STEP 1: Setting Objectives

In this section you will be identifying the objectives that you want your program to achieve.
You will:

  • Describe the situation you want to change or the problem you want to solve.
  • Identify the specific actions you want people to take to help solve the problem.
  • Set measurable objectives that can help you monitor and evaluate your progress.
  • Decide how you will measure the achievement of these objectives
1. Identify the problem(s) you want to solve or the situation you want to change.

Examples

Get in the Loop - Buy Recycled was developed to overcome languishing retail sales of products with recycled content.

Go Boulder was developed to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in Boulder City, Colorado.

Quinte Regional Recycling was developed to address the high rate at which landfill space was being consumed in the Quinte Region.

The Montreal Dietary Dispensary was established to prevent low birth weight in babies.

Tip: The more specific the problem, the easier it will be to work on.

Your Program

Describe the problem you want to solve or the situation you want to change.
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How does this relate to your organization's mandates and goals?
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2. Decide on the specific actions you want people to take to help solve the problem.

Examples

Get in the Loop - Buy Recycled wanted people to buy more recycled-content products.

Go Boulder promoted a shift from single-occupant vehicle use to alternative modes of transportation such as bicycles, public transit and walking.

Quinte Regional Recycling put stickers on participants' Blue Boxes that read: "We Compost Too."

The Montreal Dietary Dispensary wanted at-risk pregnant women to include nutritional supplements in their diets.

Your Program

Write out the specific actions you want people to take.

Action 1
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Action 2
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Action 3
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3. Determine baselines against which you can measure your achievements.

Examples

In 1989 Boulder estimated that only 27 percent of daily trips involved alternative transportation modes while 730 percent involved single-occupant vehicles.

JEEP had seen demand for power increase from 6.3 MW in 1981 to 11.9 MW in 1991.

Quinte's participation in residential composting was 34 percent in 1992.

A literature review conducted by the AIDS Peer Education Program revealed that although 50% to 75% of adolescents in Quebec used condoms during their first sexual encounter, only 13% to 48% used them consistently. Between 2.0% and 6.4% of these teenagers engaged in sexual intercourse with an IV drug user.

Tip: For suggestions on answering these questions, see Getting Informed

Your Program

What is the current level of participation in the activity?
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What is the current rate at which related resources are being used?
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What are the current levels of related and measurable health characteristics?
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4. Set measurable objectives that can help you monitor and evaluate your progress.

Examples

Boulder wanted to shift 15 percent of the trips from single-occupant vehicles to the alternative forms of transportation by the year 2010.

JEEP wanted to overcome the trend toward increases and reduce demand for power by 0.5 MW.

By the year 2000, Quinte wanted to be diverting 71 percent of its residential waste stream from landfill. It also wanted to increase participation in residential composting to 80 percent by the year 2000.

The City of Portland decided to reduce VOC emissions by 2% permanently by 2006, factoring in population growth.

Your Program

What changes in participation, resource use, and/or health characteristics have others achieved?
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What circumstances in your community will affect your ability to achieve similar results?
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What is a realistic target to set? Specify how much of a change you hope to achieve, and in how many years you hope to achieve it.
Action 1
What?
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by how much?
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by what date?
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Action 2
What?
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by how much?
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by what date?
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Action 3
What?
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by how much?
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by what date?
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5. Decide how you will measure the achievement of these objectives.

Examples

Students at Norway, Whitney and Lochside (Bike Smarts) schools took surveys home for their parents to complete. This provided a "quick and dirty" estimate of the impact of these programs.

The Roach Coach Project used a close-ended questionnaire administered over the phone at the beginning of the pilot, and about six weeks after the educational intervention.

In exchange for data on the sales of labelled products with recycled content, Get in the Loop - Buy Recycled provided retail partners with mention in the program's paid advertising and public relations materials.

Each EcoTeam in the Global Action Plan program collected information on the activities of its participants and then provided it to a central database. This information was used to estimate the resource savings that each participant had achieved. The data were then available on an individual, team, country-wide and program-wide basis.

Go Boulder was able to directly count the number of people who bought transit passes.

Go Boulder had survey participants record their transportation patterns using logbooks.

Quinte Regional Recycling tracked curbside lift counts, the weight of waste going to landfill, the weight of Blue Box materials, and savings in landfill costs, among other variables.

Tip: Whenever practical, measure actions and their results directly. You will get more accurate information than if you use the less direct methods discussed in Getting Informed.

Tip: Where possible, avoid having participants estimate their actions or results, as estimates provide unreliable information. Similarly, avoid asking people to speculate on intended actions and results. If you must rely on such estimates, verify them periodically using direct methods.

Your Program

How can you measure the actions and their results directly?
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How might you get participants to measure their actions and results, and report them to you (less direct)?
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Can you get useful information by asking participants to estimate their actions or results?
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If you cannot measure results directly and are not able to have participants do it, how might you estimate your achievements (least direct)? How will you compensate for, or otherwise deal with, the expected inaccuracy?
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