Strategic Breakthrough: How APA Achieved 25% Growth & Beyond

Strategic Breakthrough: Apas 25% Growth Triumph
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The American Psychological Association faced the challenge of making a significant strategic change and gaining support from its 146,000 members, who cover all areas of psychology. However, this was easier said than done. 

The association’s growth in membership and revenue had come to a standstill. The previous strategic plan, which hadn’t effectively guided decision-making, was outdated after over a decade. APA had taken on so many strategic priorities that it struggled to execute any of them successfully. To make progress, they needed to focus on a few manageable strategic goals that would impact their mission and membership most, even if it meant deprioritizing some member interests. 

Getting widespread agreement from the membership was crucial, but APA’s decentralized structure and competing interests made it challenging. Many members were skeptical of the staff and often questioned their decisions. In response, the Board appointed a new CEO, Dr. Arthur Evans, with a transformational vision to lead the nonprofit strategy.

Our results with Sequence Consulting were phenomenal.

A Better Approach To Nonprofit Strategy

Working with APA Chief Strategy and Membership Officer Ian King, we created a completely transparent and inclusive approach that fostered open discussions among members, governance, and staff regarding priorities and impactful results. We actively sought input from our members, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of their perspectives on nonprofit strategy. Our efforts included:

To achieve total alignment in nonprofit strategy, having a shared point of view is essential. We utilized objective evidence from external sources to converge the organization on a common perspective. For example:

Together, the Board and executive team collaborated in thoughtfully crafted workshops to develop an impactful nonprofit strategy. To ensure everyone was on the same page, we shared the evolving plan widely with members. We even held conference calls where drafts of the actual plan were open for discussion. Ultimately, the strategic plan revitalized the organization’s vision and mission for a brighter future. 

We streamlined numerous potential priorities into four concise yet achievable top-level goals. These objectives were presented in a way that inspired psychologists and resonated with their professional aspirations.

Success: Overwhelming Member Buy-In

After being unanimously approved by the Board, the plan was brought forth to the membership for vote. In a historic moment for APA, an overwhelming 96.4% of the membership showed their support, reaching an unprecedented level of consensus. This extraordinary backing had a transformative impact on APA, with its significance lying primarily in the fact that:

The Bottom Line: 25% Growth In Membership and REvenue

APA’s primary objective was to achieve growth, and they were successful in doing so. Since implementing their strategic plan, they have experienced an impressive membership growth of 25%, which translates to a steady annual increase of 4.5%. This growth rate is the most robust the organization has seen in years. Additionally, APA has managed to maintain consistent revenue growth of 4.5% per year, unaffected by the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Association Growth Takeaways

In conclusion, by adopting a new approach to strategy, the APA has achieved remarkable growth. With a focus on streamlining priorities and setting clear goals, APA has experienced a membership growth of 25%. This translates to a steady annual increase of 4.5%, the most robust growth rate the organization has seen in years. It’s  inspiring to see how a strategic shift can lead to such tangible results. APA

To read more about creating transformational nonprofit strategy see: Non Profit Strategy: 3 Signs Your Non Profit Needs to Start Stopping

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