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THE PLANNING PROCESS

 

The Planning section is designed as a facilitator’s guide for college staff, faculty and/or administrators that provides practical guidance and tools for decision-making and executing on strategies to launch a center. Click each step of the planning process below to learn more, or, go to the bottom of the page to read the whole planning section in the pdf.

THE RACIAL EQUITY TOOL

Use the Racial Equity Tool to prioritize racial equity during the planning process.

Find out more here (PDF)

PLAN START

STEP 1. PLANNING LAUNCH

Though every SparkPoint center’s planning timeline varies, on average it takes about twelve months to fully launch a center after an institution has completed the discovery phase. This timeline is applicable once you’ve achieved readiness on the institutional self-assessment with funding secured and strong buy-in from your leadership, staff and students. It is important to note that getting buy-in and advocating for initial funding is a long term process that could take years to secure.

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STEP 2. VISIONING

The first step in building your SparkPoint center is to have a clear vision of what your center could look like. Developing a plan without a vision for the future is like building a bridge to nowhere. The committee needs to agree on where the process is leading and why.

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STEP 3. NEEDS ASSESSMENT

The next step in planning your SparkPoint center on campus is to gather information about student needs and interest. Understanding the main financial and economic challenges that students are facing will help you plan your service offerings and partnerships. This step can also be an opportunity to hear directly from students on important operational aspects of the new center, such as timing of services offered, location, and other amenities.

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STEP 4. TARGET AUDIENCE

Based on the needs assessment and interpreting the survey results, discuss and determine your target population. No program can serve the needs of every student, so it is important to be clear on who should be targeted for recruitment and who would benefit most from SparkPoint.

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STEP 5 SERVICES

The services offered at your SparkPoint center should be based on the information you gathered during the Needs Assessment stage. This is an opportune time to review existing partnerships and resources, and what you still need to build out the services that students and families can count on for their financial and educational success.

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STEP 6. PARTNERSHIPS

Partnerships can be either internal or external. SparkPoint is built on leveraging both internal and external partnerships, which work together in an integrated service delivery model. In both internal and external partnerships, it is important to align with agencies and departments that have shared goals and values. SparkPoint acts as a hub by providing services and referrals to partners, and partners reciprocate by providing service referrals to SparkPoint.

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STEP 7. SERVICE INTEGRATION

Service integration refers to multiple service agencies working together to provide holistic interventions to clients through collaboration and coordination. This client-centered approach focuses on students who have multifaceted needs that require services from multiple agencies.

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STEP 8. STAFFING

This section includes recommended positions, leveraging existing staff, funding considerations, sample job descriptions, questions for the planning committee, and initial hiring and on-boarding considerations. If SparkPoint is new to your college or district, it will take time for the institution to understand what SparkPoint does for the student community and what staffing is needed. We recommend starting the planning for positions early, as staffing approvals and hiring at postsecondary institutions take time.

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STEP 9. SCHEDULING

Goal for this section: Develop a master calendar that meets the needs of your target audiences

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STEP 10. SPACE

Ideally, the SparkPoint center would be in a large, centrally located office space on campus. However, due to limited space and resources on postsecondary campuses, SparkPoint centers often do not get their first choice of location and must assess and select from the options available to them. When assessing options, it is important to consider a few factors, such as size, stability, and what organizations will share the space.

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STEP 11. MARKETING & OUTREACH

It is important to start asking questions to understand and identify who will be responsible for your marketing strategy, how you will connect with your target audience, how you will raise awareness about the totality of SparkPoint services, and how much support you will be able to get from your institution. Once these questions are answered, you will have an overall understanding of your marketing and outreach strategies

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STEP 12: BUDGET AND SUSTAINABILITY

This section is about creating a budget for your center that lists revenue sources and major expenses. The section also discusses considerations for long-term financial sustainability for your center beyond the first few years.

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STEP 13. EVALUATION AND LEARNING

This section will cover SparkPoint data including outcomes, data collection forms, our data tracking system, reporting, and bundling.

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STEP 14. CULTURE & CLIENT JOURNEY

Client Journey Mapping is an exercise to map the journey that users go through from the beginning of their time with SparkPoint to becoming and remaining engaged as clients.

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STEP 15. SPARKPOINT IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

The SparkPoint Implementation Plan is a document that compiles all of the decisions made during the planning process. It provides a summary of the SparkPoint center, the vision statement, community and student needs, target audience, services that will be provided, and the partners that are part of SparkPoint.

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STEP 16: CENTER LAUNCH

The purpose of hosting a launch event is to formally announce the SparkPoint center to the community, students, staff, and faculty. The launch brings awareness of services, shows institutional commitment, and serves as an end to the planning phase.

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READ THE FULL PLANNING SECTION IN THE TOOLKIT

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