Action Step 8: Build the Community Action Plan
The final action step for completing CHANGE is to build the Community Action Plan. Careful execution of the previous seven action steps makes this task fairly straightforward. A quality plan contains sufficient details to map a clear course of action. As you complete the Community Action Plan and craft the objectives, be sure they are SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-phased. Learn more about writing SMART objectives from CDC’s Evaluation Basics Guide Series. Of particular importance in the Community Action Plan is presence of two objectives: project period objective and annual objective. The project period objective allows your team to look at the big picture of what can be accomplished over a multi-year period. For example the project period objective may be by Year 3 increase the percent of total miles of physical infrastructure for walking by 30%. Always provide a description of the project period objective to give context for what your team hopes to achieve (e.g., the establishment of sidewalks, trails, or walking paths across the community). As you think about your work, narrow the focus to certain chronic diseases and conditions and their related risk factors, such as obesity and physical inactivity. Concentrating on these priority areas rather than a broader view will enable your team to craft very specific, actionable objectives with real impact.
Annual objectives cover a 12-month timeframe and show incremental progress toward completion of the project period objective. As with the project period objective, it is important to provide a description of the annual objective. Similar to the Community Health Improvement Planning Template in Action Step 7, it is important to associate each annual objective with a particular sector. You may develop multiple annual objectives that cut across more than one sector for a project period objective. For each annual objective, indicate the number of people reached through its successful completion. Reach is the extent to which a policy affects the intended audience. Think about how many people will be affected by a sidewalk ordinance requiring paved sidewalks for all developments.
The final section of the Community Action Plan template is where you list the activities that support the accomplishment of an annual objective. When listing activities, be sure to provide a title and clear descriptions of key milestones. Avoid listing tactical tasks in this section. For example, the town hall meeting is more significant than the telephone calls your team makes to secure the time, date, and location of the meeting. For each annual objective the recommendation is to list no more than ten activities, which may limit these activities to key actions for completing the annual objective.