for innovative management. Specifically, the award supports three important seminars designed exclusively for leaders and emerging leaders. Special seminars for legislative leaders are scheduled for Tucson, Arizona in mid-December and Washington, D.C. in the late spring of 2014. The 2013 emerging leaders meeting is set for Beaverton, Oregon on October 28-30. These programs are designed to strengthen ongoing outreach and contact with legislative leaders to encourage their involvement and participation in NCSL.
Web Development – $155,000
The NCSL website is a primary tool for providing information and services to the organization’s members, Foundation sponsors, project funders, the media, and the general public. These constituencies expect ongoing improvements as technology changes and they see innovations across the Internet. In response to these needs and expectations, several specific development initiatives are being conducted in the coming year. These efforts will be coordinated with, and directly support implementation of, the overall website redesign. Ongoing development projects include:
- Re-engineer the news features of the site to be dynamic, database application for timeliness, quality, and flexibility, with news subscription features to push information from the website;
- Enhance site search functions;
- Provide improved interactive map utilities;
- Further development of mobile compatibility of all documents;
- Develop the MyAccount preference center portal for users to update their contact information and specify their information and subscription preferences;
- Migrate StateConnect and other existing web applications to .Net;
- Implement other functional enhancements identified through the website redesign project.
Data Base and Research Development - $130,000
This award will allow NCSL to expand the development of online data bases on key issues such as education, pensions, traffic safety, health care reform, energy and environment, ethics and more. Having access to the full text of state and federal legislation through LexisNexis® State Net® also will enhance NCSL research resources overall in responding to information requests, preparing articles, briefs and publications and developing pending and enacted legislation summaries.
Legislative Training Innovations - $110,000
The extraordinary pressures state legislators face as they try to develop public policy in a contentious political world while reducing state budgets to fit shrinking revenues emphasize the value of institution strengthening and personal and professional skills development for legislators and their staffs. The NCSL Legislative Management program makes such resources and technical assistance available to legislatures.
The program is unique in the United States for its long record of collecting data on legislatures, their members and their staffs. The program's information base and staff expertise provide legislators with training in innovative collaboration techniques, organizational skills needed to direct committees, skills in office and staff management, the knowledge of legislatures that new members must acquire at warp speed, best practices in constituent outreach and communication, and staff skills development. This award will allow NCSL staff to bring unique expertise and many years of experience to these needs.
Challenge Grants - $100,000
This award will support the entrepreneurial spirit of NCSL staff, who are challenged to develop innovative ideas to expand services and support legislators and legislative staff in the 50 states and territories. Strong consideration will be given to proposals that not only expand services but also generate revenue. Proposals will be submitted to the NCSL executive director and approved at his discretion.
Member Outreach - $75,000
This award will provide significant support to NCSL's ongoing outreach campaign to members and staff. We expect to continue regional efforts at targeted groups such as state fiscal chairs and new committee chairs. This also will include the development of promotional material to reach legislators and legislative staff.
Website Redesign - $50,000
NCSL staff, working with an outside consultant, has spent the last 14 months working on a complete review, rebranding and update of our website to make it an even more powerful tool for showcasing who we are, sharing the outstanding work of our staff, and making information easier for people to access and use. The main project is now coming to a conclusion. We will be training staff and working with them as they enter content into the new site. The site will launch at the end of September.
The project included an extensive discovery effort. We worked with consultants on a new approach to organize the site and then moved on to develop wireframes and our new design look. We are creating a new editorial/standards guide for the site that will be implemented by the web content team. The launch of the site is a significant milestone. Work will continue for the rest of the year on training, SEO efforts and surveys of users. In addition, the Digital Communications and IT teams will continue to work together to bring all the documents on our site into our new look and standards.
Legislative Staff Management Institute - $45,000
Since 1990, the Foundation has supported the operation of the annual Legislative Staff management Institute. The Institute is the nation’s premier program for developing and enhancing management and leadership skills for America’s leading legislative staffers. The Foundation’s assistance enables NCSL to provide scholarships for senior legislative staff attending this executive management program.
KnowWho Data Base - $30,000
This award will allow NCSL to expanded its data on legislators for the StateConnect online directory, and continue its work collecting and analyzing pre-election and election results and enhance existing data collection efforts in the Personify (association management software) system.
E-Learning - $20,000
This award provides on-line learning and training for legislators and legislative staff. E-learning technologies assist NCSL in expanding opportunities for legislators and legislative staff to participate in NCSL programs when they are unable to travel. This award will provide content for on-line issue programming and on-line skill development training for legislators and legislative staff as well as on-line content for the Legislative Staff University on the NCSL website. The project is guided by and receives input from the Member Outreach and Communications Committee of the NCSL Executive Committee.
Foundation Partnership: Leveraging IT Investments to Strengthen Government - $10,000
With state budget issues still a concern, this project will take a look at creative ways to harness information technology to reduce government spending while improving efficiency and the level of service to citizens. Through project sessions, a webinar, and articles, project members will examine new delivery models, technologies and analytics governments can utilize to achieve efficiencies and foster innovation that will spur economic growth and job creation. In addition, the project will highlight applications of advanced analytics to identify and combat fraud and abuse in a variety of areas, such as health care, social services and taxation, which can provide significant cost savings and/or revenue return for state government.
Total Awards: $1,155,000.00