Just Projects Inc.


By: Diane Wadham, Director, Corporate Relations

Several of our newsletters have highlighted specific parts of our Planning Toolkit to better demonstrate and outline how to use the particular tools.  This newsletter is no different.  Our area of focus is the lessons learned phase.  The object of this phase is to do a thorough review and analysis of your volunteer initiative.  The goal is to capture what went well and identify what could have been better, so volunteerism within your organization remains a positive and sustainable activity.

The lessons learned phase should be structured in such a way that is promotes strong dialogue in a neutral setting.  Leadership plays a pivotal role here. Appointing a team leader to organize and facilitate the debriefing session is paramount.  Set a non-threatening tone by initially pointing out many of the positives of the volunteer initiative undertaken by your team.  This could gradually lead into the ‘lessons learned’ portion of the session.

 The impetus for the lessons learned is not really to focus on negatives, i.e.  ‘What went wrong’? Rather, it provides an opportunity to discuss how things could have been done differently to ensure optimum results. When reviewing the lessons learned portion, a good strategy is to have questions prepared in advance and send them out to your team so they have time to think about and prepare their input.  If possible, create a setting that is social. A social setting will go a long way to creating an atmosphere that reinforces that this is essentially a group learning sessions to compliment the volunteer initiative that has just taken place.  This process should result in greater participation by the group.

As noted in our Just projects toolkit, the following questions will assist you in assessing your initiative which will lead to improving future results:

· What went well?

· What did not go well and why?

· How might we improve next time?

Assign someone to take notes and then summarize the discussion into a report.  Be sure to note any resulting action items that should be noted when planning your next initiative.

In summary, the lessons learned portion of the planning process serves to not only see your initiative to a successful conclusion, but can also serve to lay the foundation for your next intiative.  After all, one of the most intangible benefits to engaging in volunteerism is to further enhance and solidify your business environment by contributing to your community.  The lessons learned session can lead to sustainability of this commitment.


Life is an exciting business, and most exciting when it is lived for others.

Helen Keller



For more information regarding this newsletter, please contact:

Diane Wadham, Director, Corporate Relations


Please note this newsletter is by Just Projects, copyright 2011.  Content was written by Diane Wadham.  Any Just Projects newsletter may be copied to your heart’s content as long as you kindly ask us first via email