How To: Develop a New Program

Developing new programs for our organizations can be very exciting as well as daunting. Excitement can cloud judgement or details can be overlooked. It is important to stay organized. The questions listed below help me map out a new or evolving program:

General Planning:

  • What are all of the elements and mechanics of your program?
  • What needs to happen before the program launch?
  • What marketing and social media is needed?
  • What needs to happen at the launch of the program?
  • What are the outcomes you are trying to achieve?
  • How will you evaluate the program after an allotted period of time?
  • Is there a way to adjust the program if outcomes aren’t completely met?


  • How are you funding this program?
  • Are the funding sources sustainable?
  • How do your funders define program success?
  • What information do you need to give to the funders throughout the funding period?
  • How frequently do you need to inform funders on progress?

Who do you need?:

The Constituents:

  • How many people are you trying to serve?
  • Who specifically are you trying to serve?
  • Why this community or group of people?
  • What do you know about this geographic location?
  • What research is still needed (historic, geographic, cultural, political, etc.)?

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Challenges:

  • What resources do you have? What do you still need?
  • What advantages does your organization have?
  • What external and international challenges may arise?
  • Do you have a plan to deal with and adapt to these challenges?

The Future of Your Program:

  • How long is your program supposed to last?
  • If it isn’t permanent, is there a plan to phase out your program?
  • Is the goal to expand this program outside of the original community or geographic area?
  • If so, how will you maintain quality after the program is expanded?


Most importantly, have fun and good luck!

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