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3 Tips for Program/ Service Planning & Development

Updated: Aug 29

Program development, implementation, and evaluation are essential to the heart and soul of every non profit organization. Client and participant experience, outcomes, and overall agency success are each described by, and evaluated by the strategic structure of the program development model and framework. Alas, in the wake of COVID-19, many organizations are having to go “back to the drawing board” as it were, to reimagine how to provide services, both during and post- pandemic.


Here are a few tips to make your Program Development planning a success:

1) As much as is possible, seek to include representation from all stakeholders, within the program development process. This includes, but is not limited to: Board of Director members, contract holders and/ or funding sources, staff who would be implementing the program, potential donors, other agency collaborative partners, and anticipated clients or participants. This insures both stakeholder buy-in and support, as well as the development of a practical and effective program and service model.


2) Clearly define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). How are you going to measure success within your program? Consider both the quantitative outcome (i.e.: # of clients graduated), and the qualitative outcome (reduction of anxiety and depression, restoration of familial relationships, etc.).


3) Determine what processes and instruments will be needed in order to track your success. Explain what data collection tools you will use, how they were chosen (or whether they are created in-house), and how the data produced is intended to answer the evaluation questions. Examples include: Eligibility requirements, Intake Assessments, mid- program evaluations, end of program evaluations, etc.


We’ve created a comprehensive Program Development Plan Template, to walk you through the complete process! This Template is also customizable, so you can share it with funding agencies, prospective donors, and use it to complete the grant application process 😊

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