Rural arts and Culture Program

Project Planning Tips


COLLABORATION
Partnerships and collaboration can double success and divide planning and implementation efforts! Who are you trying to reach  to serve? What other organizations in your community or region are interested in this clientele? Come together  talk together  plan together. Explore what you are doing and what you might do together. Your partnership towards a mutual project will expand each of your audiences and your impact.

A meeting of potential partners to explore an idea for working together or for brainstorming ways of working together can quickly focus a collaborative effort. From such a beginning individuals or small teams can take on organizational tasks to start planning. This is what you need before starting to write a grant proposal.

PRACTICAL PRODUCTS
Make time early in your planning to pull information and brochures together. Practical products are quick ways to describe your organization and establish the credibility of your organization/s and project. This includes information about you and partner organizations, your community and the need for your project.

Brochures from your organization and partner organizations provide organizational mission and activities, and establish your place within the community. Brief organizational histories and summaries of past activities and projects will demonstrate your track record of accomplishment.

DEMOGRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS of your community or region set the stage and provide the context within which you operate and serve. Check the library, County Extension service, city or county government. The MSU Extension website provides this type of information: http://web1.msue.msu.edu/countyprofiles/

SUPPORT LETTERS
Crucial to any appeal for funding are letters of support from organizations involved with you in the project and from individuals and agencies who will benefit from your work. A letter from your mayor or senator will have little weight. Letters from partner organizations that speak to their commitment (in staff, dollars, participation) to this project are very important. Letters from individuals and agencies who will benefit from your project are key.

BACKWARDS PLANNING
When you have an idea for an end product or project you know when it must happen. This is the beginning of a plan. Bring together a few key people and a calendar; start at the end  and backtrack identifying what needs to be decided and happen and place them on your timeline. Assign responsibility for the parts. It is always good to have small teams vs. one person alone. Also decide who or what team will be responsible for encouraging and tracking the whole. . . and begin!