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Strategic Planning

NASAA’s planning is evergreen—it is continually renewed and never stands still. To stay future-focused and responsive to the evolving needs of state arts agencies, we follow a three-pronged approach to strategic planning:

Strategic Plan: Our strategic plan charts NASAA’s long-term course, asserting the value of state arts agencies as well as the goals and principles that guide our work. The latest version was ratified by the membership in October 2017.

Action Plan: Annual action plans complement the strategic plan, itemizing near-term steps needed to achieve our long-term goals. This ensures that NASAA’s day-to-day work aligns with our strategic vision and provides the agility to adjust to emerging needs and opportunities.

Performance Measurement:  We’re a data-driven team! NASAA monitors a set of state arts agency vital statistics to track progress toward attaining our mission of strengthening state arts agencies. Our performance measurement dashboard keeps us operationally sharp. Biannual Action Plan Highlights reports keep members and the public apprised of our programmatic accomplishments.

Our Planning Process

All three strands of NASAA planning are informed and inspired by ongoing input from state arts agencies, collaborations with policy partners and rigorous data review. In 2016 and 2017, NASAA conducted an especially deep dive to formulate a new strategic plan to take effect in 2018. This process was designed to include many voices and diverse perspectives:

The process (explained in full within the strategic plan document) was fully transparent to members and the public. Highlights included:


We set the stage with a visioning session on state arts agency change at NASAA’s 2015 Leadership Institute. The NASAA board devoted a planning retreat to forecasting the future of our field. We mined policy trend analyses from experts in many sectors and conducted board and staff assessments of our strengths and weaknesses.


Multiple member committees took part in planning, including Planning & Budget, Nominating, and Resource Development. Most important were the voices of the membership at large, captured through interviews with all voting members, a membership opinion poll and multiple opportunities to comment on the draft.


We sought ideas and advice from far beyond the state arts agency network. We interviewed experts from the fields of economic development, rural development, philanthropy, advocacy and government innovation. We also convened state policy leaders with expertise ranging from agriculture and health care to emergency services and natural resources.


NASAA’s approach was informed by evidence. (And just a little nerdy, but in a lovable way.) We analyzed longitudinal data on 3,700 member requests for help and benchmarked NASAA against 41 similar associations. Current information service summaries and member engagement data offered real-time reference points.

More Information

For the full details, browse our Planning & Budget Committee working papers or contact NASAA Chief Program and Planning Officer Kelly Barsdate.