Scattered Site Rental Toolkit:

Business Planning for Development & Management

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II.B. Goals Should Drive Design

Once you have a clear idea of how your SSR development and management program fits with your mission and goals, you should begin to think about and develop goals for your SSR program. You may want to review existing plans—those for your organization as well as the larger neighborhood and community—to insure your program is aligned with each. This is best done with input from key stakeholders. Include your staff in this discussion, meet with other organizations working in your service area, consider having a public meeting in potential target neighborhoods and talk to potential funders. This feedback will ensure that you are not forgetting important program elements and help you to see the program from multiple perspectives. We also recommend reading through the remainder of this manual and taking notes on other program elements that you may wish to discuss with one or more of these groups as you contemplate program design. By determining up front the full scope of feedback you want to elicit from various stakeholders, you can avoid multiple meetings.

It is also important to be honest about what you hope to accomplish. Often nonprofit organizations are hesitant to admit that they want to undertake an activity in order to accomplish self-preserving goals such as making money or keeping staff occupied. Yet these goals are often critical to the very survival of an organization. If you are not honest about these realities, then you may fail because your activity design does not create a pathway to successful implementation.

Once you have brainstormed to identify potential goals, you will need to work to narrow and refine these goals. Start by attempting to combine similar goals, while refining the assimilating goal so that it captures the essence of all of the goals that are being integrated. You can also ask stakeholders to prioritize the potential goals, so that you are focusing on the things that are most important. Again, the use of facilitation techniques is useful in narrowing the field of potential goals.

Now you are ready to think about the linkage of the goals with the activity in a more direct way, as you further refine your goals and begin thinking about the realities of an SSR program. This is where reality begins to sink in and you take the first steps toward analyzing and understanding whether an SSR program is a good fit for your organization.

Finally, each goal, which will be a somewhat abstract concept such as providing housing to low and moderate income people, will need to be developed into a set of more concrete objectives. This will be accomplished as you complete each of the following modules of this business plan program toolkit. Included in your objectives will be specific information about location, density, scale, target population, type of unit produced, etc.

Below is a link to a chart with sample organizational goals and a program design criteria and challenges to implementation associated with each goal. This is designed to assist you in getting started on the process of identifying and evaluating goals associated with the development and management of an SSR program. It also serves as an example of the kinds of things that you will need to think about as you begin evaluating your program.

Next: Table II.C. Review of Common Agency Goals: How they shape SSR development activity design