Note from Beth: In March, I had the pleasure of co-presenting at the GEO Conference (Grantmakers for Effective Organizations) with Kathy Reich, Director, Organizational Effectiveness Program at the Packard Foundation and Jared Raynor, Director of Evaluation at TCC Group, that helped OE analyze its “goldmine” of grantee data. The learning in public (slides and resources here). During the conference, “a small army of guest bloggers [and] grantmakers, who [attended GEO] posted their reflections on the session and LIP in general on my blog. These are here:
- Bridge Building or Trust Busting: A Warts-and-All Reflection on “Learning in Public”?
- Learning in Public Challenges and Actions
- Learning in Public: To What End?
- Is a Culture of Learning Required To Learn in Public?
- The Outcome of Our Outcomes
Last month the OE Team at the Packard Foundation shared this guest post about the next steps in their public learning journey as part of program review. This post shares the latest learning from their quest to revise and refresh the program strategy by learning in public.
Packard OE Strategy Session: Laying Everything Out on the Table – Guest Post by the Packard Foundation OE Program Team
Have you reorganized your filing cabinet lately? You have to take everything out, decide what to keep and what to throw away, and then organize the materials for easy retrieval later. There is always that moment when everything seems chaotic, before once again, the contents of your cabinet have some semblance of order and logic. *cue sighs of relief*
Packard OE did something similar during its strategic planning retreat, which was full of insightful exchanges between staff, consultants, and advisors. The image above shows what we came up with.
We still have a long way to go in synthesizing the numerous inputs, including a large constellation of trends, grantee priorities, values, economic realities, and more. And while we would welcome any input on our strategic questions we wanted to continue highlighting a few questions for which we would like specific advice:
- How do you use intermediaries to help non-profit organizations build their organizational capacity? Have you evaluated your work with intermediaries, and if so, what lessons have you learned?
- Have you participated in a great peer learning community—either in person or online? What made it great? Are there particular topics or issues that lend themselves to peer learning? When you’re designing a peer learning experience, what pitfalls should you avoid?
Please visit the OE Strategy Refresh site and share your thoughts on these questions and, more importantly, your stories. Not too jazzed about sharing in a public forum? Then please feel free to contact us directly. Collaboration on this process will lead to a well-informed strategy, enabling us to better serve a variety of organizational needs all over the world.
P.S. Your input will help us draft a set of hypotheses—in the form of possible paths for Packard OE to take in coming years—to be tested among our grantees, colleagues, and all of you. Stay tuned!
We’re really excited about this process and we’d love your feedback!
The OE Team: Flowing from Packard Foundation’s Founders’ business philosophy of nurturing leaders and giving them the freedom to pursue promising approaches, the Packard Foundation assists in building the leadership skills and management capacity of their grantees. The Organizational Effectiveness and Philanthropy program supports their current grantees to allow them to undertake projects that transform their organizations in a sustained and meaningful way. These grants address the many organizational and capacity challenges that may affect nonprofits—from strategic planning and board development needs to mergers and executive transitions. To this end, they advance the organizational effectiveness of current Foundation grantees by supporting projects that improve their management, governance, and leadership by developing strategies, systems, structures, and skills. The Foundation also makes grants to help advance and support the field of private philanthropy.