From Start to Sustainability: The Program Design and Implementation Process

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were given step by step instructions for our life? If we could just follow a preset plan each day? For some of us, that sounds like a dream. Wake up, look at a list, see if you are on track with your life plan, and adjust if necessary. For those of us in the nonprofit world, we are often looking for processes to design and implement strategies that make our programs sustainable.

At Cultivate, we exist to help you simplify the process of starting your own nonprofit, grassroots, or NGO program so that it can be sustainable. From start to finish, our goal is to help you build a program that will address your community’s most pressing needs. 

Getting Started

If you have ever wondered how to launch a new nonprofit or NGO, we have compiled the entire process for you! This is just a short overview of what our program covers. When you train with Cultivate, you will learn how to design and implement strategies in depth for your program.

However, to give you a good glimpse into what you can learn from our training, below is a list of the basic topics we cover in our program.

You will learn how to:

  • Evaluate your personal capacity to become an NGO leader.
  • Create a Board of Directors or leadership team.
  • Conduct a Community Assessment to identify the community’s needs and assets and to discover what the community actually wants to do for themselves.
  • Once you have identified the core problem the community has voiced, conduct a Problem & Solution Analysis on the core problem.
  • Identify potential interventions to address this core problem.
  • Research potential collaborators, competitors, & opportunities.
  • Design a potential program idea & create a summary.
  • Propose your idea to the community.
  • Design a detailed business plan for your program involving those in your leadership and community, including budgets, program launch objectives, vision and mission, and a detailed plan for program operations.
  • From the full business plan, create a smaller pilot program to test out the feasibility of your program.
  • Register your program with the government, if necessary.
  • Create documents with policies and bylaws to govern your NGO according to your local government requirements.
  • Prepare documents such as processes, partnership agreements, client forms, and more before beginning your operations.
  • Create a simple evaluation plan for your program.
  • Create a realistic communications plan so that you can build a list of potential clients, donors, volunteers, and other supporters.
  • Prepare essential communication tools such as email, social media accounts, mass email accounts, basic website, and a simple one-page digital brochure.
  • Prepare to fundraise by:
    • Establishing a bank account for your organization.
    • Determine how you will receive donations. 
    • Apply for fiscal sponsorship, if needed.
    • Create a realistic donor stewardship plan.
    • Create a simple database to track donor and client information.
    • Create templates in your email for donor communication.
  • Prepare to manage your organization’s income and expenses through a simple financial management database.
  • Research what is possible and realistic for you to fundraise.
  • Create a fundraising plan which includes a diversity of income sources, and start fundraising.
  • Reach your pilot program budget necessary for program launch.
  • Launch your pilot program.
  • Follow your donor stewardship plan to maintain relationships with donors. 
  • Gather data and impact stories from the pilot program to share on social media and in your newsletters. 
  • Fundraise to save 2-3 months of costs for the pilot program.
  • Evaluate your pilot program and make necessary changes. 
  • Design a program based on the pilot by creating a plan to grow your program to what you intended it to be, fundraise for the program, and update your business plan if needed.
  • Fundraise for the growth of the program or the new programs while continuing to run the pilot program.
  • Launch the new program and implement your plans. 

Once I get started, how do I sustain my organization?

In addition to this long list of what you will learn, you will also learn ongoing processes like:

  • How to periodically evaluate the program’s effectiveness and make changes as necessary.
  • Involving the community in the program, conduct community meetings and assessments, and how to redesign your program as needed.
  • Following your plans for communications, program evaluation, and running the organization while making changes as necessary.
  • Recognizing that nothing ever goes as planned!

We will empower you to do your best, serve your community with integrity, and be flexible enough to make changes as needed. At Cultivate, we help you design and implement the strategies for your program, but we don’t leave you there. We walk with you every step of the way, giving you the coaching you need to create a successful program!

For more detailed information on our program, visit: or download our free PDF: From Start to Sustainability

Not a leader in a community organization but want to find ways to help? Consider donating to our scholarship fund so that every leader who wants to train with us can! Scholarship a Community Leader