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Planning for success

Creating a strategic roadmap is crucial for Rotary clubs that aim to achieve substantial and impactful outcomes. The process involves translating the current situation into a plan to achieve the mission. This doesn't have to be formalized into a lengthy written document, but identifying and communicating each section is crucial.

In the Marines, all leaders are taught the time-tested method of a "Five Paragraph Order" – the memory aid is "SMEAC" which stands Situation, Mission, Execution, Admin and Logistics, and Command and Communication.

Adapting the format to a Rotary Club context, we can create a structured approach to organizing and communicating plans for community service projects, fundraising and even membership growth. This adapted version keeps the essence of clear and actionable planning while being tailored to the goals and operations of a Rotary Club.

1. Situation: Describes the community or organizational context, including information about the need or opportunity being addressed. It might include details about the community, potential partners, and any relevant background information that impacts the project. In modern business parlance it's akin to a "SWOT" Analysis (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats).

2. Mission: Clearly states the objective of the project or initiative, detailing what the club aims to achieve, for whom, when, where, and why. This section should articulate the purpose and expected impact of the project in alignment with Rotary’s areas of focus. It should contain measurable goals. I think of it as the conditions that will exist when we are successful.

3. Execution: Outlines how the project will be carried out, including the plan of action, roles and responsibilities of members, and any committees involved. It should cover the phases of the project, from planning through execution to evaluation, and include any specific events or milestones.

4. Admin and Logistics: Covers all administrative and logistical aspects necessary to support the project. This includes fundraising, resources, materials, volunteer coordination, and any other logistical needs to ensure the project's success.

5. Command and Communication: Specifies the leadership and communication plan. It includes information on the project leader, the chain of responsibility within the club, and how members will communicate, including meeting schedules, updates, and reporting mechanisms.

This structure can help Rotary Clubs plan and execute their projects with clarity and efficiency, ensuring that members are well-informed and coordinated in their efforts to make a positive impact in their communities and beyond.


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