Action Planning for Youth-led Change
A living plan and record of your project should be kept using the Action Planning Template. The problem statement and evidence of need will be one of the products of the steps you take to focus your program and engage with the community to learn about the issue.
As you fill out the objectives of the action plan, be as specific and simple as you can.
One technique is to set SMART Objectives.
SMART Objectives are:
- Specific: Set detailed objectives. (for example, “8 teens will teach internet safety to after school program students” rather than “more youth will take leadership roles”)
- Measurable: Set goals with objectives you can quantify to monitor your success. (a number or percentage is better than a general statement like “more”)
- Agreed to: Important if your goals impact or involve other people. Sometimes SMART goals have “attainable” here, but for these youth-led community projects, checking with stakeholders is a critical step.
- Realistic and Relevant: Think about your strengths and skills, and set mini-goals to help you get to bigger ones.
- Timely: Put a timeline on achieving your goals so you know when to measure your success.
Transfer each objective to the planning section and use that to identify activities that will help you meet that objective. Think about training, marketing, recruitment, logistics, and evaluating your impact and break your plan down into manageable pieces that take advantage of the different strengths on your team. There is another section to help you think about communicating with stakeholders and sharing success.
Integrating Technology into your Action Plan
Technology is not the driver of this project, but a tool to address community needs. You need to think carefully about the digital literacy of your audience and the technologies they have available as you consider options. Stay tuned for more resources from Microsoft and others about how other communities and projects have used technology to make change.
You can use the action plan to monitor progress on each of your steps–both the big ones like assessing community needs and the smaller steps in carrying out your project. You can move the status of each line from Red (Stalled or not yet begun) to Yellow (In process) and then Green (Completed or on track.) If you want to try a more detailed project check-up, there are four different tools available on pages 28-37 of the Youth Leading Community Change Toolkit. They vary in complexity, so you can pick the one that fits your project best.