3D Strategic Planning

Strategic planning for association, chamber, foundation

Dowell Management has extensive experience in designing strategic planning programs that yield measureable results for organizations. Our 3D Planning process is unique in that it brings forward external, as well as internal, perspectives that help organizations hone their growth strategies to achieve maximum impact. Plus, we know what works because we collectively have more than 45 years of experience in the membership-based association industry.

Our 3D Planning helps your organization Discover core strengths and values, as seen by both internal and external audiences; Develop critical goals and strategies; and Decide how to prioritize, implement and communicate.


We begin by grounding ourselves in an understanding of the current state of your organization, previous strategy work, your market and external environment, and the perspectives of key stakeholders. Usually this phase of our work is conducted in collaboration with senior management and/or a strategic planning task force. The outcome of this phase is a work plan that translates your strategic planning goals into key questions, activities, and milestones. Specific deliverables of the Discovery Phase include:

  • One-on-one or small group meetings with senior management or task force to determine strategic planning goals, timeline, planning participants and logistics
  • Review of previous strategic work
  • Review of industry trends, competitive market, etc.
  • Review of external conditions, both positive and negative that impact the organization (this is frequently accomplished through surveys, interviews and focus groups)
  • Written assessment of stakeholders and their needs, expectations, political realities, etc.
  • Written summary describing the implicit and explicit opportunities based on the above items


In this phase, Dowell Management works closely with senior management or a strategic planning task force to create a fast-paced, yet thorough, process that engages leadership in discussion of the organization’s future based on the information obtained in the Discovery Phase. For many organizations, our 3D Planning process includes the use of real-time participant polling to reveal candid perceptions without succumbing to group think and other pitfalls of group planning processes. Specific deliverables of the Development Phase include:

  • One or more structured planning sessions with planning stakeholders identified by senior management or task force
  • Review and revisit organizational mission, vision, values, core competencies, etc.
  • Envision the future through scenario planning, SWOT analysis or other group techniques
  • Generate key opportunities for the next 3-5 years based on the future discussion
  • Define and agree on factors critical to success
  • Define and agree on 3-5 long term, high level, measurable, mission based goals
  • Identify and prioritize key strategies that will best enable the organization to accomplish the goals
  • Agreement on success measures for each strategy


After the planning session(s), Dowell Management will prepare a written draft strategic plan and summary reflecting the work completed in the Development Phase. The organization’s role during this phase is to ensure that the plan is realistic given the capacity of the organization and its resources. Specific deliverables of the decision phase include:

  • A draft summary of the planning session(s) noting issues that emerged that did not become part of the draft plan or that were not addressed or prioritized for inclusion in the plan
  • A draft final plan, generally 4-6 pages, combining narrative, boxes and other graphic elements to ensure that the plan engages stakeholders and is a dynamic, useful organizational tool
  • Supplemental reports of best practices based on strategies adopted
Because the objectives of all the associations, chambers and foundations are different in undertaking the strategic planning process, please contact us to discuss how we can address your needs.