How to plan for sustainability

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How to plan for sustainability

So your project is going really well, you have new ideas all the time, you’re seeing positive changes in your community – but can it last? What do you do when the funding runs out? When good people leave? It’s hard to think of those things when you’re starting out but it’s important that you plan ahead if you want to maintain the change you’ve started.

There are a number of strategies you can put in place to make sure you have the people and the resources to keep up your good work.

Live By Your Values

We all live by certain values that are important to us. Some stay with us from childhood and others we pick up and change through life. Understanding each other’s values helps us build healthier relationships, especially in teams where we are working towards common goals.

Living By Your Values helps you identify what you value from a list. Try sharing your top 3 values with your team and see how different or similar they are.

Expand Your Influence

Being able to influence others is key to achieving change. The broader your networks the more likely you are to access the people and resources you need to create positive change in your community. Who is important to the future of your project? Who do you need to get involved? These may include local councillors or MPs, business people, other community organisations.

Expanding Your Influence is an exercise that helps you identify who is within your circle of influence and who is outside it. It creates a picture of your networks and helps you see where the gaps are.

Build Relationships

Your relationships are key to achieving change and creating a successful project. Not only do you need healthy relationships with the people in your team, you also need to identify who else can help you along the way. By understanding where they are coming from you can work out how they may be able to help you.

Building Relationships helps you map out the people you need to influence and how to reach them

Grow Your Team

We are often so busy getting things done that we don’t take the time to get to really understand each other. A lot of our communication can be about the tasks that need to get done rather than getting to know each others’ passions, dreams and motivations. Making decisions based on skills is important but it’s not everything. Self-awareness and shared values are also important. When your team members really listen to each other they can make real, lasting change.

Growing Your Team outlines the importance of self-awareness, listening skills and values.

Craft Your Story

Human beings are hardwired to respond to positive stories of change, they give us hope for the future. When you tell the story of your community project you can challenge perceptions and inspire people. Crafting a story that you believe in will help you motivate people to take action, participate in activities, influence others and directly help with support or funding.

Crafting Your Story guides you through identifying key facts, stories of change, hope for the future and what it is you are specifically asking for.

Design a Campaign

You’ve decided to run a campaign. It may be to raise awareness of an issue, raise money or to achieve a change to government policy or law. It may be in response to an injustice and you may have to get things moving quickly. There is a lot to think about before you grab the microphone at the front of the rally.

How to Design a Campaign helps you set out a plan that includes goals, target audiences, key messages.

Write a Communication Plan

Before you start telling your well-crafted authentic story, take some time to plan how you will communicate it.

A communication plan helps you to pull together what you want to say, who you want to say it to and how you’ll
say it.

How To Write a Communication Plan provides a template for mapping out your target audience, key messages and tools.

Write a Business Proposal

A well-written business proposal will help you convince people to come on board and support your project, and to fund it. Before you start writing think about who you are writing it for. What do they need to see that will give them the confidence to support you? People consume information in different ways so feel free to use pictures, graphs and stories, and don’t forget to write in clear, simple sentences.

How to Write a Business Proposal gives you a template including current situation, governance and evaluation.

Write a Project Plan

When you’re taking on a new project it is a good idea to step it out into a plan. If your organisation has received funding from another source like government then a project plan will be a requirement. A well-written project plan gives your team a clear direction to follow. It helps you meet your deadlines and stops you getting off track. Of course a plan can be changed but it’s good to have one in the first place.

How to Write a Project Plan provides a template that covers areas like activities, scope and governance.