Project planning essentials
The Q'eqchi' Maya of Izabal work with Rotarians from District 6440 (Illinois, USA) to build a library at Ak'Tenamit, a Rotarian-supported community development project on the Rio Dulce near Livingston, Guatemala. Photo by Monika Lozinska-Lee/Rotary Images
A n effective service project involves careful planning, implementation, and evaluation. The best practices highlighted on this page can be applied to any community service project. For more details, see Communities in Action: A Guide to Effective Service Projects.
Conduct a community assessment
Start by identifying your community’s needs and assets. By taking time to learn about local needs, you will discover relevant opportunities for service projects and avoid duplicating existing efforts. Community assessment tools such as surveys, asset inventories, and focus groups can reveal critical information that will help you set an objective for the project and provide direction as you move into the planning process.
Read more about community assessment strategies.
Plan your project
A good project plan will help you manage club resources effectively, anticipate potential problems, and evaluate a project’s success. A few key tips can help you get started:
Form a service projects committee. This group (one of the five standing committees recommended in the Club Leadership Plan [PDF]) oversees all club service projects from start to finish. The committee motivates the club to find new service opportunities.
Create goals and a work plan. The goals you set will define your project’s scope, and ultimately help you determine its success. Set measurable goals, then create a work plan that lists and schedules the tasks necessary to achieve these goals.
Develop a budget. Create a detailed budget based on your work plan. Be realistic about financial expectations and anticipated expenses, and aim for transparency in all aspects of your planning.
Publicize your project
An effective public relations campaign will help illustrate your club’s vision for the project, recruit volunteers, solicit donations, and initiate partnerships. As you launch your project, be sure to highlight its timeliness and relevance. Continue communication during the project to sustain the message. Publicizing the project and its success will also build your club’s credibility and visibility in the community.
RI is always looking to promote project stories that can inspire or educate other Rotarians in their service efforts. Send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about effective public relations practices (PDF).
Use Rotary Marks
Using the Rotary emblem in your project publicity efforts is an excellent way to promote both your club and Rotary’s mission as a whole.
Evaluate your project
To learn and grow from the experience, your club needs to know what worked, what didn’t, and what you could do differently next time. Here's where setting measurable goals during the planning phase really pays off. Evaluate your project by collecting data about each of its goals and determine how well those goals were met. Project evaluation tools include surveys, case studies, and data analysis.