Identifying the need should always come first when setting up any community group or project. You will need to consider things such as:
1. Who is the group for? Will the group offer a service to the general public or local community or will it be for members only?
2. What are the aims of the group and what do you want to achieve?
3. Where will the group operate and what is it’s geographical area?
4. If your group or organisation will be involved in enterprising activity, will there be a market for the goods or services offered?
5. How will your group be financially sustainable?
It is important to research your local area to ensure that you will not be duplicating the work of another organisation. There may already be a voluntary, public or private organisation dealing with similar issues. If a similar organisation does exist in your local area, think about whether it would be worthwhile joining forces rather than reinventing the wheel. Potential funders will be more enthusiastic if you are meeting a clear need and not just duplicating the work of another organisation.
Make use of the internet to research what is available in your area. The OSCR website has a list of all the registered charities across Scotland.
You may wish to conduct some community consultation in your local area to help you identify a need. There are various methods for doing this and the VOiCE online tool, developed by the Scottish Community Development Centre, provides step by step guidance to help you through the process. Please see our Training Calendar for dates of the next Voice Training.
The success of your new group or organisation will be dependent upon whether there is a need for it’s services. If you believe there is a need, does the community share this view? A lack of research and planning are two of the reasons why community groups or organisations struggle. As you plan, your knowledge of your market, customers, service users and the environment within which you will be operating will grow.