Almost five decades after its founding, the Commonwealth Prevention Alliance (CPA) finds itself at a crossroads. Its role in supporting prevention professionals has never been more critical, and yet the best means for providing that important help is shifting and changing all the time.
To celebrate its 45th anniversary, CPA embarked upon its first coordinated strategic planning process, using a variety of strategies to engage a wide range of stakeholders and collect critical data. Common Ground Consulting was retained to design and manage the process and draft the plan.
A comprehensive survey was developed and distributed to both CPA members and non-members, with 158 members and 89 non-members completing it. An analysis of the survey responses was conducted by CPA’s evaluation firm, providing valuable information related to CPA’s mission, ways of working, and overall effectiveness. Additionally, five virtual focus group sessions were conducted, with a total of 43 stakeholders participating, and several individual interview sessions were also conducted. Specific themes emerged from these sessions regarding CPA’s advocacy, communications, annual conference, diversity, member benefits, partnerships, and regional engagement.
Through data triangulation, which is a method used by qualitative researchers to establish validity in studies through the convergence of information from different sources, the reliability of CPA’s research analysis was increased. Common Ground also facilitated several workshops and conversations with CPA’s board members and executive director, focusing on goals and objectives, DEIB, board member recruitment and orientation, and CPA’s annual conference. All of these activities have provided additional context to CPA’s strategic planning process and deepened the trust that exists between CPA and its members. This high-trust relationship has been instrumental in leading to the significant changes outlined in CPA’s current plan.
CPA believes it is crucial to demonstrate its commitment to reimagining and strengthening prevention efforts across the state of Pennsylvania. The following goals are designed to address the most urgent areas of concern for CPA, its members, and PA’s prevention community:
GOAL 1 – MEMBERSHIP
Increase CPA membership annually, ensuring it becomes more inclusive demographically, geographically, and with regard to representing the various sectors of the field and the communities it serves. CPA is committed to identifying and recruiting new members, with a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, essential to demonstrating CPA’s reach and maintaining its position as the foremost voice for prevention in Pennsylvania.
GOAL 2 – PROGRAM
Position CPA as the premier professional development entity for the prevention field in PA by defining and sharing best and promising prevention practices. CPA recognizes the importance of working with stakeholders to identify best practices, coordinate statewide advocacy activities, leverage limited resources, and measure and promote impact.
GOAL 3 – CONFERENCE
Develop a dynamic, cutting-edge, and more inclusive conference model that expands CPA’s reach and increases participation from underrepresented populations, including BIPOC and LGBTQI+ people, those in recovery, social work and higher education professionals, and entities with small training budgets. CPA is committed to piloting innovative new approaches that appeal to a broadening community of preventionists, experimenting, learning, innovating, and doing it together and with a focus on inclusion.
GOAL 4 – FUNDRAISING
Create a comprehensive fundraising plan that meets CPA’s budgetary requirements, establishes a reserve fund, and outlines development activities that engage diverse funding streams in order to ensure sustainability. CPA recognizes the importance of diversifying its funding streams, evaluating its membership and conference fee structures, cultivating more corporate partners, looking carefully at potential federal funding sources, and implementing hybrid conference and training models.
GOAL 5 – COMMUNICATIONS
Create a comprehensive advocacy and communications plan that highlights the values and mission of CPA and offers important information to CPA members, other prevention professionals, and donors. CPA must aggregate, curate, and disseminate research, data, evidence-based interventions, and essential news, opportunities, and events for the field. CPA is committed to updating and modernizing its use of online communications tools, using social media effectively, and getting real-time communications into the hands of its members.
GOAL 6 – GOVERNANCE
Develop a strong, well-qualified, active, and diverse board that continually promotes the mission, vision, and values of CPA while providing leadership to the prevention field. CPA is committed to strengthening the foundation for its work, updating its own mission, vision, and values, making diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging a priority, and engaging around difficult issues to redefine how prevention occurs in Pennsylvania.