6 Must-Haves for Association Planning and Success

image of mountain with flag on topFor associations to progress, they must adopt best practices for planning, execution, and analysis.

There are millions of articles about how organizations can accomplish this. However, what may be right for one association may not be a fit for another. Enacting overall best practices for organizations of all kinds allows associations to establish a general foundation for success.

Typically, businesses, non-profits, educational institutions, etc. rely on the following strategies to navigate their way to success:


1. Mission Statements for associations are essential to planning and can be as short as one sentence, or a brief paragraph.

Essentially, a Mission Statement defines an organization’s identity (who we are) and purpose (what we do); it’s in the present and doesn’t change.


2. A Vision Statement is about promoting growth and setting goals; it’s forward-thinking (where we want to be) and can evolve and change.

A strong vision statement focuses on the direction an organization needs to go in order to make the biggest impact.


3. Scalability is an organization’s ability to expand membership and grow revenue without a significant drop in functionality, performance, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.

Having a plan of action in place allows organizations to adapt to changes proactively. Using scalability, operational adjustments can be made without slowing progress.


4. A SWOT Analysis is used by successful organizations to determine if a project or strategy can be successful and/or is worthwhile.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Taking time to regularly analyze these factors is an important part of strategic non-profit planning and analysis.image of membership calculations workbook


5. The SMART Goals Process focuses on the basic principles of goal-setting, increasing the probability of success.

Any plan should include broad goals and short-term goals. The SMART goal process allows organizations to achieve their broad goals with a series of short-term goals.


6. KPIs (key performance indicators) are essential for organizations to track results. The most important aspect of any strategy is to benchmark progress. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

KPIs are a powerful measurement tool and allow associations to identify trends (both positive and negative). By providing data to help set and fine-tune attainable goals, KPIs provide a roadmap for organizations to tap their full potential.


Taking the time to plan saves time and results in growth. An efficient association is a happy association!


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