Some trusts are set up 'top down'
with support from local authorities or quangos, others by local
people operating on a shoe-string.
Trusts are really small enterprises with charitable objectives, so
the aim is to end up with an effective independent organisation which
can both serve local needs and sustain its own operations.
From my own experience, talking to those involved, and from
questionnaires completed for this guide, here are some golden
- Establish clear objectives.
Work out what you are trying to do - whether tackling
projects, providing advice or information - and stick to it.
Decide what constitutes success and failure.
- Involve the whole community -
both residents and businesses. Talk to key interests, bring
them together in a seminar to launch the setting up process.
Unless others have a stake, they won't support you.
- Establish a clear legal and
management structure with advice from a solicitor with
experience in the field. Most development trusts are companies
limited by guarantee with charitable status.
- Gain local authority
support. Even if they can't help with funding, they can
provide advice, help in kind, and endorsement.
- Find good people. Recruit
a high-calibre executive director, and an independent chairperson
who commands respect. Choose Board/committee members for their
skills, contacts and commitment - not who they represent. Get the
best professional advice possible.
- Choose early projects
carefully. Launch your own flagship schemes, but respond to
opportunities and other people's ideas. Test feasibility before
- Be business-like from the
beginning. Set up administrative systems and tight financial
controls. Create an effective structure before you recruit. Aim
- Communicate effectively.
Create a vision of what you are trying to achieve, a clear
identity for your organisation, and produce well-designed
materials and events.
- Plan to stay in business for
the longer term. Balance socially worthwhile schemes with
money makers. Don't be a soft touch just because you are a
charity. Spread your funding to reduce risks of losing
- Take a balanced approach.
Think big, but don't overstretch yourself. Plan carefully, but
operate flexibly. Be optimistic, but assume the worst. Value the
process of making things happen, as well as what you
© David Wilcox firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Guide to Development Trusts and