During my first year of college, I wrote my plan for what I dreamed to accomplish in my life, by when, and how. It was a comprehensive plan with many details. As with most plans, it had flaws. For example, it did not include living in the United States or working in the field of financial management. Despite many side-roads, planning has guided me throughout the years.

As members of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education, I believe that we are more or less planners. We also know that while planning is important, it’s not enough for success. We have to implement the plans into actions. In the strategic planning of AFCPE, we need to involve each one of you in the process of planning, implementing, and monitoring, although the levels of your involvement may vary.

Strategic planning has been used by many organizations to guide their strategies, directions, and decisions. The University of Maryland, my employer, developed a 10-year strategic plan in 2008. There was a major review and update in the strategic plan after five years. Planning long-term for a non-profit organization like AFCPE is challenging given how quickly societal, economic, policy, technological, and social changes can occur.

AFCPE developed a strategic plan in 2013. Under this strategic plan, we were able to prioritize our strategies. We have achieved many goals such as accreditation through The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) Accreditation for the AFC® certification program, expansion of partnerships, forging the relationship between research and practice, and improving services, among others. Throughout, you have supported and guided us in this journey.

It is critical that we review and revamp our strategies regularly. Early this year, we established the Strategic Planning Task Force, led by Board chair Barry Wilkinson. We gathered input from members and the Board of Directors, staff, stakeholders, industry experts, and others. I would like to thank you, the members, for responding to our surveys regarding the strategic plan, the strategic planning task force for moving the plan forward, the Board of Directors for their commitment, all key leaders who contributed to the strategic planning, and the staff for their tireless efforts during the planning process. We just completed a successful strategic planning meeting and are currently preparing the reports. I look forward to sharing the exciting outcomes with you soon.

At the strategic planning meeting, we shared the points of David La Piana, non-profit strategic consultant. He noted, “successful strategic planning should incorporate organizational, programmatic and operational components with organizational strategy providing the foundation for thinking through programmatic and operational matters.” He noted that current strategic planning is missing methodologies to move beyond operational plans.

A team comprised of the Board of Directors, staff, and leaders are working on the master plan for operations, programs, and the organization that will guide us in the next few years. Your valuable input will be incorporated into this process. On behalf of the Board, we are committed to implementing our strategic plan on behalf of AFCPE, and communicating with you every step of the way. It is only with your support that we can accomplish our goals.

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