4-H Project Planning:  Part II Back »

This article was written by Suzy Geppert, former SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Partnerships Field Specialist.


In part one if this series we discussed the importance of goal setting and making them “S.M.A.R.T. “. S.M.A.R.T. goals lead to successful action plans. Action plans are necessary tools for attainment in both project development and community service. They are built around your S.M.A.R.T. goals.

4-H and Community Action plans take goals a step further by helping to organize the process and create a roadmap for project completion. What are these necessary steps?

  • Identify your concern. You should have already done this in your goal development stage by answering the question of “What do we want to achieve?”

  • State Your Goal. You will insert your S.M.A.R.T. goal into this part of the action plan.

  • Write your plan. This is broken down into further steps.

    • Form your partnerships so that you can create a viable learning community that will provide support for your project.

    • Conduct a planning meeting. Schedule an actual planning meeting with ALL learning community members so that you have “By In” for your project.

    • Gather your resources and prepare. You will find that the learning community is a resource in itself.

    • Write out your plan. This is necessary to get everyone on the same page. It also provides an opportunity for you to develop a timeline that is practical and “do-able”.

    • Submit plan for approval. Set down with your learning community or committee members for approval and make any needed changes.

    • Publicize. Publicity is one of those things that is often overlooked during the initial planning stage of an event. It is crucial to any volunteer project and should be part of this stage. Remember, publicity should reflect the mission and vision of 4-H. It should showcase our youth’s empowerment through work with caring adults and communities to learn, grow, and work together for positive change.

  • Act. Follow through with your plan and you will have project success.

  • Follow-up. This is one of the most forgotten steps of an action plan, however one of the most important. Evaluate your project and its success. This will help you plan and improve this project as well as many others for the future.

For more help with project planning, download the 4-H and Community Action Plan template.

Further information on goal setting can be also found from your local 4-H Youth Program Advisor, 4-H Field Specialists, or the State 4-H office. You can also visit the Official 4-H Website.

Part three of this series will cover the importance of evaluation.


For more information on creating and implementing service learning projects and action plans visit the Michigan State University Extension Website for the following links:

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