ASWIS Strategic Plan (2023 and 2024)
The Alliance of Social Workers in Sports (ASWIS) understands that a precise and critically developed strategic plan provides the blueprint for our collective growth. Having clearly stated mission, vision, and value statements provide the overarching objective of our Alliance. However, the specific goals outlined in this strategic plan give us precise tasks for achieving our prominent objective. We will use this strategic plan to guide our work for the upcoming two years and beyond. In the end, maintaining integrity towards this plan will gain our members access to new resources, continue to inspire a subfield of social workers, as well as draw local, state, national, and global attention to the well-being and functioning of athletes.
Goal Number One: Membership Education and Networking
Recognizing the value our membership brings to the Alliance, we would like to return their investment through educational opportunities and growing their professional network. In particular, we seek to do the following:
1 Develop a minimum of two webinars on an annual basis. These webinars will be on topics of importance to our members and further enhance their understanding, application, and evaluation of sport social work concepts. At least one webinar per year must be for Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
2 Provide CEUs at our annual Sport Social Work Symposium at a reduced rate to our membership and attendees. We will offer a minimum of six CEUs at the symposium.
3 Provide CEUs in partnership with an outside organization each year. This will ensure our members have access to CEUs at multiple times throughout the calendar year.
4 Organize a quarterly Alliance Wide Call for membership discussion. Each Alliance Wide Call will have an educational speaker on topics identified by our membership.
5 Establish regional-based membership networks. The Alliance will base these regions on the N4A regional map. Regional networking will allow for those in a close geographical radius to better connect and influence sport social work.
6 Encourage regional networks to host one-day training and educational opportunities for Alliance members and the community.
Goal Number Two: Committee Engagement
The Executive Committee created a list of standing committees and subgroups to help the Alliance achieve established goals. The success of the Alliance is only as great as the success of each individual committee and subgroup. To promote the success of each committee and subgroup, we seek to do the following:
1 Fully staff each committee and subgroup with members of the Alliance. This includes identifying a committee chair or subgroup leader based on the policies and procedures established in the Alliance bylaws or by the executive committee.
2 Establish a working agenda for each standing committee and subgroup. These agendas should help the Alliance meet the goals set forth in this strategic plan. Furthermore, the agendas should establish a framework for enhancing the quality of Alliance membership and the impact the Alliance has on the social work profession and field of athletics.
3 Promote committee and subgroup activity by providing clear objectives created by the committee chair, subgroup leader, and the Executive Committee. The executive committee, committee chair, and subgroup leader will review the progress of these objectives during executive committee meetings.
Goal Number Three: Membership Growth and Sustainability
The growth of our Alliance depends heavily on the recruitment of new members and renewal of existing memberships. It is our collective voice as a mounting group that positions the Alliance, the social work profession, and our members to better serve the athlete population. We aim to achieve the following as it relates to growing our membership base:
1 Launch new efforts to recruit institutional and agency-based membership through our website and various membership drives.
2 Increase our number of annual student, professional service, or professional non-service memberships by 50 each calendar year. Recruitment will be done through a variety of communication methods.
3 Promote the Alliance to international audiences to stimulate membership from outside the United States.
4 Establish a new membership tracking system.
Goal Number Four: Infrastructure
It is the goal of the Alliance to serve as a model non-profit organization. To achieve this goal the following are necessary:
1 Maintain non-profit status.
2 Maintain a current Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
3 Establish and maintain bylaws that provide policies and procedures for the mission of our Alliance, membership, membership dues, governance, election procedures, committee work, and other matters deemed necessary to support the sustainability of the Alliance.
4 Establish and maintain a strategic plan that establishes clear goals for the Alliance to achieve.
5 Establish criteria for electing and operating an official Board of Directors for the Alliance.
Goal Five: Partnerships
The Alliance recognizes multiple professions and organizations have a stake in the safety and well-being of athletes. The Alliance seeks to develop interprofessional relationships that further advances goals of the Alliance and positions social workers to be strong advocates in the multidisciplinary approaches commonly used in the field of athletics. To achieve this goal the Alliance proposes the following:
1 Partnering with a minimum of two (2) national or global organizations per year on matters pertaining to athlete wellness. Once a partnership is established the Alliance will work to maintain the partnership for the distant future.
2 Partnering with a minimum of two (2) local or state organizations per year on matters pertaining to athlete wellness. Once a partnership is established the Alliance will work to maintain the partnership for the distant future.
3 Utilize the Alliance regional structure to learn more about community-based and professional organizations working towards the well-being and functioning of athletes. This includes seeking active partnerships with other professions currently working in athletics.
Goal Six: Policy
The Alliance would like to provide athletes with a voice in policies that impact their lives. Influencing policy supports the advocacy arm of the Alliance and shines a local, state, national, and global spotlight on our grassroots efforts.
1 Maintain a policy platform that provides strong sport social work position statements on matters pertaining to well-being and functioning. Utilize this policy platform as a springboard for legislative tracking and lobbying.
2 Facilitate dialogue with legislators, lobbyists, and advocacy organizations as it pertains to the relevant legislation.
3 Promote the implementation of practice recommendations established by sport governing bodies.
4 Respond to stories that highlight the strengths and challenges facing the athlete population. This can be done through memorandums, social media, contacting media outlets, and other appropriate forms of support and advocacy.
Goal Seven: Research
Research is necessary to raise awareness for the needs of athletes and to provide knowledge on how athletic competition influences an athlete across their lifespan. The Alliance also sees research as a unifier between members who could work collaboratively on projects. Furthermore, having members present their research at local, state, national, and international conferences provides necessary publicity for the Alliance and a needed voice for athletes. These research efforts can also manifest in the procurement of grants and other resources that allow the Alliance to be innovative. In particular, the Alliance seeks to do the following:
1 Members of the Alliance will maintain open lines of communication about current research projects. Members will actively involve one another in their research efforts.
2 Members of the Alliance will present at local, state, national, and international conferences throughout the calendar year.
3 Members will disseminate information about recently published work through the research consortium and other platforms.
4 The Alliance will actively seek grant opportunities for fund projects and initiatives.
5 The Alliance will work to secure a special issue on sport social work in a reputable social work journal.
Goal Eight: Marketing and Visibility
The Alliance seeks to expand its footprint in the world of athletics. To do this, the Alliance must establish marketing and visibility plans that brings awareness to our cause, establishes a level of expertise, and shows open-mindedness towards working collaboratively with others. Our marketing and visibility plans call for the following:
1 Interface with professional social work bodies such as the National Association of Social Workers (national and state chapters), Baccalaureate Program Directors, Society for Social Work Research, and the Council on Social Work Education.
2 Maintain consultation services and invited presentation opportunities for our membership. Market these services as revenue generators for the Alliance and opportunities to establish our membership as leaders in promoting athlete health and well-being.
3 Establish relationships with media outlets so our membership can provide expertise on current happenings in the world of athletics.
4 Identify graduate programs in business and marketing to establish a clear business and marketing plan for the Alliance.
Goal Nine: Social Work in Sports Symposium
The Alliance is committed to hosting an annual conference on the integration, application, and evaluation of social work in sports. The annual conference provides a peer-reviewed format for disseminating research, practice knowledge, and advocacy for the sport social work movement. The conference also serves as an excellent networking opportunity for those interested in the health and well-being of youth, college, and professional athletes. The goals for upcoming conferences include:
1 Hosting the 2023 and 2024 conference in locations desired by our membership or required by existing agreements.
2 Explore international venues for future conference.
3 Offer a variety of peer-reviewed presentation styles at the symposium (e.g., Ted Talk, interactive workshops, poster sessions, panels, etc.).
4 Invite prominent keynote and featured speakers to the conference that highlight the diversity of athletics.
Goal Ten: Student Representation and Outreach
The Alliance understands the future of the sport social work movement relies heavily on the future generations of social work professionals. Our student membership is comprised of pioneering minds with insights that could shatter barriers currently facing the athlete population. Thus, our Alliance seeks to mentor and position our student members as they reach their educational ambitions. To do this, the Alliance will do the following:
1 Partner with universities to provide internship opportunities for students. These internships will provide students the opportunity to learn more about sport social work and non-profit management.
2 Partner with universities to offer a part- or full-time practicum/field placement with the Alliance. This placement will allow a student to participate in the day-to-day operations of the Alliance.
3 Elect an at-large student position on the Alliance Executive Team.
4 Encourage student members to be active in the committee structure and other needs of the Alliance.
5 Encourage professional members to engage students in their research efforts, practice experiences, and other educational matters.
6 Encourage student members to seek professional mentors from within our professional membership.
Goal Eleven: Fundraising and Development
The financial state of the Alliance is essential to achieving the goals established in this strategic plan. Having disposable resources provides the Alliance the ability to lead the integration of social work into all realms of sports. We aim to achieve the following as it relates to fundraising and development:
1 Raise $60,000 by the end of the 2023 calendar year. These funds will come from a variety of sources such as membership dues, the Sport Social Work Certificate Program, symposium sponsorships and registrations, job center contributions, external grants, and other cash donations.
2 Raise $75,000 by the end of the 2024 calendar year. These funds will come from a variety of sources such as membership dues, the Sport Social Work Certificate Program, symposium sponsorships and registrations, job center contributions, external grants, and other cash donations.
3. Work with industry experts to identify appropriate investment accounts for growing Alliance funds.
Goal Twelve: Elections
Electing leaders for the Alliance is an essential function for the oversight of any strategic plan and infusing new ideas as the Alliance continues to mature. To achieve this goal the following must happen:
1 The nomination and election of executive committee members based on polices and procedures established in the bylaws.
2 The nomination and election of committee chairs and subgroup leaders based on policies and procedures established in the bylaws.
Goal Thirteen: Website and Communication
All organizations need a central hub where members can access and share information. Our Alliance invested time and resources in the creation of www.aswis.org. Our website serves as the primary source for information about the Alliance, recruitment of new members, and other current events. We also seek to offer additional modes of communication to our members and to the larger community. This is done through dissemination of a bi-monthly newsletter, and various social media accounts. Knowing the value our website and these other forms of communication have in educating a worldwide audience, we aim to:
1 Maintain an accurate and professional website with resources for the general public, our membership, and those looking to join us in our efforts to promote the well-being and functioning of athletes.
2 Utilize the website to share updates about the Alliance through a newsletter and newsfeeds, promote the educational opportunities discussed previously, advertise information about upcoming and previous symposia, maintain a current job center and research consortium, provide a friendly infrastructure for registering new members and renewing existing memberships, amongst other items.
3 Maintain a “spotlight” job feature on our website that can raise funds for the Alliance.
4 Utilize Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to expand our social media presence.
Goal Fourteen: Sport Social Work Certificate Program and Higher Education Settings
Recognizing the need to position social workers for careers in athletics, the Alliance believes a Sport Social Work Certificate Program or specialized courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels could provide the excellence in education, research, practice, and service necessary for social workers to play a large role in promoting the social justice of athletes. To maintain the Sport Social Work Certificate Program and to work with faculty members to create special topics college courses, the Alliance must:
1 Maintain a curriculum based on social work theory, policy, research, and practice with a focus on EPAS standards. The curriculum should also appeal to employers seeking social workers in the athletic field. This developing and updating syllabi for each course, course assignments, resources, and program policies/procedures.
2 Working with the Tulane University School of Social Work and Tulane University Center for Sport to maintain a platform for hosting the certificate program and the virtual class sessions required.
3. Work with institutes of higher education to seek BSW and MSW students for practicum placements.
4. Work with institutes of higher education to offer special topic courses on Sport Social Work.
Goal Fifteen: Sport Social Work Journal
The Sport Social Work Journal was launched in 2021 by Dr. Matt Moore at Ball State University. The journal is sponsored by the Alliance of Social Workers in Sports (ASWIS) and Ball State University.
The mission of the Sport Social Work Journal is to bring attention to the needs of individuals and collectives within the athletic community and to demonstrate how the profession of social work is suited to meet those needs. The journal is also committed to providing information on how the athletic community can advocate for social justice and change through sport. By publishing peer-reviewed scholarship related to the well-being of athletes, the athletic community and the broader community it interacts with, the Sport Social Work Journal can achieve these aims.
Our vision is to promote individual and community well-being through sports by providing scholarly information on the intersection of sports and social work practice, theory and research. This includes raising awareness of the challenges that athletes face throughout the life course, identifying inherent strengths athletes possess and displaying how social workers can assist athletes in utilizing their strengths to meet these challenges. You can learn more about the journal at www.sswj.org.