The joys of constructing an action plan

Develop an action plan for any goal you or your group may have to gain a rewarding result.

An action plan can be a handy tool. The format of an action plan will help a group reach to a successful conclusion. Many 4-H clubs conduct fundraisers and club activities that involve an action plan, which is a useful, simple instrument to help them gain leadership and team building skills. Action plans are used by businesses, foundations, non-profit organizations and many other groups that would like to reach a desired goal(s) within a considerable amount of time.

Michigan State University Extension recommends these steps to help lead to a complete and thought out action plan:

  • State your goal – What are you trying to accomplish? The goal should be stated in just one sentence. Example: Coordinate a club field trip or plan an ice-cream social.
  • State your long-term goal - This could be what you want to learn on a field trip or what you want to use money on that was raised through a fundraiser.
  • Short-term goals - This is where you breakdown your long-term goals into workable steps. Next to each short-term goal, list who will do the task and when it should be completed by. State the date you want to reach your final goal.
  • Talents, strengths and obstacle - Take time to look at your strengths and any obstacles to the plan. Talents and strengths refer to the skills you already have to reach your goal in some of the steps from your short-term goals. Obstacles may be the skills you don’t have or the resources or materials you do not possess.
  • Measure success with a check-off list. Go back to the short-term goals periodically to see if a goal was reached in the indicated time. This is a measure of success if you have completed that goal in the indicated time.
  • Reward – How do you know you have reached your goal? Can you go back to your long-term goals and say it has been reached? If so, you are rewarded with a completed action plan!

If you can put checks next to all the short-term goals and are happy that the plan is complete then you can joyfully move on to your next action plan.

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