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Development officer

The start up process for a Development Trust is likely to generate more work than can easily be carried out by a steering group sharing tasks among themselves. One solution is to appoint a development officer on a short term basis. The role of development officer is outlined in the Start Up sheets and those on Feasibility Assessment and Roles and Resources. It may cover a period of a few months to a year or more between the time that a steering group or sponsor decide to start the setting up process in earnest, to the appointment of permanent staff for the Trust.

The tasks

Among the tasks development officer may have to fulfill are:

  • Researching other examples of Development Trusts
  • Setting up a temporary office
  • Networking local contacts
  • Identifying main issues and project opportunities, and other feasibility assessment work
  • Organising workshops and a seminar
  • Developing the bid document or business plan with the steering group
  • Servicing the steering group
  • Preparing communication materials
  • Working with the steering group on incorporation of the trust, fundraising, staff recruitment and launch.

The role

This is one of the most difficult roles because of the temporary nature of the position and the range of skills required. It way be filled by someone from a sponsoring organisation, supported by consultants. Although tasks may be shared, it is important that one person has ultimate responsibility to pull the many strands together. There should not be an assumption that the development officer will be recruited as the executive director of the Trust, although that is a possibility. The development officer should be methodical and also have the ability to get on with a wide range of different interests. In the early stages he or she may be the first contact that people have with the emerging Trust, and first impressions are likely to last. It may be necessary, if funds are available, to provide the development officer with consultancy support on the feasibility assessment and in facilitating workshops and seminars. The steering group may decide to let a consultancy contract to cover all development work. While there are consultants experienced in this work, there are advantages in having a development officer or at least a liaison officer for the steering group:

  • The consultant is unlikely to be locally based, and it will be costly to spend the time necessary making local contacts and organising events.
  • It is important that the steering group are closely in touch with the start up process and have 'ownership' of the problems and solutions involved.
  • While the development officer may be contracted to and paid by one of the sponsors of the Trust it is important that he or she report to the steering group wjhich is acting as the 'shadow Board' of the Trust.

See Start up budget for the financial resources a development officer may need. © 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

partnerships/azp/dev.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)