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Sample Project Charter

A sample project charter for an "Increase Membership" Task Force

Before we see a sample of a project charter, let's answer a couple of questions:

What is a project charter?

The project charter provides an understandable framework for all the participants. It may be written for a large volunteer project (a seasonal spectacular convention) or it may be designed to resolve a particular problem.

The project charter:
  • Describes the scope of the project and the desired outcomes
  • Identifies the authority and resources delegated to the project
  • Defines participants and their roles and responsibilities
  • Identifies the guidelines in which the project will operate What is the structure of a project charter?
The project typically consists of four primary sections:
  1. Project identification and scope
  2. Authority and resource need definition
  3. Project roles and responsibilities
  4. Project structure and schedule
The following is a sample project charter for a membership recruitment task force (committee).

I. PROJECT SCOPE

Project name/title: Membership Recruitment Task Force

Background/Introduction/Purpose:
In the past two years, membership has decreased 5%. This team is being called together to develop a strategy to increase member retention and to add 100 new members in the next two years.

Scope Statement (Expected results/desired outcomes)
The membership committee will develop a strategy and action plan to increase member retention and add at least 100 new members by June 2005.

II. AUTHORITY AND RESOURCES

Who has the authority to make decisions and allocate funds?

The committee has the authority to spend up to $5,000 for this project. The committee is empowered to do what it takes to get the task done (be creative).

What personnel resources are needed (expertise on the project team)?

A consultant who is a specialist on membership retention and recruitment
One pro-active member from each of the regional chapters (8 people)
A marketing specialist from our membership (1 person)
A past president (1 person)
Team leader (1 person)

Total 11 team members plus a consultant

What is the budget?

To be determined at the first meeting—the following is what one team determined at their first meeting.
  • Consultant ($2,500)
  • Marketing materials ($1,500/mailing)
  • Meetings ($1,000)
What is the time needed?
Six months

III. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Tasks to be performed. Present the problem of a decreasing membership to the team at the first meeting and have them brainstorm possible tasks to increase membership. These ideas are developed into the project charter to report to the entire board. The following are typical suggestions: (Note how all begin with an action verb followed by an object, a person(s) responsible and a check point date.)
  1. Research and select a consultant to work with committee (Tom, Mary and Bill—by Jan 1st)
  2. Develop membership calling campaign in each region (8 regional committee persons responsible) Membership phone campaign in June
  3. Develop marketing material (Tom—by April 1st)
  4. Mail out marketing materials to all present and past members in May
  5. Develop survey for members about "why people join, leave, benefits, etc.) (Bill, Joan, Jerri—by Feb1st)

IV. PROJECT SCHEDULE

When the action steps are outlined from the brainstorming session, a time line is developed. A sample from above could look like the following:
  1. January 15th – Consultant retained
  2. February 10th Survey completed for approval
  3. March 1st – Survey mailed out
  4. Rough draft of marketing material ready for approval
  5. April 1st – Marketing material completed
  6. May 1st – Mail out marketing materials
  7. June – Conduct phone campaign
Observations about the project charter:
In this position charter the scope of the charter is very clear (increase membership by 100 members). The committee has been given a $10,000 budget to work with and a suggested outline of the people needed to pull this project.

The method is wide open. The committee is empowered, within those guidelines, to brainstorm and develop an effective plan. If the committee comes up with a need for more resources (money, personnel), they can present their plan to the board for approval. The committee needs to develop their own plan and business processes (sections III and IV of the project charter). In this way, they own the solution to the problem.