How to Create a Nonprofit Work Plan
Each nonprofit objective requires several steps. Here’s where work plans come into play. Work plans break tasks into small steps so they can be easily managed.
Work plans grow out of organizational and program goals and are the nuts and bolts of planning. They’re also called action plans. They contain specific objectives associated with a deadline for completion and a notation as to who’s responsible for completing the task.
Sometimes grant proposals, especially proposals for government funds, require specific objectives described in a work plan. Individual employees also can develop work plans, either at their supervisor’s request or simply as an exercise to help the employees organize their work. People also can use work plans to deal with an organizational crisis or a rapid organizational change or as management tools.
Think of a work plan as a blueprint. It provides a way to keep on top of what has to be done and when it needs to be completed. An action plan contains the answers to the following questions for each objective:
What is the end result? (If possible, quantify the results. For example, three grant proposals will be submitted.)
How long will it take to do the job?
Who will be responsible for doing the job?
What resources are needed?
Objective By When By Whom Resources Needed Date Completed Research three potential foundation funders April 30, 2011 Allen Foundation directory; web search April 28, 2011 Prepare three grant proposals July 30, 2011 Allen Program objectives; budgets July 21, 2011 Follow up on proposals September 15, 2011 Allen None September 10, 2011
Work plans require that a job be broken down into smaller tasks. For example, the three objectives can be split into even smaller tasks. The objective to complete three grant proposals can be divided into the individual steps for writing a grant:
Assemble the background information and support materials.
Develop the budget.
Write the first draft.
Revise and rewrite the draft.
Proof and assemble the proposal.
Submit the proposal by the deadline.
Be aware that you can take the creation of a work plan to the point of absurdity. Don’t make work plans so detailed and specific that writing the plan takes more time than doing the work that the plan specifies.