TU Chapter Strategic Planning Resources and Templates
Developing a strategic plan for your chapter can sound intimidating, but simply getting ideas down on paper and setting some simple goals and commitments for the next three to five years can make a substantial difference in the effectiveness and directedness of your chapter.
The strategic planning process offers volunteer leaders a rare opportunity to step back and look at the chapter as a whole and develop as a group a concrete description of the impact the chapter intends to make over the next few years. It is a time to connect the dots between mission and programs, to specify the resources that will be required to deliver those programs, and to establish measures that allow everyone to understand whether the desired results are being achieved.
Strategic Planning Resources
Ready to get started on your local chapter’s plan? These resources can help:
Read: Trout Unlimited Strategic Plan
Your chapters strategic plan should follow the mission and goals of Trout Unlimited’s national plan but with a focus on the issues and resources in your local community. You should also check with your state council to see if there is a state strategic plan with specific goals you can incorporate
Watch: Strategic Planning – Building a Roadmap for Growth
This one-hour recorded training covers the ins and outs of chapter strategic planning and offers helpful tips and guidance from TU staff and fellow volunteers.
Watch: Using Data to Drive Strategy
This one-hour recorded training reviews how your chapter can use your Annual Financial Report and other data to develop aspects of your plan.
Use: The Strategic Planning Template
This document can be used as a guide, or just as a starting point to help your chapter organize your strategic planning process.
Strategic Planning Tips
Below, you’ll find some general guidelines for developing your chapter’s strategic plan and a few examples of how a simple strategic plan can lay the groundwork for your chapter’s efforts.
- The chapter president should convene a small workgroup or committee of the chapter board. Not all strategic planning committee members need to be current board members, i.e. a past president would be a great person to tap for this. Your committee may benefit from thoughtfully populating your group with new board members as well as up and coming leaders. A chair of the committee should be identified so that it is clear who is responsible for facilitating meetings, identifying action items, giving direction, and following through.
- This strategic planning workgroup should start by collecting feedback from your members, partners, and regionally based staff about the chapter’s internal strengths and weaknesses, and also your external opportunities and threats, a process commonly called a “SWOT” analysis. Surveys are a good tool for gathering this information, but so too are simple conversations. As you go through, it’s not enough to ask, “What is our chapter’s biggest weakness?” you have to go a step further and say, “Why have we neglected this area?” It also helps to think of your strengths as opportunities for growth. “We have great engagement on social media, but how can we move a higher percentage of those supporters to volunteer? Gathering outside perspective can be incredibly helpful.
- Have each of the strategic planning workgroup members re-read the TU national strategic plan. Then, check in with your council to review their plan and solicit their input into your process. We are much more likely to be successful achieving our organizational vision when we plan and work together across the organization.
- In a subsequent meeting, the strategic planning workgroup aims to put pen to paper and draft the elements of the plan using the template below, which divides your strategic plan into five parts: Conservation, Communications, Engagement, Fundraising, and Chapter Development. Addressing all five of these areas ensures your chapter will remain strong and resilient as leadership changes.
- The chair of the strategic planning committee takes the draft written by committee and cleans it up into a short, clean and compelling piece. This draft plan is then passed by the full chapter board of directors and the chapter’s council for review and input. After that, the plan is finalized and should be uploaded to the Leaders Only Tools section of tu.org so that all chapter board members can easily access and review it over the life of the plan.
- The strategic planning committee should set calendar reminders to bring the plan forward annually (or more frequently) at a board meeting to ensure the chapter is on track or even to edit or revise it as things change.