The start up process
Setting up a Development Trust is a complex process likely to take a year and involve the very different complexities of creating both a successful small business and establishing a voluntary body.
The process does not fall neatly into stages - and it won't 'run on rails.' There will be false starts and diversions, conflicts and compromises as well as moments of creativity and celebration.
The process is complex because it involves creating a structure which works for the people involved and delivers project, while drawing in funds and help from many sources. It involves much more than buying a company off the shelf, changing the name, and getting started. This section describes the process in general - there is also a section on the stages in more detail.
Development trusts may be started 'bottom-up' by local groups or individuals, or 'top-down' through the support of a public or private sponsor. Whatever the starting point, an effective trust must deal with a number of tensions:
Unless these issues are addressed in the setting up process the trust may spend many years dealing with internal conflict or facing criticism from local people and groups who resent the new-comer.
The process described here is designed to bind together the 'hard-edged' tasks of incorporation, business planning and project development with 'softer' issues of team building and community involvement.
The building blocks
The three main building blocks in the process, bringing together the different strands, are:
Communication and commitment. This may start with a few conversations of enthusiasts, then move through the formal and informal processes of workshops and presentations, newsletters and exhibitions to a formal launch.
Planning and projects. Mapping out the process, deciding what the trust will do, and developing a business plan which will ensure the trust is financially sustainable in the long term.
Structure and staffing. Building the organisation, creating the systems, recruiting the Board and staff, and training them.
While bearing in mind that the start up process isn't completely linear, it may be useful to divide it into four stages:
Getting started and planning the process. Finding out whether a trust is appropriate, and what is involved.
Building the partnership. Gaining the commitment of other by giving them some ownership of the projects the trust will carry out and forming the steering group which will shadow the Board.
Developing proposals. Turning research, project ideas and funding opportunities into a bid for resources.
Forming the trust. Creating the formal structure, recruiting staff and Board, setting up systems.
These stages are developed in more detail in the next section.
Start up checklist
When starting the setting up process consider:
These issues are dealt with in more detail in the next section Stages in the the start-up process