Building a Youth Project Action Plan

Building a Youth Project Action Plan

Now that you’ve picked an idea for a project you want to tackle, the next step is to create an action plan.

First, what’s an action plan?

An action plan is exactly what it sounds like: a plan for action. An action plan involves taking the end goal (what you’d like to complete by the end of the project) and breaking it into pieces that detail how you will accomplish this goal. This makes the larger goal easier to tackle.

Developing an action plan is important for a successful project. It’s the base for your entire project. If you don’t have a basic outline of what must be completed and by when, those volunteering on behalf of the project or other group members will quickly become lost.

If people don’t know what they’re supposed to do, there will be a lot of wasted time trying to figure it out.


Building an action plan gives everyone involved an overall view of what the goal is and how it will be achieved.

Make sure your action plan is written down so each group member or volunteer can have a copy for reference. You can either write it on a piece of paper and copy it or create one on your computer.

Start by drawing three columns. Label one “tasks,” one “who,” and the last one “date.” This will correspond to what task needs to be done, who will do it, and the date it should be done by. Above the columns, write the idea for your project. See a good sample youth project action plan here.

Now, let’s write your action plan! Here’s how:


Plan the Steps

First, you need to figure out what will go into completing your project.

How are you going to achieve your overall goal? What steps need to be taken to succeed?

Think about all the steps that need to be done and in what order. Think of even the smallest steps, the ones you might think are too obvious to write down. Then write each step in the “tasks” column.


Going through the process of writing down everything that needs to be done will help immensely when it comes time to starting the project.

Here are some possible steps you’ll need to think about for your action plan:


Do you know enough about the project?

You might have to do some research first to figure out exactly how you’re going to tackle an issue. Maybe you want to invent something and don’t exactly know how. Maybe you need to understand more about the community problem first.

A good first step for any project is to do your research.

Gather volunteers

Do you need volunteers? How will you get them? This can be an important piece to building a successful project.

Rather than writing a broad step like “get volunteers” in your action plan, think about what specific step can be taken to find volunteers and encourage them to join. This might mean talking to the service club at your school. It could also involve reaching out to local organizations like churches.


Spread info

A good way to get people involved in your project is to spread the word. How will you let the community know what you’re doing? Make sure you write this into your action plan.

A possibility is to write a news release that can then be sent to local newspapers. You can also directly contact organizations you think might be interested in your project.


Set a Timeline

Now that you know the steps needed to accomplish your goal, it’s time to set a timeline for each step. This will help determine how long the project will take and what steps will take the longest.

Next to each step, in the “date” column, add the day or month the step should be done by.

Ask these questions after determining a date: Does the time allotted allow enough time for the step to be completed? Is it too much time for a simple task that must be done before the other tasks?

Make sure the timeline you set for each task is reasonable. Getting the timing right is important for developing a project that runs smoothly.


Assign Tasks

Another important part of an action plan is to divvy up tasks to different group members or volunteers. This helps ensure one person isn’t given more responsibility than they want or can handle.

For each task, you should assign an individual or group the job of completing that task. Write who will be completing each step in the “who” column of your action plan.

Here are some important points about assigning tasks:

Address individual skills 

When thinking about who should do what, consider each person’s skills.

Is James good at writing? Great! Assign him the task of writing press releases to send out to the community.


Individual approval

Even if James is good at writing, he might not agree to write press releases. He may want to participate in another step.

Make sure the individual or group assigned to a task agree to completing it. Also, make sure the individual or group members assigned a task can complete it on time.



The purpose of an action plan is to make sure each individual participating in a project knows exactly what is involved. It breaks down a larger goal into manageable pieces.

Developing an action plan is not only important during the project, it’s useful before.

By working through each step of the project, you can plan for difficulties and make sure the project is feasible. This can be helpful when picking a project for your grant submission to The Peterson League.

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