Stages of development

Created: July 23, 2013 at 9:46 AM | Updated: February 15, 2024 | By Community Resource Kit

Community groups grow and change in specific ways, from small volunteer-run groups to large, complex organisations. Knowing these stages can help groups deal with difficulties and make the most of their impact.

1. Starting Out

Characteristics Considerations
  • Led by a visionary or strong individual
  • High ideals, but purpose may not be clear
  • Passionate about a particular issue
  • Where does the group fit in the community?
  • Clarifying and agreeing on the purpose

2. Becoming Structured

Characteristics Considerations
  • Operates as a committee or collective
  • Work done by group members on a voluntary basis
  • Minimal financial structures
  • Choosing a suitable structure
  • Organising roles and responsibilities
  • Establishing operational systems

3. Growing

Characteristics Considerations
  • Facing challenges due to growth
  • Transitioning to a formal committee or board structure
  • Employing a coordinator or administrator
  • Establishing organisational processes
  • Setting up governance and management structures
  • Managing increased financial and legal responsibilities

4. Maturity

Characteristics Considerations
  • Formalised systems and structures
  • Separation of governance and management roles
  • Employment of staff
  • Ongoing evaluation of effectiveness
  • Ensuring continued relevance and innovation
  • Managing business responsibilities effectively

5. Completion

Characteristics Considerations
  • Completion of work or need for refocus
  • Adapting to external or internal changes
  • Potential reinvention or dissolution
  • Evaluating group and individual achievements
  • Addressing emotional aspects of completion
  • Celebrating achievements and moving forward


Previous page: Getting started 

Next topic: Planning 

Contents of the Community Resource Kit