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Are you prepared to prepare?

Part 3 in Kickstarting your 2021 Series

by Alice A. Martin, RCE

You have learned more about who your members are and what they from your offerings. You've taken an association physical. You know a lot that you didn't know before.

Now, are you really read to update or create a new strategic plan to prepare for the post-COVID-19 world? What might you plan for now that you never did before? Taking these steps will put your association on the right path to your 2021 planning session.

Here are some things to think about to help you get ready.

  1. Ensure your have the right group. Don't just include your Board of Directors in your planning process. Why? Directors definitely (or should) know the ins and outs of your association. But, are they the right group to measure relevancy and true value that most members want? Sometimes, they do. Sometimes. they are hovering together in their ivory towers without any windows! So, what do you do? Involve some board members - definitely your president-elect and your treasurer who will both be instrumental in plan implementation and budgeting. Also include three or four of other board members, the CEO (and possibly selected staff), a few key influencers, maybe a top producer, a newer and younger member or two and others who can bring an outside and different perspective to member value. And don't forget some diversity. Thought, background, race or ethnicity, gender, more. Keep your size below 18! (You can do that with some people who fit two or more of those categories.)

  2. Get the commitment of all selected planning group members to do any pre-session homework and to attend the entire planning session. Hold them to it. We have experienced way too many times where group members don't do this and they take away from the session and results, in general. Let them know why they were selected because what you know they can add to the process. They should be SPECIAL!

  3. Make sure your planners eview your recent member survey (Part 1) and USE the data that's in it. Martin and Downs have found that much of the time, the deep data that's in value audits bring a "oh, that's cool," then it's buried away somewhere. Do not let that happen. Same goes with paying attention to your governance review results (Part 2). This information gives the direction that your members have given you to go.

  4. Involve committee chairs or vice chairs for the next year. We don't suggest that they all attend the planning session, but they should be involved in the pre-session leadership survey to ensure involvement and buy-in. There are other ways to involve them, too. (Contact us for more ideas).

  5. Hold at least a day long session, but not more than two. Members' time is so valuable - make it worth their while. You can't do a great planning session in a half day, unless it's for minor tweaking.

Now you are ready to hold the planning session. Part of this Kickstarting 2021 will include tips for planning sessions and implementation of your completed plan. Stay tuned for it in April.


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