What is a work plan?
It is basically a set of successive activities, interconnected and which contribute to the same broader purpose.
It is useful to look at the "flow" of the various actions
- either chronologically: individual activities are then linked to each other, feed off and feed into each other (content-wise, through the participants and/or multipliers, towards one common result)
- or transversally: individual activities all follow a particular angle and/or tool that at the end will allow a broader result. (The word "flow" can then be translated into "link"). They no longer flow into each other, but are still linked to each other.
Here are some examples: you have different lines of action but would like to intensify the training element in each, or would like to introduce gender mainstreaming as a transversal element, or would like to work more specifically on "participation" with various topics.
In other words, it is one big action broken up in different phases or steps that all bring you to the ultimate point and tie together at the end.
A work plan submitted for funding to the EYF
Within the strategic approach or global plan of an organisation (defined and agreed upon as what the organisation should achieve in the year(s) to come), you are asked to identify a coherent set of activities to be submitted to the EYF. It should be in line with what you do and want to achieve, but it should also be in line with the work, priorities and principles of the youth sector of the Council of Europe. You therefore need to show the relevance of the set of activities submitted to the EYF within the medium or long-term development of the organisation, but also show how this contributes to the priorities, mission and vision of the Council of Europe.
Why this new format?
It was felt that to grant support to a set of activities over the course of a year rather than for individual activities exclusively, would be beneficial to all:
- a more holistic and flexible approach that suits the needs and functioning of the organisations
- allow processes to take place over a longer period
- better planning
- increased impact and sustainability of the action
- increased opportunity for a multiplying effect
- simplified procedures
What can we include?
A work plan cannot be a set of very small activities or material production only. A work plan needs to have a "European dimension" and this means it should still contain international activities (at least one). It is important therefore to remember the criteria: 4 nationalities represented in the team, a wide geographical balance among participants (minimum of 7 nationalities), meetings with a minimum of 4 full working days, the need to find co-funding (at least one-third).
But it offers increased flexibility insofar as you can include different formats, if offering two or more international activities, you can have different target groups, you can focus on different topics as long as they are linked and go under a broader theme. As long as you explain the reasons behind the choice and it is coherent with the purpose of the work plan.
Remain concrete and use the space to explain wisely: some people have complained that 6,000 or 3,000 characters are not enough to explain. But then, they have repeated the same text… Others have managed to convey their ideas in a crystal clear way. It seems useful to show your work plan to someone who is outside your organisation and request feedback: is it logical? Is it clear? Is it coherent?
A work plan is assessed globally. But individual activities are assessed also and compared to the general rationale with this question in mind: how do they support the main purpose. Individual activities cannot be in contradiction with the main purpose. In other words and in an ideal world, the general rationale and the individual activities have to match. When there is a difference, individual activities serve either to clarify the general plan or to further support what is written in the general rationale and the global objectives.
One recurrent comment we make towards organisations is to focus! The fact that you can submit a series or set of activities does not make this advice less valuable. Keep a clear focus.
If one of the activities is already financed through different channels, do not include it in the individual activities online. But it is useful to include an explanation in the work plan to show the coherence with the rest of the work plan and the internal coherence of the work plan itself.