|JUNE 2007 --
1. NEEDS ASSESSMENT: The procedures for finding out what programs are wanted needed, educational, entertaining and useful.
-- Use information you get from interest surveys, and/or talking to your members, community and potential audience.
-- Make informal contact - ask people about what they are interested in, and most importantly, listen to what they say
-- Discuss interests at meetings.
-- Have members write out on note cards during a meeting their hobbies, interests, skills, and programs they would be willing to present.
-- Generate ideas for programs which may address problems or difficulties expressed by your members.
Common Problems with needs assessment:
-- Making assumptions abut what people want, like or need
-- Having predetermined programs in mind before doing a needs assessment
-- Assuming that your needs are identical to other people's needs
2. IDEA FORMULATION: Working with everyone's ideas and options abut what programs would fit the assessed needs, then making an informed choice based on priorities and limits
-- Brainstorm - non-critically with high value placed on creativity
-- "Play" with ideas - loosen the mental locks and forget temporarily, about rules, practicality or being wrong
-- Compare and Contrast - to similar or related programs from other Granges or organizations, etc.
-- Critically analyze ideas resulting in the choice of programs
Common problems with idea formation:
-- Most overlooked step and not enough time given.
-- Free Advice About Hidden Resources: People often will not participate unless they are asked.
3. PROGRAM PLANNING: Determining what needs to be done by when and whom
-- Make a checklist and an assignment sheet
-- People support what they help create
-- Timing is critical; be aware; what you competing against?
-- Determine the goals, evaluation criteria and strategies to be used
-- Follow up delegated responsibilities - this shows you care
-- Some people need more support and structure than others - this makes their role seem more important
-- Don't expect members to do as you say not as you do; ask for them to meet with you at set intervals to take off pressure
-- Don't assume things - space, props, food, equipment - remember these are hurdles to jump not barriers
Common problems with program planning:
-- Not enough people involved in planning stages
-- Tasks are delegated but no follow up is done to ensure completion
-- No one volunteers so one person does everything
-- Too many details are left to the last minute and then things fall through
4. PUBLICITY: Determining effective strategies to inform people about the event, but, most importantly, to create a sense of enthusiasm and motivation in the audience.
-- "Back to the Basics" - make sure that you cover the basics like who, what, when, where, why, and how much if applicable (such as Admission)
-- Explore unconventional methods like using the back of stall doors, car windows, and making announcements at other non-related meetings.
-- Plan backwards from the date of the event - what publicity needs to be out for what audience by when
-- Tell the truth - do you read 8 1/2 x 11 white signs in the hallways? DO SOMETHING NEW AND CREATIVE!!!
-- Who are you trying to reach?! A good question to ask!
-- WORD OF MOUTH - still THE most effective advertising known to humankind - another one of those trite, but oh-so-true realities
-- Emphasize the benefits and value of the program
-- Be Enthusiastic. If you are not enthusiastic about the program, no one else will be - ask five people a day for two weeks prior to the event if they will be attending the program (yes, I'm totally serious!) - they will either say "yes" to get you off their back or they will be convinced that they won't want to miss such a good program
Common problems with publicity:
-- Lack of creativity
-- Poor location for advertising
-- Timeliness - no one will go to your program if the publicity goes up the day before the event
-- Depending totally on the written word - TALK YOUR PROGRAMS UP!!!
5. PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION: Putting on the actual program (Note: Murphy's Law has an incredible track record at this time)
-- Run through your checklists and confirm arrangements the day before and/or the day of the program
-- Arrive early to ensure that everything is ready
-- After the event thank everyone for participating and plant seeds for their participating in future programs
-- Leave the facilities in the same condition that you found them - you will soon realize the incredible benefits of good working relationships
-- Return all equipment the day of or the day after the event - especially if you ever want to use that equipment again!
-- Reward the people who helped with the program - different people need different kinds of attention
-- Celebrate your successes
-- Public thank yous are almost always appreciated (at meetings, in the Granger, etc.)
Common problems with program implementation:
-- Failure to plan and/or follow through on any number of details from your planning checklists - Murphy's Law will catch up with you!
6. EVALUATION: Determining if the program was successful and worth repeating - various degrees of sophistication for measuring and defining success
-- Plan program goals, evaluation strategies and evaluation criteria in the Program Planning stage
-- What did the program planners learn from planning the program and/or from the program itself?
-- Encourage honest feedback from the participants
-- Make recommendations for potential future programmers to use
-- Leave the evaluation results in a place where others can utilize them in the future
Common problems with evaluation:
-- Not done at all
-- Not planned for in advance
-- Uncertainty about what to measure - usually because there are no program goals