How to Create a Nonprofit Work Plan

Objectives are general. Add a way of measuring them by stating how many nonprofit prospects you want to acquire, how much the appeal costs to produce, and how many appeal letters you plan to mail, and the time frame for completing the appeal and generating income. But each objective in the table requires several steps. Work plans break tasks into small steps so they can be easily managed.

Work plans are the nuts and bolts of planning. They’re also called action plans. They contain strategies for achieving specific objectives, identify deadlines for completion, and note who’s responsible for completing the task. A work plan answers the following questions for each objective:

  • What is the end result? (If possible, quantify the results. For example, 3,000 letters will be mailed.)

  • 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
    Attend workshop on fundraising letters February 28 Allen Find workshop through the Foundation Center February 26
    Draft letter and seek feedback March 15 Allen and board com-mittee Committee meeting for feedback March 15
    Revise and copyedit letter March 20 Ashley and Gina Experienced editor March 25

Work plans require that a job be broken down into smaller tasks. For example, the three objectives can be split into even smaller tasks.

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.

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