This is as simple as finding out what works and, equally if not more important, what doesn’t work and why. But whether you visit best practice models in person, talk to staff on the phone, read about them in books and materials, here’s some suggestions on key aspects to study and questions to ask:
What would they do differently if they were starting-up their program all over again?
What is their ratio of staff and or staff/volunteers to clients?
What curriculum (if applicable) do they use?
What is the leadership structure of their staffing? How has that changed over their history and why?
What type of training and professional development activities do they find more useful than others? Who does their training? How much time is each individual staff required to devote to training?
How are stakeholders involved in the governance of their program?
How do they incorporate the use of volunteers?
What has the program found most effective in their efforts toward self-sustainability after their current funding runs out.
How is their evaluation component designed and how is it used to improve their program on an on-going basis?
More of these very important questions in the next Blog and more about this subject in my new book: RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: The Groundbreaking Process Used To Win More Than $385 Million In Competitive Grant Awards.