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Strategies and methodologies are at the heart of strategic planning. The phrase may sound overwhelming, but if you let the information in this toolkit guide you, the strategic planning process may feel more attainable for your association.

This section will delve into several methods and offer some examples to guide you.

Identifying Member Needs

Identifying member needs is one of the first steps in the strategic planning process. Common methods for gathering that information include:

  • Environmental scan – identifying and obtaining information from internal and external sources about current trends or futurist studies; careful monitoring of an organization's internal and external environments for detecting early signs of opportunities and threats that may influence its current and future plans
  • Focus group – a small group of people whose response to something (as a new product or a politician's image) is studied to determine the response that can be expected from a larger population
  • Needs assessment – a systematic process to acquire an accurate, thorough picture of a system's strengths and weaknesses, in order to improve it and meet existing and future challenges
  • Survey – a data collection tool used to gather information about individuals

Analysis Tools

It can be instructive to perform an analysis of your organization and its goals—both before and after the strategic planning process.

  • SOAR analysis – Use a SOAR (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results) Analysis to focus your efforts on what your association currently does well and expand upon that.
  • SWOT analysis – Perform a SWOT analysis to evaluates the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats within your association.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – Establish KPIs to help your organization measure its progress toward defined goals.
  • Performance measures – Use strategic performance measures to evaluate how well your strategic plan is working.