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The Association and Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Research Guide

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1 The Association and Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Research Guide
A Workbook Of Models, Templates, Best Practices for Creating Simple, Effective, Research-Based Strategic Plans Tied to Operations for Volunteers and Staff Created By: Stephen C. Carey, Ph.D., CAE President & Lead Strategist Association Management & Marketing Resources

2 THE STRATEGIC PLANNING PYRAMID Strategic planning is an orderly, deliberative and discernful process that examines the past and present and envisions the future to prepare and guide the association in remaining relevant and accomplishing the tasks to come.

3 Strategic Planning and Research Guide Contents
GUIDE SECTION PAGE Table of Contents……………………………………….………………………………………………………………3 Forward By David Pearce Snyder……………………………………………………………………………………..6 Dedication…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….….8 About the Author………………………………………………………………………………………………………. .9 Preface…………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………10 Acknowledgments……………………………………………………………………………………………………...12 How To Use This Planning and Research Guide…………………………………………………………………..13 Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 14 1. The New Association Strategic and Tactical Planning World……………………………… …………….…...15 2. Key Governance and Strategic Planning and Research Trends………………………..…

4 Planning and Research Guide Contents (continued)
GUIDE SECTION PAGE 3. Prioritizing Governance and Strategic Planning and Research Issues …………………… 4. Definition of Integrated Strategic Planning — Key Problem Areas and Operational Links………..….. ……….38 5. Step I: Research — The Cornerstone of Strategic Planning Development: Bringing in the Past & Present… 45 6. Steps II, III & IV: Envisioning the Future and Affirming the Guiding Core Purpose, Creating the Vision, and Establishing the Mission and Goals…………………………………………………………………… 7. Steps V & VI : Developing Objectives and Supporting Tactical Initiatives……………………..………………….86 8. Step VII &VIII: Performing a Program Assessment and Realigning Operations: Integrating the New Plan with the Budget and Current Work Plans; and Developing Criteria and Performance Metrics for Ongoing Evaluation of Plan Execution.………………………………………...…..……94 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………..………………….….…103

5 TABS: Planning Guide Readings, Guides, Models, Templates and Examples
TAB No CONTENTS TAB 1 — Key Governance and Strategic Planning and Research Trends To Address and Their Impact on Your Association’s Ability to Plan Well for the Future TAB 2 — Templates and Samples of Qualitative and Quantitative Research Designs for Strategic Planning TAB 3 — Samples for Planning Components of Vision, Mission, Goals, Objectives and Tactical Initiatives TAB 4 — Templates Integrating Strategic, Operational Business Planning and Performance Evaluation TAB 5 — Annotated Bibliography and Ordering Information for Templates and Other AMMR Publications

6 Foreword from David Pearce Snyder, Consulting Futurist
The future is our common destination. It’s where we’re all going to spend the rest of our lives. But, as a “place” in time, the future differs from a physical destination in two crucial respects. First, we don’t have any choice about traveling to the future. We’re all going there whether we like it or not. What’s more, once we get to the future, if we don’t like it – or are ill-prepared to deal with its realities – we can’t come back to the present. The future is “for keeps.” This is why long-range planning merits the investment of our time and attention, and ultimately, our cash flow. At this moment of accelerating innovation and change, purposeful planning and leadership must be based on the reliably-forecastable demographic, economic and technologic trends and developments that will predictably reshape the marketplace realities for all organizations, their customers and their suppliers. Strategic leadership must provide foresight for all stakeholders. (continued)

7 Foreword (continued) Any executive will tell you; however, that foresight is useless if it does not become the basis of a long-range plan of action. And, as futurists like myself will tell you, accurately forecasting long-term opportunities and threats is easy to do for any industry, trade or profession. What’s really hard is getting organizations to actually design and carry out a strategic plan of action to take advantage of those long-range opportunities or to head off those long-term threats. Really effective strategic planning is tough. To begin with, we all live in a short-term world, which pre-occupies us with immediate problems to solve and immediate deadlines to meet. Just getting people to pay attention to a long-term trend is a challenge. Moreover, to sustain itself through 5 or 10 years of short-term distractions, a successful strategic action plan must be built upon an institution-wide consensus. Creating a consensus commitment for long-term action is the greatest challenge to strategic leadership. This guide to Association and Non-Profit Strategic Planning and Research provides a step-by-step, evidence-based process for developing and implementing a strategic plan of action by creating a committed, self-renewing consensus of stakeholders who share a common vision of the future and a common desire to make it happen. David Pearce Snyder The Snyder Family Enterprise

8 Dedication This publication is dedicated to the association volunteers and staff that labor in the vineyards of our profession every day. They collectively spend countless hours making the association a better place for all members and stakeholders. Oftentimes, their glory and satisfaction are only a simple toast to each other at the end of the year at the annual meeting, but their daily accomplishments are the monuments to their success. To them, each association stakeholder that finds value in the collective offerings of the association is most deeply indebted, as are those of us who have the privilege of working with them.

9 About the Author The author is a former international and regional association CEO for 13 years and has written, published, or edited 100+ articles and several books on association strategic planning, marketing, communication, governance and management topics, including several landmark articles on the nature of strategic planning and tying and benchmarking strategic plans to operations. Dr. Carey, author of the Marketing and Communications Planning Guide, was selected as one of the 12 most influential association executives by the Washington Business Journal, and is among the association industry’s few leading experts on strategic planning, restructuring, program assessment and marketing and communications management. Dr. Carey is a 1986 charter class Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives and recipient of the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives' Chairman’s Award. He also was selected for the 2002 and 2004 Circle of Excellence Awards from the Maryland Society of Association Executives for his association governance and marketing courses in the Greater Washington Area and elsewhere, and his publications on strategic and marketing planning, through which over 2000 association executives and chief staff executives have been trained. Dr. Carey is an approved facilitator for the ASAE Foundation’s Exploring the Future series and sits on the ASAE and the Center’s Joint Strategic Planning Committee. He, his wife and daughter live in the Greater Washington area. Information about AMMR can be found at and he may be reached at: Stephen C. Carey, Ph.D., CAE President and Lead Strategist of Association Management and Marketing Resources

10 Preface AMMR has published three textbooks in association management in the functional areas of association administration, domestic and international meetings, and marketing and communications. The text, Marketing the Nonprofit Association (Reprinted 2005) and its related guide, The Association and Nonprofit Marketing and Communications Planning Guide (2006), provided an organized approach -- a methodology -- to creating marketing and communications plans for each functional area and, from these, a consolidated plan. This second guide provides an organized approach – a methodology -- to creating a strategic plan. A strategic plan is vital if an association is to remain relevant. By far, this is the more important guide. It guides the association executive and volunteer in anticipating and preparing for probable, possibly differing, future scenarios. It takes into account past, present and future external and internal impacts. The result of following the approach of this guide is a blueprint for the future of the association, a blueprint that achieves stability in an uncertain future while allowing the flexibility to adapt to change the present. This Association and Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Research Guide is intended to show simply and graphically how not only to create the strategic plan, but also implement the plan. It comes with models and templates to create the strategic plan, which acts as the association's "headlights" going forward, and then to integrate it with the operational plan and budget, down to individual products, programs and services. (continued) 

11 Preface (continued) This Association and Nonprofit Strategic Planning and Research Guide and The Association and Nonprofit Marketing and Communications Planning Guide act in tandem, providing a complete planning sequence, from creating the strategic plan through assembling the product-line marketing plans for each functional area of the association. These guides are intended for all nonprofits, large and small. Together, they make you think through all the strategic and operational planning ingredients you need to consider, and then let you tailor your plan to your organization.* * The Strategic Planning and Research Guide and the Marketing and Communications Guide templates, a well as the guides themselves, are available on CD-ROM and electronically via an attachment in Word on the order form. Both of these guides are available as a package – see the order format TAB 5.

12 Acknowledgements The author gratefully appreciates and acknowledges the research, writings and contributions of the many association executives, societies of association executives, and hundreds of AMMR students and their associations. These individuals, associations and companies have provided and contributed data, insights, tools and techniques toward understanding and illuminating the realities of the association and nonprofit strategic planning marketplace used in this guide.   Most of all, I am most deeply indebted and issue a big "thank you" as well, to my colleagues in the association management consultant ranks, without whom this guide could not have been written. I continue to learn much from them, through their writings, teachings and facilitations on the association planning journey, and value the contributions from this most helpful professional cadre towards deepening the understanding of what it means to plan strategically, while operating in the here and now. Finally, many thanks to my colleagues and editors, Gloria Naurocki, and Karen Clayton Carey, association executives and marketing and communications professionals, for reviewing, editing and commenting upon this guide in its entirety. © Association Management & Marketing Resources All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, disk, hard drive, photocopying, audiovisual or other without license or permission in writing . Excerpts for classroom use freely granted with permission. Call AMMR for permissions and rights at , or at

13 Introduction Real-Time Planning in a Changing and Uncertain Nonprofit World
Our ability as organizations to forecast and react quickly to changing internal and external forces and conditions will be the future bottom-line criteria for our survival as organizations representing members, industries and institutions. The following quote sums up the attitude we must have to plan simply, aggressively and effectively and sounds the call for getting serious about planning as a daily ongoing activity interwoven into the fabric of the way, in which we do business as nonprofit enterprises. “Perhaps the bottom line is not so much what we do with our organizations, but how we deal with a changing world ourselves as leaders and managers. Ultimately, we have a choice. We can decide that the world is too difficult, too threatening, and retreat from it, taking no chances. Then we will have less of a life. The world out there, for us hiding in our bunkers, will only become more threatening. Or we can choose to go out and face the world, maybe being more careful, but nevertheless willing to take risks. This is the way to a fuller organizational life. And, whichever choice we make, that is what we will mirror and teach our current and future staff and volunteers.” * Pro-activity Is The Key This guide attempts to address, in a clear and simple manner, the importance of pro-activity and “real time” integration and renewal of strategic and tactical planning on an ongoing basis. By doing so, we might assist association and nonprofit executives in accomplishing their strategic planning missions of creating a plan for the future, operating in the present and integrating long-range planning elements and differing futures into the yearly budget and program of work. *Adapted from the publication Dads and Daughters by Jim Kelly (Random House, New York, NY, 2002) regarding how to deal proactively with change in today’s uncertain environment.

14 Section 1. The New Association Strategic and Tactical Planning World
Need For Simple, Comprehensive Tool, Templates, Models And Best Practices As in the case of our first guide, the Association Marketing and Communications Guide, the Association and Nonprofit Strategic Planning Guide was created as a direct result of the need for a simple, comprehensive, adjustable, easy-to-understand-and-use strategic planning tool for nonprofits in times as uncertain as these. This guide provides the latest trends and issues in strategic planning, the latest in methodological thinking about how to plan, and best practices and benchmarks to compare your association’s planning efforts, as well as templates to use in each area of strategic planning so you can create your own plan using this guide. We Are Under Prepared For Rapid Change Changes are occurring much more rapidly for associations and other nonprofits, and many are not equipped to manage these changes, and instead, handling them “on the run.” The first and foremost benefit of strategic planning today is the ability it provides to manage change. In reviewing data from a variety of trade associations, professional societies and other nonprofits of all sizes and budgets, we have found that less than 50% have a strategic plan. More striking: less than 10% have a strategic plan, which is tied to the ongoing budget and program of work.

15 Use a Professional Association or Nonprofit Strategic Planning Consultant as Your Facilitator
Rule Number One: Don’t try to go it alone or use staff or members as facilitators . Strategic planning requires the assistance of a competent, trained facilitator to assist the association on its strategic planning journey. Using one of your own staff or a volunteer stakeholder is to be avoided at all costs simply because of the perception of who it is and the prejudices that they might be perceived as bringing to the process. Further, staff and volunteers usually are not nonprofit or association trained facilitators, do not have experience with melding the volunteer and staff components into a strategic planning team, and are not competent to conduct the pre-plan research or integrate it into the process. Bringing in an independent, trained association strategic planning facilitator – one familiar with conducting such research and integrating it with the strategic planning process – shows the association’s commitment to the process and the result. The ideal criteria to use in selecting an experienced facilitator include: Former Chief Staff Executive of either a trade association or a professional society; Formal training in facilitative skills; Formal training in qualitative and quantitative market research techniques and designs; Experience in the governance, administration, finance, marketing and communications areas of the association; Experience in facilitating strategic planning assignments for trade associations and professional societies; Experience in writing marketing or communications plans for different functional areas; Experience as a volunteer officer in a trade association or professional society, if possible; and most important, Good comments by former facilitation assignment associations; NOT just recommendations from colleagues, who have not gone through the experience with the facilitator.

16 The Wrong Fit: Mistakes Do Happen
What if we made a mistake the first time? On the facilitator side of the scorecard, facilitation of strategic plans for nonprofits, professional and trade associations is an art and not a science, and has a lot to do with “fit.” Regardless of your due diligence, sometimes the match is not right. Don't let one bad experience make you afraid to try again. However, the chances of your selecting the right facilitator go up dramatically the more criteria on the preceding page you have used in your selection. You will certainly have retained a facilitator that has years of experience as an association executive and also as a management consultant – the keys to understanding and assisting you with your issues. There are a number of excellent facilitators out there in our business to assist you! Use the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) or an ASAE allied society directory, select and interview consultants and find the right “fit.” Ask for recommendations, but don’t rely solely on them, as sometimes a “fit” for one association (for example a trade association) may not be a good one for another (a professional medical society).

17 Using a Volunteer from Outside the Association
Last Resort Finally, if after reading the preceding pages, you do not wish to hire a professional facilitator for any reason, we would suggest that you find an individual to volunteer to do it for you who is not in the immediate body politic of the association, and better yet, not associated with the association in any way. Remember that it takes about one or two hours of preparation for every hour of facilitation you desire, as well as a variety of member and stakeholder market research and scanning. So ensure you have an individual who is willing to put in the time and effort to get to know the organization and do the interviewing and scanning necessary to ensure a positive result. Make certain the individual has the facilitation skills necessary to get you the positive result you desire and will not abandon you in the process midstream.

18 Strategic Planning and Research and Marketing Workbooks Publication Order Form
Purchase either the Marketing Planning Workbook or our Strategic Planning and Research Workbook and receive our “Guide to Creating Dues Structures in a Changing Environment” _____ Purchase one print or CD copy of the Association Strategic Planning and Research Guide ($119.50) (Circle Print or CD). _____Add CDROM with print copy $ _____ Via electronic distribution ( Word Documents) with print copy add $68. _____Purchase one copy of the Association Marketing and Communications Guide ($119.50) (Circle Print or CD.) _____ Add CDROM with print copy $75. _____ Via electronic distribution ( Word Documents) with print copy add $68. ____ _____Purchase one copy of Marketing the Nonprofit Association: A Guide to Marketing the Functional Areas of Trade Associations and Professional Societies ($95). (Not available on CD) . Additional copies $75 = _________. _____PACKAGE DEAL: Purchase ALL THREE publications above (Two Guides (specify print or CD) and MNPA) for a DISCOUNTED price of $295. _____PACKAGE DEAL: Purchase BOTH Guides above (Strategic Planning & Marketing Planning Guides) for a DISCOUNTED price of $199. For BOTH the Marketing Planning Guide and Marketing the Nonprofit Association, discounted PACKAGE PRICE___$175. _____I have purchased the Marketing Planning Guide and/or the Strategic Planning Guide. Send me the Guide to Creating Dues Structures in a Changing Environment. Volunteer Leaders, Chapters Or Affiliates CD’s or Versions Of The Guides Electronic versions (CD or Electronic Downloads) available to volunteer leaders, affiliates and chapters — license fees start at $68 per copy for minimum of 10 copies for either Guide. If you order both Guides, both CDs are $68 each. Send me _______Planning Guide CDs, ______Marketing Guide CDs for my affiliates. ______Send me an download version for my volunteer leaders or affiliates. (Indicate which Guide you wish-- _____Strategic Planning ____Marketing.) Call us to confirm specifications of your volunteer leader, Chapter or Affiliate order! 24 hour service! POSTAGE — ADD SHIPPING AND HANDLING FEE: $13.50 (for one publication), $18.50 (for two publications), $22.50 (for all three). (For Overnight Delivery add $40). Use your VISA/ MC/ Discover Card or Check must accompany order.  CD ORDER ONLY $9.50 (CD with Guides or books same as Guide only) NAME__________________________________________________________ASSN/ORG_________________________________________________ ADDRESS_______________________________________________________CITY_______________________________STATE/ZIP______________  PHONE_______________________________FAX_______________________________ ____________________________________________ Mail order form & payment to: AMMR PRESS, 5807 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 100, Bethesda, Maryland, 20814 or (Fax) Questions/ Problems? Contact us at AMMR Order Form


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