Centres overview
Business plan
Legal structure
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Supporters, staff and other people

The people who get involved in your project are its most vital resource. They will generate the vision and ideas needed to make the plan a reality. They will have (or be willing to gain) the skills and experience to get the project planning process underway. They will have (or will generate) contacts, supporters, partners, sponsors and potential users: the human network that the project needs to start up and survive.

Involving people

One way to involve people from the outset is to organise a local community meeting.

Community meetings

A community meeting is a good way to start a project. The purposes of the meeting may include publicising the idea and recruiting volunteers and support. A meeting is a good opportunity to, present some outline ideas, a starting point, and gain some feedback, perhaps circulating a questionnaire. There will always be a few assorted Doubting Thomases, Technophobes and Trouble-makers. If you can convert them, do: demonstrations, participatory games, simulations and visits to other projects can work wonders. They are usually worried about money, intrusion and noise, parking, and porn on the Internet! If you can't convert them, it doesn't matter - accept their point of view as constructive criticism and be ready with answers for them!

Invite a guest speaker - someone who has been through a similar project or planning process. Ask potential stakeholders, partners or sponsors to attend.

It's a good idea to keep any Steering Group (see Legal structure) you form to a manageable number of people - say eight at most. But if you have plenty of support then an Interest Group ("Friends of Our Project") is a good idea. Keep them informed of progress and use them as an extra source of help when needed. Keep a note of any time (or other resources) that volunteers give your project. This is a vital source of match funding.