National Membership Organization Helps to Expand Results Count

Posted July 20, 2022
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
A visibly happy group of racially diverse young adults gathers together in an indoor space.

Several of the Bridging Fellows and Independent Sector staff, June 2022. Photo courtesy of Independent Sector.

Inde­pen­dent Sec­tor, a mem­ber­ship orga­ni­za­tion that col­lec­tive­ly rep­re­sents tens of thou­sands of char­i­ta­ble groups across the coun­try, recent­ly has pur­sued the ambi­tious goal of ensur­ing that all peo­ple in the Unit­ed States thrive, with a tar­get­ed focus on com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. Results Count®, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s unique approach to lead­er­ship devel­op­ment, has been help­ing the orga­ni­za­tion and its diverse mem­ber­ship align their work in pur­suit of that goal.

A Results Count hub, Inde­pen­dent Sec­tor is led by pres­i­dent and CEO Dan Car­di­nali, a mem­ber of the 2007-08 class of the Chil­dren and Fam­i­ly Fel­low­ship®, Casey’s sig­na­ture pro­gram to devel­op strong, results-dri­ven lead­ers. Results Count is part of our man­age­ment struc­ture,” says Car­di­nali. It pro­vides a clear goal for our orga­ni­za­tion­al strate­gies and a mech­a­nism for train­ing staff to rou­tine­ly inte­grate equi­ty into the imple­men­ta­tion of those strategies.”

Engag­ing the alum­ni of Inde­pen­dent Sector’s mul­ti­ple fel­low­ship pro­grams is a key strat­e­gy in work­ing to embed an equi­table results frame in the non­prof­it sec­tor. The Results Count work is the scaf­fold­ing around which we build the fel­low­ships,” says Car­di­nali. It is a way of inte­grat­ing its tools and method­ol­o­gy into capac­i­ty-build­ing for the sector’s future leadership.”

A Vehi­cle for Change

Fun­da­men­tal to Inde­pen­dent Sector’s work is build­ing con­nec­tions, shar­ing knowl­edge and nur­tur­ing lead­er­ship among the diverse non­prof­its, foun­da­tions and cor­po­rate-giv­ing pro­grams that con­sti­tute its mem­ber­ship. To accel­er­ate this work, Inde­pen­dent Sec­tor employs Results Count’s five core com­pe­ten­cies and two foun­da­tion­al frame­works, includ­ing data-dri­ven analy­sis and small tests of change.”

For exam­ple, a vari­ety of sur­veys pro­vide the data to bet­ter under­stand how effec­tive­ly Inde­pen­dent Sec­tor is reach­ing par­tic­u­lar groups, includ­ing com­mu­ni­ty activists, pub­lic pol­i­cy audi­ences and aca­d­e­mics. We look at dis­ag­gre­gat­ed data to see if there are demo­graph­ic dif­fer­ences in the way folks are per­ceiv­ing and expe­ri­enc­ing our work,” says Kristi­na Gawr­gy, Inde­pen­dent Sector’s chief com­mu­ni­ca­tions and com­mu­ni­ty-build­ing offi­cer. Based on those data, we use the Plan-Do-Study-Act method to adjust our strategies.”

As a con­ven­ing orga­ni­za­tion, Inde­pen­dent Sec­tor and its staff have ben­e­fit­ed from train­ing in Results-Based Facil­i­ta­tion™. With its sophis­ti­cat­ed under­stand­ing of group dynam­ics and the coach­ing about how to both play your clear role and let oth­ers play their roles in a sup­port­ive way, Results Based Facil­i­ta­tion has become a very impor­tant vehi­cle for us, not only for our own work but also for work­ing with our part­ners toward a shared result,” says Cardinali.

Engag­ing Fel­low­ship Alumni

Results Count method­olo­gies, tools and skills are cen­tral to Inde­pen­dent Sector’s fel­low­ship pro­grams for lead­ers in the non­prof­it com­mu­ni­ty. Among the ideas explored by fel­lows are the Per­son-Role-Sys­tem con­cept and B/ART — which stands for Bound­aries of Author­i­ty, Role and Task — both of which help lead­ers define their own con­tri­bu­tions to the larg­er goal of advanc­ing equi­table out­comes for a thriv­ing nation.

Inde­pen­dent Sec­tor recent­ly launched the Bridg­ing Fel­lows pro­gram, which seeks to strength­en the indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive lead­er­ship capac­i­ty of local change-mak­ers in Pitts­burgh, Chica­go and Dal­las. While work­ing to build healthy, equi­table com­mu­ni­ties, the fel­lows learn and share Results Count skills, includ­ing those that help them engage in chal­leng­ing con­ver­sa­tions and bridge racial, socioe­co­nom­ic and ide­o­log­i­cal divisions.

Alum­ni of Inde­pen­dent Sector’s Upswell Fel­lows, Wal­mart Fel­lows, NGen Fel­lows and Bridg­ing Fel­lows con­sti­tute a pow­er­ful net­work of non­prof­it lead­ers com­mit­ted to the goal of ensur­ing that all peo­ple in the Unit­ed States thrive. Some 400 alum­ni, more than half of whom are peo­ple of col­or, are engaged in var­i­ous net­work­ing activ­i­ties, as well as tune-ups” in results-based lead­er­ship. Inde­pen­dent Sector’s month­ly sur­veys of alum­ni pro­vide the data for mea­sur­ing their sense of com­mu­ni­ty and adjust­ing its pro­gram offer­ings, as needed.

The alum­ni strat­e­gy is a strat­e­gy for increas­ing the num­ber of lead­ers who use Results Count as a core com­pe­ten­cy,” says Habib Bako, Inde­pen­dent Sector’s senior direc­tor for com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment. There is the huge poten­tial of hun­dreds of lead­ers who are real­ly well versed in Results Count think­ing and who are trans­form­ing their own pro­gram­ming and convenings.”

A Game-Chang­ing Difference

Car­di­nali has announced that 2022 will be his last year as pres­i­dent and CEO of Inde­pen­dent Sec­tor. Results Count, how­ev­er, will remain deeply embed­ded in all lev­els of the orga­ni­za­tion, includ­ing its board. Board Chair Fred Black­well, CEO of the San Fran­cis­co Foun­da­tion, a Results Count hub, was a mem­ber of the 20072008 class of the Chil­dren and Fam­i­ly Fel­low­ship. Board sec­re­tary and exec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber Michael McAfee, pres­i­dent and CEO of Pol­i­cyLink, anoth­er Results Count hub, was a mem­ber of the 20102011 Chil­dren and Fam­i­ly Fel­low­ship class.

Results Count at Inde­pen­dent Sec­tor is held at the strate­gic lev­el,” says Car­di­nali. And that has made a game-chang­ing difference.”

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