Project Planning

1. Begin Your Project Checklist

Download here.
This Project Planning Checklist will help you manage the big picture over a six week timeline. Using the Project Ideas page, start exploring what can do and calculating what you need. Use this timeline to stay on track.

From painting to landscaping to light carpentry to light construction, there is a lot that can be done at a project site so these resources are here to assist in planning and executing kickass service projects!

When outlining what types of projects that can be done, definitely get feedback on what the host site deems to be their greatest needs and wants. Don't forget to bring your own ideas to the table and feel confident in sharing these ideas to generate conversation and collaboration, as some organizations may not be sure what your Platoon is capable of or what resources you can provide. Don't forget to use your other community and corporate connections to help out. 

 Under Promise. Over Plan.

2. Post The Event Online

At this point, you need to get word out about your upcoming event. You should have a good idea of what you are going to be doing and why. Now, it is time to get your Platoon involved. Use this page to learn how to post the event to Salesforce Communities. Be sure you have the Venue created in Salesforce as well. Remember, everything that you put on the event form in Salesforce is put on our public website and sent out as an email to your platoon announcing the event. It is critical that ALL EVENTS are posted in Salesforce, and you have people sign-up via the event link. This is how we track participation and tell the story of your platoon to partners and funders. We cannot track platoon attendance through Facebook events or emails.

Be sure to also post a link to sign-up for the event on your Facebook group page and any other social media outlets that you can access. You can also invite other Veterans groups and community organizations.

Recruitment is not just a one time thing, but a continuous process in your endeavor. Be sure that you are re-posting to your Facebook group and sending out personal invitations to your members. Use your Leadership Team and Project Team to give platoon members a call. You can ask members to spread the word and encourage everyone to bring a friend. 

3. Build Project Team

If you haven't done this already, activate your Leadership Team and members to build your Project Team. Having a team to help create a project will not only help you, but give your members a chance to take ownership in the process. 

  1. Recruitment - get more members out to the event.
  2. Communications - post information online and send out announcements to local organizations. Work with TMC Communications Team on potential media exposure.
  3. Supplies & Logistics - procure supplies, establish what is need to accomplish the event. Organize how things are getting to the site. 
Key Roles during the Day of Service:
  1. Registration Table - work the sign in table, hand out shirts, greet the volunteers.
  2. Supply Lead - in charge of where supplies are placed, where extra supplies are stored, and how to procure last minute items. 
  3. Safety - identify potential hazards, give the safety brief, in charge of first aid. 
  4. Communications Lead - take photos, post on social media in real time about the event, work with local media on the ground.
  5. Project Team Leads - each project section needs a leader. Use the service project planning template to provide their instructions and supply list.
Work with your Project Team on a weekly basis, keeping them up to date about what you are doing. Have a lunch, dinner, or coffee with them to help plan the event. Source their ideas, get their input, and give them responsibilities. 

Your Team will guarantee your success.

4. Tasks, Scope, and Supplies

Plan a site visit to scope the project. You can use our project walk-through form to make sure you don't forget any important details. Use either the simple or advanced Project Planner from our templates page to begin supplies and materials lists for each task, a master shopping list, prep-work needed, and instructions for your task leaders.

  1. What does the project site have that you can use? Power washers, mulch, lumber? Find out what they can donate to make their place better.
  2. What can be donated from local supporters? Remember that anything considered an in-kind donation for the project has to be donated to the host site. For example if someone is donating lumber to build a garden, it is not being donated to the Service Platoon, but to the host site. 
  3. Order your paint early! While Benjamin Moore donates paint for some national level projects, this isn't available for every local service project. The majority of the time, paint will need to be purchased as part of your overall project budget and ordered at a local paint retailer.
  4. Find local organizations to borrow/rent tools. Some towns have a Community ToolBank or other tool lending organizations that you can borrow or rent from at a discounted rate. 

Fill out a Project Planner and make sure your Supplies & Logistics person is helping you to get all of the supplies there. Some supplies can be dropped off ahead of time, if there is a place to store them at the site. If you have any deliveries, make sure they come 1 to 2 days ahead of time. In case there is anything missing or the delivery is wrong, you will have time to correct. 

Have Platoon members help bring supplies as it will make them feel empowered to be a part of the project and give them a sense of ownership. 

5. Budget 

Using your supply list, do some research and determine how much this project will cost. We are not looking for exact cost, but a general idea of what you will be spending. Keep in contact with your Regional Platoon Team about what you are going to be spending. You should spend about $1,250 total on each project, unless your Regional Platoon Team has procured additional funds. As often as possible, your purchases should be made by a Mission Continues staff member using a TMC credit card. If you have any major purchases that weren't made on a TMC credit card, get an invoice and turn it in with the Budget App. Remember, it can take upwards of two weeks for our finance team to issue you a check.

6. Final Host Site Meeting

Plan a call or visit to finalize project plans with your host site.

Some things to do:

  1. Go over the Run of Show.
  2. Finalize the projects you have decided on.
  3. Go over the Supply List and ensure they know what they are responsible for providing.
  4. Find out what volunteers your host site plans to have participating. Make sure those volunteers are signing up on your website. 
  5. What VIP's are coming? 
  6. Who is giving the opening remarks on behalf of the host site?
  7. Are there certain areas of the building or project site that are restricted?
These are just some of the points that need to be covered at this time. Remember, this is your project to plan and execute but we are guests of the host site. Work with the host site to make sure that a great event will happen and we leave their space better than we found it. 

7. Assign Members 

RSVP’s are coming from the announcement about the service event. Check Salesforce for your roster of who is coming and you need to start assigning them to teams. It is a good practice to assume that not all RSVP’s will show up. You may also realize that you don’t have enough RSVP’s to cover all of the projects that you have scoped out. There is a good 40% rule that only 40% of the people who RSVP will show up, but keep sending out reminders to the Platoon. 

8. Plan Opening & Closing Ceremonies

The opening of the event is an important part of the project. Besides giving instructions to the volunteers, this is your chance to say thank you. You will also need to give representatives from the host site a chance to speak. Be sure to include a safety brief, as well as describing where supplies and tools are located, available restrooms, as well as any other administrative and logistics notes.

Be sure to also have a Closing Ceremony created. Don't let volunteers just wander off at the end. 

  1. Talk about the work that THEY just completed!
  2. Give thanks and shout-outs to volunteers who went above and beyond.
  3. Hold a Patch Ceremony for new members of the Platoon.
  4. Announce upcoming projects and socials.
  5. Head out for a social gathering with your leadership team!

9. Review the Project and Ensure Compliance with Registration and Safety Protocol

This is your last chance to compile your project into one final overview. Make sure you have all of the supplies, Project Planners, instructions for Task Leaders. and other information ready for your project.

Be sure you are following the registration and safety SOP, with a plan for checking people in on Salesforce, getting waivers signed, and ensuring there is an emergency management plan and safety briefing.

Contact your Regional Platoon Team and your Project Team for one more review and final check.