Start to Plan

May 3, 2011

Today's post is part two of my blog series of sharing chapter four of my book, A Day of Hope: Leading Volunteers to Make a Difference in Your Community. I hope you find reading the book over the next couple weeks to be enjoyable and beneficial to you as a leader.

If you missed yesterday's section, you can read it here.

Enjoy and continue leading to make a difference in your community!


Planning is going to look differently for every person. 

I always start my preparation by myself with nothing but a pad of paper and a pen (oh ya, and a cup of coffee too).  I sit at Starbucks or at home where I’m alone and won’t be bothered, and I plan.  I get down all ideas, no matter how good, bad, or outrageous they might seem.  I also write down the people to talk to and the tasks that need to be done.  

Depending on your own personality and style, you might prepare well with others instead of by yourself.  My friend and mentor, Steve Elliott, prepares and generates ideas best by working in a group.  If he’s going to plan something he has to do so with a friend or colleague.  Mr. Elliott works best when he can think collaboratively with others in a group.  Neither way of planning is right or wrong.  Both are just as effective.  You just need to find out what works best for you. 

As I continue my planning process, I get everything as organized as I can by myself.  I get clear on what our goal is, how many people we will serve, what fundraising events we might want to do, when we might hold those fundraising events, and who will help.  I also brainstorm about who we might want to ask for donations, what the timeline will be for those donations, when we’ll send fundraising donation request letters, how we will thank donors, and what companies we want to ask for food donations.

Then I take what I’ve planned to my leadership team.  They take what I’ve thought about and develop and improve it.  This process improves our results because we don’t spend hours and hours working through ideas and planning things with three people when I could have planned them on my own.  It allows those three people to spend an hour focusing on improving the ideas that I’ve come up with and add their own ideas.

When my team gets together there are certain questions that I always ask them in order to seek their input and to stimulate some good discussion:

  • What did I miss or overlook?
  • What did I put in my planning that doesn’t really need to be there?
  • What am I right on about?
  • What am I way off about?

Preparation for you might be tough because you’ve never done A Day of Hope.  You don’t know what you should plan for, what you need to organize, or what you need to do.  But don’t worry, I’m here to guide you and walk with you along the way.  My job is to be right there with you throughout the pages of this book to teach you how to lead a successful effort to serve people.

Try to think back to a time when you prepared successfully for something that you led or participated in.  Think of a time when you were the person who needed to take initiative to get things going.  If an example comes to mind, then that’s how you should prepare.  Or think back to how you studied best in college.  Did you study best by yourself or with a group of people in a collaborative effort?  Neither of these ways of preparing are right or wrong; it’s just what works best for you.

Question: When you plan a project, what is your process for planning?

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I also may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."