SEPARATING WINNERS FROM LOSERS
IN THE ASSOCIATION WORK PLAN
Once an association has adopted a strategic plan, the next step is to convert the goals and objectives in that plan to a work plan and budget. But how can this be done? Every association program or service has a constituency and a claim on resources. How then to weigh the allocation of scarce resources to ensure that the objectives of the plan are attained and member needs are served? Portfolio analysis has been devised to help associations bridge the gap between strategy formulation and strategy implementation. In other words, it helps you make the hard choices of where to put your money. It is the creation of Dr. Ian MacMillan of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the basis for The Forbes Group’s model.
What Portfolio Analysis Is
Portfolio analysis is a systematic way to analyze the products and services that make up an association's business portfolio. All associations (except the simplest and the smallest) are involved in more than one business. Some of these include publishing, meetings and conventions, education and training, government representation, research, standards setting, public relations, etc. Each of these is one of the association's strategic business units (SBUs). Each business consists of a portfolio of products and services. For example, an association's publishing business might include a professional journal, a lay magazine, specialized newsletters geared to different member segments, CDs, a website, social networking sites, etc.
Portfolio analysis helps you decide which of these products and services should be emphasized and which should be phased out, based on objective criteria. Portfolio analysis consists of subjecting each of the association's products and services through a progression of finer screens. During a time of cutbacks and scarce resources, it is essential to screen out programs and services that are not...