Giving Compass’ Take:
• In this Medium post, Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) describes how their one-to-one learning model — which was cultivated in the private sector — can generate impact in the social sector.
• The emphasis here is that without data or precise guidance in an area of expertise, many organizations will face an uphill climb. Could the GLG model be applied in other contexts?
Everyone has access to information — but true insight can be harder to come by. Many organizations face this challenge, especially when their work addresses social problems or advances important causes. Whether they are nonprofits, mission-driven for-profits, or hybrid organizations, they tend to work on particularly complex issues. They often operate in environments that make it difficult to gather accurate data. They can be smaller than many for-profits, with goals that sometimes outpace their resources. All of which can make it harder for social sector organizations to get exactly the insights they need, when they need them.
Nearly five years ago, GLG launched our Social Impact practice to help address this problem. We wanted to apply the one-to-one learning model GLG pioneered in the private sector — matching the best teachers with the smartest students for short- and long-term learning engagements — to socially conscious, mission-driven clients.
1. Our Fellowship model works best for organizations at an inflection point.
We want to make the maximum positive impact, so we look for Fellows from organizations that have reached what we call “inflection points.” They’ve established proof of concept, but they need a boost to scale their model. It’s a fine balance. If an organization is too small and too focused on day-to-day survival, they’re unlikely to have enough breathing room to really be able to use GLG’s resources. On the other hand, if an organization is well established, the Fellowship might not be the right approach.
2. Just like businesses, social innovators need expertise to succeed.
We’ve found a broad need among social sector organizations for expert help in defining, refining, and achieving their strategic and operational goals. As they grow and encounter new challenges, organizations run up against the constraints of their existing networks, which are unlikely to be broad or deep enough to answer every question or shed light on every problem.
3. Learning adds value across the social sector ecosystem
Finally, we’ve learned over the last five years that it’s not just Fellows at inflection points who benefit from the one-to-one learning model.
Just like GLG’s for profit clients, nonprofit consultants like The Bridgespan Group engage with our Council Membership to connect with the world’s best teachers on the world’s most complex subjects.
Read the full article about how one-to-one learning can foster impact by GLG at Medium.
If you are looking for more articles and resources for Impact Philanthropy, take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and Impact Philanthropy.
Looking for a way to get involved?
If you are looking for opportunities to learn and connect with others interested in the topic of Impact Philanthropy, take a look at these events, galas, conferences and volunteering opportunities aggregated by Giving Compass.
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If you are ready to take action and invest in causes for Impact Philanthropy, check out these Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects related to Impact Philanthropy.