Strategic Planning - Better Strategic Plans

Bob Harris, CAE, an Institute for Organization Management faculty member, always delivers great content and this blog post is based on his recent virtual session at an ACCE program.

He started out by talking about the 5 things a Strategic Plan does:

  1. Guides the Board of Directors;
  2. Aligns your committees;
  3. Empowers your staff;
  4. Communicates value to your members; and
  5. Drop programs that are no longer needed.

Bob suggested naming your next strategic plan - Vision 2025 or Vision 2030.  He went on to ask the question, "is your mission statement and strategic plan in your board members hands?"  If not, create something they can carry in their wallet.  Less is more!


He talked about the 5 top documents of an organization:

  1. Mission - purpose for existence;
  2. Articles of Incorporation - relationship to state government;
  3. Bylaws - relationship with members;
  4. Policies - interpretation of the governing documents; and
  5. Strategic Plan - roadmap for the organization.  Keep it tight, maybe 3 - 6 goals, 3 strategies/tactics per goal?  Some chambers are turning their strategic plan into their membership brochure.  Think info graphic!

Bob went on to talk about best practices in creating your strategic plan: 

  • Set the expectations upfront on what to expect in the process and what the outcome will be and the timetable (hopefully no more than 5 hours);
  • Hire a third party to facilitate the process.  Maybe a chamber CEO from a nearby city;
  • Use story boarding for the process;
  • Include both board and senior staff;
  • Conduct every 3 years;
  • Due diligence - survey members on your program of work as a starting point for your facilitator; and
  • Strategic plan goals should be on your board agenda at every meeting.

For a resource on strategic planning go HERE. And go to Bob’s website for his two new books HERE.

How to Use Content Calendars to Win the Content Game

I recently attended a great webinar by Melissa Harrison, Allee Creative, LLC that I wanted to share on this blog concerning winning the content game.

If you’re responsible for delivering content for your chamber, you’ll definitely want to access the slide deck for templates and examples of her discussion.

The following comments are based on my notes and I want to focus on three of the five areas of her presentation, creating one sheets, content calendar’s and third-party resources.

One Sheets

Create a calendar for each month to track holidays, etc., speaking engagements, blog posts going live or other campaigns and industry topics for the month.  In addition, source future ideas from staff for future content (think of it as a call for content).

Her slide deck has an example of an actual One Sheet of a fictional entity.  Create One Sheets for all 12 months of the year and add as needed throughout the year.

Content Calendar Templates

This is where you actually plan each action on a schedule.  I’ve always said it’s important to be consistent in your schedules for posting content in your different platforms where you’re posting your content for your members.

Again, the slide deck has templates for content calendars for your blog, email marketing and social media actions.  These templates go into great detail on tracking your content and actions depending on the channel you’re in (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc).  Great examples!

Third-party Resources

While she talked about many resources (which are included on the slide deck), I wanted to focus on three she mentioned, since they’re free.  I love free!

She said Pexel and Pixaby are two sites you can go to for free photos for your website.  She also mentioned Canva as a great tool for creating images to showcase you content.

You can access her slide deck HERE.

Good luck in winning the content game!