North Dakota EMS Association 

2016 Strategic Planning Report

On October 1st and 2nd 2016, members of the Board of Directors of the North Dakota EMS Association met in Bismarck to conduct a strategic planning session.  The purpose of the planning session was to develop a course of action for the Association to follow and implement over the next 2 to 5 years.

Prior to the Strategic Planning Session board members were asked to complete a survey.  The survey was to see what the board members felt are priorities of NDEMSA.

After reviewing the survey, areas identified for discussion were

  • 1.     Foundation Organization
  • 2.     Legislative Efforts
  • 3.     Member Services
  • 4.     Education and Conferences
  • 5.     Regional Advisor Positions and Transition
  • 6.     Social Media and Advertising

1.      OVERVIEW

This report discusses the most important topics and the action plan put in place for the upcoming year for the ND EMS Association.

2.        FOUNDATION

The North Dakota EMS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that began in 2004.  The establishing vision of the Foundation was to promote and support prehospital emergency medical services across the great state of North Dakota. The Foundation is dedicated to the state's EMS providers, ambulance services and quick response units; and it places a major emphasis on the continued viability of individual rural providers and response groups. Most people are not sure what the foundation does.  A priority of the ND EMS Association is getting the Foundation visible and thriving. 

            A.         Define what the foundation does.

            B.         Develop a board consisting of membership primarily not on the NDEMSA Board.

            C.         Develop a brochure for the Foundation

            D.         Increase awareness of the Foundation's mission through social media, NDEMSA Response Times articles, fund-raising events, and conference booths.

3.         LEGISLATION

The North Dakota EMS Association strongly believes in being "the advocate" for EMS providers and EMS agencies alike in North Dakota. The Association has been a voice for ND EMS since 1976 and has had significant advocacy efforts since the 2005 legislative session. Even though our citizen legislature meets only every two years, our advocacy committee is active year-round identifying rule changes, and other impacts to EMS.  At the planning, there was discussion of what the legislative efforts of NDEMSA should be for the 2017 Legislative Session.

            A.         Promote the NDEMSA legislative efforts.

            B.         The Future of EMS Meetings identified the difficulty reaching legislators and local leaders.  A legislative luncheon at the regional conferences will be looked into to see if plausible.

            C.         New policies enacted through the legislative process versus to enact new rules / regulations.

            D.         Involve the membership in picking legislative priorities.


Services of NDEMSA provided to members and nonmembers was discussed at the planning and what we could do differently. The board wants to ensure NDEMS membership is beneficial and necessary

            A.         Services provided by NDEMSA are for NDEMSA members. 

            B.         Limit access on the NDEMSA website to members only.

            C.         Make SAVVIK a member-only website.


One of NDEMSA’s primary goals is education for emergency personal. Some of the main goals discussed at the planning for education included:

            A.         The regional conferences will be coordinated to assure NCCR topics are offered.

            B.         NDEMSA will focus on in-person education.  Exploring on-line education.

            C.         NDEMSA will explore other educational opportunities for its members.

            D.         NDEMSA will increase EMR educational opportunities.



            A.         The goal is to increase membership by 50%


With Jim DeMell retiring, Lynn Hartman is the only regional advisor employed. The ND EMS Association has begun the discussion on whether to keep the program, how many advisors to employ, and what their responsibilities should be. Further discussion will ensue on this topic.

            A.         Regional Advisors will promote the NDEMSA, as well as address issues affecting EMS agencies.

    B.         Regional Advisors will share promotional materials with squad leaders and members and discuss the       

                         work done by the NDEMSA and the benefits of belonging to the NDEMSA.

            C.         Regional Advisors will discuss that their consulting services are for members only

            D.         The NDEMSA Board of Directors will discuss what the best way to continue the Regional Advisors program. This discussion will include how many Regional Advisors should be hired, how many hours, and potential recruitment of advisors.


The team wanted to get important news and dates to members on social media and our website; to get NDEMSA’s name out there to let nonmembers know what the association’s mission is.

            A.         Establish a Snapchat and Instagram account for the NDEMSA. 

            B.         Coordinate all social media with Hoot Suite.

            C.         Set up Facebook event for every NDEMSA conference.

            D.         Send out advertisement letters to members about events that are occurring.

            E.         Look into what we need to do to legally send out mass messaging.

            F.         Look into an on-line Response Times option.


At each conference, evaluations are collected from the attendees. The directors reviewed the evaluations to see where they can improve. Changes that will be implemented this year:

            A.         At the 2017 Rendezvous there will be a social, instead of a Saturday night dance.

            B.         At the regional conferences a vendor can purchase a booth for $100 or donate an item of equal or greatee value.

            C.         Consider reducing the number of concurrent sessions at the Rendezvous and increasing focus on providing NCCR topics / sessions.

2015 NDEMSA Strategic Goals

On August 22 and 23, 2015 members of the Board of Directors of the North Dakota EMS Association met at Lake Metigoshe to conduct a strategic planning session.  The purpose of the planning session was to develop a course of action for the Association to follow for the next two to five years.

Specific objectives of the planning session were to consider:

  • 1.      Developing succession and transition plans for key board positions;
  • 2.      Establishing a strategy to ensure board members are trained and orientated to the organization, operations and expectations.
  • 3.      Identifying ways to invigorate and engage the membership;
  • 4.      Increasing efforts to inform members what services the Association has to offer through social media and networking and;
  • 5.      Continuing to strengthen and broaden NDEMSA’s education to emergency personnel.

Similar to  2012 Strategic Planning session, the meeting began with the attendees reviewing the mission and vision statements of the organization to execute the purpose of the strategic planning session.  They were reminded that all decisions made during the session should help the Association move towards mission achievement; thus, it was important that each individual understood and supported the statements. 

After reviewing the mission and vision statements the planning session conducted an exercise to learn what each individual director considered were the association’s strengths and weaknesses.  During this process, the group identified areas the association needs to develop or improve and possible solutions. Here were the areas the attendees felt should be focused on:

Leadership Transition- Board Involvement Objectives

  • 1.   Review the past 10 years of board members and establish a list of those eligible for the officer positions.  Leadership will reach out to those suitable for these open positions.
  • 2.   Modification of the nomination and election rule process with changes forthcoming in the 2016 election (statewide) and 2016-2017 (regional).  This change to the nomination and election process will optimistically lead to more suitable candidates and a more transparent voting process.
  • 3.   Eventual transition to E-Vote with all nominations due by December 31 and elections held over a 2 to 3 week period.  New officers and regional directors would begin their term immediately.
  • 4.   Begin a board mentorship program with the mentorship of new board members as well as current board members mentoring future candidates, especially when looking to “retire”.
  • 5.   Create awareness among association members of their director and officer roles.  This can be done by introductions at conferences, names/photos/squad affiliation in NDEMSA publications, social media releases, etc.

Association Membership and Communication Objectives

  • 1.   A membership drive conducted near the end of each summer once updated contact information has been received at the state level following re-licensure.
  • 2.   Better promotion of the free one-year student membership program through direct mailing to Instructor/Coordinators, targeting current classes, and with help from Regional Advisors and directors promoting the program.
  • 3.   Establishment of an Affiliate Squad Membership program to increase membership numbers and provide an easier process for services that pay membership fees for their squad members.
  • 4.   Creation of a committee that will explore Affiliate Squad Membership benefits, membership fees, and other details of the program.
  • 5.   Find opportunities to continually engage services and begin to work with EMS agencies that have no representation at the leadership academy, management courses, and conferences and determine how to actively connect with them.
  • 6.   In the next 12 to 18 months focus efforts on the Response Time becoming “green” with eventual printing only for members who want the print edition.  This green initiative will not only reduce costs but allow for more timely information delivery, more pages of content, and more readerships.

Social Media – Networking Objectives

  • 1.   Post three times weekly on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and find positive stories to promote using a variety of sources to garner news.
  • 2.   Increase the number of likes and following on these accounts with promotion at regional conferences, contests/giveaways, and through email marketing.
  • 3.   Enhance the functionality of the website and keep it fresh with news, job opportunities, equipment sales, etc. and continually link social media accounts back to the website.
  • 4.   Continually find opportunities to improve database contact information, such as a verify email incentive at conferences.
  • 5.   Develop an EMS Rendezvous smart phone application.
  • 6.   Further enhance the “visibility” of the EMS Association by; selling logo merchandise at all conferences and online, have a presence at the state practical test site, information sent with re-licensure, and more visible with EMT and Paramedic education programs.
  • 7.   Collaborate with other organizations to improve education offerings and further promotion of the organization (ND Safety Council, AHA, Firefighters Association, etc.).
  • 8.   Provide additional service leader networking opportunities.

Education Objectives

  • 1.   Hiring of an Education Coordinator will necessitate establishing goals and objectives for the first several months of this new position.
  • 2.   Education Coordinator will work to coordinate topics and presenters between all four of the regional conferences.
  • 3.   Stabilize conference revenue by increasing sponsorship dollars and reach beyond North Dakota for participants.
  • 4.   More conference promotion through social media, national speakers promoting the event, paid advertising, and other opportunities to raise awareness of our education events.
  • 5.   Attend national and regional conferences to recruit new presenters and solicit exhibitors.
  • 6.   NCCR education needs to be offered online and sought after sessions should be offered multiple times or in a breakout format (if space is available).
  • 7.    Develop subcommittees within the conference committee to spread the work load between several more board members and ultimately improve the conference.

  • The complete Strategic Planning and Execution Guide can be downloaded here.

2012 NDEMSA Strategic Goals

On June 10 and 11 members of the North Dakota EMS Association's Board of Directors met at Lake Metigoshe to conduct a strategic planning session to develop a course of action for the Association to follow for the next two to five years. To execute the purpose of the strategic planning session attendees first reviewed the mission and vision statements of the organization. They were reminded that all decisions made during the session should help the Association move towards mission achievement; thus, it was important that each individual understood and supported the statements. After reviewing the statements the planning session conducted a SWOT analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Association.

SWOT Analysis

The chart below highlights what were determined to be the top five strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats given current situations and priorities.


  • Honest/Trustworthy;
  • Recognize the need for a lobbyist;
  • Recognize the need to improve and continue;
  • Dedication to bringing positive change; and
  • Educational services.


  • Lack of Association promotion;
  • Year to year finance, not enough reserve built;
  • Board meetings, reporting v. decision making;
  • Low percentage of membership, relative to the
    number of providers;
  • Rely on a few people.



  • Association has a decent funding base, allowing the opportunity to hire specialties;
  • Apply for grants and offer grant writing assistance to ambulance services;
  • Pursue outside funding (corporations,
    donors, etc.);
  • Re-organize the workload (less reliance on staff);
  • Workforce development for the EMS industry (i.e.: Community Paramedics).


  • Decline in conference numbers;
  • Funding competition from other emergency service organizations for legislative dollars. Where will the money come from;
  • Sustainable funding for the Association;
  • Some services are not on board with the Association and Association initiatives and objectives;
  • Lack of professional recognition as an industry. .


After reviewing the SWOT Analysis participants began to establish strategic plans to address weaknesses and threats and capitalize on strengths and opportunities. They developed SMART Goals to help carry-out the plans. These goals are Specific, Measurable, someone is Accountable, Realistic and Time oriented. Here are the seven SMART Goals established at the planning session.

  1. Develop a staffing plan for the Association that utilizes a mix of volunteer and paid staff to meet the Association's needs. Needs include, but are not limited to, marketing, diverse funding, event planning, legislative support and day-to-day administration. The staffing plan should include a minimum of one full-time position and possibly a part time position. The plan needs to include job descriptions for paid and volunteer staff positions identified in the plan.
  2. Establish a board development committee that is responsible for: developing an orientation packet for new board members; developing an orientation program for new board members; conducting the developed orientation program; identifying the interests and strengths of current board members; mentoring inactive board members; conduct or assist with succession planning; and monitor and improve board operations.
  3. Increase the percentage of EMS providers (CPR-D, EMRs, EMTs, AEMTs, Paramedics) that are Association members to 60% in the next five years.
  4. Publish a Special Edition of the Response Time that explains who the Association is, what the Association does and highlights Association accomplishments. The issue will be mailed to all North Dakota EMS providers and copies sent to non-members shall include special inserts that explain how and where to join.
  5. Conduct an education needs assessment and education strategic planning session that includes all North Dakota EMS education stakeholders. The planning session should consider, but not be limited to: increasing conference numbers, instructor mentorships, becoming a training center, providing additional training (filling unmet education needs, online education) and establishing EMS as a career path and/or degree program.
  6. Publish an Ambulance Management Resource Guide that discusses and explains the day-to-day requirements for properly managing an ambulance service. It should include basic forms, information regarding laws, regulations and requirements, outline how to access resources, etc. The finished product must be highly branded as a product of NDEMSA.
  7. In order to increase financial sustainability by June of 2017, a minimum of $20,000 of the Association's annual revenue shall be generated by a source or sources not included in the Association's current annual revenue concentration.

Download and read the complete Strategic Report 2012f report.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software