You may already be aware that ACA has begun a significant strategic planning process. As such, we want you to be fully informed about our strategic planning process.

As a starting point, it is worth noting that strategic planning is essential for any healthy organization as it creates an opportunity for all key stakeholder groups to provide foundational perspectives as the organization clarifies and refines its vision, mission, and its core strategic objectives in order to maximize its service to its constituencies and, more broadly, society as a whole. In a rapidly changing world, an effective strategic planning process provides the clarity and focus that an organization requires to provide the highest level of value and relevance to its core constituencies. As we have not conducted a major review of our vision, mission, and strategic objectives for some time, this process will ensure the sustainability, relevance, and vitality of our association.

Our Board of Directors has established a strategic planning committee to guide this process. That committee, working with our CEO, conducted a search process to identify a consulting group to lead the ACA in this work. As a result of this process, the Board of Directors selected OrgCentric to lead ACA through this prior to their October meeting.

OrgCentric conducted an initial work session with the Board during their October meeting. Directly after the Board meeting, the OrgCentric team began a process of deep immersion to understand ACA. Staff provided them with a wide variety of internal documents to give them perspective on our historical and current priorities, operational practices, and organizational culture. In addition, their team began a series of interviews that have included board members, senior staff, functional directors, regional directors, and affiliate executives. The purpose of this initial work is to gain enough organizational background information to design a data collection and research process that will engage all necessary stakeholders and inform the strategic plan. These interviews will continue through early December.

The next phase of work, which has just begun, includes four virtual work sessions with the strategic planning committee and executive leadership team. The first two of these sessions are to gain insight into our current vision, mission and strategic priorities. The last two of these sessions, which will include ACA’s Director of Research, Laurie Browne, are to identify the critical stakeholder groups and develop the methodology for the data gathering phase of work.

Beginning in early January, the data-gathering phase of our work will begin in earnest. Data gathering, which will continue through the National Conference, will include additional individual interviews, focus groups, surveys, and potentially other means as well. LCOL leaders will certainly be an important stakeholder group that will be involved in the giving input. Stakeholders will include other internal and external audiences, and this phase of work will include a thorough review of other associations and membership organizations as well.

Beginning in March, OrgCentric will engage ACA leadership staff and the Board of Directors in reviewing and theming the data. From that work will come a draft Strategic Plan that will be circulated to various groups for review and input before being finalized.

Although we have just begun, we are already very pleased with the thoughtfulness with which the OrgCentric team has exhibited. They are working diligently to fully understand our association, our industry and the many variables impacting the work we do. We will continue to work with them to assure that this critical work be open and inclusive of our many stakeholders, including you. If you have a perspective that you are not sure has been considered, please reach out to the regional director in your area so that we can make sure we can include that in the process.

We plan to keep you updated monthly through the process, and we will be establishing a webpage where critical information can be referenced.


Tom Rosenberg