Facilitator: Jenna NicholasNovember 30, 2018

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How can we spark growth and opportunity in communities that are struggling? It takes collaborative leadership from diverse stakeholders.

Impact Experience builds bridges and deep relationships between impact investors, foundations, entrepreneurs and local leaders to co-create solutions with marginalized communities.

These stakeholders come together for a 2-3 day “Impact Experience”, where they connect on a personal level and create a game-plan for combating problems in a town or city. To date, Impact Experience has carried out events across the United States and in Mexico. In the future, they plan to expand their involvement in the United States and reach more communities in India, Kenya and elsewhere.

As Impact Experience expands their program across the world, they presented at a LabStorm to explore how they could integrate training the trainer programs and technology to make their program scalable. Rich conversation generated these takeaways:

  1. Trust is key. Trust is a key element for each of the Impact Experiences. Since Impact Experiences are relatively short events, Impact Experience needs to continue to manage the build-up to the event and follow-up afterward to ensure that trust is maintained. This support needs to be scaled as well and considered an equally important part of the Impact Experience as the 2-3 day convening itself.
  2. Meet people where they already are. Impact Experience currently uses tools such as Facebook, Google docs, WhatsApp and slack to engage with participants in the Impact Experiences. In order to facilitate the build-up and follow-up communication between communities and funders, Impact Experience needs a robust technology that participants will buy in to. The easiest way to create an online community is to meet people on the platforms they already use, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, or even an email listserv. Participants will be more likely to engage in online conversations if they are already bought in (and logged in) to the technology. Another important component of online communication is empowering particular community members to be conversation catalysts. That way, Impact Experience can ensure that the conversation emerges organically from the community rather than being created by administrators.
  3. Trainers should come along for the whole ride. The facilitators that Impact Experience trains to scale the program need to understand the magic of Impact Experiences. They will need to be immersed in at least one convening from start to finish, learning alongside participants about the problems they will tackle and experiencing the magic that results in trust. That way, trainers will be fully aware of the many layers and needs that a community bring to an Impact Experience, and how they can facilitate a powerful building of trust.

This LabStorm reminded us of the importance of building trust within communities and the people who seek to support them. Do you have any advice on how to improve trust and communication between stakeholders? Let us know in the comments or email us at [email protected].

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