Lever for Change’s Bold Solutions Network matches donors with outstanding nonprofits and social enterprises that are selected as finalists in Lever for Change competitions. Bold Solutions Network members are then eligible to access learning and technical support opportunities in the form of webinars, pro bono services, coaching, workshops, cohort support, and peer networking. These opportunities are designed to continue to help strengthen members' project design and plans, as well as to increase the impact of their work.
Over the past year, members based in India have worked with Lever for Change’s social impact partner Sattva Consulting on organizational development through the Accelerate for Impact Initiative. Cohort members utilized the expertise of Sattva and its partners to improve their ability to unlock capital and navigate organizational challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic significantly disrupted the landscape for social change organizations and put their financial and operational sustainability at risk.
The objective of the cohort-based capacity-building program was to enable select members of Lever for Change’s Bold Solutions Network in India to gain actionable knowledge, skills, and advisory support across high-need areas while building a network of peers. The program cohort represents 12 members of the Bold Solutions Network with India-facing operations that are diverse in terms of maturity, scale, and sectors.
Design of the Program
Using an organization-centric design approach, the cohort participated in a needs assessment exercise to better understand key challenges, existing organizational priorities, and align on the philosophy for design and implementation of the Accelerate for Impact Initiative. Core tenets included:
We have been able to strengthen HR policies related to recruitment, performance management, and Learning & Development for the organization through the support provided by Accelerate for Impact Initiative.Dr. Rajeev Seth, Bal Umang Drishya Sanstha (BUDS)
- Focus on actionable support through a combination of one-to-many workshops, expert one-to-one advisory support, and supplementary networking opportunities.
- Focus on network building and peer learning.
- Focus on unlocking philanthropic capital.
- Focus on continuous measurement and assessment to monitor the program’s effectiveness on an ongoing basis.
Additionally, the needs assessment enabled us to identify seven critical areas for support – the top three being fundraising, marketing and communications, and partnerships. Other areas of support include organization strategy, human resources, technology, and monitoring and evaluation. Over the span of seven months, we provided support across these areas through one-to-many online workshops and one-to-one advisory sessions with functional experts.
Outcomes & Way Forward
The Accelerate for Impact Initiative saw success across institutions, programs, and individual participants. Key highlights from our survey of 23 people included the following findings:
- Nearly 90% of respondents found the selection of topics and learning outcomes to be relevant to their institutional requirements.
- 95% of respondents felt that workshops helped them understand these core topics better, particularly across strategy, fundraising, and marketing.
- Nearly 90% of respondents felt that workshops gave them tangible takeaways and enabled them in several functional areas across the organization.
- 100% of participants that received one-to-one advisory support stated that they have made tangible progress against their institutional goals.
Additionally, several program participants reported scenarios where they realized early wins and could tangibly strengthen their institutional capacity across fundraising, marketing and communications, human resources, and leveraging data for decision making.
One-to-one advisory support helped us understand the need to evolve our fundraising strategy from a central/ national level to a more district focused approach. We are also drafting proposals using the CHAI-STIR-SIP framework* introduced in one of the workshops.Dr. Sudha Kuruganty, Piramal Swasthya
As a next step, Sattva Consulting and Lever for Change will continue to support several organizations to provide them with further one-to-one support. The engagement will span six months and will enable organizations to do a deeper dive on setting strategic priorities and defining actionable goals with ongoing advisory and governance support from Sattva. In addition, the Accelerate for Impact program will be replicated for Bold Solution Network members based in the Asia Pacific region.
We are hopeful that this initiative will help high-impact organizations globally to build institutional capacity and accelerate their impact on those that they serve.
- Bal Umang Drishya Sanstha (BUDS)
- Generation India Foundation
- International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
- Miraclefeet India
- Olam International
- Piramal Swasthya Management & Research Institute
- Sampark Foundation
- Tata Trusts
- The University of California, Berkeley (Gadgil Labs)
*The CHAI-STIR-SIP framework is a storytelling framework shared in one of SATTVA's Accelerate for Impact workshops.