6 Steps to Develop a Successful Program for Your Non-Profit

by Marc Parham

Developing a new program for your non-profit? In order to get funding and implement a successful program you must develop a sound program plan. This development plan, will layout the important aspects of your program. The development of this plan will help you think through your ideas and make sure that you have covered that things that will help make your program successful.

This article will cover the 6 basic steps needed to develop a good program plan.


Bad program development is the major reason for programs to lose funding. By following the steps below you will be able to develop the basic components of your program.

STEP 1 – Program Overview

What is your program idea? You must be able to describe your program in simple terms that will give the reader a good understanding of what you want to accomplish. What issues are you trying to address?  Give a good description of what the issue is that your program will address. Remember to keep it simple!

STEP 2 – The Statement of Need or Opportunity

What do you hope to achieve with your program? What do you plan to accomplish. Who will your program serve and why do they need it. A good thing to do is a needs assessment to have factual information to support your idea. You can do this by doing a survey or finding the results of someone else who has done a survey on the same topic. Demographic research is also very important. Look for detail information about the people you plan to serve. Income and education level can be very important. Also remember to do research on programs similar to the one that you are proposing.

STEP 3 – Program Goals and Objectives

How are you going to do what you say? What are the goals and objectives of your program? Goals refer to things that you want to accomplish. Objectives refer to the outcomes of a program. Be as specific as possible

STEP 4 – Evaluation Plan

How will the success of your program be measured? How will you be able to show how well your program is doing? Create activities that are measurable. For example you can show how many people participated in your program by simply counting the participant sign-up sheets. Define the method of how the activities will be evaluated. Pre and post tests, surveys and questionnaires, observation, focus groups, and discussions are some methods of evaluation.

STEP 5 – Organizational Information

Who are you and why can you be successful with this program? Describe who you are by creating an Organizational profile. The Organization profile will give the basic information about your organization like; Business structure, past experience and the management team. Be sure to include the information on your collaborative partners.

STEP 6 – Attachments

Make sure to create a program budget that will show all your cost and expenses. It is also good to include the following information; Resumes of key personnel, a Project plan, Letters of support, Cooperative agreements and any other pertinent information.


Take the time to do good program development and you will create a solid road map for a successful program. Just work on the plan step by step and don’t be afraid of asking questions that you can’t answer. Once you have the questions there is always a place to get the answer.

Click Here To Take The CapBuilder Non Profit Program Development Survey

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