Documentation is a coherent record of your organization’s most important, meaningful activities, methods, and outcomes. It shows—through text, images, recordings, and artifacts—that a program or project is active, exciting, and fruitful.
It also is an effective but underutilized strategy for improving the sustainability of projects and fledgling businesses or programs.
Well-planned and executed documentation offers five benefits that all lead to stronger, more sustainable projects and programs:
- Increases visibility
- Builds relationships
- Strengthens implementation
- Enriches evaluation
- Expands funding opportunities
Effective documentation helps you tell a coherent story that highlights the most important activities and features of a project or program. Building this story does not have to be difficult, expensive, or time-consuming if you:
- Use your imagination.
- Develop and implement a simple, realistic documentation plan.
- Follow and regularly revisit the plan.
- Promote awareness, involvement, and resourcefulness.
You may be wondering why you should document at an early stage or with such a small-scale effort. Why not wait until the project goes somewhere? Here’s why: If it goes somewhere, if it gets bigger, you want to show people that you have been committed, thoughtful, at work. That your first success has a team that will take it further.