Step 2: Planning a Successful Project

This entire Bulletin is a planning document, so it might seem odd to focus on operational planning as a separate stage. However, organizing how you're going to address a problem requires a different focus from deciding what problem to address. The second step of the Success Cycle will help you figure out how to address the problems in your community.

Why have an operational plan? An operational plan will help you identify specific tasks that need to be accomplished, decide how to delegate responsibilities, develop interest and enthusiasm for doing the project, and decide how to use resources. Planning also helps your group focus on a goal and builds teamwork.

Who devises the plan of action? Your key group does. This group should include members from, or people linked to, most or all of the groups critical to your success. Some of the people who helped in the assessment should be involved in the planning.

For small projects such as a community cleanup, only your cleanup group and a neighborhood representative are necessary. For large-scale projects, such as a drug abuse prevention program, you will want to gather not only youth but representatives of community organizations, government agencies, and perhaps the very people you want to help.

Now comes the most important part -- creating the operational plan. (See some key planning terms defined below.) Follow the steps below to formulate a successful plan. Use "Worksheet 2: Working Through Your Operational Plan" to take notes.

bullet Identify the target, such as a specific group, that your project will help.
bullet Spell out precise goals and objectives.
bullet Choose strategies (methods and approaches) to reach the goals and objectives.
bullet Determine target dates and priorities.
bullet Divide specific jobs and responsibilities among group members.
bullet Make sure your project can be evaluated properly.

Key Planning Terms

Goal: The purpose of your project; your desired result. For example, to reduce crime in your school.

Objectives: Specifics that your project should accomplish; measurable results that when reached mean your goal has been achieved. For example, to contact all youth in your school or neighborhood to make them aware of crime problems and to get two-thirds of them to join a crime watch program.

Strategy: The ways that you will go about achieving your objectives or goals. For example, to convince students that crime is a problem in the school, your strategy might be to use posters, videos, or student-performed skits to get the message across.

Target dates: The dates by which certain jobs or activities need to be completed, especially so that other actions can go forward.

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Youth In Action Bulletin April 1998   black   Number 01