Learning so that we can do better
This is not going to be a short blog. The story is relatively simple: FundAction needed to renew its Facilitation Group, so we ran the process by selecting a panel to review nominations but, due to capacity issues, made various errors which lead to this process being less-than-good. This prompted a review and debates amongst the FG, all those involved, and ultimately with Assembly attendees. At the in-person Assembly, the decision was made to continue with the outcomes of the process regardless of the errors, but also to reflect on the mistakes and do better next time.
This summarises what has actually been a long, painful, and at many points emotional process. This blog forms a necessary part of the transparency, recognition and learning process, and therefore it’s not going to be brief, as it needs to account for everything. It’s a record of what went wrong and what should be done better next time, so that all those involved will know the mistakes are acknowledged and documented, so that those who weren’t involved can transparently understand the process, and so that those who are responsible for the process next year can learn from all the work that’s happened this year. It’s a way we, as the FundAction community, can do better.
In short, the key takeaways are:
– Give plenty of time for the process. Don’t rush it to meet arbitrary deadlines. It’s more important to do it well.
– Don’t rely on technology to make the process fair. Human intervention needs to happen to ensure that ‘random’ processes are truly random.
– Related to that: as much as we don’t want the FG to hold power, and we want everything to be ‘objective’, this often isn’t possible. We need to recognise that sometimes humans need to make decisions to make sure FundAction lives its values.
– Agree and communicate the process beforehand. Ensure that everyone’s on the same page about priorities before you start discussions, and make sure the overall process is clear to all, including outlining the opportunities for consultation or veto.
– Mistakes arose from over-burdened individuals feeling pressured. A more equitable distribution of tasks and realistic time frames are needed for FundAction to function better.
Unless you have some time on your hands and an interest in the minutia of participatory decision-making processes, then I wouldn’t recommend reading the rest of this post. All that you need to know is that mistakes were made, but we have a new Facilitation Group, and one of their first tasks is putting together a more thorough and detailed process in place for renewing the next Facilitation Group, based on the discussions held online and in-person during this process.
This blog has been written by Rose, a member of the 2017/18/19 Facilitation Group. When I say ‘we’, I am usually referring the broad FundAction community, but sometimes I’ll be referring the FG, in which case I’ll note that.