A NORC program plans and launches specific projects that collectively address the many dimensions of a problem.
Actions and Considerations
Describe the goals of each project, relating them to the issues identified in your problem statement. A project goal is a broad statement of what the project hopes to accomplish, who will be affected, and what change will result. Action verbs—such as improve, prevent, increase, promote, or reduce—belong in goals.
Examples of goal statements include:
- To reduce falls risk factors among elderly patients admitted to the emergency room.
- To promote/increase the social connectivity of seniors in the community.
- To prevent adverse drug events among seniors in the NORC Program.
Describe the objectives of each project, relating them to the issues identified in your problem statement. An objective is a specific and measurable condition that must be attained to accomplish a particular goal.
Effective objectives clearly state the outcome to be achieved (“what”), the time frame for achieving it (“when”), the criterion for deciding whether the outcome has been achieved (“how much”), and the priority population served (“who”).
Be specific. Objectives that are too broad may not provide enough guidance. For example, your objectives may be:
- In the first six months of the project (when), we will have identified all (how much) clients (who) at risk of falls (what).
- By the end of the year (when), we will create new social connections (what) with the community for 50% (how much) of the home bound seniors (who) living in the NORC.
- Within the first year (when), all (how much) of high-risk patients at risk of drug adverse events (who) will have a plan of care in place (what).
Identifying your goals and objectives is the second step of your logic model.
Complete your work plan. Your problem statement and related goals and objectives should be incorporated into your work plan. The plan also describes the relevant activities the NORC program has designed and lists the resources available to undertake those activities. (These are also the next steps in developing a logic model.)
A well thought-out work plan answers these key questions:
- How will each project be implemented?
- Who will do what?
- What additional resources and staffing will you need?
- How long will it take?
- How will you measure this? How will you know if it works?
Make sure you have the necessary resources to execute your work plan. Budget for your planned activities, and identify your funding sources. Some projects may require additional expertise or the involvement of new partners. You may also need extra help on a periodic or short-term basis, for example, to produce and distribute a newsletter or to plan an event.
Involve your partners throughout the planning and implementation process. Core partners need to know what you are doing to address the problems you have identified and what you expect to accomplish. Without consensus on the project’s value, it is likely to stall.
Consider strategies for tracking your progress. As you plan your activities, consider what results you can readily measure. (For a discussion of process evaluations, see Designing and Implementing a NORC Program, Guiding Principle #6. For a discussion of outcome evaluations, see Evaluating the Projects of a NORC Program.)
Keep in Mind
There is no such thing as a perfect project or a static one. Once you have planned and launched your project, continue to review and update your approach, modifying it as necessary to meet changing circumstances and new needs, and to reflect your deeper understanding of your community and its residents.
A work plan spells out your:
- Problem statement.
- Goals of the project.
- Objectives of the project.
- Specific activities.
- Available resources.