OWAA Strategic Plan: 2014-2017

(approved May 22, 2014)

At the Outdoor Writers Association of America® we believe in improving the professional skills of our members, setting the highest ethical and communications standards, encouraging public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources, and being mentors for the next generation of professional outdoor communicators.

We do that by networking with fellow professional communicators, publishing Outdoors Unlimited® magazine, offering job and editorial listings in our Outdoor Market, and most notably, hosting our annual conference. We offer craft improvement advice, industry news, information on technology trends, available job openings, conservation news, and business advice.

OWAA is comprised of more than 800 individual outdoor communicators from the broad, modern spectrum of outdoor beats, from hunting/shooting to camping, fishing to kayaking, wildlife watching to backpacking. From these diverse backgrounds and disciplines, members gather beneath the OWAA banner to hone skills, share philosophies, develop profitable business strategies and network with peers, conservation policymakers and industry trendsetters.

In order to successfully serve our members and supporters we will focus on these goals for the next three years.

Goal No. 1

Stop membership decline by the end of 2015 and begin increasing membership by 2017, focusing on Active and Associate membership categories. Increase supporting group membership by end of 2014. (Membership Recruitment Committee, Marketing Committee, Supporting Member Liaison)

Suggested Strategies:

  1. 1Institute a membership drive utilizing tactics developed by the Membership Recruitment Committee.
  2. 2Evaluate effectiveness of each tactic.
  3. Utilize effective membership recruitment tactics, marketing strategies and online engagement to build an active engaged membership.
  4. Develop list of priority professional audiences to direct marketing/recruitment outreach.

Goal No. 2

Retain membership at 85% renewal by the end of 2016. (Member Services Committee)

Suggested Strategies:

  • 1. Implement tactics established by the new Member Services committee and evaluate success.
  • 2. All committees aimed at providing member services develop work plans to improve member services (Craft Improvement, Excellence in Craft, Conference, etc.).
  • 3. Recognizing conferences as a key part of the member experience, set and meet conference attendance goals.

Goal  No. 3

By the end of 2015, establish an OWAA brand with a clearly defined marketing campaign. (Marketing Committee)

Suggested Strategies:

  • 1. Clarify brand and develop a measurable marketing strategy.
  • 2. Develop marketing messages and priority audiences.
  • 3. Marketing committee implements activities that increase the visibility of OWAA. Potential tactics include “Off the Record” events, student chapters, writing workshops and getting OWAA earned media in outdoor publications.
  • 4. Double online participation in social media.
  • 5. Explore possibility of a website upgrade, when budget permits.


Measure success of tactics in reaching the above goals and report regularly on progress towards goals. (Staff, Board, Committee Chairs)

  • 1. Report on success in relation to goals, not in achieving tasks.
  • 2. Revise tactics if progress towards goals is not being met.
  • 3. Include progress towards strategic plan goals in reports to membership.

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