I am from an older generation. I grew up loving maps, paper maps that I could unfold, refold to show the part I wanted, and then determine our route. We had a drawer of them for all our hoped for destinations. I would carefully unfold them on a large table and check out all the landmarks we wanted to visit on our way from home to our destination,. There was usually an index of tourist type locations. We would use highlighters to mark the map. Yellow for the preferred route. Orange for the landmarks.

A map, whether digital or printed, can be used to see all the possible routes from your home or starting point to all the desired locations so that you can plan. And then the map becomes the plan, and you move along your desired route, following the plan you laid out. If you are taking a long trip, you need to identify when/where you will stop for the night and how many days you have for the journey. Even if you are detailing a short trip, you will plan for stops along the way. You need to know your starting point and ending point for each goal.

How a Center for Independent Living plans for future is the development of a roadmap. Your mission and vision identify your destination. Your goals and the steps to accomplish them are how you get there. You determine the length of the trip — a three year or five year plan are typical (three years because that is expected of CILs by regulation) but sometimes a more detailed, shorter time frame is needed for a specific project. You decide how detailed the written plan or map is. Are you noting outcomes for a goal, or are you capturing in detail the steps you anticipate to complete that goal? There is more than one way to plan.

But plan you must. If you don’t have a plan you run the risk of failing your mission and vision because your CIL is lost in the day to day without planning the journey. During this pandemic, planning may or may not take place at a traditional “retreat” for staff or board or consumers or all three. Still, you need a written plan that is known by the board, staff and those you serve; one that everyone buys into, that will guide you into the future.

While you are in the business of planning, don’t forget your own disaster planning, and how your city, county and state include people with disabilities in planning. As many of us learn when there is crisis, we are still struggling with gaps in disaster planning in our community. Your center may want to plan how you will interact with and influence local disaster plans. Here is a podcast to provide you with some disaster planning ideas. https://www.ilru.org/podcast/show-08-including-people-with-disabilities-emergency-planning

Here are some resources with ideas for planning:




How are you planning for the future? Has your “roadmap” changed?

2 thoughts on “How are you planning for the future? Has your “roadmap” changed?

  • September 2, 2020 at 6:39 am

    Paula our CIL is in the process of reviewing and making changes to our 3 year plan so this information is perfectly timed . The pandemic has forced us to embrace creative thinking and utilize more forms of technology. As a result one of the discussions we are going to have is the return on investment of having office space. Obviously that is a huge part of our operating costs. Do you have any helpful information or guidance for CILs who are considering the pros and cons of keeping an office and if ACL has shared any guidance around this issue? Thanks Paula for providing such relevant and helpful information!

    • September 2, 2020 at 6:49 am

      Sounds like you are on track, Gloria. As far as office space is concerned, centers across the country are asking questions like, do we really need to rent office space in our satellite areas or could we do more there with a full-time staff person or two who work from home? Is there a shared space with shared support (receptionist usually) that makes more sense than our free-standing little office? When our lease comes up should we rent smaller space and have staff rotate working from home? I suspect we are in the midst of a culture change. ACL has not weighed in on this as far as I know, but the centers have a great deal of autonomy in their service delivery model. I am excited to see what everyone comes up with!


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