ARRL Strategic Plan


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Adopted by the ARRL Board of Directors
Prepared by the Strategic Planning Working Group
January 15, 2016 


ARRL (The American Radio Relay League, Inc.), the national association for Amateur Radio, began its second century in 2014. As radio technology and practice matured during its first century, ARRL, through its members, advanced the art and science of radio, kept Amateur Radio accessible to all, preserved and expanded the Amateur Radio spectrum, and played an important role in the ongoing communications revolution. As ARRL enters its second century, it will continue to be the representative voice of Amateur Radio.

Those familiar with past ARRL Strategic Plans will find that the mission and vision of the association have changed very little. This is because the plan still reflects the core principles of our association. In addition to the Mission and Vision Statements, this plan includes a new Values Statement based on previous planning documents and the values that are inherent in the organization.

This plan is a starting point to assure that ARRL continues its leading role in the Amateur Radio community. This document is intended lead to specific tactics, including annual planning, to assure that the ARRL fulfills its mission.

ARRL’s Mission Statement:

To advance the art, science, and enjoyment of Amateur Radio.

ARRL’s mission should motivate and inspire its members. The simplicity of this statement is deceptive, because it encompasses many different activities across the pillars of the association: public service, advocacy, education, technology, and membership. In addition, while these activities may change over time, ARRL’s overall mission does not.

ARRL's Vision Statement
As the national association for Amateur Radio in the United States, ARRL:

  • Supports the awareness and growth of Amateur Radio worldwide;
  • Advocates for meaningful access to radio spectrum;
  • Strives for every member to get involved, get active, and get on the air;
  • Encourages radio experimentation and, through its members, advances radio technology and education; and
  • Organizes and trains volunteers to serve their communities by providing public service and emergency communications.

ARRL’s Values

ARRL’s core values underlie the work of fulfilling the association’s mission, how we conduct ourselves, and how we interact with each other. These values are an important part of the legacy of ARRL’s first 100 years of existence, and reflect the wisdom of our founders and the commitment of our current leaders.

“Of, by, and for the radio amateur.”
We are committed to using our skills, experience, and resources for the benefit of our members and the worldwide Amateur Radio community and to ensure the relevance of Amateur Radio now and for future generations. Our passion for Amateur Radio is reflected in all that we do.

Members – ARRL values all members and recognizes their contributions: knowledge, volunteerism, leadership, and financial support.

ngagement – Our success stems from our association with one another, by nurturing participation, exchanging ideas, and encouraging innovation. We value and support the wide and ever-expanding range of interests of radio amateurs.

Knowledge – We encourage skills development, achievement, and discovery through opportunities for lifelong learning and training.

Expertise – The foundation of our organization is members, volunteers, and employees whose knowledge and abilities serve our communities and who support all aspects of the Amateur Radio Service.

Excellence – We encourage and support high standards in all aspects of Amateur Radio, including technological innovation, operating practice and etiquette, signal quality, safety, regulatory compliance, and in managing the organization.

Integrity – We act honestly, openly, and ethically. We maintain the highest level of integrity, accuracy, and fairness in all that we publish and produce. We are responsible stewards of the assets entrusted to our care.

Diversity and Inclusiveness–
Amateur Radio is enriched by and enjoyed by individuals from all traditions, heritages, backgrounds, and experiences. Our association will reflect the diverse composition of our community including members, volunteers, and employees.

ARRL’s Strategic Goals

ARRL will…

GOAL 1: Grow Amateur Radio worldwide.

GOAL 2: Increase the vitality of Amateur Radio.

GOAL 3: Keep Amateur Radio accessible to all.

GOAL 4: Advance Amateur Radio science and technology.

GOAL 5: Organize and train volunteers to serve their communities by providing public service and emergency communications.

GOAL 6: Practice good governance and organizational management.

GOAL 1: Grow Amateur Radio worldwide.

ARRL, since its inception, has been of critical importance to the Amateur Radio Service. This goal is as important today as it has ever been. Today, Amateur Radio exists among many more modes of communication than it did a century ago. The growth of wireless technologies, such as cell phones and the Internet of Things*, have had a profound effect on both spectrum competition and on the overall interest in and support for Amateur Radio. We must ensure that Amateur Radio is a vital and relevant service whose existence is justified by its contributions to society.

* The “Internet of Things” is the networking of physical objects such as phones, automobiles, and other mass consumer products.

Initiative 1.1: Encourage new entrants to Amateur Radio.

Initiative 1.2: Increase public awareness and knowledge of Amateur Radio.

Initiative 1.3: Support global interactions throughout Amateur Radio.

Initiative 1.4: Support and develop programs that prepare
youth as the next generation of radio amateurs.

GOAL 2: Increase the vitality of Amateur Radio.

The collective strength of our members provides beneficial influence and resources that support a vital Amateur Radio Service. ARRL, through its high-quality programs and services, will increase its members’ engagement in Amateur Radio activities.

Initiative 2.1: Promote, grow, and retain ARRL membership.

Initiative 2.2: Sustain ARRL’s status as the most trusted, respected, impartial, and enduring source of information about Amateur Radio.

Initiative 2.3: Encourage members to get involved, get active, and get on the air.

Initiative 2.4: Maintain ARRL’s position as the premier amateur radiosport organization.

Initiative 2.5: Strengthen local relationships through radio clubs.

Initiative 2.6: Encourage the active participation of young radio amateurs.

Initiative 2.7: Support Amateur Radio license instruction.

Initiative 2.8: Manage the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (ARRL VEC) Program.

GOAL 3: Keep Amateur Radio accessible to all.

ARRL, since its inception, has advocated on behalf of its members and all radio amateurs for freedom to use radio spectrum. This commitment encompasses our pursuit of meaningful spectrum, and ensures that the Amateur Radio Service can fulfill its mission, unimpeded, to the nation, its citizens, and the world.

Initiative 3.1: Preserve, protect, and expand the Amateur Radio spectrum.

Initiative 3.2: Pursue a legislative agenda favorable to Amateur Radio.

Initiative 3.3: Challenge antenna restrictions.

Initiative 3.4: Reduce spectrum pollution.

Initiative 3.5: Provide meaningful privileges for all license classes. 

GOAL 4: Advance Amateur Radio science and technology.

ARRL brings radio amateurs the most trustworthy sources and key information at the intersection of radio science and applied technology. We will inform and educate members while fostering an environment that encourages innovation and experimentation.

Initiative 4.1 Cultivate a climate of innovation that advances the art, science, and practice of Amateur Radio.

Initiative 4.2: Disseminate information covering the many facets of radio technology.

Initiative 4.3: Provide technical information and operating guidance that contributes to more skillful, active members.

Initiative 4.4:
Position ARRL as a valuable source of information and expertise to the many organizations that are important to Amateur Radio.


GOAL 5: Organize and train volunteers to serve their communities by providing public service and emergency communications.

ARRL will ensure that Amateur Radio volunteers are prepared to provide public service, emergency, and disaster communications.

Initiative 5.1: Strengthen Amateur Radio’s role as a relevant, reliable, and recognizable part of the nation’s emergency communications response capability.

Initiative 5.2: Develop a framework for training and managing public service volunteers.

GOAL 6: Practice good governance and organizational management.

All of the preceding goals require the continued development of a strong association capable of advancing ARRL’s mission, vision, and goals—an association that is responsive to future opportunities and challenges.

Initiative 6.1: Ensure the long-term financial stability of ARRL.

Initiative 6.2: Align operational processes with member needs.

Initiative 6.3: Develop an organization that supports and encourages excellent planning and project execution.

Initiative 6.4: Attract, develop, and retain a talented pool of employees, volunteers, and contractors.

Initiative 6.5: Practice good governance — ARRL Board and Committees.

Initiative 6.6: Practice good organizational management of the ARRL Field Organization and its related support of ARRL programs and services.

Acknowledgments and Sources

We acknowledge the input and information from the following stakeholders and sources that contributed to this plan:

ARRL Members

ARRL Board; Officers, Directors, and Vice Directors

ARRL Staff

ARRL Section Managers

ARRL Advertisers

Field Organization Volunteers and Leaders

Past ARRL Strategic Plans and other background and documents from ARRL’s history

Other Organizations’ Strategic Plans

Strategic Planning Research and Literature

2015 ARRL Market Study (Readex Survey)

“The Value of ARRL Membership,” report to the ARRL Board of Directors, March 2015

“The Value of ARRL Membership,” QST 99, no. 10 (October 2015): 76-79.

Strategic Planning Working Group Members

Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF, ARRL Second Vice President, Chairman

Bonnie Altus, AB7ZQ, Vice Director, ARRL Northwestern Division

Kermit Carlson, W9XA, Vice Director, ARRL Central Division

Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, ARRL Marketing Manager

Harold Kramer, WJ1B, ARRL Chief Operating Officer

Greg Widin, KØGW, Director, ARRL Dakota Division

Art Zygielbaum, KØAIZ, Vice Director, ARRL Midwest Division                                          

ARRL Strategic Planning Process

At the January 2015 Board meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors approved a process to create a new ARRL Strategic Plan. The previous strategic plan was created in 2009.

President Kay Craigie, N3KN, tasked ARRL 2nd Vice President Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF, to chair the Working Group.  Other members of this group included Dakota Division Director Greg Widin, K0GW, Vice Directors Kermit Carlson, W9XA (Central Division), Bonnie Altus, AB7ZQ (Northwestern Division), Art Zygielbaum, K0AIZ (Midwest Division), ARRL Chief Operating Officer Harold Kramer, WJ1B, and ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R.  All of the members selected to participate with this Working Group have past strategic planning experience.  Their charge was to look forward to define where the ARRL should focus its energy to insure that the future programs and services meet a changing environment and maintain the current positive aspects of the League's member base.

The Working Group's first report to the Board took place at the July 2015 Board Meeting, and a final plan recommendation was made during the January 2016 Board Meeting when the plan was adopted.