How to plan your club’s success

Each Kiwanis club is different, and so is its strategic plan, but everyone starts with the same basic questions:

Why plan?
Measureable impact. More members doing service that is meaningful and fulfilling to them and to the community will go a long way. It’s a simple equation. More members = more service. Planning your club’s success will help you know where your club is now, decide where you want to be in a few years and guide your steps toward those goals.

When do we plan?
After a club has analyzed the results of the community analysis and the club assessment, it’s a good time to begin planning for short-term and long-term goals. It’s always nice to have a plan in place before the beginning of the year (and before the board approves the club budget). So start with the end in mind and work backward to develop your club’s timeline.

Who develops the plan?
Although club members have the opportunity to contribute to the strategic plan by completing the Club Excellence Tool, the club’s board of directors is best suited to create the strategic plan and present it to the club.

What goes into the plan?
Key elements of a club strategic plan include:

  • Membership growth. How many people will it take to make the impact the club wants to have? Not every club wants to be a huge club, and that’s OK. What type of club do your members want? Why would someone want to join your club? Developing the vision will help when it’s time to recruit members because the people you’re targeting will know exactly what to expect.
  • Membership education. Are we communicating the way most of our members prefer, whether that be phone calls, e-mail or social media? Do our members and leaders have enough training about their roles and about Kiwanis? A high level of training, education and communication will keep your members eager to take leadership positions and keep them involved.
  • Service. Does your club want to be known for one large-scale service project or for many small service projects? Does the club want to have a central focus to rally around for service efforts? How much time do your members want to commit to service—is it a monthly commitment, seasonal or annual? Adjust the club’s commitments to meet the resources available to the club and expectations of your members.
  • Marketing. Does your community know that you’re in town and doing amazing things? Awareness of who you are and what you support can be important when you’re looking for members, supporters or donors, and volunteers.
  • Club experience. Are your club activities meeting the expectations of your current and future members? Evaluating meeting activities including time, location, agenda and frequency, in addition to service and social activities, will help your club remain relevant.

How do we create the plan?
The Planning Your Club’s Success booklet is available to assist clubs that would like a jumping off point. The strategic areas identified in this tool are: membership growth, member education, service and marketing/PR. Each area has a few suggestions of what your club may choose to do with an opportunity to personalize the goals.

How do we manage the plan?
As with any strategic plan, flexibility is the key—especially for a Kiwanis club. As projects and people change, the vision for what the club would like to achieve will likely change. By starting with broad goals, the “what” of each goal shouldn’t change substantially or very often—just the tactics of “how.”

If your club develops its own template for a club strategic plan, we’d love to see it! Send your club strategic plan to