Organisation Project Management

By Juan Wood,2014-05-19 06:00
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20 Nov 2006May put people off if attempted too early in the project ? some groups get caught up in the detail of writing a constitution rather than

Organisational Structure/Group Process


    Caring for the land, the environment and our natural resources often requires community

    participation. If you have a problem it‟s highly likely your neighbours will have a similar

    problem and the best solution is probably community based. Neither predators nor weeds respect

    legal boundaries so working with your neighbours and other interested people makes good sense.

There is no “One-size-fits-all” recommendation for organisational structure for groups looking to

    address biodiversity. Generally groups need to look at their needs and decide the appropriate level

    that will meet those needs.

    Factors to consider generally include:

    - Amount of funding required, and possible sources for that funding.

    - Level of commitment available to resource and administer a formal group.

    - Need to have the work of the project detail in a formal constitution or similar.

Disadvantages of becoming a formal group:

    ? Takes time and effort to get established.

    ? May put people off if attempted too early in the project some groups get caught up in the detail of

    writing a constitution rather than getting some „action‟ under their belt.

    ? More administration work minutes/financial records/correspondence etc

    ? More structured approach required in terms of group activities may limit options for projects.

Advantages of becoming a formal group:

    ? Eligibility for accessing funds/grants some funding organisations require groups to be a legal


    ? Individual members are not personally liable

    ? The group continues until formally wound up despite change in membership ? It may be possible to obtain charitable status for tax purpose

    ? Provides a sense of „longevity‟ or „substance‟ to a project

Formal Groups

    For many groups taking on large-scale projects, the choice comes down to forming either an

    incorporated society or a charitable trust. The table below indicates some of the differences between

    these two options.

For information on the common structures available to community groups, and assistance in deciding

    which structure best suits your group, check out

    See also “Keeping it Legal” Legal responsibilities of voluntary organisations in NewZealand. Available from NZ Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations or the Office of the Community and

    Voluntary Sector (

    Biodiversity Tech Guidelines Organisational Stucture 20-11-06 Page 1 of 7

Some Differences Between Incorporated Societies and Charitable Trusts

    Incorporated Society Charitable Trust Minimum of 15 members Board of trustees of at least two

    Key decisions made by members at general Key decisions made by trustees. Members meetings and in committees support but do not run the organisation

    Can be charitable or work for profit Always charitable Members can join and leave easily Trustees are appointed or elected for a fixed term

    Fee of $100 to set up No fee to set up Companies Office requires annual financial No annual accounts required by Companies


    accounts Must be registered with the Companies Office Must satisfy the Department of Justice that the

    main purpose of the trust is charitable

Both Incorporated Societies and Charitable Trusts can obtain charitable status with the Inland

    Revenue Department for tax purposes. Both can employ people, receive grants and enter into

    contracts. They can have similar objectives and rules.

Informal Groups

    It may be that you decide the scale of your project does not warrant any formal structure, or that your

    project is not ready to take the steps required to become a formal group. Remember that there is

    some funding and support available to projects that don‟t have legal status.

For those groups reluctant to become a legal entity (or unable to resource the administration required

    to meet the compliance requirements of legal status) but still needing access to significant funds, a

    further option is to negotiate with an existing legal group or agency to handle the funding aspects.

    Ideally there should be a written agreement between the two parties.

Keep in mind

    Regardless of the type of structure chosen, there are a few key principles to keep in mind:

    ? Share the load

    ? Accept that people are able to make varying levels of input to a project (eg someone with a

    young family may have less „discretionary time‟ available for a project than others in the group.)

    Try to create opportunities for a range of people to be involved.

    ? Accept that there will be change in those involved with a project and utilise the opportunities

    those personell changes bring.

Some guidelines for effective communication with tangata whenua is available on the follow website of

    the Department of Conservation.



    Biodiversity Tech Guidelines Organisational Stucture 20-11-06 Page 2 of 7


    Working in isolation is unlikely to be enough for successful implementation of a biodiversity restoration

    project. The outcomes of the project will be enhanced by the development of a range of relationships

    or partnerships with other groups, agencies, and individuals. Although this may seem „non-productive‟

    at first, time invested in such development will pay dividends throughout the life of a project.

Example - Group Framework

The following example provides some indication of things that groups need to consider. Many do so

    without formally recording it in a format such as this.


    Item Definition

    Membership Open to all stakeholders and anyone with an interest in the well-

    being of the project area.

Types of Membership

    Type Definition

    Active ? Anyone who wishes to be on the regular distribution list for

    information, nominate agenda items, attend meetings, have

    voting rights, participate in activities on a regular basis

    ? An active member can also be a consultant or associate

    member (see below)

    Committee ? Active members elected by a quorum of the active members to

    roles specified below.

    ? Appointments for 12 months from October each year.

    ? Each person may hold more than one office

    ? Incumbents are eligible for re-election each year. Interested ? Person owning property within the project area or its environs

    neighbour who does not want to be an active member

    ? Receives newsletters

    ? Notified of special events

    Consultant ? Person with expert knowledge in a field of benefit to the group

    ? Person representing a related body (e.g. councils, Land Care,


    ? A consultant member can also be an active member (see


    ? Copied on notification of meetings and minutes

    ? Welcome to attend meetings

Associate ? People who are not immediate stakeholders, but who have an

    interest in or are useful to the group Disinterested ? Person owning property within the project area who does not neighbour (not want to hear from the group (identified only so we don‟t annoy

    actually a member) them with repeated contact)

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Member Roles and Responsibilities

    Active Members ? Input to agenda as desired

    ? Read pre-meeting papers

    ? Attend meetings

    ? Vote either in person or via e-mail

    ? Nominate and/or approve committee as required

    ? Participate in activities as desired

Officer Roles and Responsibilities

    Position Incumbent 05/06 Responsibilities Patron ? Uphold the vision

    ? Provide historical perspective

    ? Provide local knowledge

    Chair ? Lead and inspire group members

    ? Be “the public face” of the group

    ? Coordinate external resources (e.g.

    regional/district council, DOC

    subject-matter experts, etc.)

    ? Coordinate field trips

    ? Talk to new land owners about the


    ? Talk to those outside the group

    ? Provide computer record keeper with

    new and updated information

    ? Coordinate meeting agenda

Meeting Facilitator Set or rotating? ? Ensure effective and efficient


    ? Liaise with Chair and Secretary on

    agenda and pre-meeting paper(s)


    ? Arrange substitute if required

Secretary ? Notify meeting schedule yearly in


    ? Negotiate meeting locations

    ? Send out meeting reminders 1 week

    prior to meeting

    ? Distribute pre-meeting papers and

    agenda with reminder

    ? Record meeting minutes and

    distribute to active members

    ? Receive official correspondence

    ? Provide information on request

    ? Arrange substitute if required

    ? Published contact point for anyone

    wishing to contact the group Biodiversity Tech Guidelines Organisational Stucture 20-11-06 Page 4 of 7

    Treasurer ? Maintain petty cash

    ? Pay invoices

    ? Maintain records as required

Funding ? Record actual and potential sources

    Coordinator of funding

    ? Research sources of funds

    ? Coordinate funding applications

    ? Record uses of funding

    ? Coordinate preparation of reports on

    use of funding as required

    Computer record Maintain electronic data regarding: keeper ? Membership

    ? Contacts with community

    ? Projects

    ? Activity record

    ? Cadastre (land occupation,

    ownership, etc)

    ? Test results

    ? Skills

    ? Soft copy photo album


    ? Plans, maps, etc. to support projects

    ? Presentation material for funding

    applications and reports to funders Web Master ? Set up and maintain website to best

    practice standards Photographer ? Photograph all activities

    ? Periodically photograph progress of

    plantings and other project work

    ? Maintain hard copy photo album

    ? Provide database administrator with


    ? Arrange substitute if required

Team Leader [One per Strategic [Note this is not as “big and formal” as it Plan item]] sounds; the intent is to ensure clarity around

    what is to be done]

    ? Coordinate preparation of project

    definition (scope, exclusions, high

    level cost, manpower requirements,


    ? Coordinate preparation of project

    plan (task, task dependencies,

    resource requirements, time line)

    ? Coordinate formation of project team

    ? Coordinate completion of tasks within

    defined project

    ? Arrange replacement Project Leader

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    or team members if necessary

    ? Report on progress of project to


    ? Report expenditure to Treasurer

    ? Coordinate closure of project

    (including a celebration, of course)

    Nursery ? Maintain nursery supplies and Coordinator facilities

    ? Schedule resources to undertake

    nursery work as required

    ? Coordinate seed / seedling gathering

    ? Liaise with Project Leaders to ensure

    appropriate supply of plants (type,

    quantity and timeliness)

    ? Liaise with other similar groups in the

    area if required to either supply or

    acquire material

    ? Provide advice and guidance on

    appropriate planting

    Kids‟ Club ? Maintain list of members Coordinator ? Arrange membership cards and other


    ? Set up work for kids to do

    ? Ensure members get credit for work

    ? Arrange suitable work for members

    ? Arrange rewards



    Frequency 2 monthly (but additional special meetings may be convened for

    specific purposes)

    Notification ? Meeting schedule set up annually in advance

    ? Reminder, agenda and papers sent out week prior to meeting

    ? If meetings need to be rescheduled all active members

    consulted first

Quorum Facilitator or Chair + 5 active members

    Voting rights One vote per active member either in person or via e-mail Location [One location?] / [varying locations?]

    Agenda ? Written agenda distributed by e-mail prior to meetings

     ? Includes pre-meeting reading material

    ? Any active member may nominate an agenda item

    ? Includes time, date, venue

    ? Each agenda item time-limited

    ? Reschedule items if run out of time

    ? Specify outcome required for each agenda item

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Process ? Start on time

    ? Keep to the agenda

    ? Discuss one item at a time

    ? Time-limited up to 1? hours

    ? Park issues and appoint sub-group to resolve offline

    ? Decision making method = consensus (work at a decision until

    everyone can live with it, if not totally agree with it); voting

    process for larger issues with the majority carrying the vote

    ? Record action items

    ? Close meeting when all objectives have been met

Conduct ? Pre-read any information

    ? Arrive on time

    ? Be prepared to participate

    ? Allow opinions

    ? Keep to the point, be concise and don‟t digress

    ? Respect others

Thanks to Waikato Conservancy of the Department of Conservation, Community Net Aotearoa, and Joan

    Leversedge for much of the information included here.

Biodiversity Tech Guidelines Organisational Stucture 20-11-06 Page 7 of 7

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