Key Takeaways

  • Program planning involves two major decisions – commitment to the implementation of the program and to identify and address the step-by-step process for carrying out the critical aspects of the implementation. 

Program planning involves, at the outset, assessing the readiness (e.g. capacity and willingness) of your organization to offer a new program to promote healthy aging. If the capacity and willingness are there, the next steps include:

  1. Selecting a program that best fits the goals of your organization and the needs of your constituency (target population).
  2. Securing an adequate budget to implement the program.

Making program planning decisions

Program Planning involves two major decisions. First and foremost is the decision to commit to implementation of the program, including the time, effort, and resources that will be needed. The second decision is to identify and address the step-by-step process for carrying out critical aspects of implementation. This includes planning for the structure and time frame of the program, determining staffing needs, training personnel, deciding on space and equipment needs for delivering the program, and determining what will be measured and/or monitored. Adequate planning is necessary to set priorities for carrying out activities associated with program implementation and is critical to the success of any new program. A participatory planning approach increases the chance of success.

Resources to help with program planning

The Community Tool Box

The Community Tool Box is an online resource made available as a public service of the University of Kansas. The Tool Box includes number of valuable planning resources, including the following:

  • Participatory Approaches to Planning Community Interventions: Chapter 18 of the Community Tool Box describes what a participatory planning approach is, when it is or is not appropriate, who should be involved, and what steps are necessary to get the process going.
  • Conducting Needs Assessment Surveys: Chapter 3, Section 7 of the Community Tool Box explains why a needs assessment is important, along with a step-by-step approach for carrying out a needs assessment survey.
  • Identifying Stakeholders: When planning, it is important to involve those who are affected by or have an interest in the program, including potential participants and community leaders or decision makers. The Community Tool Box, Chapter 7, explains the process of identifying and involving stakeholders.

RE-AIM Framework

This framework is often used to plan programs, and it can improve the chances of success of the program in a real-world setting. The framework includes the following elements: Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance.

Community Research Center for Senior Health Toolkit on Evidence-Based Programming

This toolkit was developed to guide organizations through a series of steps and decisions to facilitate their ability to provide evidence-based programming for older adults.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Needs Assessment Participant Handbook

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed this practical step-by-step guide for conducting a community needs assessment.