Projects can be big or small, depending on what you want to do and how much time and support you have. The key to turning your idea into a successful project is in the planning.
Whether you are planning to have an alleyway cleaned up or you intend to set up an activity for young people, make sure it is something you are passionate about doing – this will help you inspire others.
What is the point of your project?
If you are expecting other people to get involved, come along, or appreciate what it is you are planning to do, you have to start by asking them. It is important to be clear about what you plan to do and why.
Get out there and talk to the people who you think would most benefit from your project. If it’s your neighbours, knock on their door and ask them what they think, or drop them a short note and ask them to email you with their thoughts. Once you know you have some interest in your project – that’s the time to start planning.
While talking to people and telling people about your plans, remember to listen and take the details of anyone who offers their help, suggestions or contacts that could help make your project more successful.
It’s all in the planning
Planning your activity is essential, each project is different, and the number of people you have helping you and the amount of money you need will all change the way you approach a project. A project plan is also useful when you are applying for funding or getting other people to help you.
Some simple categories to include in your plan are set out below:
What is the main reason for your project? Examples could include
• Fun day – to help your neighbours get to know each other, and safe play for the children
• Clean-up – you have identified an area which needs clearing so it can be used by you and your neighbours
• Alley gates – to protect your home and the area nearby from crime and anti-social behaviour.
How are you going to do it?
It is important to get a good idea of how much time your plan will take to pull together, who needs to be involved and how much money you will need.
Who needs to be involved?
Do you have enough people to help?
How do you plan to get more people involved?
Do you have enough money already?
How will you get more money, if you need it?
Can anyone you already know help?
Location, location, location
Where will your project happen?
Who owns the land?
Do you need permission to use that space?
How long will it take to get permission?
Do you know who to ask?
Is there a cost involved?
On the day
What will you need for your plan to work? This includes tools, equipment, entertainment, refreshments etc.
Who will provide those things for you and will they cost money?
How long will your project take?
Will you need more volunteers on the day?
You should already have identified who your project is for and who it will help in the long run. Now you need to decide how you will tell them it is happening.
Will you need a flyer printed to put through your neighbours doors?
Will someone go and knock on neighbours doors and tell them in person?
Will other types of promotion work better?
Other things which you might need to consider include:
If your project is something which you hope will happen on a regular basis, you will need to make plan ahead a little and book your venue in advance, let your group know when and where things are happening and make arrangements for any costs that might need to be covered. Don’t forget to check out our Find Funding pages to help you find ways to fund your project.
Once you have got all of these things down on paper – you are in a better position to ask for help from your neighbours and friends because everyone will be able to see exactly what you plan to do.
It will also help you work out how much money, if any, that you might need to help make your project a success. We have done some of the leg work for you and listed a number of the country’s top funders on the funding pages so you don’t have to go searching for them.
Now that you have contact with neighbours and people in your area, why not consider making the connection regularly? You could hold events more often, or just keep in touch through email to discuss issues in your area.