By Jessamyn Lau
Here’s the latest update from our friends implementing a self-directed reporting process. See previous blog posts here, and here.
“We put together a quarterly report on our work in Haiti for Q2, just as we’d done for Q1. But this time we also put together a Keynote presentation and scheduled a Webex call so that people could hear us talk about the work and expand upon it in ways that a powerpoint can’t do on its own. We all congratulated ourselves on a job well done - it was concise, it was informative, it was entertaining - and sent out a copy of the presentation. We just regretted not having recorded the audio version but figured we could do that the next time.
Of course… it turns out we only had a handful of people who dialed in to the call/presentation, in fact I think we had more internal staffers on it than outside participants. Ultimately, given everyone’s busy travel schedules and the fact that getting everyone in one room at once represented a considerable (human) investment on our part, we decided that for the next update - Q3, out next week - we will just be sending out a PDF version of the original-style document. So maybe simpler was better.
We’re not averse to doing another presentation, we just want to make sure it was worth our while. Worth anyone’s while, really. And if we’d gotten a check in the mail for some general operating support as a result of someone’s total confidence in us, we might have changed our minds again! But at present, I think that’s all that we, at our limited capacity, are able to do.”
Interesting. It’s still early days for this org, but it seems that the value of one reporting system is not as cut and dry as it might initially look. One of the reasons I thought this concept, of one report and one reporting call, made sense was that relationships could be built amongst the funders of an organisation.
Over the past few months I’ve been thinking a little about this when I’ve been on conference calls. Interaction and audience participation is really hard to cultivate in a group conf call setting. And that’s when people do in fact remember to dial in to the call. Has anyone cracked this puzzle? Are there specific things that can be done to ensure people 1) value the call enough to be sure they will dial in, and 2) have the right set up for meaningful and productive discussion? Or do you still end up following up personally with everyone after the call?
As always, comments and ideas are welcome.