A community succeeds when its members share its vision and purpose, a strong sense of affiliation and ownership, a stake in its decision-making, and a desire to contribute within the community and advance its message to external networks. The community benefits from a solid infrastructure and responsive support team.
Community Approach and Participation
In this section, you’ll learn more about the community’s approaches for learning, knowledge creation, and development; resource dissemination and field-building efforts; and the infrastructure serving as its underpinnings. A clear understanding of the community’s functions, approaches, and participation options helps ambassadors be more engaged and contributes to a stronger community.
Value of Collective Knowledge
The community is a unique forum for learning, knowledge sharing, and connecting because of the range of ambassadors’ experiences and expertise across sectors, domains, and roles. Learn more about the ambassadors who make up the community here.
Decision-making is distributed. Major decisions and initiatives are decided by consensus via extensive discussion and guidance from ambassadors. Published content is produced through facilitated, iterative development and review processes. Community infrastructure, protocol, and distribution initiatives are generally directed by the Leap Ambassadors support team.
Ambassadors have the opportunity to provide feedback in a number of ways. About once a year, ambassadors are asked to provide feedback on community direction and initiatives through a survey. Slates of ambassador candidates are vetted by the community, and all ambassadors have the chance to participate in the development and/or review of community resources. Team members also reach out to ambassadors to seek their thoughts and perspectives on the community and ideas for improvement.
Our disciplined, collaborative approach gives ambassadors the opportunity to share their insights, have those insights discussed, augmented and constructively debated via community exchange, and produce thoughtful works that consider diverse viewpoints. Collaboratively developed resources are the intellectual property (IP) of the community, and Morino Institute is the provisional holder of Creative Commons License, copyright, and trademarks for the Leap Ambassadors Community.
The Morino Institute will provide community support through team staffing, funding, and in-kind resources until December 2023. Longer term, the community will explore increased ambassador ownership, expansion via partnerships, and potential consolidation with like-minded initiatives.
Ambassador participation occurs within the community and within the sector. Both aspects are important to achieve the community’s mission.
Exchange, Learning, and Resource Creation
The online forum, micro-communities (ambassadors with shared interests), community presentations, collaboratively developed resources, and convenings provide opportunities for ambassadors to engage, learn, and create together.
- Learning, collaboration, and collective knowledge are cornerstones of the online forum and all active ambassadors participate, following the 70-20-10 rule of community participation. Leap Ambassadors have access to and participate to the degree they choose in the community’s online forum, where dialogue centers on the overarching topic of high performance.
- Micro-communities (MCs) allow ambassadors to collaborate on a specific topic or project and then share their results or findings with the full community. Examples of micro-communities include collaborative resource development MCs (e.g., Performance Imperative Editorial Oversight), organic issue-based MCs (e.g., Outcome Equity), and governance MCs (e.g., Growing Community).
- Ambassadors share their expertise with other ambassadors through virtual presentations and dialogue. Sometimes, a panel of ambassadors share their own experience and lessons learned to increase knowledge and inspire others.
- A process of facilitated exchange, rigorous discussion, peer review, and editorial oversight engages the community’s collective knowledge to develop a range of community resources. With the Performance Imperative as the foundation, community resources include funder profiles, a funding performance monograph, ambassador insights, and stories about how nonprofits have benefited from a commitment to continuous improvement.
- The Leap Ambassadors Community is both high tech and high touch. Virtual gatherings by regions or at conferences allow ambassadors to connect with each other and continue to build relationships while discussing strategies and examples of high performance. In-person gatherings were held pre-COVID and may one day return.
Dissemination and Field Building
It’s not enough to discuss the need for high performance within a vacuum. Key to the mission of the Leap Ambassadors Community is amplifying the message of high performance beyond the community.
- First and foremost, ambassadors are the voice of the community in their own communities and networks. Ambassadors “walk the talk” by demonstrating “performance matters” in their own work and actively encourage others to do the same.
- Ambassadors deliberately and broadly spread the word about ways in which courageous leaders can move their organizations on the journey and materials that can assist in their efforts. Ambassadors often use presentations, webinars, email, or social media platforms to promote the community’s resources.
- By engaging their own networks, ambassadors take a more personal approach through connecting with other leaders to inspire, support, and convince nonprofits that mission and performance are inextricably linked.
- The community’s message and resources are shared with more than 20,000 individuals via email and social media channels. The monthly Leap of Reason Update serves as a primary source for community announcements and is augmented by weekly e-news messages from the Leap Ambassadors Community to activities and other initiatives in support of high performance in the social and public sectors. Social media channels include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Ambassadors share Leap resources with nonprofit leaders, funders, policymakers, and many others.
- The community regularly shares resources from aligned initiatives and, most recently, published Funding Performance: How Great Donors Invest in Grantee Success, a quick-read book released in February 2021 by the Leap Ambassadors Community in collaboration with the Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Tipping Point Community, Bridgespan, and FMA.
Foundation for Community Support
A healthy community needs a strong foundation. Behind the scenes, a dedicated technology platform allows for interaction, engagement, and dissemination. Morino Institute, the backbone organization for the community, has tasked the support team with defining protocols and processes for governing community behaviors, managing the community effectively, and working to continuously improve its operations and functionality.
Leap support team
A responsive support team strives for seamless operations and provide these services:
- Share resources with ambassadors
- Provide outreach and opportunities for engagement
- Help make connections for ambassadors
- Monitor the online forum
- Curate online forum dialogue and provide editorial oversight
- Host Community Conversations
- Provide limited administrative support to micro-communities
- Tracks engagement and maintains community data
- Technology and systems management
Contact Linda Johanek (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kevin Jones (email@example.com), Co-Leads for Onboarding and Engagement, or Community Manager Veronica Dubravetz (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 440-895-2950.