Partners tap into free expertise during Covid recovery
The Ask the Expert platform, launched in our Partner Portal back in May, is connecting specialist consultants with partners across the world – helping them build new organisational strength and capacity in key areas.
Fabio Almeida, Organisational Network Effectiveness Manager in the Effective Philanthropy team, says the revamped service, which is part of Laudes Foundation’s COVID-19 emergency response, is adding value for a growing number of organisations in the wake of the pandemic.
“It is exciting to see our partners using the service and getting access to quality expert advice for free. The Ask the Expert service, part of the Nonprofit Builder platform, includes a roster of around 30 peer-reviewed and rated consultants with knowledge in a wide variety of organisational development areas including strategy redesign, leadership, management, IT and communications. Partners get two hours of free consulting with each expert and can apply for an additional eight hours according to their needs.”
Fabio spoke to Nancy Ramirez, Policy and Advocacy Director at Save the Children, and Christel Scholten, Managing Director of the Brazilian office of Reos Partners, to find out how they have been using the service.
Fabio: How long have you been using Ask the Expert and what expertise are you accessing through it?
Nancy: I’ve just finished my second consultation with Pablo Escorcia from Purpose and Motion, who has been guiding me on how to develop a business plan for our think tank model within Save the Children.
Fabio: That sounds like an interesting project. What are you aiming to achieve?
Nancy: We are trying to convert the policy and advocacy area of Save the Children into a think tank to strengthen our capacity in studies, publications and scientific work. This will enable us to have a more relevant voice in the sector and on key issues. We want to get even better in our ability to shape the conversation and support governments in strengthening public policies, especially as we come out of this crisis. This means not just by lobbying or advocating them to take decisions but giving more technical advice and working with governments to write policies, find solutions and allocate budgets.
Christel: At the moment, we are working on a fundraising strategy and sustainability plan for the Sustainable Fashion Lab in Brazil and we’ve been getting consultancy help from Rodrigo Alvarez from Mobiliza Consultoria. He is a well-known fundraising expert in Brazil – in fact, he is the leading person supporting organisations with fundraising over here. We jumped right on the opportunity to work with him for the full 10 hours.
Fabio: How has your consultant helped you so far?
Nancy: It’s been very useful and pertinent to have his input at this stage because I am just starting out on the think tank project. That’s when it’s really valuable to have a consultant’s guidance. Pablo has given me advice on how to structure the business plan and how to construct the mission, vision and objectives, including how the think tank will work and who will be engaged. I had all the ideas but needed some structure for how to approach the different tasks.
Christel: For us, it’s been so valuable and the support is coming at the right time. We had a number of proposals out for funding before Covid-19 hit. One of those was on the table, ready to be signed, and then it had to be pulled. That was quite significant funding we missed out on. Working with Rodrigo is helping us clarify the fundraising strategy for the multi-stakeholder collaborative platform. We had tried a number of approaches, some of which worked while others didn’t. With all of his expertise he’s been able to bring it together, based also on what he knows will work in Brazil, and we are learning so much from him.
Fabio: What are the next steps for your consultancy journeys and respective projects?
Nancy: I’m putting all Pablo’s advice into action and once I’ve made progress on the business plan, we will have another session to review and discuss next steps. It’s been very helpful, so a big thank you to Laudes Foundation for making this possible.
Christel: We’ve condensed so much into our time with Rodrigo – the 10-hour format has forced us to be very productive and get a lot done. At our most recent session we voted on a number of different fundraising models and ideas, based on a specific set of criteria, and now we’ll do some offline work to come up with a potential approach and develop a sustainability plan we can execute. The whole experience has been great.
Ask the Expert is coordinated by the Effective Philanthropy team at Laudes Foundation and is part of our commitment to helping partners build organisational strength and resilience during these challenging times.
For more information or to access free specialised support from one of our consultants, contact your Programme Manager. We ask for your understanding that this support is only offered to partners of Laudes Foundation.