Peter J Wilcoxen > MAX 401 Civic Engagement Action Plan Workshop

Preliminary Executive Summary

Due Fri 2/19
Please edit the executive summary (ES) template in your channel in Teams to briefly describe what you hope to do in your action plan. Since it's the start of the semester, this won't be the actual ES for finished plan. Instead, it will essentially be a prospectus for the project. Since it's an ES, each section should be brief: just a few sentences. The whole document should not be more than about 2 single spaced pages. However, make it professional: pay attention to spelling, grammar and logical organization. The notes below describe what should be in each section.

Broad social problem

What is the big picture social problem? You’ll eventually need to justify having other people spend real resources addressing it, so be sure it’s a compelling social problem and not just something that bugs you personally.  

Specific problem and population

What is your target geographic area and demographic group? About how many people are in that group? Of those, roughly how many do you hope to reach with your action? Be as specific and concrete as possible. It’s not required yet but soon you'll need to present data on the scope of the problem: that is, on the number of people affected and the severity of the problem they face.  

Community context

What organizations are already working on the problem, or are working on something close to it?  Spend some time looking into this: don't assume you know all the players already. It can be a very big problem, and very embarassing, if you discover late in the game that another organization has been working on your issue for years, or has already landed a large grant to work on it.

Implementing organization

What organization will you work with to implement your action? Why does the organization seem appropriate? Who will you contact there? Be sure to read the organization’s mission statement to see if your project is consistent with it.

Implementation plan

Describe the action itself: that is, briefly describe what you and your partner organization will do. At this point, a rough idea is OK: you don’t need a detailed plan. However, you should start looking through the literature in the area.  You’ll eventually need to provide a detailed plan for the action, and also provide some evidence that it could work: e.g., that it has been tried elsewhere and been successful.


Briefly discuss how your action will be evaluated. How will the implementing organization know whether it has been a success and should be repeated?


Briefly describe how your action will be sustained after you graduate. Who will be responsible for it (often that will be a person at the implemeting organization)? What resources will be needed? How will those resources be obtained?

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Peter J Wilcoxen, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 02/18/2021