Posted in Strategic Planning

BACon Blog - Association Strategic Plan 4 Key MomentsStrategic planning is not something that your association does every five years then forgets. It is the most important activity for your association, the most important focus of your Board of Directors and the most important work of your association staff.

There are 4 key moments when your association should be focused on your strategic plan:

1. Every three years. This is when your association should be conducting a comprehensive review and update of your strategic plan, including reviewing your vision, mission, goals, and objectives. More often than three years is too much… more than three years is too long.

2. Every year. You should do an annual review of your strategic plan to see if circumstances have changed that might warrant updating your strategic plan. This annual review is less comprehensive than the three year review and will help to ensure that your strategic plan remains relevant.

3. Every budget. At the end of your fiscal year your association is developing the budget for the coming fiscal year. It is at this moment that you need to ensure that the strategic plan is driving the decisions in the development of your annual budget. Your prioritized goals should be receiving the robust funding they need and your lesser priorities should receive less money or be eliminated from your budget.

4. Every meeting. The strategic plan is the most important work of your association so it should be the number one thing that your board addresses at every board meeting. What is the status of the implementation of the strategic plan? What are the barriers? What have been the accomplishments? Is the association staff appropriately focusing their work on the strategic plan?

Stick to this schedule, and these 4 key moments, and your strategic plan will remain relevant and will drive the work and accomplishments of your association.

John Barnes is President of Barnes Association Consultants. Barnes Association Consultants helps association Boards and CEOs address the wide range of challenges and opportunities facing today’s association leaders. Barnes Association Consultants helps association leaders make their associations better.

John can be reached at or 703.321.6866. For more information about Barnes Association Consultants, go to