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Working in the voluntary sector
Working in the voluntary sector

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3.1 The role of planning in obtaining resources

Talking about her experiences in applying for a grant, Anna implies that her team learned how to be methodical and to plan better, particularly in terms of addressing what the funding body wanted. In order to obtain resources for organisations, it is vital to plan carefully. Think about when you last drew up a plan. Or maybe you have never had to draw up a plan because it is the sort of thing you leave to other people?

Plans are made for particular purposes. We plan for something. Organisations can have many types of plan: from big, strategic plans for how the organisation as a whole can achieve its purposes, through to project plans for specific activities. Project plans usually require explicit targets for what should be achieved by when in order to realise the project. When seeking funding, it is important that the issue for which you are fundraising fits with the organisation’s strategic purposes, and that the funding body definitely funds the type of activity you want to do.

There are three basic components to a plan:

  • the aims and objectives to be achieved
  • a specification of the steps or activities needed to achieve these and when they will be completed
  • estimates of the resources required to carry out these activities.

It is often difficult to get a plan right the first time you attempt it, so planning is often an iterative process. In other words, you will keep revisiting and revising the plan as the project develops and circumstances change. Moreover, planning needs to involve everyone who will play a part – at some point – as you need to build commitment to the plan. Thus, planning is not simply a matter of researching and deciding what needs to be done. It is both an analytical and a social process.

When planning, it can be useful to think about SCHEME. This is a popular mnemonic that can help you to remember a checklist of things to think about, whatever kind of planning you are doing:

  • Space – what accommodation and facilities are needed to carry out the plan?
  • Cash – how much will be needed to run the planned activity?
  • Helpers – how many people will be needed and what skills will they need?
  • Equipment – from vans to move things to teacups and kettles
  • Materials – food, stationery, balloons, whatever
  • Expertise – any specialist advice needed about the project or the locality, legal matters, insurance implications, and so on.

Activity 5 Applying the SCHEME analysis

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Think back to the organ restoration fundraising project that Anna discussed in Activity 1 and Activity 4. Apply the SCHEME analysis to this project. Obviously you do not know all the details so use your imagination in planning this kind of initiative.

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Hopefully, you found SCHEME useful in analysing the things that you would need to address. Here are some ideas relating to Anna’s project:

  • Space – for meetings about the project; exhibition space explaining what is happening to the organ; is the organ being sent away or restored in situ?

  • Cash – money for the specialist restoration and transport; extra insurance if the organ is moved off site.

  • Helpers – volunteers are needed for writing the application, liaising with the funders and the restorers, writing information and newsletters about the progress.

  • Equipment – exhibition stands.

  • Materials – refreshments for meetings.

  • Expertise – legal matters, conservation advice, insurance.