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Nonprofit Utopia Wraps Up Two of Three Workshop Series On Lever for Change, Bold Solutions Network

Nonprofit Utopia has just completed the facilitation of two of three workshop series for members of the Bold Solutions Network, sponsored by Lever for Change, an affiliate of the MacArthur Foundation. Participants included finalists from the $100 million 100&Change Contest. 100&Change is a competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that promises real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time.

The first workshop series, Collaboration for Impact, was designed to help participants strengthen existing partnerships and lay a firm foundation for entering new strategic alliances. Topics covered included the benefits of collaboration; the inherent risks and how to mitigate them; how organizational assessments may be used to determine the feasibility of collaboration and inform its structure; how to develop governance and workflow structures that will enhance collaboration; how to maximize impact through memoranda of understanding; how to leverage technology to facilitate more efficient work flows and accountability.

The format of the workshops included a presentation providing an overview of key collaboration concepts; group breakouts and final presentations that allowed for the simulation of a collaborative process using the Collective Impact Model, and the structuring of a memorandum of understanding. Case studies included examples from healthcare, civil registration, air pollution and water sanitation from Peru, Samoa, the Congo and the Western Pacific Region.  The final collaboration workshop included a live demonstration of ClearImpact, an online platform specifically designed for managing collective impact efforts, including project management and tracking outcomes. A second demonstration from the Microsoft Store, included an overview of Microsoft Teams and ways to make optimal use of the platform features to support effective collaboration.

The second workshop series, Effecting Systems Change Through Policy Advocacy, was designed for participants that are primarily engaged in the development and implementation of programs, services and projects, but would like to amplify their work through systems change and grassroots advocacy that could result in more equitable policies and practices.

The policy advocacy workshops built upon the lessons learned in the collaboration workshops, and provided an overview of how to approach community problems through a lens of systems change.  Participants learned how to develop action plans to effect positive change at the community level; how to design issue campaigns and advocate for legislative change at multiple levels of government; how to develop strategies to organize stakeholders and engage policy makers in the age of social distancing and to leverage technology to strengthen issue campaigns.  The workshop series culminated with a demonstration of Nation Builder, an online platform to facilitate the development of grassroots advocacy campaigns, including stakeholder engagement and mobilization and fundraising.

" The presentation really helped shape the thinking that I’ve been doing to formalize our approach to advocacy in our global programs—I really appreciated all of the definitions, the framework and the detailed descriptions of the steps required in an advocacy strategy", said Jen Everhart, Director of Programs for Miracle Feet. "I enjoyed the camaraderie of the group as well— a nice way to spend my Friday morning."

The next phases of the engagement include leadership coaching in the areas of collaboration and policy advocacy and an upcoming series on financial management for organizational leaders.

Nonprofit Utopia is the ideal community for emerging nonprofit leaders who want to make an impact. The organization’s mission is to  is to develop the next generation of ethical nonprofit leaders. This is achieved through consulting, coaching, courses and community. Nonprofit Utopia has created a safe environment in which its members can innovate, speak candidly about the issues and concerns they face on a daily basis, and share ideas and resources.

Lever for Change is a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation affiliate, whose mission is to unlock significant philanthropic capital and accelerate social change around the world’s most pressing challenges. Lever for Change helps philanthropists source vetted, high-impact opportunities in two ways: by designing and managing customized competitions and by matching them with the top vetted proposals from all of its competitions in the Bold Solutions Network, a searchable online database.

Keywords: community development, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Utopia

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