Third and Fourth Sectors

The People Pages: Program Planning and Development

from The People Pages: Resources for Social Change (c) 2003 The Fruition Coalition

  1. Needs Assessment – Conduct research to determine the needs in the community you serve.  Primary research could include interviews, surveys, and focus groups with potential or existing program participants, community leaders, and local residents.  Contact similar programs in your area to find out what they are and aren’t doing.  Ask their staff, volunteers, and participants what they perceive as unmet needs in the community.   If programs have been unwelcome or ineffective, get feedback.  Ask the people who use your services and the staff who implement them what changes they think would be helpful.
  1. Organizational and Program Analysis – Assess your organization’s capacity and determine whether or not growth is appropriate or feasible.  Review recent program activities.  Brainstorm ideas for growth, change, or cutbacks.
  1. Program Planning Decide which programs will continue, which will terminate, and what new programs will be started.  Develop an implementation plan that describes each program’s activities.  Set measurable goals for each program.  Break down each goal into a concrete action plan.  Assign each task in the action plan to a staff or volunteer.  Determine which outcomes will demonstrate whether or not the program has been a success.  Design instruments to collect data.
  1. Analyze Resources – Determine if any staffing changes will need to be made.  Determine if your facilities, technology, and equipment are adequate.
  1. Financial Planning – Develop a budget for each program.  Research and develop diverse sources of funding.  Set prices for participants.
  1. Marketing and Promotion – Publicize your programs and services to the people who will use them through interpersonal interaction, press releases, flyers, newsletters, etc.
  1. Implementation– Deliver programs and services.
  1. Outcomes Measurement – This is the process of collecting and analyzing information to determine whether or not program goals have been achieved.  Collect data and document behaviors, attitudes, and opinions.  Measure changes and patterns in each.  Transcribe data through a software program that can interpret and summarize the collective information.
  1. Program Evaluation – Review results from the outcomes measurement process.  If goals were not achieved, research why this happened.  Figure out ways that programs could be changed to meet goals.
  1. Communicate Results – Share the success of your programs through grant reports, annual reports, your website, and newsletter.

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