Two or more people pool their efforts to get something. They get it. Then they realize that they don’t agree on how to share it. Does this situation sound familiar?
The more people involved, the more complicated the sharing becomes. So complicated, in fact, that many agencies miss out on funding opportunities because they just can’t work together. It doesn’t have to be that way- here’s what it looks like when successful collaborative decision-making comes to the rescue.
Four Seniors’ Programs formed a partnership in order to fundraise and access more resources to support their important health related programs. Sure enough, their strategy worked and… JACKPOT! They received a one-time grant of $50K to do with as they saw fit.
One Seniors’ Program was underfunded and at risk of closing.
The second had more than enough money but did not want to use their existing funds for a program they felt should be funded by the government. In addition, they did not see it as being fair to expect them to subsidize the program that was underfunded.
The other two had priority needs but were not at risk of closing.
Some programs wanted to divide the money up evenly; others wanted to use the money for a sustainability plan (i.e. align their templates and systems for more efficiency and hire a fundraiser).
I was asked to design and facilitate a decision-making process for how to use this one time grant of $50K. I met with the leadership team. We mapped out the key stakeholders and issues. With this in hand, I crafted a collaborative decision-making process to find viable and mutually beneficial solutions.
First, I asked that each program consult the seniors they worked with. They created meeting guidelines and ensured buy-in from all stakeholders.
Second, using a graphic visual with four separate quadrants and one shared circle in the middle, each Seniors Program would then be instructed to come up with at least 2 ideas of how to use the money. They then had to identify which ideas targeted their individual program, and which suited the shared program. I also encouraged each group to have at least one idea for the “communal pot.”
Third, I suggested each program allocate a seniors’ leader to present the seniors’ ideas. City Staff were also asked to contribute their ideas and opinions.
Fourth, included in the process was a method by which the seniors and staff would identify the cost related to each idea.
Finally, the leadership team would ensure buy-in for the meeting guidelines and decision-making process prior to our meeting.
Once the groundwork was ready, I facilitated a decision-making session. Each group shared their vision of how to allocate the money. When we added up the cost of all the ideas, we discovered that they had gone $32,500 over budget!
The group then began the hard work of establishing common priorities. After much process and discussion, they surprised themselves by finding ways to allocate money to each of their essential needs, and put $17,363 towards common costs.
In the end, their collaboration produced remarkable results: they not only met their budgetary needs, but also created a surplus of $6,643 to be saved for future costs.
A huge win for all!
If you would like assistance in collaborative decision making please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604.879.2402.
Please share this article with anyone you think might learn from our approach.