What would be possible if everyone had an online space where they could feel safe and nurtured, all while being intellectually nourished with smart conversations about their work? What if that space is the home for others who work in the same field, and each person acknowledges that everyone has something to offer?
At Creating the Future, we believe that everything we do is predicated on bringing out the best in people. Along with a myriad of other projects, Creating the Future has sponsored a Facebook group specifically for consultants to community benefit (nonprofit) organizations – individuals who are solo practitioners, operating in a group, or part of a city/state/regional organization that serves community benefit organizations.
With almost 500 individuals inhabiting this very active space, the question came up: What can this group make possible? For whom? Certainly, the members of the group benefit from the group as it now exists. But what else could it be?
With this question in mind, we invited the entire group to a conversation about the future of the Facebook group. Eleven members convened on Tuesday, October 25, to start the process of envisioning: What can this group make possible? For whom? The complete video of that meeting is at the bottom of this post.
Here’s what we came up with:
If we are 100% successful in whatever we decide to do to nurture this group, what would be different, and for whom?
First, who are the whom’s? WHO will benefit as we nurture this group?
- Consultants, coaches to Community Benefit Organizations
- New – Experienced
- Different subsectors (e.g., arts, social services, environmental)
- Different specialties (e.g., fundraising, planning, marketing)
- Community Benefit Organizations
- Executive Directors/CEOs
- Board members
- Volunteers (unpaid staff)
- Each adult
- Each child
- Other groups
- Nurturing this group becomes a demonstration of how other groups can transform into beautiful, supportive spaces
The nonprofit sector is the 3rd largest employer in the U.S. As consultants who assist community benefit organizations, we affect the future of the entire country.
Before considering what more the Facebook group could do, we explored what is already working. Explicitly acknowledging the current power of the group ensures that we will work to maintain and expand this core, even as we create new opportunities.
What is working?
There was a rich discussion of what is working. It centered around being a community in which it is okay to be vulnerable, because everyone in the group understands what you’re going through, and are willing to share their own stories. Group members can ask fundamental questions and engage in rich discussions; we can experiment with new ideas, ultimately benefitting our clients. The group provides a safe environment, and brings in perspectives of members worldwide, from different backgrounds. Finally, there is an understanding that each person brings value to the group, regardless of their level of experience. Because this group exists, we have more confidence; our clients benefit.
This conclusion is best conveyed by selected quotes:
- I’m part of something huge.
- It’s okay to ask bigger questions, fundamental questions.
- A place to be vulnerable, to ask, among people who know what you’re going through.
- Like having someone you trust to talk to.
- A sense of community.
- I’m willing to do more experimenting, because I got my peeps.
- We have collective strength, community strength.
- It provides a sense of validation for me, gives myself credence, to validate that my work matters.
- [we can] question the status quo and try different things.
- We are a cadre of colleagues to ask, to be with, ‘on my bench.’
- I can say to my clients, “I belong to this great group of consultants”
- There’s no feeling that there are elders/newbies
Turning our attention to what more the group could be, we identified:
- Being explicit about how to be abundance-based
- Helping people to move from scarcity to a place of enoughness
- Being explicit about why the group works, modeling it for use outside the group
- Creating a common language of civility
- Creating intentional opportunities to learn
- Modeling civil, nurturing decision-making, being intentionally explicit about how it works
- Mobilizing the group in service to greater purpose
All of these are predicated on maintaining what we already have.
Our next meeting will focus on getting more granular – what is the highest potential of specific groups / types of individuals who are in the Facebook group, and what conditions would need to be in place for that highest potential to exist?
Join us for that December meeting! It’s Tuesday, December 13, from 1-3pm ET // 10am – noon PT. If you’d like to be included in that meeting, please click here to let us know.
When you watch the video of the meeting, PLEASE add your comments and thoughts below!! We will all learn from what we build in the Facebook Nonprofit Consultants Group, and we will share it as we build other caring, nurturing groups that bring out the best in all the participants.
0 thoughts on “Building a Nurturing Network”
It would be so helpful if you could post the names of the participants, their firm, perhaps their years of experience and perhaps their professional focus.
Hi Laura, Thanks for asking. Part of the beauty of the meeting is that it brings in as many people as possible from across the spectrum of participants in the Facebook group. That includes people who have virtually NO experience consulting and those who have decades of experience. If you watch the video, you’ll meet all the participants and where they’re from, and see that by not asking specifics about their practice, we get to meet the whole person. The next meeting will have some of the same participants, as well as others who are now able to join us. As a member of the Facebook group, you can reach out to the individuals and get a chance to know them better that way.