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Idea to Done
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Idea to Done 


Idea to Done is a simple process for getting ideas on paper, sketched out, then done. Developed by IMC members Mike Wittenstein, Lauralee Hites, and Charles Nunnally, Idea to Done lets several contributors quickly hand-off a small-yet-complete portion of an idea to the next person ready to run with it. This approach lets volunteers do what they enjoy most and are best at. Ultimately, it means that IMC USA gets more done by working with more contributors. 



Idea to Done

Step-by-step guide to helping nonprofit board members and volunteers go from idea to execution. Having a strategic plan is great IF it gets executed but, that can be hard when your organization depends on volunteers. Idea to Done, is your guide to for taking ideas to planning to completion, resulting in growing the organization. 

3 Steps to Get From Idea to Done



An IDEA is the SPARK! It takes a spark to create a flame that ignites a fire. In IDEAS phase, you create a spark or idea that supports the larger strategic roadmap of the organization. 

Key components to an IDEA: 

  • Name - of course you need to name the idea
  • Overview - 1 to 3 sentences about the idea, state clearly what the idea is 
  • Value - provide 2 to 4 sentences on the value it will bring the organization and/or strategic plan 

Remember, ideas don't have to be big or complex! The goal is for many volunteers to help execute the organization's strategy through small meaningful mini-projects. 



A BRIEF is the WOOD! It takes wood to go from a spark to a fire, so start gathering your wood to build this fire. In the BRIEF phase, you are thinking about what steps it takes to bring the idea to life, considering some of the questions you may get from others.

Key components to an BRIEF:

  • What - summarize the problem this idea would solve and what is out of scope. 
  • How - provide an overview of the solution will solve the problem and support strategic plan 
  • Who - include the resources you think you may need or who think may be able to help

Once the outline complete with a few key details, it's time to take it to the board to gain direction, insight, and resources the help. 


A PLAN is the FIRE! You had the idea spark, you put together an outline and presented to decision makers, it's time to keep the fire burning. In the PLAN phase, you are gathering a small group of people to help create the plan and work the plan. 

Key components to a PLAN:

  • Outcomes - list the specific outcomes you expect when this project is complete
  • Resources - finish the comprehensive list of the people and roles needed 
  • Timeline - draft milestones and dates
  • Metrics - include how you will measure success of the project and the solution 
  • Cost - provide a cost estimate of the solution and what the return on the investment might be

The Idea, Brief, Plan concept empowers volunteers to pick up projects and move them forward to completion, in turn helping the larger organization drive their Reason For Being and Strategic Plan. Ideas can be small or large, simple or complex - it's up to you! The goal of Idea, Brief, Plan is to enable all volunteers a way to contribute in moving the organization forward while working together with other individuals that are equally committed to helping the organization achieve their goals. Ready to get started? Review the Reason For Being and Strategy of the organization; then let the ideas flow!