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Strategic Priorities
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As a professional membership association, AFA’s priority is to produce the most qualified, thoughtful, and informed professionals.  By having strategic priorities, we identify the most pressing needs of our association and develop a roadmap as to how we spend our time and our resources. Having an overarching framework provides the flexibility to be nimble as we meet the ever-changing needs of our members while identifying top priorities aimed at strengthening the profession. We will periodically update our successes and look forward to continual feedback as to how we can best serve you as an association. 

 

Strategic Positioning

Key Component:

  • Continue to strategically position the Association within higher education as the subject-matter expert on fraternity/sorority life.

Accomplished:

  • Appointed members that broaden our fraternal and higher education knowledge to the board of directors;
  • Actively participated in the NASPA Fraternity/Sorority Knowledge Community Leadership Team and two specific programs with vice presidents to engage in conversations with SSAO’s;
  • Participated in FSPAC Hill Visits to further understand the public policy landscape;
  • Facilitated interactions with peer higher education and fraternal associations to discuss common challenges, as well as potential partnerships.
  • Unveiled the updated and comprehensive iteration of the professional core competencies as well as a robust self-assessment to gauge individual competency.

Future Plans:

  • Continue to work with partners (including FEA, ACUHO-I and ASCA) on specific programming initiatives to meet with multi-faceted needs of our members;
  • Participate in (as well as host) meaningful opportunities for interactions with groups such as NASPA, NIC, NPC, NPHC, NALFO, NAPA, and NMGC;
  • Utilize the new Core Competencies as a way to demonstrate that fraternity/sorority professionals are equipped with the skills and knowledge to be primary decision makers;
  • Implement a campus-based survey that assesses information about our industry. This will assist in determining best practice in staffing size, budgets, resource allocation, and programmatic responsibilities.

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Research

Key Components:

  • Engage scholars and researchers in the advancement of knowledge and practical application related to the following areas:
    • Chapter transformation
    • Preparing fraternity/sorority members for the post-graduate world
    • Benefits of culturally-based fraternities and sororities, particularly at predominantly white institutions
    • Programming and leadership development initiatives focused on long-standing issues
    • Transgender membership conversations
    • Fraternity/sorority life as a profession
    • Fraternities/sororities within the larger “academy”
    • How membership in a fraternity or sorority influences one’s beliefs and actions
    • Corollaries and consequences of student engagement in fraternity/sorority life
    • Longitudinal analyses
    • Faculty attitudes, beliefs and dispositions
  • Educate fraternity/sorority professional on best practices regarding leveraging student involvement data and analytics.

Accomplished:

  • Developed research priorities that are reflected in the solicitation of applications for research grants;
  • Implemented a consistent process for submission, review, and awarding of research grants in which 6 out of 9 proposals received full or partial funding in spring 2018;
  • Implemented the online research journal tool Scholastica to assist with the review process and consistent publishing of Oracle resulting in a more efficient and thorough process;
  • Funded a pilot program designed to teach and enhance research writing skills, with the goal of facilitating more interest and submissions to Oracle with a total of 4 participants in the summer 2018;
  • Continued regular conversations and participation in board meetings with the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Research (CFSR) to determine the best partnership between the two groups.

Future Plans:

  • Increase the awareness of the research grant process, particularly in areas of our stated research priorities;
  • Utilize partnerships with peer higher education associations to maximize the use of student data being collected on college campuses to tell the story of student satisfaction and success;
  • Continue the Oracle writer’s retreat;
  • Become a clearinghouse for relevant research on fraternal issues.

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Educational Resources

Key Components

  • Develop and deliver quality educational programming and resources grounded in the Association’s Core Competencies.
  • Develop programming and resources that support the development of mid-career professionals.
  • Develop programming and resources that cultivate a culture of professional mentorship within the Association.

Accomplished:

  • Unveiled the updated and comprehensive iteration of the Association’s Core Competencies and the accompanying self-assessment – these Core Competencies will assist the selection process of Annual Meeting programs as well as programs such as AdvanceU to ensure a seamless progression from graduate student to seasoned professional;
  • Renamed and refocused the Graduate Training Track with 31 participants during the 2017 Annual Meeting. The curriculum was refreshed with the goal of a broader rewrite and refocus;
  • Successful initial implementation of The Collective mentorship and professional relationship program – initial positive feedback will result in the full implementation and integration by staff into the AFA programming continuum;
  • Continued to adapt current programs such as AdvanceU to meet the changing needs of our members, with 780 people participating in the program from September, 2017 through August, 2018.

Future Plans:

  • Pilot a mid-level career track at the Annual Meeting – this will help shape the future direction of planning in that area; Utilize the aggregate results of the Core Competency self-assessment to determine additional program offerings and help members determine a professional development plan;
  • Continue The Collective with modifications based on initial feedback;
  • Develop a system to store and easily search for examples of programs relevant to our members;
  • Utilize features of our new website to enhance the member experience.

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Efficient Operations & Resource Management

Key Components:

  • Support the growth of the AFA Foundation’s unrestricted assets.
  • Support the knowledge and skills necessary for Association volunteers, including board members.
  • Adopt principles that aid in creating a culture to support a high-performing board.

Accomplished:

  • Completion of a search for a new Executive Director, Member Services Coordinator and Director of Education and Programs;
  • Successful transition from Synergos, an association management company, to the Center for Fraternal Excellence (CFE);
  • Brought AFA and the AFA Foundation together under the same staffing model to provide better support for the membership;
  • Kept the price of membership as well as our programs (particularly the Annual Meeting) at some of the lowest levels of our industry, largely through the support of sponsors and donors to the AFA Foundation.
  • The AFA Foundation completed a first-ever Day of Giving, successfully raising over $26,000.

Future Plans:

  • Utilize the new Core Competencies to assist in program planning and implementation, thus potentially eliminating programs that are not related or are obsolete;
  • Attend or participate in industry programs (through entities such as the American Society of Association Executives or the IU School of Philanthropy) to learn about best practices and trends in professional membership associations and fundraising.
  • Utilize self-assessment tools and a membership survey to determine the perceived effectiveness of the board and other key volunteers;
  • Continue to work closely with the AFA Foundation for additional sources of funding and support.

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Communication

Key Components:

  • Create engaging content that is relevant and easily consumable by the membership.
  • Effectively utilize technology to improve the creation and delivery of communication products, including the AFA website.

Accomplished:

  • Begun the process of rebranding AFA and the AFA Foundation;
  • Asked the membership to complete a branding survey and shared the results at the Annual Meeting – this information continues to power decision making regarding AFA’s look and feel;
  • Won multiple recognitions at the Fraternity Communications Association Annual Conference. 2018 awards include outstanding single-page design/cover category for Perspectives and a Critic's Choice for the 2017 AFA Annual Meeting logo. 2017 awards include outstanding two-page spread for Perspectives and outstanding e-newsletter for Essentials.
  • Diversified our use of social media to help tell AFA’s story.

Future Plans:

  • Unveil the rebrand of AFA and the AFA Foundation – the rebranding will reflect a modern approach with a more sophisticated and appealing look;
  • Unveil our new website to maintain a cutting edge visual representation of the Association;
  • Analyze clicks/views/shares/downloads for patterns and trends of member usage to improve the member experience and continually improve our virtual presence.
  • Continue to work with the editors of Essentials, Perspectives, and Oracle to define the purpose of each and ensure the highest quality with the most relevant information.

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Updated Wednesday, October 3, 2018.

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