Early in the start up process, whoever is acting as the initial champion of the idea of a Development Trust will need to communicate their vision to other interests. Writing a brief statement helps crystalise and communicate these ideas.

Presenting your ideas to other people in a structured way serves three purposes:

The process of starting up a Development Trust is largely one of refining ideas and recruiting supporters. After some early informal discussions it will be necessary to draft a statement or vision of what you are talking about. Try and keep it to one side of a sheet of paper.

The key questions

Everyone will have their own way of producing their first statement, but in doing so remember the usual six key questions which need to be answered: why, where, what, who, how, when?

Why do you think that a Trust is a good idea?
Describe the problems and opportunities in the area, what Trusts have achieved elsewhere - if you know - and why a Trust would be relevant in your area.

Where would it operate?
Describe the area you think that Trust operations should cover.

What will a Trust do?
What type of projects might a Trust carry out. Are any other organisations working in the same field? Would the Trust work with them?

Who will be involved?
Who will you need to recruit to support and run the Trust:

Mention any support or endorsements that you have gained already.

How will the Trust operate?
Outline what you think the Trust's style will be - competitive or collaborative, informal or business-like. You will be asked how it will keep in touch with local interests, and how representative it will be.

When do you expect to launch the Trust?
Bear in mind that start up is likely to take at least a year from first idea to launch. Sketch out the programme, particularly public events.

Developing the vision

These questions will recur throughout the start up process, and ultimately must be answered in three main documents: the business plan, the Trust's constitution, and a Prospectus to funders and other potential supporters.

They should also be addressed in any workshops and seminars run by the steering group, and in any leaflets and newsletters which may be developed. Try and balance clear ideas with the willingness to change them in the light of other people's suggestions.

Another way to help cystalise the vision is to try and develop a case study of the trust as you would like to see it in five years time. See the sheet on
Case Study for headings.

© David Wilcox Tel +44 (0)1273 677377. Fax: +44 (0)1273 677379. These information sheets may be freely distributed with this attribution, but not republished as a whole.
Partnerships Online : The Guide to Development Trusts and Partnerships: other sheets