Good, strategic program development is a critical element of any organization’s success. We advise those developing new programs to evaluate first the proposed program’s mission fit and financial viability. Financial viability will be defined in different ways for different organizations. Some organizations can afford to develop programs that lose money – although we tend to discourage it – because they have other programs and/or fundraising that generate surpluses. Other organizations cannot do this because they do not have the financial reserves.
Mission-fit and financial viability are only two of the criteria to be considered when introducing a new program. We advocate the use of a program screen that considers these two criteria as well as several others, unique to your nonprofit, that we develop with your input. We also encourage you to bring your board into the process relatively early, because board members often have valuable experience with new product introductions that they can share, improving the likelihood of the program succeeding. And people support what they help to create.
We recommend bringing your intended clients or customers for the program into the process early. These people can provide insights and make suggestions that will vastly improve the program before it is launched. We suggest that you pilot your program on a small scale before investing heavily in launching it more broadly. Then those same clients can provide additional feedback to improve the program still further. No one can guarantee that all new programs will succeed. But it is possible to manage the risks to greatly improve the chances for success.
Our services include:
- Creating new program screens to rationalize decision-making about new program introductions.
- Assisting organizations to evaluate new program ideas using the screen.
- Creating new program plans once the decision has been made to create a new program for piloting.
- Involving board members and potential clients in the new program development process.
- Piloting and evaluating new programs and recommending changes and/or cancellation of the new program.
- Assisting with the regional or national launch of new programs after piloting.