Association for Community Organization & Social Administration

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Facebook Link LinkedIn Link Twitter Link You Tube Link

Strategic Plan 2018-2020


Pivoting towards social action, practitioners, and students

Strategic Plan 2018 – 2020

Approved by the Board on December 12, 2017


Overview of the Strategic Visioning Process

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the formal creation of ACOSA, the organization committed to a strategic visioning process. The goal of this process was to create an action plan for the next three years that will strengthen its internal operations and reposition it for focused impact in the area of community practice.

Process Design

There were five phases of the visioning process: 1) SWOT analysis via anonymous survey to ACOSA members of the last three years; 2) a one-day visioning retreat open to all members; and 3) Board discussion and input on SWOT analysis and retreat priorities; 4) feedback on the findings and implementation plan from attendees at partnership sessions and the ACOSA General Membership Meeting at the 2017 CSWE Annual Program Meeting (APM); and 5) Final Board review, discussion and vote.

Phase One – SWOT Analysis via Anonymous Survey

Lisa Hawash, Chair of the Governance Committee, prepared a SWOT analysis as an anonymous survey. It was distributed to ACOSA members of the last three years on April 21, 2017 via the Constant Contact mailing list used for the weekly ACOSA E-blast. There were 46 respondents representing a range of involvement with ACOSA:

0 – 2 years: 18.2%

3 – 5 years: 25%

6 – 10 years: 18.2%

11  20 years: 27.3 %

21 – 30 years: 11.4%

The full SWOT analysis can be found in Appendix A.

Phase Two – One Day Visioning Retreat – June 14, 2017

The retreat was planned and facilitated by Lisa Hawash and Tracy Soska. It was held at the Silberman School of Social Work in New York prior to and in conjunction with the Network of Social Work Management conference in New York City.  There were 22 participants. The day was divided into three segments and concluded with a priority setting session. The three segments follow:


  • Past:  What has been our individual and organizational experience in community practice that has helped shape our work in ACOSA of the past 30+ years, and what is worth carrying forward as we look toward the future of ACOSA?
  • The Present:  What are the current challenges and opportunities in our external environment and how to these relate to ACOSA strengths and weaknesses?
  • The Future:  How can we best position ACOSA to address these challenges and opportunities and grow our organization for the future?  What should be our priority action steps moving forward over the next 3-5 years?


The full report from the Visioning Retreat can be found in Appendix B.

Phase Three – Board Discussion and Input – August 22, 2018

During the Board call, members provided feedback on the findings from both the SWOT analysis and the Retreat summary and priorities. There was general consensus to move forward with a name change to the Association of Community Organization and Social Action. The Board recognized that there would need to be a transition process during 2018 and that the final vote would occur at the ACOSA Membership Meeting in November 2018 at CSWE APM. Board members then weighed in with their choices for the top two priorities for ACOSA in the coming year. By general consensus the top priority was to move towards a name change and develop/revise our mission, values, and branding. The second priority was resource development, implementing the website redesign, and developing a certificate program for Community Practice.

Phase Four – Feedback from Stakeholders and Members – CSWE APM, October 2017

Aside from informal conversations conducted by Board members at CSWE with colleagues and stakeholders, there were two structured opportunities to solicit input on our future directions. The first was a partnership session. During this session, we summarized the strategic planning process and decision to move forward on a name change. This was followed by a dialogue session where participants divided into small groups to discuss the following three questions:


  1. How should ACOSA define “Social Action”?
  2. What are the opportunities and challenges for ACOSA in embracing Social Action as part of its strategic vision and plans?
  3. How might the Social Work Grand Challenges be useful toward our vision for Social Action?


The second opportunity was during the General Membership meeting where we introduced our proposed priorities and launched the Generosity Campaign to kickstart funding for our website redesign.

Phase Five - Final Board Review, Discussion, and Vote – December 12, 2018

Following CSWE APM, all the information collected was considered by Lisa Hawash, Tracy Soska, and Becki Sander. The 11 priority groupings constructed at the Visioning Retreat in June were combined to create six strategic goals. Under these goals, objectives were developed by year: year one, year two, and year three. This draft plan was sent to Board members ahead of the December meeting. At that meeting each goal was reviewed, some additions were made, and the Board voted to approve the plan.

Workgroups are open to all ACOSA members. If you are interested in participating, you may view the descriptions of workgroups and the contact information for conveners HERE.




Comments and feedback are most welcome. You can contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .