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OWAA Strategic Plan

2012-2015

Strategic Vision Statement:

The vision of this strategic plan is to attract and retain members and supporters across all membership categories and to create financial stability within OWAA.

INTRODUCTION

With input gathered over the course of a weekend planning retreat, OWAA’s Strategic Planning Committee conducted an extensive SWOT analysis of the organization, studied our current mission and developed a vision for the next three years of OWAA operations.

In addressing the goals of the organization, the committee members articulated the core values of OWAA and what they want the organization to be, both now and in the future: OWAA is the premier national association of professional outdoor communicators who learn, network, engage their peers, find business opportunities and mentor the next generation of outdoors communicators.

While acknowledging what the committee wants for the future of OWAA, it also established three critical issues facing the organization: A lack of marketing effort, declining membership and budgetary obstacles.

The strategic plan will focus on the following areas:

  1. Brand the organization as the “how to” organization for outdoor communicators—for students, for aspiring outdoor communicators and for accomplished professionals.
  2. Stop the membership decline and begin to increase membership within the next five years.
  3. Increase the retention rate for existing members.
  4. Reach attendance goals for each conference.

In order to achieve the OWAA ideal and address the most critical issues facing OWAA, the committee established five working goals, and strategies to accomplish them, that fulfill the strategic vision for the next three years.

Goals:

  1. By 2013, establish and OWAA brand with a clearly-defined marketing campaign.
  2. By 2015, OWAA will stop membership decline and begin to increase membership numbers. This will be accomplished by stopping membership decline in 2012, and increasing net membership numbers by a rate of 1% in 2013, 3% in 2014, and 5% in 2015.
  3. Retain membership at 85% renewal beginning in 2012.
  4. Reach attendance goals for annual conference.
  5. By 2015, donations and new grants will average $15,000 annually using the following model: 2012 – Donations will remain at current $4,000 threshold; 2013 – Donations will increase by 50% to $6,000; 2014 – Donations will increase to $9,000; 2015 – Donations will increase to $15,000, and will continue at that average annual level beyond.

THE PLAN

We encourage you to click through the tabs below to read the details of the strategic plan. Or read the full-page version of the plan.

Goal No. 1

By 2013, establish and OWAA brand with a clearly defined marketing campaign.

Action Items:

A. Create a Marketing Committee

a. Appoint an ad hoc Marketing Committee – HQ/ExComm level

b. Approve a standing Marketing Committee – Board level

c. Ask for approval of the standing committee during elections – Membership level

B. Clarify brand and develop marketing strategy – Marketing Committee level

a. Develop a budget to support the marketing plan – Marketing Committee/Finance Committee/HQ level

b. Identify target audiences and how best to reach them – Marketing Committee level

c. Create unique marketing plans for all OWAA programs and products

i. Appoint a Dean of Goldenrod – Robin/Joel Vance

1. Ask Dean to put together a working group to finalize 2012 workshop plans

d. Implement marketing plan – HQ/Marketing Committee level

C. Professional marketing training for entire HQ staff – HQ level

D. Develop a social media policy and strategy

a. Develop a draft policy & strategy – HQ level

b. Review and refine policy & strategy – Marketing Committee level

E. OU/Editor

a. OU column sidebar “OWAA at work for you” (Editor appropriately name) – HQ level

b. Re-think Editor’s job title and description – HQ level

c. Where appropriate, review and revamp OWAA.org – HQ level

i. Add PSA to website and YouTube – HQ level

F. Promote member achievements and work products on OWAA.org – HQ level

a. Encourage members to share their achievements with OWAA – HQ level

G. Publicize OWAA publications – HQ level

a. Put “teasers” on the website

b. Look into marketing on Amazon.com

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Goal No. 2

By 2015, OWAA will stop membership decline and begin to increase membership numbers. This will be accomplished by stopping membership decline in 2012, and increasing net membership numbers by a rate of 1% in 2013, 3% in 2014, and 5% in 2015.

Action Items:

A. Create a Membership Committee

a. Appoint an Ad Hoc Membership committee – HQ/ExComm level

b. Approve a standing Membership committee – Board level

c. Ask for approval of the standing committee during elections – Membership level

B. Review membership criteria – Ad Hoc Review Committee level

a. Ad hoc review committee will draft a proposal to deliver to the Board

i. Ease the threshold for membership to allow more members

ii. Use Blogger Category as an example to revise criteria

b. Board to approve or reject suggested changes

c. If approved, pass on to membership for final approval of bylaws changes

C. Distribute PSA on OWAA.org and YouTube – HQ level

D. Establish a membership drive – 2010-11 Membership Drive Committee level

a. Draft due to HQ by May 2012

b. Develop talking points for members to use in their outreach – HQ level

c. Implement membership drive in Summer 2012

E. Increase membership among conservation groups, state agencies and nonprofits

a. Lean on members employed by conservation groups to enlist their co-workers – Membership level

F. Increase involvement of student members – Education Committee level – see deadlines below

a. Identify members who would be willing and able to assist in student chapter effort – Jason Jenkins/Robin Giner

b. Revise charge for the Education Committee to include student chapter work – Board level

c. Encourage students to contribute to “Student’s Corner” column in OU – HQ level

d. Establish 10 active student chapters by Fall 2015

i. Develop “best practices & tips” to help members and students establish chapters – HQ/Education Committee level

e. Encourage transition among students from school year to school year – Education Committee level

G. Identify up to three tradeshow events to attend to both thank current Supporters and recruit new Supporters – HQ level

a. HQ to work with Finance committee to establish a budget for attending shows – HQ/Finance Committee level

b. Send staff, Board and members at Exec Director’s discretion

H. Host three “pilot” house parties, picnics or social events, locally hosted by a board member and local active members, inviting local outdoor communicators to learn about the organization, go fishing, have fun, etc. – Membership level

a. Develop “best practices & tips” for our members in planning social events – Paul Queneau/HQ

b. Develop a social circle on OWAA.org, Facebook and in OU to promote events – HQ level

I. Conduct a survey of current or recently lapsed groups to assess and OWAA’s strengths and weaknesses – HQ level

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Goal No. 3

Retain membership at 85% renewal beginning in 2012.

Action Items:

A. Look into direct deposit/monthly payments for membership dues – HQ level – ASAP

a. Publicize the service as soon as it’s available – HQ level – ASAP

B. Board members contact lapsed members

a. List will be provided after first of the year with a deadline of mid-January – HQ/Board level

C. Improve communications with Supporting Groups

a. Thank you notes from members to sponsors – Membership level – Post-program annually

i. HQ to provide contact info

b. Call Supporters to discuss current benefits and opportunities included with their membership, inform them of the 85th anniversary and opportunities associated with it, and to invite them to the 2012 annual conference – HQ level

c. Create a clip book (digital product) as a sample showcase of members’ clips mentioning OWAA Supporters and conference locations – HQ level

d. Attend Tradeshows to thank Supporters for their dedication to OWAA– HQ level

i. Develop a budget for attending tradeshows for recruitment/retention – HQ/Finance Committee level

D. Increase personal contact between OWAA leadership and membership

E. Establish state and regional chairs to rally nearby members – Membership Committee level

a. By 2015, 20 states will have active OWAA local chairs

i. By Dec. 2012 – 5 states will have active local chairs

ii. By Dec. 2013 – 10 states will have active local chairs

iii. By Dec. 2014 – 15 states will have active local chairs

iv. By Dec. 2015 – 20 states will have active local chairs

b. Encourage active Board members to be involved with local chairs

c. Develop “best practices & tips” for local/regional members wishing to establish local meet-ups – HQ level

F. Establish an OWAA blog network – HQ/Digital Membership Recruitment Committee level

a. HQ to write a strategy draft

i. LinkedIn, Vimeo, YouTube, and/or partner with Outdoor Blogger Network

ii. Combine with the online database

G. Increase transparency between Board/decision makers and OWAA membership – HQ/Board level

a. Publish final Board agenda – Board/HQ level

i. Create a Web-based discussion Board (or a way to chime in online) – HQ level

H. Create OWAA app for membership directory – HQ/Technology Committee level

a. Work with Marketing Committee to determine when best to release the app with a tentative 2013 release.

I. Continue to encourage every member, who is active on social media, to connect with OWAA’s pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) to increase contact between OWAA and our members – HQ/Marketing/Membership Committee level

J. Video presence and log-in tutorial videos – HQ level

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Goal No. 4

Reach attendance goals for annual conference.

Action Items:

A. Set minimum Individual member attendance goal – HQ/Conference Committee level

a. 2012 – currently at approx. 10% of membership

b. 2013 – 15% of current membership

c. 2014 – 17% of current membership

d. 2015 – 20% of current membership

B. Set minimum Supporter attendance goal – HQ/Conference Committee level

a. 2012 – currently approx. 15% of supporters

b. 2013 – 20% of current supporters

c. 2014 – 25% of current supporters

d. 2015 – 33% of current supporters

e. In all years, conference coordinator will individually contact supporters and ask what we can do to get them there.

C. Consider each location and its limitations and opportunities – HQ/Conference Committee level

a. Size of resort, room block, room rate, expense of travel to location, proximity of membership, overall economic condition.

D. Develop a unique marketing plan based on the host city location – HQ/Marketing/Conference Committee level

E. Outreach and marketing to members and supporters – HQ level

a. OU – monthly

b. Social networks (Facebook, Twitter)

i. Ask members and supporters to re-tweet/re-post

c. Paper mailings

d. Save the date cards

e. Local coverage in newspaper, radio & television

f. Promote to other local/regional writers groups

g. Madson Fund

F. Outreach to local entities – HQ/Local Conference Committee level

a. Contact local industry in the area, colleges, past members, and local/regional writers groups

G. Develop a meaningful program – Conference Committee level

a. Reduce number of sessions and increase quality

H. Increase off-site conference coverage

a. Stream online content – HQ level

i. Determine which sessions to stream – HQ/Conference Committee level

b. Offer post-conference video content – HQ level

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Goal No. 5

By 2015, donations and new grants will average $15,000 annually using the following model:

  • 2012 – Donations will remain at current $4,000 threshold

  • 2013 – Donations will increase by 50% to $6,000

  • 2014 – Donations will increase to $9,000

  • 2015 – Donations will increase to $15,000, and will continue at that average annual level beyond 2015.

Action Items:

A. Add donation link to signature block on all employee emails and at the end of the email blasts – HQ level

B. Look into recurring donation system – HQ level

a. Include with online dues payment/monthly dues payment

C. Identify key donors for personal outreach – HQ level

a. Look at past donation and bookkeeping records to identify individuals

D. Add grant seeking opportunities to the Winter board meeting agenda for brainstorming – Board level

E. Develop a donation appeal in conjunction with our 85th anniversary to be deposited into the Operating Fund – HQ/Finance Committee level

a. Publicize via OU, paper mailing, email, and social media

F. Approach Life members for donations in lieu of membership dues – HQ/ Past President’s Council level

G. Offer donation premiums for various levels of giving – HQ/Supporters

H. Seek out members and contacts who are grant writers and ask for input – HQ/Development Committee

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