Progress associations are local resident associations, owned and run by their members. Any resident within the City of Willoughby is entitled to and welcome to become a member of their local progress association. They often communicate their concerns and suggestions to appropriate government departments, the local council or other relevant organisations.
All nine progress associations in the city are members of the Federation of Willoughby Progress Associations. This umbrella body discusses and acts on matters of general concern to the whole Willoughby community. Key issues addressed in recent years include Willoughby City's Civic Place project, traffic and transport, improvements in community health services (particularly mental health), and water conservation and management. The Federation also supports individual progress associations' local concerns.