At Global Fund for Children (GFC), our convening practice is key to building long-term partnerships with community-based organizations as they learn, adapt, and lead change. In this blog post, we share our unique approach to convenings, how we shift power to our partners, and recent changes we have made to our feedback mechanisms.

Partnering with Local Organizations to Serve Children

Global Fund for Children envisions a future where all children and youth enjoy equal resources and opportunities in society and live free from violence, discrimination, and exploitation. We boldly pursue this vision by forming long-term partnerships with community-based organizations around the world to help children and youth reach their full potential and advance their rights. To do this, we offer flexible funding, connections, and a suite of other services tailored to the needs of our partners as they seek to strengthen their organizations. Our convenings are a key element of these services and open a space for partners to connect with each other and provide peer support.

A Convening Approach Inspired by Children

Our partners’ work with children has a deep impact on the way we facilitate convenings. Activities are designed to engage partners in fun and creative ways that can lead to deeper connections between participants. Most activities are conducted in small groups and provide space for everyone to share and move. Attention is paid to the wellbeing of participants, with time set aside to process difficult topics and comfortable, safe spaces available if participants need to take a break during activities.

Gathering Feedback from our Partners

Learning is one of our core values and is essential to our commitment to participatory approaches. As part of this, we consistently seek feedback from partners on our convenings. Acting on that feedback is critical to establishing a trust-based relationship where partners feel safe and respected when they ask for what they need.

Starting in 2018, GFC began consistently surveying partners about their convening experiences. We developed a list of core standard questions, with flexibility built in for regional teams to select from this list and write new questions to customize their surveys for each individual convening.

The core questions of the survey ask partners to rate various aspects of the convening, from logistical concerns like the venue and timing of daily activities to the relevance of the subject matter covered and what they took away from the convening in terms of new contacts and changes to their organization or programming. These questions represent the building blocks that go into creating a successful convening. They also focus on the convening’s impact, asking which aspects of the convening most affected partners and what, if anything, they will do differently going forward.

GFC’s Learning and Evaluation team is responsible for analysis and learning generation both within and across regions. In 2021, we took the first deep dive into the data and identified a pool of learnings that will inform GFC’s convening practice moving forward. Regional teams also looked at their survey results and came to their own conclusions.

Read the full article about feedback by Sam Phillips-Corwin at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.