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Strategic Planning

Best practices on chapter strategic planning


SUMMARY: After spending several years struggling to recruit new volunteer leaders and keep members engaged, the Central Massachusetts Chapter was on the brink of dissolution. The chapter sent out an urgent communication about volunteer needs that yielded seven new board members. Following a comprehensive onboarding program, the new chapter leaders attended a planning meeting during which they selected their desired board roles and identified strategic goals for the chapter. As a result of this new energy and leadership on the board, the chapter has attracted new members, increased its joint membership percentage, improved event marketing, and made events profitable.

YEAR: 2019

HAWAII CHAPTER: Formula for Transforming Your Chapter = Strategic Planning + ALC Learning + Continuous Improvement Practices

SUMMARY: By combining a practical strategic planning framework, lessons learned at ALC 2017, and continuous improvement practices, the chapter increased board engagement, improved the member experience, increased program attendance and membership growth, and received national recognition. The chapter leveraged the Kano Model, a theory for product development and customer satisfaction, to establish consensus on the state of the chapter and identify areas for improvement. Over the course of a year, the chapter experienced a 58 percent increase in membership, a nearly 20 percent reduction in no-shows at events, improved financial stability, and stronger strategic partnerships.

YEAR: 2019

CENTRAL OHIO CHAPTER: Board Goal and Accountability Plan

SUMMARY: Through the adoption of a board goal and accountability plan, the chapter board successfully focused its efforts, prioritized initiatives, and added value for chapter members. To avoid repeating the same strategic goals from year to year, chapter leaders carefully reviewed the membership survey to determine long-term goals by position. The board reviewed the goals at each board meeting and at its mid-year planning session to establish accountability. This initiative increased board engagement and enabled the chapter to achieve all of its strategic goals.

YEAR: 2019

NEBRASKA CHAPTER: Identity Crisis—Who Is ATD Nebraska?

SUMMARY: To identify the areas of talent development the chapter membership wanted to focus on, the Nebraska Chapter Board used the talent development puzzle to categorize each of the 39 content areas and prioritize how the chapter could better align programs and services to meet member needs. With priorities categorized, the board then created a branding initiative to remain consistent in its messaging and planning efforts.

YEAR: 2018


SUMMARY: In January 2017, the board evaluated the CARE and Power Member requirements to come up with a Chapter Metrics Scorecard. The scorecard was built to identify the most important goals, track specific metrics, and use those metrics in decision making. The chapter tracks six metrics that align with both CARE and Power Membership requirements: membership, Power Membership, chapter meeting attendees, budget year-to-date, money across accounts, and social media. The effort supported the growth of members and the community by providing higher-quality programs and allowing the board to make more informed decisions. This has led to a huge jump in Power Member numbers, from 46 percent to 68 percent in one year!

YEAR: 2018

AUSTIN CHAPTER: Getting Strategic With Your Organization

SUMMARY: The chapter transformed its leadership team from a flat organization to one that functions more smoothly and fosters succession planning. The Austin Chapter transitioned from 13 board members to a group of 23 chapter leaders to improve efficiency. By being transparent with membership and explaining the changes at several meetings, the chapter filled multiple director positions. The path helps members build leadership experience and transitions them through escalating roles—from member to volunteer to director to president elect to president. The pipeline also helped pace the leadership, allowing the chapter to have engaged directors by lowering the rate of burnout.

YEAR: 2018

ROCKY MOUNTAIN CHAPTER: After Action Review Process/Evaluation for Process Improvement

SUMMARY: The chapter created and implemented an evaluation process for events. Once each event or activity was complete, four key questions are posed and discussed: 1) What was supposed to happen? 2) What did happen? 3) Why did it happen? 4) What we can do to improve for the next time? Since implementing this evaluation process, the chapter has seen its events and activities improve beyond the data they were getting through its surveys. Event attendees provided general feedback on surveys, but their comments did not address the event’s planning and coordination. The after-review process identified a strategy for how the board or the coordinators can provide a better event by strengthening the process.

YEAR: 2018

NEW YORK CITY CHAPTER: Chapter Goal Template & Dashboard

SUMMARY: To keep annual goals, initiatives, and activities on target, the chapter created a goal setting template and monthly dashboard to track results. At the chapter’s board retreat in January, these tools fostered discussions on how to strengthen and grow the chapter. The documents have been used to develop the monthly board meeting agenda and are reviewed at the start of each meeting. Outcomes of the discussions led to the delivery of several half-day and full-day programs. Operating the Chapter like a business allowed the board to develop teamwork, stay focused on our goals and achieve results. These tools allowed for that process to happen by providing focus, accountability and insight as to our successes and when course corrections needed to be made. The Chapter experienced a significant increase so far this year in membership (+11%), corporate membership (+66%), member retention (+14%), power membership (+28%) and the chapter achieved its goal of 35% for the first time since 2013 with an increase in revenue (+11%). Discussions around the goals outlined led to the creation and delivery of additional events in the area of coaching, generating both increased member engagement and revenue.

YEAR: 2017

CENTRAL INDIANA CHAPTER: Recruit > Engage > Retain: Strategic Planning Retreat Agenda

SUMMARY: To ensure that the yearly board retreat allowed for actionable items, the agenda centered on three topics: recruit new members, engage new members, and retain members. Any topic that arose that did not support the three goals was put aside. By concentrating on only the three goals, the board was able to focus all attention on building accountability and built in methods to measure its progress and success. Because of the retreat agenda’s structure, the board progressed towards or completed all goals by June, allowing the board to focus on secondary goals sooner.

YEAR: 2017

KENTUCKIANA CHAPTER: Continuing the Rejuvenation by Developing a Three Year Strategic Plan

SUMMARY: Just a few short years ago, the Kentuckiana Chapter was on the brink of calling it quits. After a couple years in the rebuilding period, the executive team wanted to continue the excitement of the hard work. To keep up the momentum, the chapter brought in a national strategist to facilitate a full-day strategic planning session for the entire board. At the end of the session, a new mission, vision, and three-year strategic plan was developed. The board outlined specific behaviors, beliefs, and its Five P’s for Success: passion, people, powerful programs, partnerships, and promotion. The team left the session energized for a successful year and ambitiously pursuing the same goal.

YEAR: 2017

LOS ANGELES CHAPTER: Succession Planning Program

SUMMARY: The chapter developed a process to fill the role of manager for different committees working under a chapter officer with executive voting powers. All chapter volunteers were interviewed by a minimum of two chapter officers, including the president. Interviews were conducted by phone to assess skills and motivational fit. Selected candidates were then invited to the in-person board meeting to meet the rest of the board. For succession planning purposes, a manager can be promoted to director and a director to a vice president as the volunteer serves more terms on the board. This incentive educates and trains newer volunteers in a progressive manner, and recognizes those that continue their service on the board. The program has resulted in a targeted selection of volunteers that are ready to take on the responsibilities of their roles and better prepared to be successors.

YEAR: 2016

CASCADIA CHAPTER: Becoming a Welcoming Organization

SUMMARY: The Cascadia Chapter started an initiative to become a more welcoming organization. With the help of outside facilitators, the board identified key areas for chapter improvement. The chapter focused on the key areas and has seen increased membership and program attendance, and more volunteers getting involved at the board level.

YEAR: 2012

BATON ROUGE CHAPTER: The President's Council

SUMMARY: The ASTDBR President's Council was established on to begin meaningful, ongoing consultation and strategy sessions for dual purposes: (1) to keep Past-Presidents involved in the Chapter as active members and (2) to utilize their knowledge and expertise of Chapter management and Chapter history in leadership roles to support the current President and Board.

YEAR: 2009

BATON ROUGE CHAPTER: Leadership Succession Planning

SUMMARY: Over the past few years, the Baton Rouge chapter leaders have focused a great deal of attention on volunteer engagement which in turn grew the leadership pipeline. The Leadership Succession Planning Guide was created to assist chapter leadership with knowledge and commitment transfer.

YEAR: 2009

PUGET SOUND CHAPTER: New Board Succession Management Process

SUMMARY: For several years interest in Board positions has not been strong enough to allow us to present a competitive slate of candidates to our members for a full-chapter vote. Targeted recruitment of our successors by Board members produced inconsistent results. This allowed us to create a new process we hoped would identify, recruit and fit potential candidates to open Board positions to more successfully meet chapter needs and individual skills and preferences.

YEAR: 2009

SACRAMENTO CHAPTER: Chapter Five Year Strategic Plan

SUMMARY: The Sacramento chapter employed a formal structure to identify core value propositions representing the chapter members and defined an action plan for the next five years. The chapter board formerly operated on lackluster long-range goals without the benefit of vetting through the membership or achievable objectives toward success.

YEAR: 2009


SUMMARY: This board retreat and strategic planning event allowed the new and existing board members to build relationships and identifying goals and initiatives for the coming year.

YEAR: 2008

CASCADIA CHAPTER: Business Interruption Plan

SUMMARY: The Cascadia Chapter business interruption plan is designed to help the board continue chapter operations in the event of the non-functionality of the business manager.

YEAR: 2008


SUMMARY: The Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter’s Knowledge Management Initiative is designed to capture, document, organize, and publish the operational policies and procedures of the chapter. Standard operating procedures for each functional area and supporting area were created as an outcome of this process.

YEAR: 2007

NEBRASKA CHAPTER: Running it like a Business

SUMMARY: ASTD is no longer just a training organization, but a business that strategically supports workplace learning across the globe. In this SOS, ASTD Nebraska describes how they spent the last three years developing strategic goals, realigning for financial commitment, and tapping into their volunteer base through long-term strategic planning to be able to provide a stronger organization.

YEAR: 2007

SAN DIEGO CHAPTER: Strategic Planning and Transitioning

SUMMARY: The San Diego chapter’s submission provides tools used for developing a solid strategic plan using the chapter’s planning model.

YEAR: 2006

SOUTH CENTRAL WISCONSIN CHAPTER: ASTD-SCWC Extreme Makeover: Using Appreciative Inquiry for Strategic Planning

SUMMARY: The South Central Wisconsin Chapter developed a strategic planning effort that used appreciative inquiry to engage all members in planning future programs and services. Appreciative inquiry uses dialogue about positive past experiences in order to build wishes for the future, rather than focusing on problems that need to be solved. As a result, it is an extremely energizing process.

YEAR: 2004

MID-NEW JERSEY CHAPTER: Chapter Program Communication Process

SUMMARY: The Mid-New Jersey Chapter created a Chapter Program Communication Process to enable its programming, communications, and program registration teams to work more effectively together in communicating upcoming program information to the chapter’s membership.

YEAR: 2004

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