Idea Bank: Pocket-Sized Strategic Plan

Your strategic plan doesn’t have to weigh your members down.

What’s the great idea? Portable, trifold cards printed with the association’s strategic plan. Who’s doing it? The American Chemical Society. What’s involved? Five years ago, ACS would never have been able to fit its entire strategic plan on a card that slips easily into a member’s pocket.

“We had 15 goals then,” says Robert Rich, Ph.D., CAE, director of strategy development for ACS. “The biggest challenge in this was getting the planning committee and the board to focus in on a short number of top priorities for the organization.”

Today, ACS’s strategic plan has four main goals. They fit neatly on the back of the trifold, which folds down to the size of a standard business card.

Why four goals? Rich cites social science research showing that “people usually can’t remember more than four things.” Distilling the strategic plan to just a few points also “allows us to cover the breadth of what’s really important for us to focus on for the next few years,” he says.

The card is supplemented by a website with video, a discussion area, and more information on ACS’s strategic plan. What are people saying? “The whole package is something that our members really like,” says Rich. “They can see, here’s what their organization is really all about, and they can see it in a convenient way.”

The ACS staff carry extra trifolds to hand out to members or prospects, and some even have them prominently displayed at their desks.

(Steven Errico/Getty Images)

Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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