Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Partnership" Expanded

This week I am preparing for our annual strategic planning retreat. It's an important and quite enjoyable time where we review the past year and ready ourselves for what's next. I'm sure it will be both energizing and exhausting.

As part of our review I sent several of our contacts (organizations we funded, people we've mentored, some who have shared wisdom with us, even some who's requests we didn't support) a simple feedback form to gain their perspective on Catalyst. I've been surprised by the response in two ways:
1. It seems like almost everyone who received the request is returning a completed form.
2. Several have commented that it is very unusual for a donor to ask for strategic input from charities.

I can't understand why a foundation wouldn't seek out this kind of insight. If we aspire to be as effective in our role as we expect those we support to be in their roles we need this perspective. I am grateful for those who have already taken a few minutes and shared their understandings of who we are and how we work. It will be very valuable information as we set our course for another year.

If you want to add your 2 cents worth (though the current economy precludes me actually sending you the 2 cents), here are the questions we're asking:

As Catalyst wraps up our first year of work we are continuing to make efforts to better define our role in the community and the world. I am hoping you can help us by taking just a moment to answer a few questions about your experience and perceptions of Catalyst.
1. How would you describe Catalyst to a professional colleague?

2. How has your interaction with Catalyst impacted you and/or your organization?

3. What key questions do you think Catalyst needs to ask and answer as we move forward?

4. What “blind spots” about our organization, processes, or work do you think may limit our effectiveness?

5. Is there anything else you think Catalyst should consider as we do our strategic planning?

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