History of the Facebook Community for Consultants to Community Benefit Groups
For decades, Creating the Future’s founders have been teaching consultants to bring out the best in themselves and those they encounter. That teaching has evolved from informal teaching-by- example-and- conversation, to formally providing “consultant education” since 2009.
Because Creating the Future’s 10 year mission is to “bring out the best in as many people as possible, in as many human systems as possible,” Creating the Future considers consultants to be an important focus of that mission. That’s because every consultant who understands these practices has the potential to share that knowledgewith hundreds of organizations and thousands of people.
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As Creating the Future scales all its programs to accomplish our mission by the end of 2026, scaling the Consultants’ community is a big part of that effort.
To help participants in that scale-up conversation, the following is a history of Creating the Future’s “Community of Practitioners for Community Benefit Consultants.” That history will begin at the beginning, when the consultants who founded the group began their own quest - to be the best consultants they could be, and to bring their fellow consultants along with them.
Hildy Gottlieb and Dimitri Petropolis were consulting to community benefit orgs and southwestern US Native American tribes, under the name Help 4 Nonprofits & Tribes.
“Aha” that social change groups were working hard and smart, and still nothing was changing in the world.
Conversations via CharityChannel (group of listservs with 100,000 participants worldwide, active in late 90’s early 00’s) and ARNOVA listserv (listerv of thousands of professionals via the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action) led to realizing that frustration was rampant among consultants, academics and on-the- ground providers everywhere.
Hildy and Dimitri vow to deconstruct the systems all those groups have in common (planning, leadership, governance, resources), to determine what was stopping groups from creating change.
Hildy & Dimitri experimenting with new approaches to organizational systems with their own consulting clients.
Shared what they were learning via CharityChannel and ARNOVA listservs.
Hildy & Dimitri no longer doing any aspect of organizational work the way everyone else was doing it – strategy, boards, resource development, community engagement.
Reputation was growing, especially among fellow consultants, for achieving successes those other consultants were not able to achieve.
Consultants from around the globe asking Hildy & Dimitri to teach what they had learned, leading to the pair’s vow to find a way to do so.
Hildy wrote the Pollyanna Principles, to share what they had learned.
In 2008, 8 consultants from across the US & Canada flew to Tucson to help the pair figure out how to teach fellow consultants these new approaches to the work of consulting to community benefit orgs.
Published the Pollyanna Principles.
Hildy & Dimitri launched the first 5 day Consultant Immersion Course: Consulting to Create the Future, still under the auspices of their consulting firm.
Launched the monthly #NPCons Twitter chat for “NonProfit Consultants.” At its peak, chats would generate 300-400 tweets in one hour.
Hildy & Dimitri quit consulting to focus full time on educating others. Founded Creating the Future as a 501c3 organization.
Creating the Future is a collection of people around the world, supporting each other in a grand experiment – to determine how much better the world could be if the questions we ask in our day to day lives are bringing out the best in each other.
All education programs previously run under Hildy & Dimitri’s consulting firm became programs of Creating the Future. The pair stopped consulting entirely, putting all their emphasis into teaching and bringing people together.
Participants in the #NPCons were now enjoying the chats so much, they requested a space where they could connect throughout the month, between chats.
The Facebook Community for Community Benefit Consultants was born. From 2011 to the present, a small group of volunteer facilitators have been guiding the individuals in that community, modeling what it looks like to bring out the best in others. We are all deeply grateful to Mary Cahalane, Susan Detwiler, Rebecca Henderson and Marc Pitman for taking on that role with such grace.
All Creating the Future programs are scaling, to accomplish the mission by the end of 2026 (ten year clock begins January 2017).
After 7 years teaching consultants in immersion courses, the immersion curriculum has scaled
- Now an online curriculum of 5 separate courses, 3 months apiece.
- No longer limited to consultants. Courses are for anyone wishing to bring out the best in themselves and others.
That program scale-up effort includes scaling the Facebook Community for Community Benefit Consultants, to help each member of that group to bring out the best in themselves and the many people with whom they interact. Planning meetings will take place from October 2016 through March 2017, as the community members themselves determine…
What could being part of this community make possible – for the members of the community themselves, for their clients, for the world?
What would it take for those individuals to create that potential? What would they need to know? What would they need to have?
What programs could Creating the Future provide, to support them in that endeavor?
Because Creating the Future is a collection of people around the world, supporting each other in this grand experiment to bring out the best in each other, that means Creating the Future is YOU.
In 2017, we will, all of us together, begin developing the programs for this Consultants Community of Practitioners. We hope you will be part of determining what goes into bringing those programs to life.
What part of those programs would you like to be part of?