Submitted by: Opportunity Collaboration
Posted: Aug 27, 2010 – 08:00 AM EST
DAVIS, Calif., Aug. 27 /CSRwire/ - The 2010 Opportunity Collaboration—the poverty alleviation "un-conference"—is an anti-poverty catalyst like no other, according to an independent assessment by See Change Evaluation, Inc.
In its review, See Change discovered an overwhelmingly positive response from Delegates who attended the 2009 Opportunity Collaboration, including new relationships forged of "unusual depth and strength" at the conference, collective mobilization of resources in support of common goals, and access to investors actively looking for opportunities.
The report examines five case studies of Opportunity Collaboration Delegates from poverty alleviation organizations. In each case, relationships created at the conference led to tangible improvements such as direct investment, growth, and realized organizational and operational efficiencies.
Explains Melanie Moore Kubo, See Change Founder and Principal, "The structure and setting of the event encouraged innovative thinking, and six months after the event, brainstorming had evolved into funding proposals and due diligence, in some cases."
Gerhard Pries of the Sarona Investment Funds, was a skeptical attendee, assuming the Opportunity Collaboration would be, "just another meeting of the minds with lots of talking." To his surprise, "The organizers insisted that they wanted deals struck; they wanted to see 'ink on paper.' I changed my mind and decided to go." As a result, Pries and the Sarona Frontier Markets fund were able to gain approximately $2 million in new investment capital.
Chid Liberty, co-founder of Made in Liberia, a nonprofit economic development organization, and the CEO of Sustainable Global Sourcing, a for-profit apparel manufacturing company, is another social entrepreneur thankful for the doors opened at the Opportunity Collaboration.
"The Opportunity Collaboration helped get us into the right circles," says Chid. "Now, fundraising is not just a necessary evil, it's where my deepest friendships and best ideas come out of. I realized later that I could have spent the same amount of time doing what I was doing - sending my PowerPoint slides to hundreds of different people - and not achieved any of the results that I did by attending that event."
See Change's evaluative metrics included "secret shoppers" assigned to collect unsolicited commentary, a two-hour Delegate Feedback session, and the fact that 20% of the 2010 OC was subscribed within 60 days of the 2009 event, a clear indicator of marketplace enthusiasm (and a trend that continues to this day, as the event is now 93% sold out).
Why such real-world results? According to Kubo, key factors include the length of the event (5 days), the remote location, informal atmosphere, and caliber of the attendees.
Says Opportunity Collaboration CEO Jonathan C. Lewis, "The experience is designed for people who are decision-makers in their organizations, ready to take action for the common good, and who are open and willing to co-create solutions with others who are similarly committed. The Opportunity Collaboration sets the table, but what the individual Delegates bring to it makes the meal. The flexible, creative, and reflective nature of the 2009 event promoted important outcomes for Delegates who were able to take full advantage of the environment."
Adds Lewis, "The animating premise of the Opportunity Collaboration - now noted for its "no plenary, no panels, no PowerPoint" rule - was simple: We partner with colleagues whom we trust, whose values we share and when common objectives translate into ego-free zones. The power of collaboration does not presume a single outcome. Rather, it draws its power from the conviction that people of good will forge their own solutions, directions and alliances and uncover new ways to combine and leverage resources."
About See Change Evaluation, Inc
With a focused lens, See Change observes and records the reality of what's happening on the ground, and triangulates, synthesizes, and sorts qualitative and quantitative data into actionable knowledge for investors, grant makers, and social entrepreneurs. Learn more at www.seechangeevaluation.com
About The Collaboration
A four-day strategic and problem solving business retreat for nonprofit leaders, for-profit social entrepreneurs, funders and social investors working to combat poverty, the 2010 Opportunity Collaboration is already 93% sold out.
"The Opportunity Collaboration is a unique gathering," says CEO Jonathan C. Lewis, "marked by a generosity of spirit and a commitment to relinquishing institution egos. With the goal to accelerate the effectiveness of anti-poverty organizations, attendees reach well beyond the boundaries of conventional poverty alleviation to improve the impact and effectiveness of their work."
The event will take place October 15-20, in Ixtapa, Mexico. Applications and further information are available at www.opportunitycollaboration.net