The Embroiderers’ Guild of America
The Problem: The Embroiderers’ Guild of America is a 57-year-old national association dedicated to the study and preservation of the art of embroidery. Membership is open to anyone interested in needlework, from the beginner to the professional, with Regions and Chapters throughout the USA. Approximately 60% of its members are in the 46 to 64 age group and the EGA was steadily losing members. For several years the organization had not had a formal strategic plan and the elected board members had been responsible for setting their own goals.
The Solution: Lee+ Associates was asked to assist The Embroiderer’s Guild of America by focusing on strategic planning, specifically on issues related to declining membership, changing demographics of consumers, and other significant challenges facing the organization.
Our goal was to develop a workable plan to address the future of the organization. The Lee+ Associates team conducted a survey of EGA’s Board members to do the following:
- Review the mission.
- Identify the association’s stakeholders (constituent groups).
- Determine what the stakeholders value most about EGA.
- Discover what needs to occur to increase member retention and attract new members.
- Develop strategies to boost the Board’s ability to operate more effectively.
Armed with information from the Board survey, we sent a second online survey to 443 members of the EGA to gain a better understanding of member satisfaction.
What we delivered: Lee+ Associates conducted an in-depth session for the Board at its annual meeting to disseminate the survey results and to affirm the strategic priorities and goals stated in the survey results. In addition, we created an “action plan” and a budget for each goal identified in the survey.
Alexis DeSela, who lead Lee+ Associates’ strategic planning effort said, “The Strategic Plan is an important first step towards continued success for an organization and provides EGA with a three-year roadmap for strengthening its membership base and engagement, revitalizing marketing and PR efforts, and increasing financial and operational capacity. As a result of our efforts, the Board of Directors and staff will be able to review progress quarterly and update the plan annually as needed.”
Result: The Lee+ Associates team helped identify five overarching goals for EGA, based on issues identified through the surveys, and provided a full-day workshop as part of the strategic planning process. These goals provided a roadmap for EGA for the next three years:
- Develop a more robust online presence for the EGA.
- Create a cohesive and aggressive marketing and branding campaign to increase EGA’s visibility and public awareness.
- Build a comprehensive membership retention and recruitment program to add diversity to the group.
- Create a comprehensive development program to ensure the organization’s financial sustainability.
- Develop an operational plan addressing strong structure, systems, policies, and staffing models to achieve maximum efficiencies and overall operational effectiveness.
Lee + Associates helped The Embroiderers’ Guild of America develop a 12-month Action Plan with very detailed objectives and action items for each Strategic Goal. DeSela said, “The Action Plan serves as a tool to ensure implementation and accountability. It is a fluid document and may change to ensure goal and objective attainment, as needed depending on environmental conditions. We were able to help the group build a stronger foundation on which to operate going forward.”
According to EGA President Leslie Gagliardi, “This process has already achieved results for EGA. With guidance from Lee+ Associates, we have been able to identify our primary challenges and to develop strategies to address them. Alexis was a great leader for our workshop session, and continued to provide insight and sound counsel as we developed our plan. We are encouraged that with the roadmap afforded by Alexis’ guidance and direction, we will be able to achieve our goal of securing a bright future for EGA for decades to come.”