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It’s time to identify your priorities and start planning.

Prioritize

Review information from your community profile and community assessment, then brainstorm areas that the group would like to move forward. Use sticky notes to keep track of your ideas; one idea per sticky note. Don’t forget any ‘gems’ from your conversations, meetings and walkabouts, and remember to keep the community’s strengths and opportunities and partners’ interests in mind.

Next, determine which ideas are most changeable and realistic right now, and which are longer term. Consider both in planning. Set priorities based on their impact on wellbeing, and what can be accomplished within a set time frame and/or budget. Quick wins build momentum, and grow commitment for the mid-to-long term. If possible, choose a variety of actions.

The following Changeability Chart1 helps categorize priority areas for community improvement. For each proposed idea, ask:

  • Is this area important at this time?
  • Is it something we can change in the short term?

Plan

You’ve identified community strengths and opportunities, and prioritized some areas of improvement; now it’s time to develop an action plan! Here’s where your group identifies tangible activities to move your priorities forward.

How planning is shaped really depends on the type and scale of your initiative and the specific needs of the people involved. Actually write down what you’d like to achieve along with the change your team would like to see.

An effective action plan:

  • Identifies the priority focus area or areas to work on, along with required resources
  • Details specific tasks and who will do them –putting everyone’s unique skills to use
  • Sets a realistic timeline, including a start date
  • includes how to know you’ve been successful, and
  • Continuously tracks progress

Funding is important to move plans into actions; collaborating with people in your community and leveraging resources can help stretch those dollars. 

Resources

  • Community Brainstorming template

    A downloadable resource to capture and explore preliminary ideas for developing community initiatives

  • From the Ground Up

    An organizing handbook for healthy communities -the full spectrum from getting started to evaluating your initiative

  • Community Action Plan

    A downloadable template to help you plan your work in greater detail

  • View References

    1. Green, L. W., & Kreuter, M. W. (1999). Health promotion planning: An educational and ecological approach. US: McGraw Hill.