Coordinating the work of multiple nonprofit agencies, government agencies, regulatory bodies, and funders towards a common goal and agenda can be a lot like herding cats—unwieldy and difficult to manage. This presents a challenge for the many projects that require the involvement of numerous organizations. Using an external agency to facilitate planning, training, and evaluation efforts helps to ensure that all parties work together to provide effective programs and services for people in our community.
Regardless of the size and scope of your project, below are four critical attributes to consider when choosing a facilitator:
1. Team composition.
Look for a group that has a team of professionals from multiple disciplines—from traditional human services and education to public health, mental health, legal services, and more. A cross-discipline team offers diverse perspectives and builds credibility and connectivity with stakeholders.
It’s also important to ask potential facilitators if they have earned industry certifications in specific subject matter. Certifications demonstrate commitment to superior professionalism, upholding industry standards, and the ability to deliver high quality training, coaching, monitoring, and evaluation guidance and support.
Effective facilitators bring stakeholders together in a way that is inclusive; instead of telling people what to do, facilitators help diverse organizations achieve their collective goal.
Regardless of a project’s focus, successful facilitators develop or follow a prescribed framework, allowing all participants to come to consensus on a plan to work together. They should help identify synergies, service gaps, other potential partners, action items, roles and responsibilities, and timelines. A facilitator’s work should result in smoother implementation and greater impact for the project.
3. Skills and experience.
Experienced facilitators should have a portfolio of projects that they have guided from design and implementation to completion. They also should be able to identify specific techniques or tools they use, including engagement methods to bring stakeholders together, as well as managing group dynamics and understanding different learning styles.
Finally, you may want to consider their facilitation experience in diverse subject content areas. Regardless of the topic area, successful facilitators should be able to demonstrate how they have moved groups to action with tasks to complete in order to hold everyone accountable and feel a sense of accomplishment.
4. Ability to perform research, data analytics, and evaluation.
The goal of your work is to improve lives. Accurate and unbiased data and analytics is key to understanding program effectiveness.
As the project begins, facilitators should be able to provide industry-wide and local research to inform planning efforts. During the process, data analysis and evaluation professionals ensure that planning efforts are progressing effectively. They should develop metrics to monitor implementation, allowing you to make real-time adjustments if necessary. Finally, you must have the ability to easily and accurately measure and report outcomes to your clients, stakeholders, and funders.
The Goal: Successfully Helping Those in Need
Designing and delivering high-quality and effective programs for youth and families that involves the coordination of multiple agencies is no easy task. Using qualified, credentialed and experienced facilitators to bring diverse groups together will dramatically increase your ability to achieve your goals and make an impact in the lives of those in need.
CCNY, Inc. has a very simple mission— To help those who help people in need do their jobs better. We do this by providing a comprehensive spectrum of services that range from data evaluation and analytics to quality improvement and training. Our expertise lies in our ability to seamlessly integrate with your organization to analyze your data, identify performance gaps and provide strategic initiatives that let you deliver value-based care and have a greater impact on the communities you serve. Our staff have earned national certifications including Wraparound Practitioner Certification, Six Sigma, and Results-Based Accountability, and have been trained in human-centered design, creative problem-solving processes, and facilitating collaboration.
Contact us at (716) 855-0044 or visit our website at www.ccnyinc.org.