Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Developing Your Association's 2019 Strategic Plan: What to Know

Developing Your Association’s 2019 Strategic Plan: What to Know

Membership Sabrina Gregrow

That’s right- 2019 is right around the corner. Is your association prepared?

Around this time of year, your association is most likely looking back at your failures and successes to see what you can change in 2019. As you’re wrapping things up for this year, you’ve also probably started putting together your organization’s 2019 strategic plan for your association.

As you start your plan, you want to ensure you take your organization where you want it to go. Thinking about new ideas to bring into your new plan and initiatives will advance your plan forward. You want your strategic plan to guarantee a positive new year ahead, so when creating your plan there are several questions to keep in mind.

So, we’re here to help your association put together a solid plan for the future.

Let’s take a look at four valid questions your association should be asking in order to evaluate its progress, plan for the upcoming year, and make 2019 the best year for your team and members yet.


What was your biggest success in 2018?

This past year has most likely brought quite the twists and turns for your association. But through all of the unexpected moments and scrambling to keep up on things, can you pinpoint your best moment of the year?

Asking yourself what your biggest success of the year was can really help you put things into perspective for your organization. Were you able to accomplish all that you set out to? Did you accomplish even more than you expected? These questions can help you plan out reasonable goals for the upcoming year.

While the New Year should bring in new concepts and creativities, there’s no reason to get rid of your best strategies and tactics from the year prior. These strategies obviously brought you success, so change that? Take these tactics and develop them with what you already know and improve in characteristics that could generate more success.

Brainstorm ways to not only leverage your past successes in 2019, but to make it even better. This will guarantee that you won’t fail because you’ve had achievement before and you’re cultivating on that.

Let’s say you had a successful conference this past year but you didn’t receive feedback from attendees? There can be features you could incorporate for the next conference that your members would enjoy. Receiving that feedback will only improve your future conferences so you can tailor to your members. Fine-tune those certain tactics to each even greater success in 2019.


What was the biggest lesson learned in 2018?

Sometimes when we strive for success, we can learn a lot along the way- even from the failures we experience. So, what did your association learn in 2018 that can help it grow in the future?

The only mistakes we make are the ones we don’t learn from. Learning lessons from the past year will guarantee and more successful year ahead. There are always going to be things we wish we’d done differently, but look at these errors as learning opportunities.

Analyze your association’s 2018 decisions and see where you projected to end the year. You can assess things like membership retention, revenue, engagement rates, or anything else your association finds relevant.

You should be considering what your biggest lesson learned was in 2018 so you can clearly identify what happened and what you can do to recover from that experience. Share with your team what happened in 2018 that you feel could be improved upon and then go over how you are going to avoid or enhance that experience in 2019.

Ultimately, knowing what you need to plan for allows you to create a strategy that will make your association better in the future.


If you could only achieve one goal in 2019, what would you want it to be?

Do you know what your biggest goal for next year is? If not, it’s time to figure it out and prepare to take the first step towards it.

Your association has a number of goals such as increasing membership growth, boosting event registrations, increasing your yearly retention rate, creating more benefits and more! All of these goals are important and need to be thought about.

The reason I ask if you could only achieve one objective is so you can dedicate and commit your time to that specific goal. Doing so will prove that you can reach that goal because you’re devoted to it. Whatever you choose your goal to be, take extra time to brainstorm initiatives. You’ve talked about this goal before, but this year it HAS to happen.

Schedule a meeting with your employees to brainstorm solely around that one goal. Prioritize what you want to achieve so that you don’t get lost trying to reach four different goals and ending up not attaining any. Prioritization is key when it comes to goal setting.

If you could try one thing in 2019 knowing you wouldn’t fail, what would it be?

In order to achieve greatness, you need to be brave enough to take risks. And chances are, your association has been cautious in the past- possibly missing out on opportunities to gain much more out of its moves.

There are different factors that hold people and organizations back from achieving their goals. It could be lack of time or lack of resources and so on. But one of the most crippling is fear.

Take a moment to think about one thing you’d love to try if you knew you wouldn’t fail. This could be a unique marketing campaign to engage more members, an association event that has a bizarre theme, or a new method of collecting membership dues, you name it.

Express these ideas with employees and get some feedback. If you don’t try you won’t fail, but it could hinder your success. Take baby steps into that risk taking direction and experiment what could be.


With the right planning and preparation, 2019 should be your association’s best year yet.

Regardless of what your goals are, you should be strategizing on how you can achieve those goals and improve different aspects of your association so that you can flourish.

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