Ready, Set...Go! Toolkit

This interactive guide and the accompanying, full toolkit provide practitioners with user-friendly, hands-on resources to support the implementation of new program components or services. The resources are organized into three main sections that correlate with major phases of the process, Ready, Set, and Go!, each of which involves several substeps.

  • Ready guides programs through steps to prepare for program changes.
  • Set helps programs create a foundation and put things in place for successful implementation.
  • Go! aids programs in implementation and continual learning.

Each step has at least one accompanying template or tool that was used to implement new services as a part of the Building Bridges and Bonds (B3) study, and that other programs can now adapt as they add new program components to their existing services.

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As your organization prepares to launch a new program component, several steps can give you the lay of the land and set you up for successful implementation. These important activities ensure that your program is integrating multiple perspectives and participants' voices into the planning and implementation process, as well as thoughtfully considering program-specific needs.

Setting the Stage

Before launching a new program component, it is important to get stakeholders invested, generate excitement, and get people ready for change.

Stakeholder Meeting Resources

Use this meeting planning checklist to prepare for a meeting with stakeholders and staff members. The sample goals, agenda template, and example of an interactive facilitation approach can be customized for your specific needs and help the planning team get started.


Before setting implementation goals, it is critical to engage in a process of learning to understand your context. A collaborative self-assessment process that draws on multiple perspectives provides more complete information about how things are going in your program and can inform a thoughtful goal-setting process.

Program Flow Template

Use this template to create a program flow map. After developing a clear understanding of your existing processes and services, you can identify how best to integrate the new program component.

Observation Tool for the Delivery of Services

This observation tool can be adapted by programs to determine what areas of the existing services are going well and addressing participants’ needs, and noting where services are not meeting participants’ needs.

Setting Goals

Goals allow programs to achieve small, realistic objectives throughout the planning and launch process, helping to support strong implementation.

Goal-Planning Tool

Use this simple planning tool to help you to set goals that meet the challenges associated with implementing the new program component.



With stakeholder support and goals in place, it is time to kick into high gear and plan for the implementation of the new program component. In this phase, you are moving from a focus on “learning” to one of “doing” by laying the foundation for implementation.


A program can only be as successful as its staffing. It is important to set aside time during the planning process to ensure that the program will have enough people and the right people to implement the new program component, and to integrate it as seamlessly as possible with existing program activities.

Program Staffing Assessment

Use this program staffing assessment as a template to summarize all your staffing needs, review the current staffing situation, and identify what additional staff members will be needed to implement the new program component.

Staff Training and Support

Once the staffing structure has been identified, it is time to train people to implement the new program component. Consider using a “Learn, Do, Reflect” approach to training, giving participants an opportunity to learn the new information, then offering them hands-on experiences and time to think back on what they have learned.

Intake Training Activity and Role-Playing Exercise

These sample intake training and role-playing activities provide examples of ways to make training more interactive. Trainers can adapt them to suit a specific program component or just use them to spark new ideas.

Planning for Implementation

Developing a detailed action plan aligned with program implementation goals allows you to identify the steps needed to launch the new program, the staff members responsible for different aspects of the process, and a realistic and achievable timeline for implementation.

Recruitment Builder Tip Sheet and Participant Recruitment Trackers

Use the tip sheet and participant recruitment trackers to help create a sustainable plan for recruiting participants for the new program component.



Congratulations! It is time to launch the new program component. To implement services as intended, programs should be ready at kickoff with a plan that ensures ongoing learning for your staff, strategies for keeping participants engaged, and methods for using data to monitor your services and improve on them.


Implementing services as they were intended is a huge first step in delivering services that help participants achieve their desired outcomes.

Pre-Session Checklists and Session Facilitation Guidance

Use the sample pre-session checklists, guidance for new program component intake, and guidance on session facilitation to keep track of details and deliver services well.

Behavioral Strategies to Encourage Program Engagement

This tip sheet, which can help you identify what is getting in the way of engagement, can be paired with the SIMPLER behavioral solutions to develop a response and the planner to track your efforts. Consider adapting the sample appointment card, which provides one example of how to use the strategies mentioned.

Continual Learning

Now that the new program component is up and running, it is important to monitor service delivery to ensure that participants continue to receive as much benefit from your program as possible. Additionally, it is helpful to ask participants and staff members about their experiences.

Program-Monitoring Tools

Use these monitoring tools can help identify trends in your referral sources for the new program component and plan for areas of improvement.

Peer-to-Peer Learning Session

Use this example of a continual learning strategy checklist to develop a plan for ongoing, peer-to-peer support.

Document Details

Publication Type
September 2021
Wulfsohn, Samantha, Rebecca Behrmann, and Kureem Nugent. 2021. “Ready, Set...Go! Toolkit.” New York: MDRC.