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Stages in the start up process

While bearing in mind that the start up process isn't completely linear, it may be useful to divide it into four stages:

  1. Getting started and planning the process. Finding out whether a trust is appropriate, and what is involved.
  2. 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.
  3. Developing proposals. Turning research, project ideas and funding opportunities into a bid for resources.
  4. Forming the trust. Creating the formal structure, recruiting staff and Board, setting up systems.

These are dealt with in more detail below. See the previous section for a more general description of the start up process

1 Getting started and planning the process

Is a Development Trust the answer?

  • Brief yourself on trusts by reading this guide, talking to the Development Trusts Association, and visiting one or more trusts.
  • Also talk to the Groundwork Foundation.

Develop a vision

  • Who will the Trust benefit, and why is it being suggested?
  • What projects will it carry out, and how will these be funded?
  • What area will it cover, and when does it have to be in operation?

Who are the key interests in the area?

  • What is the attitude of the local authority, and other major public or non-profit agencies?
  • Who are the key voluntary and community interests?
  • What private firms might wish to help or be involved?
  • Who can give you contacts, make some introductions and champion the idea of a Trust?

What are the opportunities and problems in the area?

  • How will you find out more about the area?
  • What are its strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities and threats?
  • What might the Trust do?
  • Is a full-scale study needed? Have studies been done already?

Plan the process

  • How will top-down support be mixed with gaining bottom-up commitment?
  • What are the guiding principles for involving people, choosing projects, and controlling the Trust?
  • What funds are available for the start up process?
  • Who will be the development officer?
  • Who will be members of the first working group, and what will its terms of reference be?
  • Where will the temporary base be?
  • What advice and support will be needed?

2 Building the partnership

Develop the vision

  • Prepare a first newsletter or leaflet
  • Hold workshops to brainstorm and prioritise projects
  • Carry out a community profile or other survey
  • Develop a statement of purpose, defining aims and objectives

Gain support and develop ownership

  • Gain formal support from public, private and voluntary sector interests
  • Create working groups
  • Find champions for projects

Form the steering group

  • Review the functions and responsibilities of a steering group
  • Set out terms of reference and responsibilities, interim constitution
  • Explain business planning and the idea of a competent Trust
  • Provide training and support
  • Appoint development officer
  • Research funding
  • Developing proposals

3 Developing proposals

Develop project ideas in detail

  • Review results of workshops and studies
  • Carry out detailed feasibility studies on projects
  • Develop budgets, identify funding sources

Develop a bid

  • Identify staffing and overhead costs
  • Identify core funding opportunities
  • Prepare funding bid as a draft business plan

Keep people informed

  • Produce a newsletter
  • Holds open meetings and socials
  • Run a seminar to gain commitment to the funding bid

Develop structure

  • Draft memorandum and articles of association
  • Make/change steering group to shadow Board
  • Develop a management structure of committees, task groups

4 Forming and launching the development trust

Incorporate the Trust

  • Take specialist legal advice
  • Consider charitable status
  • Circulate memorandum and articles of association for approval
  • Register the company and, if appropriate, seek charitable status

Recruit the Board

  • Identify a chair with leadership qualities
  • Consider a balance of competence, contacts and status among members
  • Provide briefing and training

Recruit staff

  • Develop equal opportunities policy
  • Recruit, appoint and brief executive director
  • Recruit and train other staff

First Board meeting checklist

  • Appoint chair, officers, auditors, bankers
  • Admit company members.
  • Confirm staff appointments
  • Approve any contracts
  • Disclose interests
  • Approve budgets, premises, procedures
  • Delegate powers
  • Ratify agreement with partner organisations.

Premises and systems

  • Set up the office
  • Develop financial and administrative systems

Communications and launch

  • Keep everyone informed
  • Plan and hold the launch

Checklist of milestones and resources

Overall the process is likely to take up to a year. The main milestones are:

  • Initial planning sessions and informal discussions by those promoting the Trust to develop a vision and action plan.
  • Workshops to brainstorm and prioritise projects, principles, and find other steering group members.
  • Steering group and Board meetings.
  • A seminar of all key interests.
  • Preparation of the bid document or draft business plan.
  • Presentations to funders and supporters to secure core funding.
  • Staff recruitment.
  • Legal incorporation and securing charitable status.
  • The launch event.

During the setting up process you will need to find cash or help in kind to cover:

  • Communication materials and events
  • A development officer and temporary office
  • Legal fees and project feasibility studies

More details in the information sheets