Creating a Project Plan

Whether your MLK Day initiative will have a single site with 100 or fewer volunteers or multiple sites with hundreds or thousands of volunteers, you will need a project plan. The plan should be as detailed as possible and broken into sections that allow tasks to be delegated to staff and volunteers that are involved in planning.

Essential Components of a Project Plan

Project Overview

Because the project plan will become the essential planning document for your MLK Day initiative, it should include a project overview that describes the MLK Day of Service, including its national and local scope, and its past local accomplishments, if applicable. The project overview allows everyone that is communicating with an external audience to use the same language about the initiative.

Project Goals

The plan will be designed to meet the goals that are set forth in this section. Clearly stated goals give each workgroup something to strive for and provide additional language for outreach purposes. Your goals should be consistent with Dr. King’s teachings and with the missions of the organizations involved with the planning process.

Initial Outreach

If your organization is interested in creating a community-wide MLK Day initiative, it is important to involve a wide cross-section of the community in the planning. The initial outreach may involve simply inviting individuals and organizations that are considered stakeholders in a community-wide MLK Day of Service to a brainstorming meeting to elicit commitments to participate in the planning process.

The lead organization may devise the first three components of this plan and revise the first two once a community-wide planning committee is formed.

Planning Teams

The project should be divided into teams that reflect the various areas of planning including: Project Development, Volunteer Recruitment and Management, Fundraising; Communications, VIP/Leaders, and Event Planning. In larger initiatives, each of these areas will represent a committee, and some areas may be divided into various sub-committees. For example, fundraising might be divided into financial sponsorship, in-kind support of service projects (materials and equipment to complete projects), or in-kind support of events (volunteer incentive items, prizes for raffles, food or venues). For smaller initiatives, some areas may be combined into a single committee.

List the names of each Committee Chair and committee members with their areas of responsibility.

Detailed Timeline

Each committee should brainstorm and create a detailed list of all the things they will need to do within their planning area to create a successful MLK Day initiative. Some areas such as outreach or partnerships will go across multiple categories from project development and volunteer recruitment to fundraising.

Each committee should then order the items and, based on when planning will begin, place each item on a proposed timeline. Representatives of each committee should come together with all of their proposed timelines to negotiate items that will require input from multiple committees. The result of this brainstorming and negotiation process will be a master planning calendar and timeline.

Each committee’s timeline and the combined master timeline should include: major items to be completed; the steps or actions to be taken; the responsible party for each item; the expected start date; and the current status. At each steering committee meeting, the master calendar can be updated with the current status of each item. The calendar should begin with the starting month of the planning cycle and run through the post-MLK Day follow-up activities.

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