Skip to main content

Annual Planning

Annual planning is an important tool for your Chapter to reflect, strategize, and ensure that your Chapter’s activities are aligned with the needs and desires of your community! Make sure to develop an annual plan that includes goals, budgets, leadership and membership information, and other resources, and takes into consideration the successes and challenges of the previous year. You and your Chapter leadership team will want to regularly check in on the plan to keep on track and plan for the future.  The Chapter’s annual plan is also a great tool in leadership transitions to ensure information gets passed from one leadership team to another, particularly capturing the learnings from the past year.

Net Impact recommends that your Chapter creates an annual plan upon each leadership transition that the Chapter experiences, and/or if the Chapter’s leadership feels like the current approach and strategy of the Chapter needs to be revisited. For some Chapters, this means that it’s ideal to create an annual plan at the start of each year, whereas other Chapters may be able to make a plan every other year or every few years. It is beneficial, however, for your Chapter to reflect on an annual basis, so even if the Chapter isn’t creating a full plan, reviewing the plan together and making small revisions annually.

Creating a Plan

When planning for the year, think about what the Chapter hopes to accomplish in an ideal scenario. Some questions to get your leadership team thinking about this include: 

  • What are the needs of your members? 
  • What can you do to meet those needs? 
  • How is your Chapter’s leadership team set up to achieve your goals?
  • What is your leadership team interested in doing? 
  • What is your budget and how does your funding support your goals? 
  • What is your mix of programs and does it meet the needs of your members?
  • Does your Chapter represent the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of your community?
  • Is my Chapter reflecting on and addressing challenges and successes from the previous year?
  • Do my Chapter’s activities align with the value our members hope to get out of being a part of our community?

We have a template you and your team can use to reflect on these questions and more, which you can access here

Tracking Your Plan

Try to plan both a sequence of events and the associated budget to match them. This will allow the Chapter to see the full “menu” of programs and events the Chapter is offering to your members, and each one’s associated expense to envision how the budget is connected to the overall goals and resources of the Chapter. You can also better see if your spacing of programs makes sense and if there are any potential gaps in your programs and budget. We suggest offering Net Impact’s Programs and Events to fill in those gaps, if possible. Periodically revisit your annual plan, especially after leadership transitions, to make sure your Chapter is on track.

Planning for Transitions

When should you be thinking about leadership transitions? Always! You can prepare the next set of leaders throughout the year, any Member could be your next Chapter President! Build in time to regularly elect new leaders and plan for the upcoming year. Determine the term for all leaders and a clear process for identifying and selecting new Chapter Leaders. Most leadership terms last one year. For students, timing your annual leadership turnover for the Spring, when outgoing leaders overlap with incoming leaders, creates the opportunity for training and sharing of knowledge. This overlap also means new leaders can connect with Net Impact Central and their Advisors. For professionals, Chapter Leaders may often hold positions for multiple years, but thinking about your team on an annual basis makes it easier to identify new Members interested in leadership roles. We also suggest creating “feeder” programs so that team members work closely to specific roles within the Chapter (such as joining a marketing team) - that way, there’s a clear pool of individuals when roles open up (such as marketing chair). It’s important for the Chapter not to be caught off-guard and scramble when leaders transition out of their roles.

Reflect on your own leadership transition - what resources might have been helpful to you? How can you increase documentation of processes and resources to make leading the Chapter easier on the incoming leaders?

Don’t forget to let Net Impact Central know about new Chapter Leaders (report changes here). We are also here if you need additional help. Email us at with questions or to set up a time to chat!