Introduction to planning

Created: July 23, 2013 at 1:06 PM | Updated: September 28, 2018 | By Community Resource Kit

Why plan?

A plan is like a recipe, it gives you the ingredients and their quantities, how to put it all together and in what order so that you get what you envisioned. Planning can be simple or detailed, depending on the size and purpose of your group. Good planning enables you to clearly describe to people outside the group your intentions, goals and progress.

A plan enables your group to:

  • go forward as a cohesive organisation with one vision
  • be clear about whether you are achieving your goals or not
  • be credible to others outside the organisation
  • identify difficulties that can then be avoided.

Planning resources in the Community Resource Kit

Types of plans

There are different types of plans and each is dealt with below or elsewhere in this information. It depends on the size of your group, or project, whether you use them all or just some of them.

Type of plan




Strategic plan


  • looks at the kaupapa (principles or philosophies) and long term outcomes of the group
  • sets the overall vision/mission and broad strategic direction of the group
  • sets out how to achieve these outcomes.
  • 3 - 10 years
  • performance measured annually


Governing body (the committee/ board)

Operational plan/business plan (also called annual plan)


  • more detailed plan - the steps to make the strategic plan happen
  • includes SMART objectives
  • monitored at regular (monthly/quarterly) meetings
  • may include sub-plans e.g.
    • financial plan, budget, funding calendar etc.
    • marketing plan
    • communications plan.



Management (with people nominated for each of the action steps)

Project plan (or action plan)

A detailed plan - event management or project management.

One-off, as required


Management (usually with a project manager)

Financial plan


Includes a budget and forecast (see Financial planning).

Usually annual


Treasurer (with other people in the organisation)

Communications plan


For the communication activity of the group, or for a specific project or programme (see Your communications plan).

For the group as a whole and for specific projects




Marketing plan


Linked to the operational plan - focus on how your group reaches its market(s), including current and potential members as well as the wider community/clients.

Annual links to operational plan and communication plan




Feasibility study


An initial planning process to check on whether the idea for a community project/organisation is realistic (feasible).


Before setting up your group and/or before starting a major project



Risk management plan


A plan that documents how you identify and reduce potential risks.


Often associated with specific projects




Any plan is a living document that is developed and regularly reviewed and modified. As your organisation changes and grows, your group must continue to meet the changing needs of your community.

SMART = Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and with a Timeframe.

Planning/Evaluation Cycle

The planning and evaluation processes are basically the same regardless of the type of plan you're developing.

Planning and Evaluation Cycle


Next page: Strategic planning

Contents of the Community Resource Kit