[AAEC President Pat Bagley will be handing over the mantle to Kevin Siers next week. In the meantime, here is his departing letter]
First, the good news. The long-awaited redesign of our new website is nearing launch and should be up sometime in January. (Buy Adam Zyglis a beer next time you see him and thank him for his work on getting this done).
More good news is our partnership with CXC will free up the AAEC President and Board to attend to matters important to members. The planning and execution of our annual convention is currently an all-consuming task, but by piggybacking on CXC the incoming President and Board will have more time and resources for other initiatives.
It’s clear that the AAEC is at an inflection point. Continuing business as usual is not sustainable. In Sacramento the Board formed a “Reboot Committee” to look into ways to expand our membership and lay the groundwork for future growth. In the current climate recasting ourselves as an association dedicated to defense of the First Amendment is certainly one direction to go.
The Board also recognizes that we need to expand our fund raising efforts. There have been plenty of good ideas pitched to me over this last year that deserve to be put into action, but they didn’t take off due to a lack of resources. Ideally we need an office manager/development director who will be dedicated solely to the business of the AAEC. Wanda Nicholson will be stepping down early next year when she officially retires, and this gives us an opportunity to reshape the manager’s position. The AAEC will be working with our sister organization, Editorial Cartooning Initiative, to get our fundraising off the ground to make this position possible.
We have opportunities for growth through greater inclusion. There are a lot of younger cartoonists doing great work out there—they just don’t know they’re political cartoonists. Our partnership with CXC next year will expose us to a wider field of scribblers and it is my recommendation that we make ourselves welcoming to them.
One last thought: Perhaps the best way to create public interest in cartooning may also be one that costs nothing. Reposting a colleagues’ work on social media is good for all of us. Be generous with that share button. Besides educating people about our product it also tends to create demand for of what we’re all selling.