Around the Institute

Becoming More “Champion-ny”

November 1, 2013

Digital Strategery

Last week, we came across Beth Kanter’s reflections on a recent brainstorming session she attended that used “design thinking” to improve a non-profit’s digital strategy.  She calls it “the most stimulating web platform strategy session I have ever experienced!”  Intrigued yet?  In short, this workshop employed a visual, interactive and collaborative process of structured brainstorming to move folks from a general idea toward a specific strategy, while considering the challenges and opportunities involved. Check out Beth’s slides on her takeaways.  Impressive stuff!    

Cool Maps

Net-Map is a tool that helps you visualize and clarify the roles of different actors and organizations in a complex intervention.  Coming up with these “influence network maps” requires an honest discussion among advocates and other stakeholders about their priorities and goals, their strategies for action, and how others who are active in that space (like opponents) may impact their work.  As visual learners, we simply love all those colorful arrows and post-its!


At the Eval2013 conference, we presented our work assessing the progress of change agents, or champions, for CARE USA and the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange (PI).  We walked folks through our “champion-ness” methodology and identified three parameters we’ve learned must be in place for this kind of approach to work: you must have (1) a uniform group of actors (2) who can perform a set of predictable actions (3) that are recorded and easily accessible through search databases or other reliable sources.  This methodology worked well for CARE USA’s target audience of Members of Congress, but PI’s diverse set of potential champions proved too big a challenge.  We’re still learning, so stay tuned!  More from APEP at AEA next week, campers.