Advancing NCSL Internal Operations
While many NCSL staff worked tirelessly to support members directly, others worked with the same passion to strengthen and improve NCSL’s internal operations. From IT and facilities to human resources and more, there were countless priority projects in FY 22.
FY 22 Highlights
- NCSL’s new association management software, Fonteva, was launched in December 2019. COVID changed the world drastically three months later. All in-person meetings were canceled resulting in a delay in truly testing Fonteva’s full functionality. The 2021 Legislative Summit in Tampa provided the first opportunity to explore, problem-solve and execute a large meeting using Fonteva. It was successful thanks to many diligent NCSL staff.
NCSL transitioned to a new and improved human resource and payroll system, Paycom, in FY 22. NCSL’s Human Resources, Finance and Accounting teams successfully launched Paycom and provided training for all staff. Paycom has a better system interface and has proven to be easier to navigate and use than the previous system.
Ensuring Exemplary Finance and Accounting Practices
Responsible for ensuring the efficient financial management and financial controls necessary to support all business activities, NCSL’s finance and accounting department is key to the organization’s ability to carry out its mission.
FY 22 Highlights
- The Finance and Accounting team welcomed Alex Alavi as the new chief financial officer in January 2022 following the retirement of the previous CFO, Mary Wild, after 14 years of dedicated service. Alex brings extensive experience in financial analysis, budgeting, risk management, internal controls, investments, employee benefits, grants, information systems and process improvement. The team also added a finance manager to oversee revenue and a grant accountant to support NCSL’s federal and private grants.
- NCSL’s annual audit was successful with a clean opinion issued. NCSL’s general fund ended FY 22 with a surplus resulting in NCSL having a positive fund balance and establishing a rainy day reserve. Dues collections were very strong, with 49 states, Washington D.C., and all territories paying dues. The Legislative Summit in Tampa also exceeded financial projections. The FY 2023 budget was approved at the spring Executive Committee meeting with a projected surplus of about $400,000.
NCSL 2021-25 Strategic Plan Progress
This plan sets a vision for the organization’s future while also providing a framework to guide organizational discussions and budget decisions. The plan was launched in summer 2021, and NCSL staff immediately began implementing key objectives. Strategic plan progress is highlighted below.
Launched NCSL Legislator Demographic Survey
The latest data is key to understanding how legislatures function and who works there. NCSL regularly surveys legislators, gathering up-to-date member data and examining changes in legislator demographics over time. The most recent NCSL Legislator Demographic Survey was launched in FY 21. The data will be analyzed in FY 23.
Provided Legislative Training for NCSL Staff
For the benefit of NCSL staff, the Legislative Training Institute provided more than 20 internal presentations, conducted trainings on the keys to effective presentations and consulted on external presentations prior to delivery.
Launched Legislative Video Resource Center
Launched in 2021, the VRC is a collection of recorded NCSL policy and professional development webinars in a platform that is easily searchable by category and topic. This new platform allows members to conveniently access NCSL’s library of high-quality content.
Created Tailored Training for Legislative Staff Leaders
In a joint effort with the NCSL Legislative Staff Services Program, the NCSL Leaders’ Center created specialty programming for an affinity group of staff serving in roles from chiefs of staff to leadership. Nineteen leadership chiefs attended the inaugural program and participated in subsequent virtual collaborations. A second in-person program is scheduled for summer 2022.
Enhanced State Liaison Program
NCSL staff researched and proposed a modified approach to the current state liaison system. The new approach involves hiring a full-time state liaison directly serving several states and will be implemented in early FY 23.
Created Strategy to Monitor State Engagement
An initial strategy and system for monitoring state engagement, based on several data points, was developed in FY 22 and will be refined in the next fiscal year.
Established New Brand Color Palette
NCSL staff consulted with a branding firm in spring 2022 and the resulting new brand color palette will be rolled out in FY 23.
Retired Negative Funds and Created Reserve Fund
NCSL successfully retired the negative fund balance and created a reserve fund in FY 22.
Increased Revenue from Advertising Sales
NCSL hired a new advertising sales specialist in spring 2022 who immediately began bringing in advertising revenue for the organization, including selling more NCSL web ads.
The NCSL Executive Committee approved a strategic plan that will guide NCSL for the next three years. With the guidance of the committee and the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee, those goals will be met. Moving forward, NCSL staff will build upon the significant accomplishments of FY 22, continually innovating and improving strategies to ensure legislators and staff receive the information, training and support needed to succeed in their roles. From trusted policy research, unbiased committee testimony and legislative-specific professional development to gathering legislators and staff for one of a kind online and in-person meetings, the organization's commitment to the legislative institution remains steadfast.