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					      Taking action
Project cycle management for UK and Ireland partners




       Part 2: Planning what to do
Why are aims and objectives important?
Defining aims and objectives is important because it helps to
provide greater direction and focus for the PlanningTeam, staff
members and church membership, as well as a clear understanding
of what the project is about to funders, community members and
other external organisations.


Definitions


Aim
1. The aim is the overall purpose or reason for the project.
 It states how the church will apply its vision for community
involvement through responding to a particular issue or addressing
a particular need.

2. The aim should be broad, long term, fixed for the project’s
lifetime (to change the aim is to change the
purpose and direction of the project), helpful in describing the broad
project activity and consistent with
the church’s vision.

3. Remember, the aim is wider in scope and/or longer-term than an
objective. The aim may not necessarily be reached until well after
project completion. We need, however, to be careful of over-
reaching, unattainable aims.
               Example Aims:




‘To improve the quality of life for the elderly on the
                      estate’




    ‘To help provide advice and support to the
                   unemployed’
Objectives

1. Objectives are targets set to achieve the overall aim. Unlike the
aim they tend to be short term (one or two years in comparison to
an aim, which is to last the project’s lifetime).

2. There should be no more than three/four objectives. One or
two is a perfectly acceptable number. Limit the number of
objectives to that which can be realistically achieved in the
project period given the resources!

3. A useful rule of thumb is


“do not set an objective unless indicators can be
agreed which will offer evidence that the desired
solution or change has been brought about, and
unless those indicators can be measured.”
Remember objectives are the changes the project hopes to bring
about among the project beneficiaries.
    To specify the objectives, use the infinitive verb forms:
           “To   increase …”
           “To   reduce …”
           “To   enhance …”
           “To   improve ...


They are often described as
SMART:

Specific (have clear focus),

Measurable (easy to determine
when they have been achieved),

Attainable (realistic targets rather
than impossible ideals),



Results-orientated (they focus on
results rather than methods or
processes),


Time-specific (have a clear end date).
Examples


Example Aim:

 ‘To improve the quality of life for the elderly on the
                       estate’
Example Objectives:

‘To ensure 50 elderly people receive a weekly visitor
                by the end of 2004’

  ‘To enable 30 elderly people to attend a social
 activity outside their homes once a month by the
                    end of 2004’

 ‘To provide 30 elderly people with fresh fruit and
    vegetables each month by the end of 2003’
Defining your aims and objectives

Here are some steps that should help you define your project’s aims
and objectives:

1. Review the problem tree and ideas of a response from the
group. What led the group to
recommend particular ideas and suggestions? Was there a key issue
or people group that the group is concerned about? Was there a
specific community need that was highlighted for
the church to consider addressing?

2. Try writing a short phrase that describes what your project
aims to do. Try to mention either the issue you are responding to or
the people group you want to help.

  Most aims start with the word ‘To’ and are written
  in the present tense.

2.Check that your aim is:

. consistent with your
church’s vision statement
. broad (is not too specific)
. long term (will not change
during the project’s lifetime)
. helpful in describing the
broad project activity.


4. Try drafting some
objectives that will help you
to fulfil the project aim. Make
sure the objectives are
SMART
.
Outputs
 Try to focus on which tasks you will need to complete in order to
meet this particular objective.

The tasks then be broken down into activities which can be
delegated to individual volunteers or staff




Activities
These too need to be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable,
relevant and timebound. List activities in brief – just enough to
outline the strategy for achieving the outcomes and objectives


    For projects with a funding period of more than one year,
     specify which activities will be carried out during the first year
     and which cover the whole project period (this will help with
     monitoring).
    Try to specify activities starting with the word “by”: e.g
          by   constructing …
          by   holding …
          by   developing …
          by   distributing …
          by   training …

    Include details of timing and quantity e.g. “By holding 3
     workshops of two days duration for 30 participants…
Putting it altogether in the planning tree
You may find it helpful to think through the diagram below to help
work out how you will take your idea forward. Think of your aim as
the main trunk of a tree. It should be broad, long term and state
how the church will apply its vision for community involvement.

 Your objectives are targets set to achieve your overall aim;
think
of these objectives as main branches stemming out of your aim.
They tend to be short term (set for one or two years rather than the
project’s lifetime), flexible and SMART .

Your outputs tell you what you need to do in order to meet
your objectives. They often read like completed work packages.

Think of these outputs as smaller stems growing out of your
objective branches.

Finally, your activities are a breakdown of your outputs into
very precise time-scheduled things you need to do. Think of
your activities as the leaves of the tree growing out of the output
stems. The diagram below and the worked through example should
make this clearer and help you to draw up your own planning tree.
                      Structure of the project
Aim          To improve the well being of the elderly on the estate



Objectives   1.0 To ensure 50 per cent of the elderly on the
             estate receive a weekly visitor by end 2004

             2.0 To enable 30 elderly people to attend a social activity
             outside their homes once a month by the end of 2004

             3.0 To provide 30 elderly people with fresh fruit and vegetables
                             each month by the end of 2003

Output       1.1 Recruit and train volunteers

             1.2 Identify elderly people who would benefit from weekly
             visitor

             1.3 Volunteers visit the elderly

Activities   1.1.1 Alan to organise a visitor recruitment schemeby 01/03/04
             1.1.2 Barbara to establish a screening
             programme by 01/04/04
             1.1.3 Barbara to develop and run a training course by01/05/04
                             Structure of the project
Aim
The aim should be broad, long term, fixed for the project’s lifetime describing the
broad project activity and consistent with the church’s vision.

Objectives
Objectives are targets set to achieve the overall aim. Try to keep your objectives
SMART
(Specific,
Measurable,
Attainable,
Results-orientated,
Time-specific).

Outputs
Try to focus on which tasks you will need to complete in order to meet this particular
objective.


Activities
Now try to think even smaller! What activities will you have to undertake in order to make
your outputs happen?
Knowing you have made a
difference!: Indicators
Ask yourself: How will we know if progress is (or is not) being
made?
How will we know when the
project has achieved the
intended outcomes
(results)? This will help
define some useful
indicators. There two types
of indicators
qualitative(numbers and
things you can count), and
quantitative(descriptions
and coments of attitudes,
values, behaviours)


1.Indicators can be
  quantitative for
  example:
  For example in working
  with old people there are
  a range of numerical
  figures you can count
  such as:

Number of visits
to/by GP

Number of people elderly person talked with over a
week, month, 3 months.

Number of fresh fruit and vegetable portions
consumed by elderly person over a set period

or in the case of youth work you could measure

Number of young people attending an alternative
curriculum programme every week

Number of successful projects completed by the
young people
2.Indicators can be qualitative for example:
  These indicators try to look at changes in attititude , behaviour,
  socal patterns

                                              For example in measuring
                                              the quality of visits to
                                              elderly people, some
                                              useful example
                                              comments would be:

                                              . ‘Theyjust seem
                                              to rush in and
                                              out. Got no time
                                              for me!’
                                              (Comment by
                                              elderly person)

                                              . ‘I seem to have
                                              really got to
                                              know Mary (the
                                              visitor) and her
                                              family. It’s as if
                                              I’ve got a second
                                              family to think
                                              about.’ (Comment
                                              by elderly
                                              person)

                                   . ‘Mrs Jones
                                   always has the
                                   kettle ready when
                                   I come to see her.
If I can’t manage a visit, she almost always rings to
check I’m okay.’ (Comment by volunteer visitor).
You could ask your visitors to try to record some relevant comments
as well as other things they might see or hear on their visits.

  •   It may be useful to draw up a form for your visitors to fill in
      after each month. The form might ask them to record
      comments and descriptions, they see or hear that are of
      concern, the number of visits they have made to elderly
      people and any further actions or reflections they wish to
      make that are relevant to the initiative.

  •   This is because descriptions or comments, which cannot be
      recorded in numerical form, are enormously helpful in
      measuring the progress of the project.


  •   By analysing and collating this information clear issues may
      become apparent, e.g. there are not sufficient volunteers to
      meet the demand, or elderly people need more help with
      shopping for fresh produce.

And now ask yourself: Do you have an indicator for at least each
of the objectives of this project?
Proposed template
This template may be useful in helping your group think through
how to take your idea forward into a planned response. Although
the template is fairly detailed, you will find that, if you spend time
thoroughly researching and testing your ideas at this early
stage, you will save a lot of time later when you come to
implementing the plan.

Moreover, spending time now means your proposal will be far better
informed and likely to inspire greater confidence from the church
leadership and congregation.

You should find that each column on the template leads you
naturally into thinking about the next (see arrows on top line of
template). It is not essential that you use this specific template;
your group may prefer to use other methods.
           Aim

           Your aim should be consistent with your vision and state clearly what you are
           trying to achieve.
           For example:


           ‘To improve the quality of life for the elderly on the estate.’




    Objectives              Outputs               Activities              Resourses                  Indicators
                                                                                                     of sucess
Try to keep your        Try to focus on       Now try to think even Use this space to think      Here, point to evidence
objectives SMART        which                 smaller! What activities through the resources     that will show whether
(Specific,              tasks you will need will you have to           you will need in order    or not you have
Measurable,             to complete in        undertake in order       to complete your          achieved your
Attainable,             order                 to make your             activities. Resources     objective.
Results-orientated,     to meet this          outputs happen?          could range from:
Time-specific).         particular objective.                          people at church with
                                                                       skills, money available
                                                                       from church giving,
                                                                       trusts, sponsorship,
                                                                       events, community
                                                                       agencies, local
                                                                       authority.
1. To ensure 50 per     1.1 Recruit and       1.1.1 Alan to            Use of computer,          Number of people
cent of the elderly on train volunteers       organise a visitor       access to volunteer       applying to be
the                                           recruitment scheme       management                a volunteer
estate receive a weekly                       by 01/03/04              information
visitor by end 2004
                                              1.1.2 Barbara to         People to help screen     Number of people
                                              establish a screening volunteers one day           undergone screening
                                              programme                per month                 programme
                                              by 01/04/04


                                             1.1.3 Barbara to         Venue for training         Number of people
                                             develop and run a        course, people to          recruited as volunteers
                                             training course by       help run course,           and undergone
                                             01/05/04                 refreshments.£100 for      training course
                                                                      hire of venue.
                        1.2 Identify elderly 1.2.1 Chris to draw      People to help with        Information about how
                        people who would up a list of elderly         visiting elderly and       many and which
                        benefit from weekly people requesting         phoning social services    elderly
                        visitor              visits by 01/06/04       to find out which          people require a
                                                                      elderly would benefit      weekly
                                                                      most from visits           visitor
                        1.3 Volunteers visit 1.3.1 Alan to         About 35 hours                Number of elderly
                        the elderly          organise meet ups for (phoning elderly              people linked with
                                             visitors and elderly  and visitors)                 weekly visitor by end
                                                                                                 of 2004
                                             1.3.2 Chris to           2 days in November.        Comments from elderly
                                             monitor volunteers       Assistant to help
       Organisation...............................Project.............
       ...........................................
     Date..................
 Objectives      Outputs            Activities           Resources         Indicators
                                                                           of success
Try to keep       Try to focus Now try to think       Use this space to Here, point to
your              on which       even                 think             evidence
objectives        tasks you will smaller! What        through the       that will show
SMART             need           activities           resources         whether
(Specific,        to complete in will you have to     you will need in  or not you have
Measurable,       order          undertake in order   order             achieved your
Attainable,       to meet this to make your           to complete your objective.
Results-          particular     outputs happen?      activities.
orientated,       objective.                          Resources
Time-specific).                                       could range from:
                                                      people at church
                                                      with
                                                      skills, money
                                                      available
                                                      from church
                                                      giving,
                                                      trusts,
                                                      sponsorship,
                                                      events, community
                                                      agencies, local
                                                      authority.
1.0               1.1           a
                                b
                                c
                                a
                                b
                                c


2.0               2.0           a
                                b
                                c


                                a
                                b
                                c
3.0               3.0           a
                                b
                                c


                                a
                                b
                                c
                                           The
                                           ladder
                                           check
                                           This simple check will
                                           help to see whether or
                                           not the church’s vision is
being worked out in the community
response and whether or not all aspects of the team’s plan are
consistent.
Firstly, start with your vision and work down through your plan
asking ‘how?’ at each stage. Then start from the
bottom end of your plan and ask ‘why?’ It doesn’t matter if you
haven’t categorised your plan into vision, aim,
objective etc, so long as it all flows and is consistent. If the plan
does not seem to flow, then you may want to go
through it again to see if you need to add anything or take anything
unnecessary out. See below for an example.


Asking how

Vision: To show the love of God through word and deed

‘How?’

Aim: By improving the quality of life for the elderly

‘How?’

Objective: By ensuring 25 elderly people receive fresh vegetables
every month

‘How?’

Output: By volunteers delivering vegetables to elderly people’s
homes

‘How?’
Activity: By recruiting and training volunteers
Asking why


Activity: Recruit and train volunteers

‘Why?’

Output: So that volunteers can deliver vegetables to elderly people’s homes

‘Why?’

Objective: So that 25 elderly people receive fresh vegetables every month

‘Why?’

Aim: So that the quality of life for the elderly is improved

‘Why?’


Vision: So that the love of God is shown through word and deed
          Thinking through
          what we need
          It may help to do some more thorough brainstorming around your
          idea’s activities. This should help you to think
          through all the different resources (or inputs) that are necessary to
          enable the idea to take shape. This could
          include people, equipment, money, time, training, venues. The
          diagram below highlights some of the key
          questions to ask around the activities of your idea/project. See
          overleaf for a worked through example.

Venues                         Training                              People
Will we need an                Will volunteers/staff need    How many volunteers
office/hall/meeting place      training and support?         are needed?
to help run our activities?    Will training be              Who is available and willing
Do the buildings we propose    ongoing/one-off?              to help?
to use meet health and         Will training be expensive?   Do we need to consider
safety standards?              Do we have any potential      employing someone part-time?
Do we need easy                trainers/experts in the       Who will manage the
access/parking facilities?     congregation/community        volunteers and how?
Will there be a charge?        who might be willing to       Do volunteers need to be
                               help train our volunteers?    screened/police checked?



                                   Activities

Equipment                      Money                         Time
What equipment will            How much will each            How much time will
we need?                       activity cost?                each activity take out of
Who will provide this?         Does the total cost of        the people’s day/week/month?
Does the equipment meet        activities fit our budget?    How can we make sure that
health                         Where can we get extra        one/two people don’t become
and safety standards?          money to help with this?      swamped with too many tasks?
How much will                  Who will be responsible       Are we being realistic about
equipment/usage of             for handling money?           how long activities will take
equipment cost?                                              to implement?
Do people need to be trained
to use the equipment?
Money matters:
20 key questions


Do we know what it costs to start up this idea?

 Do we know what it costs to keep this idea running for
one year/two years?

What are our minimum operating costs per month?

 Have we costed activities accurately or have we just
roughly estimated?

Are there any costs that are highly variable ?

 Have we compared costs with churches running similar
initiatives?

Will we have any promotional costs?

 Will we have research costs?

Will we have management and administrative costs?

Will we have replacement and repair costs?

Do we have sufficient financial skills?

 Who will control income and expenditure and monitor our
budget and how?
How will we be accountable for our financial
management?

Do we have a regular income or fixed pot of money
available and will it be enough?

 How flexible is our money, is part of it restricted to a
particular expenditure?

Can we access funds from other sources? Where ?
Can we make this idea pay for itself (self-financing)?

 Are income sources likely to decline/increase over the
next year/two years?

Have we set sufficient money aside for reserves and
contingency?



    How do we feel having answered these questions?
         SWOT analysis
         Analysing Strengths, Weaknesses,
         Opportunities and Threats!

         Fill in the boxes below. Try to highlight what you think are the most
         important points in each box and spend time discussing these. If
         you have some major threats highlighted, consider how you can
         prevent or minimise these. It may be helpful to invite church
         members who have specific skills and experience in the area of your
         proposed response to do this exercise with you.



Proposal Activity:
Strengths:                                 Weaknesses:




Opportunities:                             Threats:
What assumptions are we making?


If your group has already
attempted to write down
its aim, objective,
outputs and resources
(inputs), then this
exercise may be helpful.

 It helps systematically to
understand the assumptions
connected to the ....

Aim,

  Objective,

        Outputs

              Resources

and identifies particular
areas of concern that may
need to be rethought.

Once you have looked
through this example, try
doing this exercise, for your
own initiative, on the
following page.

With each assumption you
uncover, you need to ask
yourself if it is possible to
take steps to make the assumption come true.

You may find that in some cases this is not possible. In other words, the
assumptions are out of your control. If this is the case you need to consider
whether the assumptions jeopardise your initiative’s success.

It is also worth going back to your initial research
to see whether you uncovered some assumptions there.
        Assumptions framework

      Plan                  Assumption                   How can we help the
                                                        assumption come true?
Aim: To improve the quality of life for the elderly on the estate
                    1. Receiving a regular visit from 1. Train volunteers to listen
                    someone will improve elderly       carefully to elderly people’s
                    people’s quality of life           individual needs and try to
                                                       meet these
                    2. Other factors won’t decrease
                    elderly people’s quality of life   2. This is out of our control
                    (e.g. government policies on
                    pensions and fuel)
Objective: To facilitate 50 per cent of elderly people receiving a weekly visit by end of
2003
                    1. Elderly people will want people 1. We cannot force visits on
                    to visit them                      elderly but maybe we can help
                                                       them understand how this
                    2. Elderly people will not be      scheme
                    scared or uncertain about          can be of benefit to them
                    opening their doors to visitors    2. We could put information
                                                       through their door before visiting
Outputs:
1. Volunteers       1. Enough volunteers can be        1. We need to publicise the need
recruited           recruited who are willing to       for committed volunteers at our
and trained         go through the screening           church and maybe other local
2. Elderly          and training                       churches too
identified                                             2. We need to question other
3. Volunteers visit 2. We know which elderly people people living on the estate
elderly             are most in need of a visit
Resources:
1. Time             1. Volunteers will be willing to   1. We need to ask for a minimum
2. Money            commit long term to visiting       of 18 months’ commitment from
3. Training         an elderly person                  each volunteer
materials                                              2. We need to research other
                    2. Enough money will continue sources of income
                    to be available to support         3. We need to invest time finding
                    this scheme                        key trainers from local churches

                   3. We will be able to find a good
                   trainer to help the volunteers
       Plan   Assumption    How can we help the
                           assumption come true?
Aim:




Objective:




Outputs:




Resources:
Questions to
ask church
members
and key
members
of the
community


It is important to keep
checking that church
members are supportive of your proposal.


It is important to include church members in checking that the
proposed response is keeping to the right track as well as asking
these questions to people in the community you have spoken
with earlier.

You may also find it helpful to single out key members of the church
and community who have specific skills and experience to
answer the questions below.


You may want to take time to inform the whole church and/or a
section of the community of your proposal and gain their
feedback.
        Questions to
        ask church
        members
        and key
        members
        of the
        community




QUESTIONS                         Comments
From your experience, does this
proposal
meet a real need?

Do you think the
community as a whole will
support this proposal and
want to get involved?
Do you think this proposal
will complement other
social action taking place in
the community?
Do you know of any groups
or agencies it would
be useful to contact for
advice or support?

Do you know of any
individuals who would
be interested in helping us?
Do you have any other
comments?
          Action questions
          It might be useful to include answers to the questions below in your
          written proposal to the church leadership.
          You should find these questions a useful checklist for writing a
          proposal.This is also useful for putting together prayer programme
          to enable the church to provide prayer support through the life of
          the project


What has to be done?


How is it to be done?


What is needed?


Who will do it?


When is it to be done?


How long will it take?


How much will it cost?


What has to be done first?


What activities can be done at the same time?


What will be done next?

				
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