4imprint, LLC

| Updated: January 13, 2021 4 min read

Pilot programs let you test new initiatives before implementing them across your entire organization. They help ensure you won’t implement a system that isn’t right for your agency. And that saves you time and money. When you’re ready to prepare your next pilot, these tips and participation gifts can help you get an idea of how well your final program will work.


Determine what success looks like

It’s difficult to know if your pilot program is working if you don’t define success. Before you start implementing your program, determine what you need to get out of it to consider it successful. Ask those who will be affected by your program to complete a survey or participate in a focus group so you can understand what they hope to get from the new program—and how best to evaluate it. Thank people who provide you with this data by handing out participation gifts, like multifunction pens.


Make sure participants understand it’s a pilot

Whether you’re trying new office software or testing a new program to help citizens in need, emphasize that the pilot program is only for a set period of time and may be discontinued. This will give people time to seek out new resources or solutions if the pilot program doesn’t expand into a full program.

A printed card or a magnet that shares starting and ending dates for the pilot program—as well as contact information where people can address questions—can make your program run more smoothly.


Test every component together

Most programs, whether they’re on a computer or part of a social program for the community, affect other programs—and it’s important to test how all those components work together. Perform end-to-end testing to ensure that every piece of your pilot works with other programs already in place.

Show your appreciation with thank-you gifts for volunteers. Include the people testing the program as well as the organizers who make sure all the pieces are tested together. Consider using thematic gifts, like a smart bulb socket, when testing a new power-conservation program. Or give them a smartphone USB swing drive when piloting a new phone app.


Take every scenario into account—and plan for scalability

When you start a pilot program, be sure to test it in a variety of scenarios. For example, if you’re trying a new transit program, it may work well in a densely populated city but prove too expensive to be sustainable in a more sparsely populated area. Seek out a representative sample of volunteers as you run your pilot program to determine whether the program is feasible. By doing so, you’ll find it easier to figure out costs and how effectively the final program will scale. Show your appreciation to those participating by offering thank-you gifts for volunteers. Wireless ear buds are a great choice.


Pilots ready programs for takeoff

Creating a pilot program can help you devise, test and perfect the best solution while saving time and money. By knowing what success looks like, testing every component together, and using participation gifts to thank everyone involved, you can help ensure your pilot runs as smoothly as your final program.