Demystifying Your Future

How work plans create good fortune

Planning for Success

Why Plan?

What can a work plan do for your downtown?

  • It helps define your organization.
  • It gives you direction and tools to measure your progress.
  • It helps clarify roles
  • It provides a financial road map and helps allocate scarce resources - both time and money.
  • It is a great team-building exercise that develops ownership.
  • It gives credibility and focus to your funders and volunteers.
  • It helps define what you are NOT going to do.

Building an effective Main Street program means defining a plan of action and that means creating a work plan. Planning Main Street's work gets people thinking about the community's goals for the district's future and how the revitalization program can help achieve those goals.

The work plan should reflect your program's major priorities and be realistic in scope. It should concentrate on items that can be completed in 12 to 18 months. Remember that the Main Street program cannot be all things to all people; to be effective it must focus its efforts. Scrutinize every proposed activity and be sure it makes sense for your program.

A work plan is an essential tool on many levels. It improves the success rate of projects and reduces confusion and conflict about who is doing what. It motivates volunteers to achieve a goal, spreads out the workload, and manages volunteer time and effort. It also serves as an evaluation tool, providing benchmarks for success, and a fund-raising tool by attracting donations for specific projects. 

A work plan uses goals, objectives, and activities to fulfill the community's vision for the downtown.

Credit: Main Street Iowa

What goes into a work plan?

A work plan should include goals for the program's standing committees, specific objectives necessary to accomplish each goal, and a list of activities with an appropriate time frame for accomplishing each objective.

Goals, objectives, and activities define the projects your organization will implement to fulfill the directives in its mission statement. Goals broadly state what your program wants to accomplish within each of the Main Street four points. Objectives should outline what your board and committees need to do to accomplish your goals. Finally, a list of activities should outline the specific tasks needed to achieve your objectives.

Once completed, your work plan should guide all committee and board meetings.

How the National Trust Main Street Center can help

To help communities develop clear, effective work plans, the National Trust Main Street Center has developed a comprehensive workshop on work planning, Developing Work Plans to Succeed.

Members of Holton Main Street (Kans.) envision their downtown's future.

Credit: Kathy La Plante

"Communities often struggle with understanding the importance of developing clearly defined work plans for their committees," says Kathy La Plante, NTMSC program officer and creator of Developing Work Plans to Succeed. "This workshop not only explains the whys but also how the board of directors should annually establish the priorities of the organization based on the mission and vision of the Main Street program. Participants are guided through the entire process and given work plan templates not only for the committees, but also for developing an administrative work plan."

An effective work plan makes more efficient use of all of your program's resources; and planning ahead will lead to far greater success than trying to pull off a project or event with only a few weeks or months of effort.

For more information about purchasing a Developing Work Plans to Succeed, workshop, please contact Kathy La Plante at 202-297-2893 or (Read CV).