The Role of Business Planning Concepts in Balancing Mission and Financial Sustainability Responsibilities in Extension Programming

The University of Minnesota Extension Service used program business plans, an effective tool in other sectors, to improve integration among campus-based state specialists, field educators, and administrative staff and to address operational and financial issues. The traditional semiautonomous work of educators contributed to silolike efforts, unclear roles and responsibilities, and difficulty communicating program benefits to stakeholders. Plans were written for fifty-four of fifty-six Extension programs in a nine-month time frame around a template developed in the Department of Applied Economics. This paper explores the rationale for program business plans in outreach education, key plan concepts, and the process used to develop the plans. We interviewed program team members to gather early insights and preliminary outcomes. Most program teams interviewed in this study recommend program business planning. We continue to use the plans and build our understanding of how this tool can strengthen Extension programming.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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